TopKit KitReviews

Some of the Best Dive Gear on the Market - Just in Time for Christmas

xmas montage 1000

Check out a range of some of the best-selling, top-rated gear of 2018. With the gift-giving season fast approaching, we asked the question: ‘If money were no object, what would you buy your favourite dive buddy for Christmas this year?’ Some of the answers we received would require a diver to have a very special buddy indeed. But even with no price limit, not all of the recommendations cost an arm and a leg. Some might even fit down the chimney…

Akona Maverick Roller Duffel £145

akona duffel lo

The Maverick is rugged and can most assuredly handle getting wet. It has a huge 99.5-litre capacity central compartment, reinforced sides and corners, and a large U-shaped opening. Exterior dimensions are 35 x 77.5 x 35cm and it weighs in at 4.25kg. 

AP Diving Inspiration EVP CCR £5,741.32

ap diving evp ccr

The Inspiration EVP Closed-Circuit Rebreather is a hybrid unit offering advantages from both AP Diving’s XPD and EVO models. Sport or technical, travel or expedition, it’s billed as an excellent all-rounder for divers who do a variety of dives, or who want a smaller unit than the XPD while retaining its extended duration. A 2.5kg scrubber, 2x2 litre cylinders, a choice of over-the-shoulder or back-mounted counterlung, all weighing in at 27.5kg ready to dive.

Apeks XTX Tungsten £767

Apex XTX Tungsten lo

Built on the tried-and-tested XTX200 regulator platform but with a coating made from titanium, zirconium and chromium, the XTX Tungsten’s plating is, as they say, ‘tough as nails’ and an upgrade on the traditional chrome. The overbalanced diaphragm first stage with an environmental seal is suitable for cold-water diving, has two high-pressure and four medium-pressure angled ports, plus an optional additional fifth port with an integrated heat exchanger. The pneumatically balanced second stage completes the package. Available in either DIN or yoke.

Aqua Lung i770R £620

aqua lung i770r lo

Aqua Lung’s latest computer for the ‘tech-savvy’ diver, the i770R features an ultra-bright colour screen and Bluetooth connectivity. It is robust and compact with a three-button design. Standard features include a rechargeable lithium battery, three-axis full-tilt compass, easy three-button navigation, multiple gas capability and four operating modes. Dive data and settings, stats, photos and dive site information can be managed and shared through Aqua Lung’s dive log app.

Atomic Aquatics  BC1 £1,099.95

atomic bc1 lo

Atomic Aquatics set out to design the BC1 to be tough. It is constructed from new, laminated and coated waterproof fabrics that are designed to ‘shed water like a raincoat’ after diving. A quilted back pad and adjustable lumbar pad, plus a new ratcheting tank band and no-skid tank pad keep the air supply secure. There is a quick-release weight system, trim weight pockets, self-sealing zippers and titanium-coated stainless-steel D-rings. A choice of high-performance inflators is offered as optional extras.

Fantasea FG9X & UWL400F £499.96 + £435

fantasea fg9xii and lens

The FG9X housing was created for the Canon PowerShot G9X & G9X MkII digital cameras. Depth- rated to 60m, the housing gives full access to the camera’s controls through clearly labelled touch-screen contacts. The 67mm threaded lens port is compatible with Fantasea’s interchangeable wide-angle and macro wet lenses. Cold shoe and double fibre-optic connections allow for the use of a range of lighting rigs, and a moisture sensor and alarm are fitted as standard. The Fantasea UWL-400F Wide Angle Lens is a super-sharp, wet conversion lens with a 53mm thread (67mm adaptor included) and 120- degree field of view, providing an excellent capability for close focus, wide-angle photography.

Fourth Element Argonaut Stealth £1,875

fourth element argonaut stealth

The Stealth is the newest addition to the Argonaut line-up, which uses the award-winning BIOMAP system to create a suit unique to each diver. This means improved mobility, stronger construction, greater streamlining, lighter weight and easier donning and doffing. The company has also brought in an improved women’s pattern. The result is a bespoke suit built to the exact requirements of the diver. The Stealth version’s fabric adds a combination of stretch and lightweight durability, with Fourth Element claiming that the Stealth feels more like putting on a favourite jacket, rather than a drysuit.

Hollis 200LX DCX £499.95

hollis ht 200lx lo

The 200LX + DCX regulator is designed by Hollis for use in extreme environments. The balanced diaphragm DCX first stage is paired with the high-performance, pneumatically balanced 200LX second stage. Every metal component is PVD plated and the 200X can be converted from a right- to left-handed hose configuration in a matter of minutes. DIN or yoke options are available and MiFlex hoses are standard. All LX regulators come as standard with a lifetime warranty, two- year service interval and free parts for life.

Light & Motion Sola Dive 2500 S/F £525

lm sola 2500 lo

This US-based lighting specialist claims the Sola Dive 2500 S/F to be one of the most versatile underwater lighting solutions available. The Cree LED array, packed inside a 100m depth-rated housing, boasts an impressive maximum output of 2500 lumens in both flood and spot modes. The hands-free mount is designed to be removed and replaced with mounts for a camera setup, with three power levels available in each beam making it possible to select the amount and type of light needed to get the best photographs. The Li-ion battery charges in 1h 45min and lasts 50mins at maximum, 200mins at low.

Mares Epic ADJ 82x £455

mares epic 82x lo

The new regulator from Mares, the Epic ADJ 82x's PVD coated balanced diaphragm first stage has two HP and four LP ports on a swivelling turret. The high thermal conductivity of the metal used in both the first and second stage design makes the Epic suitable for cold water dives, and Mares' dynamic flow control helps to minimise intermediate pressure drop during inhalation. Lightweight 'superflex' hoses come as standard; available in DIN or Yoke versions.

Momentum Deep 6 From £195

momentum deep 6 lo

An ultra-hard, sapphire crystal face makes the Deep 6 virtually impossible to scratch, while the dial design and huge date display help to ensure the timepiece remains legible underwater. The 47.5mm case and offset crown are designed with the comfort of the wearer in mind. The watch is depth-tested to 200m. A stainless- steel bracelet model is also available.

Northern Diver Hydra Regulator Set £380

northern diver hydra

Northern Diver’s EN250-A certified Hydra regulator is designed for cold water (less than 10ºC) and more extreme diving conditions, as well as warmer water and less intensive dives. The Hydra is supplied with a regulator and computer case and is available with DIN or A-clamp connections. The environmentally sealed, balanced diaphragm first stage is created from a single piece of electro-plated brass, with two high-pressure and four low-pressure ports. The primary second stage and octopus are identical in every respect, apart from the colour.

Oceanic ProPlus X  £999.95

oceanic proplus x lo

The bright, high-resolution screen of the air-integrated ProPlus X console features a colour-coded interface with large digits, designed to display dive information in both strong sunlight or at night. Air, nitrox and gauge modes are available through the four-button menu navigation system, as is a 3D digital compass. The ProPlus X can switch between either a Bühlmann- or DSAT-based algorithm to maximise dive time during deeper decompression dives or repetitive recreational diving, or to match more closely a buddy’s computer. The air-integrated hose has a quick-disconnect attachment and the computer is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery. Wireless integration allows connectivity to Oceanic’s DiverLog app to control settings and manage dive data and logbook notes.

OMS Trieste Wing  £599 27kg/60lbs, £619 42kg/94lbs

oms trieste lo

The OMS Trieste Double Bladder Wing is constructed, as the name suggests, with a redundant second bladder designed to ensure accurate buoyancy control if the first bladder fails. Overpressure valves are positioned on each side of the bladder and the Trieste comes with bungee cords to assist with streamlining and trim. The Trieste Wing is for serious deep diving, with lots of weights and heavy tanks, with 27kg and
42kg wing sizes available.

Pandora Multi-tool £49.95 (stainless), £69.95 (titanium)

pandora multitool

Good things, as they say, come in small packages. Could this be the best multi-tool for divers ever made? Fifteen key scuba tools including spanners, hex wrenches, hose spline wrench and hook wrench all come packaged in a tool that’s only slightly larger than a credit card. Ideal for quick fixes in far-flung locations where the captain’s hammer just will not do! Also, very importantly, it has a bottle opener…

Paralenz Action Camera £659

paralenz lo

The action camera designed by divers, built by divers, for divers. Rated to 250m without the need for a housing, and an automatic depth colour-correction feature that eliminates the need for filters and gives you natural colours at any depth. It films in up to 4K or takes high-resolution snapshots, with a range of modes available. All recorded media and dive-log data can be instantly transferred to any smart device via the inbuilt WiFi transmitter and Paralenz app.

Scubapro Mk25 EVO / S620Ti £629

scubapro mk25 s620ti

The Mk25 EVO is the latest incarnation of Scubapro’s legendary Mk25 balanced-piston first stage regulator, with a thermally insulated internal mechanism designed for maximum resistance to freezing. Two opposing high-pressure ports, plus four high-flow and one axial super-high-flow low-pressure ports, are available on the swivel turret. The new 620Ti air-balanced second stage is smaller and lighter than its S600 predecessor and with a 37 per cent improvement on breathing work rates.

SEAC R30 Dive Torch £225

seac r30 lo

SEAC’s award-winning R30 aluminium dive torch with tempered optical glass received an upgrade for 2018, weighing in at 480g and 17cm in length. Three Cree XP-G2 LEDs produce a maximum light intensity of 1500 lumens for up to two hours at full power and five at low, with a beam adjustable from 12 to 75 degrees. The Li-ion battery is rechargeable via micro-USB and the torch is depth-rated to 100m.

Sherwood Blizzard Pro £399

sherwood blizzard pro lo

The Sherwood Blizzard regulator has been around for more than 30 years and a 2016 makeover saw the launch of the Blizzard Pro. The balanced-piston first stage is environmentally sealed without the use of gels or liquids, and has two high-pressure ports and four low-pressure ports. The new, air-balanced second stage has a larger diameter, diaphragm and exhaust valve for improved breathing performance.

Stahlsac Storm Backpack £129.95

stahlsac storm lo

The Storm is designed to live up to its name as durable and waterproof with a sleek and streamlined design - ideal for daily diving or adventures further afield. A strap containment system ensures that everything is secured, and the ventilated back panel and dual-density shoulder straps are remarkably comfortable. The Storm also features quick-access pockets, a laptop sleeve, an organisational panel with two zip pockets, and a removable high-visibility inside liner.

TUSA M2001SQB Paragon Mask £169.95

tusa paragon mask

The frame of the new ‘professional diver’s mask’ from TUSA is constructed from composite materials designed to be lightweight and durable. A varied thickness skirt coupled with Tusa’s new adjustable buckle system aims to increase both comfort and performance for the wearer. The lens is constructed from CrystalView optical glass to which UV420 lens treatment and an anti-reflective coating have been applied.

Vuze+ 3D 360 VR Camera and Underwater Housing £3,000

vuze and case

The Vuze+ is a ‘supercharged’ version of the award-winning Vuze VR camera, with eight full HD custom lenses arranged in pairs to capture true stereoscopic 3D, 360° 4K video footage, combined with enhanced spatial audio to give a fully immersive virtual reality experience. It measures 12x12x3 cm and weighs 460g (without housing). It comes with Vuze Studio software to render the 3D film. Sold separately, the camera retails at £1,100 and the underwater case at £2,650, but buy them as a bundle and save £750.

Waterproof D1X Drysuit £2,260

waterproof d1x lo

The D1X Drysuit is based on the classic D1 Hybrid developed and patented by Waterproof – what the company called the first ‘constant volume’ drysuit. The D1X has several new features, including improved rubber boots with five times more abrasion resistance, a soft and flexible neck ring, softer and more durable front-panel material, and a softer and more flexible 50 denier mesh inner lining. New braces construction offers easier adjustment. And it has more flexible, grippable Velcro tabs and a new leg pocket design.

xDeep NX Zen Deluxe £635

xdeep zen lo

The xDeep Zen Deluxe is a lightweight, single cylinder backmount system from xDeep’s NX series. The new aerospace-grade aluminium alloy skeleton backplate is strong, rigid, and very light, with multiple attachment points at the waist. The single-tank adapter and wing can be lowered down the spine of the backplate for better trim underwater, and the modified 1100 dtex-Cordura doughnut style bladder gives a  more upright position at the surface. The new wing is compact and it has been redesigned for better hose routing and provides up to 19kg/42lbs lift.

Zeagle Recon £114.95

zeagle recon

Zeagle says its Recon fins are a rethink on fin geometry and construction. The result is an uncomplicated design using compression-moulded natural rubber for stiffness and suppleness where needed. The Recon is designed for a wide variety of kicking styles. The re-worked self-locking buckle design is simple and robust and will accommodate a range of wet and drysuit boots.


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