View Full Version : Starting Out In Minnesota

02-05-2009, 00:22
Hey guys, my name's Tyler Flom, and I just registered here. I'm from Burnsville, Minnesota (the Twin Cities area). I currently attend college at Bemidji State University, in Bemidji, where I am taking my certification course. I haven't even entered the pool yet, but I plan on jumping in and land running! When at home I work at the local Gander Mountain in the fishing department, and up here I work for the University doing web design.

I'd like to get my own equipment as soon as possible, so I'd like to get an idea of what I should look for, and how much it'll cost me.

As far as brands go, I have no idea at all about that, so if you guys could recommend some brands that'd be great. If you guys could make any recommendations on your experience, pricing, and where/how you dive, I would REALLY appreciate it.

As far as tanks go, I'm thinking an 80 PSI? Not sure if I got that abbreviation right.

For a BC, backpack style, but what extras/accessories should I look for in one? Integrated weight system or not?

I already have boots, they're 5mm, I imagine those will work? I also have a mask/snorkel set-up, and cheap fins. Well not cheap necessarily, but old and used, so I'd like to get a new set of fins, what would you guys recommend? I plan on doing mainly shallow dives, less than 60 feet, although I imagine I'll eventually do deeper ones up north/on the Great Lakes.

For a suit, I'm thinking a full body 5 or 7mm wetsuit with hood? Any suggestions there?

What should I look for as far as knives, lights, gloves, gauges, and other accessories? I know this seems like a lot of information I'm asking for, but I'd REALLY appreciate it if you guys could help me out on this.

Also, where are some good diving spots in the Twin Cities/Metro area? Thanks again guys!

02-05-2009, 01:09
First off welcome.

You are full of questions. That is good. Remember this is the internet, so take it with a grain of salt.

Wait until you finish you course before you buy anything. You may not enjoy diving. Not everybody does.

What to get depend on what you want out of it.

If you want to be a tropical diver a few times a year, or you deside to go hard core, your gear will be very different.

I recommend that you try it before you buy it. In other words make sure that this is something that you want to spend big money on. It will be big money. Don't let anybody tell you different. If you don't wait until you know for sure what you want to do, you will spend money on crap that does not fit your needs.

Join a club in your area. Borrow as much gear as possible. Try as many different types of dive as you can.

This will tell you what to spend your limited resources on.

The only way to make recommendations for you is dependent on what you want to do. At this point, you really don't have a good idea what you want. Wait until you try it before you buy it.

Once you know, not want, then I will recommend gear.

Have fun. First and foremost be safe.

02-05-2009, 06:21
I agree, I think it sounds like you have all you need right now with Mask, Snorkel, Boots and Fins... Just wait to buy anything until you have a good idea what is out there... There are MANY different types of BC's, tanks, suits, well you get the idea... Joining a local dive club is a great idea... It will expose you to lots of different types of divers, with all sorts of varying experience. Generally clubs have social nights where you all just get together and have dinner and chit chat. Those are great opportunities to meet and great the other local divers and ask questions... MOST other divers will welcome any questions that you have. Just like anything, you will run into some a-holes along the way, but most will be more than accommodating. So take all that advice from fellow local divers, and from the good folks on this board and start putting your kit together...

Welcome to this great sport....


02-08-2009, 18:03
Don't worry about deep dives. You will have a lot of trouble finding one unless you find a deep quarry in Crosby or go to Lake Superior.

There are 10,000 lakes, but most of them are shallow.

02-08-2009, 18:13
I agree with the rest of the posters. Don't start buying stuff until you really isolate the type of diving you will do. Cold water divers (divers who dive the Great Lakes deep or durng the Fall/Winter/Spring months need a reg that is cold water rated. These are more expensive.

Warm water divers don't have such concerns.

Also, wetsuits. At first you may decide to dive only during July and August so you buy a 5mm. But, then you get the bug, and the Fall and Spring and Winter are killing you to be dry, so you go and spring for a dry suit, because a 5mm in April will freeze you stiff.

Avoid duplication and buy what you will want for the long haul, since these things don't wear out in 3 dives.

MY ABSOLUTE BEST ADVICE: Find an LDS who you respect with a pool on premises so you can water try-out your gear. It really makes a big difference when you can try out gear in the water.

Out of respect, don't try gear out that you have no intentions of buying from the LDS. Meaning, don't try it there and buy from an online retailer. I buy from ST plenty, but not after I took up the LDS's time and facility. You'll read on this forum a lot of issues LDS's have with this and there is no sense in getting off to a bad start with them.

Good luck with your lessons and gear purchasing. If you are able to travel to Chicago this month, there is a scuba convention in Rosemont. Our World Underwater. Google it for more information.

02-16-2009, 08:31
I am a little ahead of in the diving world but not by much. I finished my classes a couple weeks and and im just waiting to do my open water dives in april or may. I joined my local dive club and it has helped alot with questions about gear and types of dives. I would suggest doing the same. I would try and rent gear the first couple months and not dive into this..no pun intended! You will buy your gear and find there is a brand or type better suited for you. Do the research and spend time looking at different types of gear.
Good luck and have fun!