Before you check out the recommended gear below, we want to have a word about local dive shops and the importance of supporting your local dive shops. Without selling SCUBA gear and accessories, most dive shops in Oregon can’t stay in business. Most of the shops we know actually lose money on filling SCUBA tanks and break even on doing SCUBA classes or discover local diving outings. While many accessories are now easily and inexpensively available on Amazon, it is important to keep buying accessories from your local dive shop and from shops that you use while on the road around Oregon. Often times, a local dive shop will have a better deal than what you can do online and you can get it right then rather than waiting days or weeks for a seller on Amazon to deliver. Truth be told though, we sometimes do order SCUBA accessories online. We leave it up to you, our Oregon SCUBA friends, if you buy online or buy from your local dive shop.
Another thing worth mentioning is that for critical dive gear like regulators, computers, buoyancy compensator devices (BCDs), drysuits and wetsuits, and related items, we only buy through local dive shops that can back the sales with warranties and gear service. Many of the online retailers will sell you this gear but when you need warranty work or spare parts, you will find that no one will sell you parts and no one will service the gear.
Over the last 20 years of our SCUBA diving careers, things have changed. Back in the late 90s, everything came through your local dive shop. There were only one or two mail order catalogs where you could get limited gear. Now there are many websites selling dive equipment. You can even order compressors online and have them drop shipped to your door. We expect to see more direct and online gear sales from manufacturers in the future as the way our sport operates changes. We’ll update this page as the situation changes.
We have used the Goldengulf flashlight (above) as a backup dive light on may dives in Oregon. It always performs well for us. We have never had a leak with our lights. We made sure to lubricate the O-rings with silicone grease when we first purchased the lights and we always check our O-rings before each dive.
The XS Scuba LT100 is one of our workhorse primary dive lights. It has never let us down in 15 foot deep ponds or in 130 feet of salt water. We’ve never had a leak but always check and re-grease the O-rings between dives.
The XS Scuba LT150 is our other workhorse primary dive light. It is consistently bright and has never failed us. We have taken this light all over Oregon and farther afield. After lubricating the O-rings when we first bought it and checking them between dives, we’ve never had a leak or any other problems.
We have used the JCS Standard Foam SCUBA Float dive flag many times throughout Oregon to mark our position underwater so that boaters know where to avoid. It is a good flag and float that is compact and easy to carry in the car.
Dive Knives and Shears
We use the this blunt-tipped dive knife as our primary knives for cutting fishing line and other things that we can get tangled in underwater.
This Orca 7 inch long dive knife from Cressi is sure to make even the smallest SCUBA diver feel big underwater. We use this knife when spearfishing to finish the job. The rest of the time, one of us keeps it strapped to our leg to pose for funny photos underwater.
The XS SCUBA Fogcutter is a great combination knife and shears/scissors that can get you out of a pinch if you get tangled in fishing line. We wear this knife and shears on our forearms to keep it in easy reach.
We highly recommend carrying a safety sausage any time that you go diving. A good inflatable surface marker can help boats spot you and steer clear if you’re diving below. A safety sausage can also be used to signal people when you are in distress. We carry this safety sausage with us on every dive.
Spearfishing and Crabbing Gear
We always carry a mesh bag with us when we’re crabbing. This mesh bag is our favorite. Even when we’re not crabbing, one of us still uses the mesh bag to hold neoprene in at the start and end of a dive. This Trident mesh bag has held up over hundreds of dives throughout Oregon.
We swear by our JBL Woody 38 Special spear gun. It has caught many lingcod, perch, and rockfish on jetties up and down the Oregon Coast. Aside from replacing the bands every few years, it just keeps on working without missing a beat.
When spearfishing, we use this Trident stringer hooked to a D-ring to keep our fish on until the end of the dive. We sharpened the point on ours to make it easier to get through the mouth and gill on a speared fish. It works well, hasn’t rusted, and hasn’t let us down.
Douglas uses an Oceanic Veo Nx computer installed in the Oceanic gauge cluster that includes a compass and pressure gauge. He has taken his trusty computer all over the world and never had an issue. Regular maintenance and battery changes are all that he has had to do to keep it running. It may be old and not have nearly as many flashy features as the new fancy wireless air integrated computers but it has held up well to the beating computers and gauge clusters take when crawling over jetty rocks in Oregon.
Heather uses a Suunto Cobra dive computer. She started using Suunto computers when she worked in the dive industry in the South Pacific and never stopped. Her Cobra has been all over the world and dealt with some of the best and some of the worst conditions a dive computer can see. She really likes the simple design and its robust construction.
We both use Atomic Aquatics Split Fins and have been pleased with their performance in the water conditions found in Oregon. Douglas is on his second pair after having a post rip out from his first pair while Heather is still using her original pair of split fins that she picked up in 2009. These fins hold up well in the rocky conditions found along jetty structures on the Oregon coast and do equally well in the lakes and reservoirs of the Cascades.
Both of us dive Bare Drysuits that were custom fitted to our bodies. Douglas previously used an awesome O’Neal drysuit but they are out of the drysuit business for SCUBA divers now and his old suit finally gave up the ghost. The Bare drysuit is an interesting beast. It handles Oregon diving conditions very well but it can sometimes feel like you’re wearing a bag. Both Heather and Douglas used to dive Farmer John-style wetsuits of various brands and the O’Neal drysuit that Douglas once had is very similar in how it dives to a wet suit. Pretty much any crushed neoprene or trilam dry suit that isn’t skin tight and that uses thermal undergarments will wear like a bag where the buoyancy characteristics just aren’t as intuitive as a wetsuit or a skin tight neoprene dry suit. We would never go back to a wetsuit in Oregon now that we’ve been diving drysuits since 2011 but we both miss the carefree buoyancy of our old wetsuits and the O’Neal drysuit.
All of that being said, Bare makes an excellent product that has never let us down. After many hundreds of dives, our suits are in nearly new condition. Proper care and maintenance keep our suits working as we climb over the south jetty at Newport, drag ourselves over the north Tillamook jetty at Barview, and bash into lava rocks in many of the central Oregon reservoirs. In spite of our best efforts, we’ve never punctured or cut our drysuits.
We both use Bare thermals under our drysuits to keep us warm. The Bare Polarwear product will keep you warm and is very functional. We have worn it more times than we care to admit into restaurants after diving. Sometimes you get a funny look unless you’re wearing a SCUBA flag hat or something similar. Thermals are very important when you’re diving a drysuit that is designed to use them. We would become frozen popsicles without our thermals. Douglas has tried a few other home-brew thermal undergarments before but always comes back to his Bare thermals.