Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ultimate Gear Box

     One of the most valuable things on a dive boat is deck space and one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing gear all over the deck or huge boxes/bags all over getting in the way.  When this happens it makes it dangerous to the diver getting on and off the boat and potentially dangerous to your equipment if someone drops something or falls on your stuff.

     Over many dive trips and on many different boats I have seen a variety of boxes and bags to hold gear such as, mesh dive bags, suitcase travel bags, milk crates, double stacked milk crates, and large bins with detachable lids.  I have also tried a variety of different boxes/bags and finally found the best solution.

Variety of Boxes & Bags
     So what is this best solution you ask?  I believe it is a hard box with an interlocking lid and only needs to be, 21.25” L x 15” W x 12.5” H.  This box with a few slight modifications can be your last gear box you will ever need.  The advantages of this box are:
    • Holds all dive gear needed for dive
    • Protects your gear from being damaged or broken
    • Stackable for storage or to clear up deck space
    • Attached Lid (Can’t get lost or in the way)
    • Lockable therefore it is shippable or good for checked baggage
    • Fits under almost all benches on a dive boat
     After you purchase one of these boxes the first thing you want to do is get a drill bit (1/4“) and drill about dozen holes in the bottom of the box.  This allows for the water of the wet gear after the dive to drain and keep the gear box from becoming too heavy.  The second thing you want to do is drill two holes, one in each of the upper corners along the shorter side of the box.  Then cut about a 15” length of 1/8” bungee cord and tie a knot in one side of the bungee.  Feed the bungee through one of the holes drilled in the upper corner of the box and then through the other.  Pull the bungee cord as tight as possible and tie another knot in the bungee.  Now your new gear box is ready to be used.
Gear Box w/ Modifications
     The reason for the bungee is to allow you to clip off all your spools, reels and smaller tools.  This keeps your box organized and from losing equipment if your box if tipped over.
Gear clipped off to bungee
     This gear box work for whatever type of diving I do, whether it is wreck diving in the North Atlantic or cave diving in Florida.  Below shows all my gear for both typed of diving that I do.

Wreck Diving Gear (Left) & Cave Diving Gear (Right)

     All of this gear fits neatly in to the box and allows it to close with no issues.  You may notice regulators are not in the picture and this is because they do not go in the gear box for a couple of reasons.  The first being I believe you should setup regulators on your tanks the night before or before leaving the dive shop.  This ensures your tanks are full, they are working properly and if you bump a tank valve during transport you will not loose gas from the tank.  The second is after the dive I leave my regulators on the tanks to allow you to clean them easily without fear of water getting in to the first stages.

All gear packed in been (Left) & Gear Box Closed w/ gear (Right)

     What about fins?  Well that’s easy, strap them to the stop of the gear box with two bungee cords.  The hooks of the bungee cords lock in under the lip of the box and secure the fins down while transporting.  Then when on the dive boat you can take the bungees off and use them to secure tanks from falling over.
Fins strapped to gear box


  1. Some of us drive long distances from inland to relatively undeveloped coastal sites. We don't put holes in the bottom of the box. That way the gear stays wet (no salt crystals forming) until we get someplace we can do a proper fresh-water rinse.

  2. If you don't drill holes in the bottom, it can be used as a rinse tank to soak your gear in.

  3. Actually the holes are small enough you can fill the bin with water from the Jose and it will fill up with no problem. Then the holes act as an auto drain when you shut the fresh water off.