Suited & Booted - Assential Kit For Malta
The diving in Malta is rugged and varied. Make sure you are packing the right kit with Neil Hope's handy guide to your essential equipment from suits to regs to boots…
The main diving season runs from April to November and the average water temperature peaks in mid-August around 25-27ºC. However during the winter months, the average can dip as low as 15ºC.
With this information on board you’d imagine it’d make perfect sense to choose a thin shortie for use at the height of the summer, a full-length steamer wetsuit or semi-dry for either side of the peak season and maybe a drysuit during the winter.
That’s one way of doing it. But there’s another option that ticks all the boxes and is extremely adaptable across a wide range of temperatures – the conventional and often overlooked two-piece semi-dry with separate hood.
Relatively inexpensive and requiring only a modicum of extra room in your dive bag, it offers shortie capability for shallow reef diving, a full-length option for deeper dives and a combination of the two for the off-peak season or deep wreck diving.
This convenient combo avoids any angst over whether you’ve packed the ‘right’ suit. Simply mix and match as your day-to-day diving dictates.
While Malta’s rocky terrain is part of what makes the destination so great, the topography can make getting to and from your entry/exit points hard work on your feet. A pair of sturdy boots are a must to prevent unwanted cuts and abrasions when diving from the shore.
Look for something with either thick or hard soles and you’ll be the envy of your buddies as you stride confidently across the rocks to the water’s edge while they grimace as the sharp limestone goes to work on their feet.
Hands need to be protected from sharp rocks too. Gloves don’t have to be particularly thick to prevent abrasions and if you prefer to dive without, they can be removed once you’re in the water, stored in a pocket and then used for the return trip to dry land.
Being comfortable in the water is what we're all striving for with our kit and the right BC goes a long way to achieving this. In Malta, you don’t need anything too heavy-duty, although it needs to be capable of standing up to a little harsh treatment. Diving from the shore for a week or two with those aforementioned rocks could leave some lightweight travel BCs slightly worse for wear. A mid-range all-rounder is what you’re looking for.
If you’re primarily a warm water diver, then as regulators go there’s little point in going for features you’re unlikely to need.
This means you’ll be able to dispense the likes of the environmentally sealed first stage option favoured by temperate water divers to prevent icing up and concentrate your attentions on a valve that uses lightweight construction materials to keep size, weight and expense down.
With a host of wrecks all around the islands plus a plethora of caves, caverns and drop-offs to dive you really do need some form of artificial light to explore your surroundings to best effect.
A medium powered torch that can be easily stowed in a BC pocket or attached to a convenient D-ring should be more than ample for your needs, with maybe a stand-by for night diving a useful addition.
Not only will a torch allow these sites to been seen in their full glory it will also illuminate any marine life you may encounter along the way.
AQUA LUNG MIKRON
Available in men and women’s versions the compact Mikron is manufactured from a combination of metal and composite materials specifically tailored for the travelling diver. The second stage has a useful inhalation adjustment feature.
Mares Prestige 12s
A light, compact, balanced diaphragm regulator with a soft purge button and Vortex assisted design is a great choice for warm water diving.
Oceanic Alpha 9 CDX5
Oceanic’s latest in line of their tried and tested Alpha range is equally at home in warm or temperate waters with an overbalanced first stage offering high performance at a budget price.
This smart-looking 5mm semi-dry neoprene suit with matching short-john and hood is the ideal all-round layering system worn together or separately according to the water temperature.
Mares Flexa 543 wetsuit
With different thicknesses for different parts of the body the one-piece, full-body, Flexa has a front zip for easy dressing and hardwearing reinforced kneepads.
Scubapro Profile 2.5mm shortie
Scubapro’s classic shortie wetsuit offers both comfort and convenience for diving at the higher end of the temperature scale.
Northern Diver Variolux Travel Ultra torch
Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminium the 140mm high rechargeable Travel Ultra has a variable 50-800 Lumens output, a burn time of up to 60 hours and is depth rated to 100m.
Tusa Imprex dive boots
These 5mm thick boots feature an injection-moulded sole for traction across rocky terrain and a cushioned sole for extra comfort.
Waterproof G1 gloves
These lightweight, flexible and durable 1.5 mm thick gloves feature pre-bent fingers for an anatomical fit and an anti-slip palm grip giving a nice balance between flexibility and protection.