This may be better suited for a scuba board, but I know there are more than a few divers here and maybe a smaller sample will serve me better than a ton of divers on a scuba board with a thousand opinions.
I’ve been diving for four years now and have six trips and about 60 dives in that time. This year, in dives ~40-60 is where I really gained confidence and enough pleasure from the activity that I know i want to do it for as long as I can (mid-40s now).
I started with a mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit and have rented a BC and reg for all of my trips so far. All of my diving has been warm water in the Caribbean, but I may want to dive in cold water at some point. I’ve been very happy with the ScubaPro equipment I rented for my last two trips and leaning very heavily towards their products.
ScubaPro is expensive gear, but my diving experience with their X-One BCs with integrated weights has been very positive. So much so that I really don’t want to get to my next destination and be handed a weight belt, so I’ve decided to get a ScubaPro BC and probably a ScubaPro regulator and console to go with it.
I’m mostly sold on the Glide X BC and the console seems to be one size fits all. The parts that I don’t really understand are the regulator and octopus. I mean, I understand the function and I understand that a better setup will offer better breathing in a wider variety of environments, but I don’t know what the experiential difference between a $360 regulator set means versus an $840 set.
For the package I’m looking at, first stage/second stage are:
The BC is pretty much decided because I’ve been really happy with my experience with the X-One and the integrated weight system really works well for me. The BC and reg, I’m inclined to stay with the same brand, but I could be convinced to go another way.
Common wisdom says to buy the best reg you can afford and the MK25-A700 combo certainly leans in that direction but at 10-20 dives a year, is it overkill? For octopus, it’s something you hope to never use. Would you spend the extra $60 or go with the R095? I can pay for all of these things but what am I going to get in return? If we’re talking about a $300-500 difference for a travel diver, would you recommend spending the extra $500 or putting it into an IRA?