You can't get properly fitted gear mail order.
Gear selection is
a very personal thing. It needs to fit and be adjusted to the
individual user. In addition to fit, it is important that your gear
selection meets the needs of the type of diving you plan on doing and
is something you are comfortable using. If you are planning on diving
the local PA quarrys I may recommend something completely different
than I would recommend for someone who only plans on diving on tropical
vacations. Most of us want to do both and I can help you find something
that will work for both local & travel diving.
I am happy to help you find the right gear based on what you are
looking for and the type of diving that interests you. If I don't have
the gear that is right for you I won't try to sell you something just
because it is what I have in stock. I will either order it for you
or let you know if someone else sells what you need.
prefer to complete all sales in person. I want to make sure your gear
fits and you are satisfied with the way it feels before you leave. The
only practical way to try a variety of gear and make the right
selection for you is to do it in person. If you are
backplate & wing it is very important you have an experienced
person help you with the initial setup & adjustment or it just
won't fit right and you won't be happy with it. All gear is sold
assembled and adjusted unless you requested something be delivered
unassembled. Regulators are assembled to your specification and tuned
to manufacturer specifications so they are ready to dive when you
receive them. I service what I sell.
you are unable to make it to my shop I can make arrangements to ship
your order but please understand I am not yet set up to be a mail order
business so it will be a bit of a manual process to get shipping and
Rent or Buy?
Lets start out with the easy stuff: You need to buy your mask, fins, and snorkel.
This is considered personal equipment and needs to fit you. Along with
fins you should purchase boots because like any other shoes you own,
they are sized to your feet. You also need to make sure your boots fit
in your fins. Boots & fins go together and changing either for
a different brand the same size may result in a less than comfortable
fit. There are also hygiene issues you need to be aware of when using
The snorkel is a pretty obvious choice to buy. First of all it goes in
your mouth. Second, it is a low cost item that really does not make
economic sense to rent. Sure, there are some very expensive snorkels
but the truth is they are a waste of money, those aren't available for
rent anyway, and I won't sell those super expensive snorkels.
If you travel there is always room for a mask, snorkel and
dive boots, even in a carry-on. I always make room for my fins too and
they don't take up much space in my checked bag.
This is an item most people wait to buy because of cost. Regulators are
usually available for rent just about anywhere that rents dive
equipment and it is a "one size fits all" item, meaning you don't have
to worry about your size being in stock. For someone who dives only
occasionally or only when traveling on vacation you may consider
renting. If you are just trying SCUBA and aren't sure if you will want
to dive more in the future you should rent. Regulators require
maintenance and if you rent this will be taken care of for
you--hopefully. If you have a problem with your rental regulator you
can usually swap it out on the spot for another.
Why would you buy? If you dive locally and there isn't a convenient
shop nearby that rents regulators then having your own will make it
easier to dive more often. The math to figure out how many rentals
would equal the purchase price of a regulator set is pretty simple but
does your time driving to pick up and return rentals have any value?
Rental regulators are normally durable, reliable, and inexpensive. They
are usually detuned to prevent free flow problems with inexperienced
divers (who rent because they only dive occasionally) and this makes
breathing just a little harder. You just don't find that many high
performance regulators for rent. If you buy you can get a high
performance regulator that is tuned the way you like it.
Remember what I said about that snorkel going in your (and everyone
else's) mouth? Well, that rental regulator has been in lots of other
mouths and you can never be sure how well it was cleaned or maintained.
Most reputable dive shops do a pretty good job of keeping regulators
clean but they will never maintain it with the care you would give your
own because they just don't have the time to devote to 20 or more
regulators. PA SCUBA supply only maintains a couple rental
regulators that are rarely used so every regulator 2nd
stage is disassembled, sanitized,
and completely dried between rentals. Many rental regulators
never completely dry and are bacteria breeding grounds.
What if you have a problem with your personal regulator while
traveling? You can't just swap it out for another at the rental place
like you could a rental but the likelihood of you having a problem with
a well maintained personal regulator is extremely low. In the extremely
unlikely event that you have a problem with your personal regulator
that can't be fixed locally you can still pick up a rental. If rentals
were available in the first place then they will still be available
even if you brought your own regulator.
The main reason for owning a regulator is you will dive more if you own
Device (BC or BCD) - This is another often rented item
because of cost. If a shop rents gear then they usually have these
available... in small, medium, large and extra large. If you are lucky
or if you reserved in advance you won't show up and be told something
like, "We are all out of medium and large. Would you like a small or
extra large?" Shops don't run out of a size often but I have seen it
happen. The criteria for deciding to rent or buy a BCD is similar to
the regulator decision, in fact, if you are buying one it makes sense
to buy the other. Some traveling divers will choose to buy everything
but the BCD and will rent at the destination because many BCDs can be
bulky to pack. A BCD is easy to maintain but is another rental
item that is almost never dried inside. Yes, they are drained of water
but after being dried the insides are sealed air tight (their normal
condition) and stored until the next rental. A completely dry BCD will
usually have moisture inside. This is not a health issue unless you
inhale air from the BCD. Never inhale air from a rental BCD.
PA SCUBA Supply has a couple rentals that are rarely rented
and they are stored with valves removed so they dry inside &
Why would you buy? If you dive locally and there
convenient shop nearby that rents BCDs then having your own will
make it easier to dive more often. The math to figure out how many
rentals would equal the purchase price of a BCD set is pretty
simple but does your time driving to pick up and return rentals have
any value? (Yes, I reused that)
Rental BCDs are normally well used to the point of being nearly worn
out. They won't be top of the line either--they will be something
simple durable. Durable and simple does not always equal comfort.
Comfort is a huge
factor and a BCD must fit you to be comfortable. Maybe you are between
sizes in one brand but fit well in another.
If you are looking for something that is compact, light, and packs well
for travel there are several options. I travel with my BCD because I
like diving with equipment I know inside & out.
Dive Computer -
should buy one. There are expensive or inexpensive models to fit your
budget. The danger in renting is that you will not know how to operate
the rental computer. Get one that you can learn about and practice with
before you travel. Keep in mind that different computers may be more or
less conservative. If you dive with someone regularly it is best to get
matching computers so you don't get conflicting limitations. Some
computers are more conservative than others and many are adjustable for
how conservative they are.
If you get a wrist mount computer it travels with you easily and can be
used with your regulator or a rental. It is the most flexible choice.
Mounting a computer in a console ties the regulator to the computer and
a failure of either can put both out of service.
Most divers rent
tanks. Almost nobody travels by air with tanks. They are something you
will rent at your destination. Tanks are not available for rent outside
of a major city in PA so most central PA divers own tanks. Because most
local divers own tanks, they are not available for rent, because tanks
are not available for rent most local divers own tanks. See how that
works? Rent them if you can, buy them if you can't. You will definitely
dive more often if you own tanks. Air fills are much easier to find
than rental tanks in central PA.
I live in central PA.
What should I do???
If you live in PA and are not near a major city then your rental
choices are extremely limited. If you want to dive locally you should
buy all your gear. Once you buy gear you will find the most expensive
part of diving is the travel. If you want to dive on a budget, buy your
gear and dive locally!
You may have noticed PA SCUBA Supply has limited rental equipment. The
reason is that demand is low because most active divers in this area
own all their gear. Rental supplies are kept mostly for student divers.
I am happy to help you chose gear that fits in your budget and meets