I started scuba diving around four years ago and completed my Open Water in Koh Tao, Thailand, like many others. So far I have dived around Asia extensively in Thailand and Indonesia but also in the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan so this scuba diving packing list is advice meant for diving in tropical waters. For me, scuba diving is an addiction and the more I do it, the more I want to do. A few people have asked me about what to take diving, so I thought I’d make a useful scuba packing list of what I take on a dive boat. Below are useful items that I always use for diving and pack in my dry bag. Many of these useful dive items I wish I had known about in the beginning of my diving career!
What to take on a dive boat:
1. Gopro. There are many other similar video cameras for diving but the Gopro is still a popular, small and useful item for diving. It took me too long to get mine and I missed out on some great footage of diving with turtles in the Gili islands in Indonesia.
Scuba Diving Tip: When learning to do your Open Water or Advanced qualification and doing other dive courses you are, generally speaking, not permitted to use cameras. Compare prices for GoPro HERO4 BLACK and Gopro Hero 5 on Amazon here.
2. A red filter for the GoPro. It took me a long time until I cottoned on to this as before I received my red filter (thanks Dad!) all my photos and videos were so blue and not showing the real beauty of the coral. You lose red colour the deeper you dive. See which red filter fits your underwater camera here.
3. Gopro selfie stick, a recent purchase that allows me to get closer to animals or corals without disturbing them with my bubbles or presence. Buy a similar one like this Selfie Stick GoPro Hero on Amazon.
4. Bikini or swimwear. I personally prefer to wear a bikini under my wetsuit as it is easier when you need to go to the toilet on the dive boat.
Scuba Diving Tip: I usually wear a bikini with straps so that I won’t flash anyone while peeling off my wetsuit but I also make sure it doesn’t have any ties near my neck that might irritate me when my wetsuit is zipped all the way up.
5. Rash vest, if you are a wimp like me and get cold even when diving in warm waters that average 29C/84F degree sea water then consider a rash vest to wear underneath your wetsuit.
Scuba Diving Tip: When diving in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, most dive centres only provide short wet suits and even might charge extra for a long wetsuit which I am not prepared to pay. Browse brand name rash vests here
Scuba Diving Tip: choose a rash vest with a zip all the way up the middle – makes it so much easier taking it on and off!
6. Tiger balm/ decongestant – you cannot equalise with a cold or blocked nose so these are useful for keeping your sinuses open. I have used Actifed as a very strong decongestant which always helps me equalise but you shouldn’t use it for diving consecutive days. There is also a risk of reverse block so use with caution. Buy your tiger balm and nasal sprays on Amazon or wait until you arrive in Asia as they are equally cheap here.
7. Socks! – you might not look like the coolest diver out there but if you’re wearing fins without booties for days on end then socks will stop them from rubbing (and protect my nail varnish!)
8. Dry bag – forever a fan of these. Keep your stuff dry when climbing on and off boats, from ocean spray and monsoon weather. Buy yours here for a reasonable price.
9. Spare contact lenses – if like me you need to wear contacts to actually see the fish then make sure you take a spare pair with you. I find that clearing your mask underwater particularly stings when wearing contacts and changing them between two dives can help. I use daily contacts for diving.
Scuba Diving Tip: only soft contacts can be used for diving.
10. A hoody – maybe just for people who feel the cold but multiple dives lower your body temperature so at the end of the diving day I’m often feeling the cold.
11. Suncream – I know we shouldn’t be wearing suncream to protect the reefs but I am still about protecting my skin from damage and I usually top up in between dives. I figured climate change will probably destroy the reefs more than my suncream – but maybe that’s just me being selfish.
12. GoPro extensions – something to make your gopro float that doesn’t include air. I’m still looking for a GoPro floating selfie stick so if anyone knows where I can buy one then let me know please. I used to have one of these orange devices that float but you it means you cannot see the screen on my GoPro Hero 4. Buy a floating GoPro device here.
13. Your log book – recently I’ve made sure I write in my log book in between dives – especially when doing three dives a day, to help me remember and write about the moment.
14. A sarong – I never bother with heavy beach towels nowadays and I prefer to travel with lightweight, quick drying sarongs instead. I might not always head straight home after a dive and I don’t want to be carrying around a wet, heavy towel to the bar for post diving beers. I love a turtle themed one like this one
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