Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Packing for a dive trip

For a seasoned diver, packing is as easy as 123. I will share some tips here based on my own packing and traveling experience, it may vary from each individual.

I am a very organised person. My dive equipment are always packed and ready for the next dive. The reason being, I have no store room to hang my stuff or let them lay around somewhere, so I put them back in the dive bag. The only thing I need to do is to charge my batteries, test and pack up my camera equipment and my cloths. 

Weight is always an issue for those who owned their own equipment especially when you fly low cost airline and being stingy to buy more than 15kg of check in baggage. Most of the low-cost carrier do not provide free check-in baggage. Only 7kg hand carry is allowed. Anything extra will need to be purchase. So even though the flight ticket is cheap, it still add up to quite a fair bit after purchasing extra check-in luggage. Sometime a prime carrier can offer cheaper price when you factor in 20-30kg of luggage. My concern is always my hand carry. This is something I can't reduce nor buy extra hand carry.

How to pack?
Mesh bag and dry bag
for Malaysia trip
I pack my luggage differently depending on mode of travel and destination. If I travel by bus I will make it as light as possible using a mesh bag for my dive equipment and backpack for dry stuff, chances are I will be going to one of the island in Malaysia. So the huge camera can stay at home. :-)

Nowadays the low cost airlines are very particular with hand carry luggage. If you plan to carry your camera and lens, pack it in a backpack that doesn't looks like it is heavy. Avoid pelican cases as they look bulky and heavy, plus the case itself weighs a fair bit. During my recent trip with Malaysian Airline to Brunei, I was forbidden to bring my pelican case on board. So I have to transfer everything except the housing into my backpack. I know sometime you can get thru after a long argument with the staff but I rather save the energy and enjoy my trip.

For check in luggage, try to avoid using mesh or soft cover bag, your regulator might not survive the rough journey. You can use any hard case bag, not necessary a dive bag, sometime is better because some airline might ask you to buy extra sport bag because it is sport equipment. I usually insist that I check it in as normal luggage bag if they give me bullshit.

It is always good to perform a simple test and check your equipment before the trip:-
  1. Inflate BCD fully leave it overnight, check if there is any leakage
  2. Check fins straps and mask straps ensure no sign of crack line or broken buckle
  3. Test torch with battery ensure it light up
  4. Turn on dive computer ensure it is working and no low battery alert
  5. Test camera and strobe, trigger some shots to ensure flash is working

Here is the standard checklist for a typical dive trip.
1) Important things to pack
If you do not have a dry bag always pack your dry stuff in a zip-lock bag, diving is related to water and boat! :-)
  1. Passport (unless you are diving within the same country)
  2. Credit Cards or cash (local currency will be preferred) always prepare for additional day/night/nitrox dives, tips, shopping, food and drinks
  3. Dive certification card or log book (unless you own the shop or you know someone who run it) to proof that you are a certified diver
  4. Flight ticket, in case some country's custom officer is particular with your return dates or sometime at the airport they only allow you to enter with proof of return ticket.
  5. Dive Insurance and Travel Insurance (you never know when accident will happen)
2) Dive Equipment
  1. Dive computer (always have it with me in my hand carry)
  2. BCD (check-in)
  3. Regulator (check-in)
  4. Fins and booties (check-in)
  5. Mask (check-in)
  6. Torch (check-in)
  7. SMB (check-in)
  8. Wetsuit and hood (check-in, use it to protect the regulator or anything fragile)
3) Camera Equipment
  1. Camera and lens (always have it with me in my hand carry)
  2. Housing, ports, o-rings (always have it with me in my hand carry)
  3. Strobe, arms, clams, tray, cables, screws, o-ring grease (check-in)
  4. Batteries, charger and cable (always have it with me in my hand carry)
  5. Memory cards (always have it with me in my hand carry)
  6. Transfer cable (optional)
4) Cloths (Always pack them in a zip-lock bag)
  1. 2+ shirts/blouse
  2. 2+ trousers/shorts
  3. 2+ sets of undergarments
  4. swimsuit
  5. windbreaker/sweater/pario
  6. long pants for travelling
  7. lightweight towel
  8. Flip-flops
5) Toiletries
  1. Shower gel and Shampoo
  2. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  3. Razor/blades
  4. Sunblock
6) Medical kit (Optional)
  1. Medicines for sea sickness, diarrhea, fever, headache, cough and flu
Things that are good to have (optional)
  1. Universal adapter - to charge your electrical devices in different countries
  2. Mobile device or laptop or any devices that has WIFI features - most of the dive center or hotel has Internet facility
  3. Battery charger for the above
  4. Head lamp or torch
  5. Multipurpose tool/ Swiss Army knife
  6. Nail clipper
  7. Travel pillow and ear plug - for long bus ride and noise disturbance
  8. Zip lock bag - to store all your clothes or none wet proof stuff
  9. Small backpack - for day trip
  10. Cable tie - can do wonders
  11. Sunglasses
  12. Books
  13. Lock
  14. Cheese, Wine or beer :-)

There you go ready to go diving! Bloop....bloop...

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