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Our top tips for women’s dive gear

This is the second guest post by our Instructor Kiri. She will be blogging here on a new series called ‘Women in Diving’ which will cover various topics from how to make a career as a female diving instructor to everyday tips and tricks like how to take care of your hair.  


 

Dive Equipment for female divers

 

As the next installment in our “Women in Diving” series, I decided to write about women’s dive equipment. Unfortunately, when I did my research for this blog post, I mainly found articles that told me which items are available in pink or with little sparkles on. Whilst you might want to snaz-up or colour-code your dive equipment, it’s more important to think about whether it’s actually better for you and specifically why!

Divers-during-buddy-check

Most divers are aware that comfort, suitability and fit are crucial for any piece of equipment, but how does female-specific gear differ to its uni-sex counterparts?

BCDs

There are some great options for female BCDs on the market: These differ from the uni-sex counter parts by offering curved shoulder straps and side lobes, as well as a shorter torso part. These BCDs sit higher on your waist, give you a better support and are designed to take some pressure off your hips.

They are often designed slightly smaller than a uni-sex BCD of the same size, to account for the (typically smaller) female body. The Aqualung Soul BCD for example combines integrated weight pockets (for an improved trim and positioning in the water) and Aqualung’s so called ‘Wrapture Harness Technology’ for added comfort.

Aqualung-Soul-BCD

Female BCDs have many different styles depending on whether you prefer the traditional jacket style or back inflation. Unlike women’s jeans which rarely have any useable pockets, the female and uni-sex BCDs generally have the same pocket size and the same number of D-rings for all your accessories – which gives you plenty of space to for all your accessories!

Regulators

According to some articles I found online, regulators which are designed specifically for women, should be lighter and have smaller mouthpieces, because our mouths are smaller and our jaws will get tired more easily. From my personal experience as a diving instructor, however I can say that this is not specifically a ‘female problem‘…

Most regulators are uni-sex, but if you need to distinguish between ‘his’ and ‘hers’ you can always opt for the pretty pink patterned 2nd stage or a pink hose. This will give your gear a bit of a personal touch, but remember that none of this actually has a practical benefit! The most important thing about regulators is the ease of breathing and this will be different from diver to diver – so I recommend to try some options before deciding.

 woman-breathing-from-a-regulator

And if you actually belong to the group of divers (male or female) that tend to get a ‘tired jaw’, you can add a smaller mouthpiece to your regulator or even a moldable one, which will add a lot of extra comfort.

Masks

There are not many masks that are specifically designed for female divers only and ultimately there are just too many different shapes of faces. However, the one mask that sticks out is the Linea by Aquamaster: It’s light weight with low volume and a thinner frame to provide a better fit and a wide field of vision. One of the main features are specifically designed mask strap buckles which are supposed to not catch your hair – which is quite a common problem. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of this particular mask, there are many other masks on the market with a smaller frame for female divers.

Linea-mask-buckle

 

Fins

When it comes to fins I personally recommend open heeled fins with boots, since they are a lot more comfortable for day to day use and reduce rubbing and blisters. Typically women have slimmer feet so a smaller foot pocket that provides the best comfort and helps to avoid slipping, cramping or wasted energy is recommended. The Aqualung Shot FX for example have specially designed foot pockets to accommodate this, but still have all the benefits of the uni-sex version. Even if you don’t have the classic girly ‘dainty’ feet it is important to make sure your boot fits snugly into the foot pocket of your fins.

Wetsuits

Alright let’s be honest with this one, we definitely want a wet suit with a female cut! Trying to squeeze your chest into a suit that is designed for a man is just not working for the majority of us ladies. There are some great options available with a wider cut around the chest and hips for added comfort and amongst my favourites are the incredibly pretty and functional suits from Koh Tao local Eli at Aurora Wetsuits.

female-snorkeller-on-koh-tao

Sometimes finding the right fit can be a little bit tricky, so one more option could be looking into a custom made wetsuit, designed specifically for your measurements. Of course, they can be a little bit pricier but you’ll have a lot more design options, too. Another great tip is to wear leggings and a rash guard which can provide just the right amount of thermal protection for tropical water temperatures.

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