As a diver, whether you’re going on a liveaboard or on a land-based diving holiday, you’ll know soon enough that you’ll have to pack your clothes carefully.How many times you’ve ended up having too much of this and not enough of that? Or you get caught in bad weather and ended up feeling cold – yes, cold - even in a tropical location?
Swimwear is often quick dry but you’ll have to take it off, hang it somewhere, somehow (good luck with that) if you don’t want to spend time between dives with that usual wet bum feeling. If you are in a humid, tropical location chances are that your swimwear won’t dry quick enough. If you are on a liveaboard hanging it to dry is a challenge and it might just get blown off. So have lots of swimwear with you. Maybe you can even pack it separately inside your main luggage or with your diving gear so you can access it quickly.
By the way, 49% of our “divewear” survey participants mentioned that clothes they take on trips tend to get wet easily and don’t dry fast enough.
For your day dives or liveaboard you won’t need anything too fancy but most people like to combine practicality and style. The classic T-shirt & shorts combo works well for both boys and girls. A wrap-around and a bikini top works great for confident girls and a short little dress to easily slip in and out would be ideal. Sarongs are great too but you always feel a bit underdressed in them and sometimes they’re just too flimsy – they’re not real clothes after all.
You can get cold no matter what, so...
When you get wet you get cold, it’s inevitable. Getting cold is not fun. So bring a hoodie, a light jacket, something that requires very little care and that you can throw into your dry bag. Maybe have two of those, in case one gets wet in an unexpected downpour. Also have some spare socks even in the tropics. If you’re on a liveaboard with air conditioning a go-go and a no shoes policy you might want to be the guy hanging about in socks. You won’t win a style award but you’ll be comfy.
36% of our "divewear" survey participants say they get cold at the end of a dive even when it's lovely and warm outside.
We love dry bags. On a liveaboard a dry bag can function as “grab bag” to keep all the essentials that you might need in case there’s an emergency and you need to evacuate the vessel quickly (not that it happens often but you never know). You can also use it to store your clothes in and keep them dry until you get back from your dive. On a daily diving trip you cannot survive without one. Use it for your clothes, for a change of swimwear, money, camera, sun lotion, mobile phone, you name it. Be careful not to get one that’s too big. It will get heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Choose one with a shoulder strap too.
Shoes will get wet, squashed, chucked about or lost. Just pack a pair of comfy shoes for your travel but as for your time on a diving boat, leave them behind.
Everyone knows what a hat does but how about your neck? Unless you’ve got long, flowing locks that cover the back of your head think about your neck too, especially during the journey to the dive sites. If it’s sunny and you’re sitting on the rib in your wetsuit with a cool hat on, chances are that you’ll end up with a bright red, sunburnt neck. So have an explorer type hat with a large rim or wear a bandana.
Body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, sun lotion all end up in the sea when you’re on a liveaboard. If you can, be mindful with your choice, choose products made with natural, organic ingredients. There are plenty available, including reef friendly sun lotions.
The sun is shining and your thermal wear keep you toasty in your dry suit but what happens if the weather changes?
Our “divewear” survey pointed out that 47% of cold water divers feel cold despite wearing thermal wear.
Towels are heavy and bulky and you might just not have the extra space for one but sometimes they’re a life saver. You might be staying at a nice resort and have no need for one or you might just be in a hut on a beach in Thailand, in which case that extra towel will be a life saver. On liveaboards they’re everywhere but do they get washed or do they just get dried?
Pack one single smart casual item, just in case
It might just happen that for once you’ll want to look your best! For guys it will be a pair of smarter, long trousers and for girls - well, it could be a little black dress…how about our own little dress?