Packing tips for the travelling scuba diver

If you have ever travelled for a scuba diving trip, you know one of the most annoying things about it is the sheer amount of gear you need just to go underwater. Mask, Fins, Booties, Weight Belt, Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), Regulator, Dive Computer, Surface Marker Buoy… If you are particular about the gear you use, that means packing a lot of heavy equipment for your trip.

Based on my own experiences, here are some little tips on things to pack that could make your scuba diving trip that much better. Feel free to share with me your secret tips as well.

See all my scuba diving trip posts.

Pack light

Thin/Quick drying clothing

Love-hate about scuba dive trips – you are going to spend most of your time in a wetsuit or your swimwear, so you really don’t need to bring anything too fancy for the rest of your wardrobe. I generally pack the thinnest and most quick-drying clothes that I have, and usually simple stuff like shorts or a dress that can easily be thrown over my swimwear.

2 sets of swimwear

I usually have 2 sets of swimwear minimum – you can do with one if you have to, but I like having something relatively dry to put on in the morning, because sometimes stuff doesn’t dry completely overnight.

A buff

My secret weapon is a buff or bandana to tie around my hair – it keep the loose hairs out of my mask (which can pull or cause mask leaks), and it protects my scalp from sunburn.

Thin rashguard

I personally hate having to pull on a wetsuit and usually dive in a rashguard + pants combo in warmer waters. A rashguard is also useful if you do pull on a wetsuit as it helps it slide on more easily, and acts as extra warmth and protection against stingers in the water.

Favourite Diving Essentials

Maldives Diving LOB Me GlennYongPhotog
Photo by Glenn Yong Photography

Baby Shampoo

A small bottle of Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo is great as a mask defogger and smells nice to boot.

Vinegar / Deep Heat

If you have sensitive skin and are prone to stings, keep Vinegar on hand (to splash on your skin immediately after you surface to ease the sting), and the cool menthol of Counterpain/Deep Heat works wonders in soothing the stings in the days after.


Never ever forget the sunblock because while you are mostly in the water, you usually have to endure some direct sunlight on the surface. Don’t apply just before you go into the water – do it a little before so it doesn’t just all disappear the moment you hit the water.

Dry bag

Plastic bags will do in a pinch, but it’s best to have a more heavy duty drybag to keep your essentials safe from all the splashing happening on the boat deck. I suggest doubly securing your items by putting your phone into a ziploc bag as well, just in case.

Carabiners / Rope Wrist Loops

I’m super paranoid about my stuff getting dropped into the ocean, and too often I’ve seen people lose loose items because they haven’t been secured properly. Have a few of these carabiners or wrist loops handy just in case. One thing I always like to have attached is at least one glove on a carabiner to my BCD – while some dive sites discourage gloves to keep the corals safe, it’s always useful for your rope descents because some of these ropes have pretty vicious barnacles growing on them, which can be painful if you have no choice but to hang on to the rope in strong currents.

What are your little tips to make scuba diving trips better?

Crossposted from Go! Girl Guides, where I was a contributing blogger.

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