9 Reasons Tech Gear is Rec Gear

By Edward Kelleher

There’s an old mindset that all technical diving gear is unsuitable for a new diver or student. I’m here to give you 9 reasons why tech gear is suitable (if not BETTER) than the standardized sport diving  setup (and I’m not even a tech diver). Let the debates begin.

1. Most technical setups are built to take a beating.

The average  buoyancy device is hardly reinforced around the bladder. Bumping your BCD bladder into the side of a wreck or scraping through a doorway could rip it. On the tech side, we find much better armor and reinforcement around the bladder. It doesn’t take much to pierce a thin layer surrounding a jacket or back inflate standard BCD.

2. Easier Repairs

Piggybacking off puncturing bladders, a backplate and wing bladder can be swapped out and replaced as needed. If you puncture the bladder on a typical sport diving BCD, you can try patching it. If it’s not repairable, you will need to replace the entire BCD.

3. Backplate and wing is  better for training neutral buoyancy  and trim.

While an overinflated wing on the surface tends to put a diver on their face, it is much better at getting a diver (or student) into a proper trim position underwater. Fact.

4. Skills become easier in certain tech setups.

Wearing an alternate air source on a necklace is much easier to find than one attached to your hip, or was it on your shoulder strap? Exactly. If a diver loses their regulator from their mouth, they can easily replace it from the one on their neck rather than searching for the lost primary. Solve the problem, then fix the gear.

5. High-end computers are worth every penny.

Certain dive computers might be able to do way more than the average diver might need, but that doesn’t mean a sport diver can’t use that information. Want to know your surface air consumption rates, or carry a digital compass, color screen, and already have a computer that can grow WITH your training? It might be worth buying it right the first time.

6. Carrying a bailout bottle is smart and it’s not difficult.

Safety is never a bad idea.

7. Sidemount is far from strictly cave country these days.

Divers with back problems or those that prefer to not lug tanks around on their backs may have more freedom to extend their dive career. It’s easier than dragging doubles around, although your mileage may vary when getting off and on dive boats; not all are set up to allow you to doff and don tanks in the water.

8. Tech gear is more customizable.

The backplate and wing can be switched up for travel, single tank, or doubles. Many times, a diver will swap a stainless plate for aluminum for lighter weight when traveling, or a smaller size wing.

9. Tech gear is more minimalist.

We preach streamlining and neutral buoyancy, yet many dive centers are training new divers in bulky jacket style BCDs. 

Technical dive gear is plenty suitable for a new student or any diver trying to change up their equipment configuration. When we mashup some tech gear with sport diving, we find many divers who end up preferring the latter and wishing they made the switch sooner. What do you think?

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1 reply
  1. Aubrey Pendergrass
    Aubrey Pendergrass says:

    I totally agree with this. Would have saved me several thousand dollars if I had went the tech route on gear in the beginning. However, the dive shop was about selling gear and not fully discussing the route to go. But most dive shops, when i began training did not know enough about tech gear setups to really give good advice. And so many people getting into the sport have sticker shock as it is.

    Then we run into (or did) so many instructors that did not want to teach confined and open water in tech gear. I’ve been out of this part for a long long time now and i am not sure of the current mindset. But my guess is it has not changed much.

    When i owned a dive shop, i tried to get new divers into at least a back plate and wings in the beginning and fit them out with 7-ft hose and necklace reg.


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