So you bought a new scuba regulator and quickly realized that it’s one of the most expensive piece of dive equipment in your scuba system.
Although it’s ready to go right out of the box, after diving with it a couple of times, you will soon find out that there are a few upgrades you’ll need to make to better adapt it to your individual taste and diving needs.
Believe it or not, there are a few after market accessories available that will let you get the most out of your regulator.
Below are a few customization tips I use to pimp out my regulator to suite my diving style.
The first place to start personalizing your regulator is the mouthpiece. When diving with your new regulator you will quickly find out that many stock mouthpiece don’t always fit perfectly.
When evaluation your mouthpiece you should ask yourself, how does it feels in your mouth? does it feel too big? Is it too small? Does it make you want to gag? Are the bite tabs too long? Does the sharp edges makes your gum raw? If you answer yes to any of the questions then you should consider getting a new mouthpiece for your regulator.
There are many different mouth pieces available, in many different sizes and style. All the big dive manufactures realize that no two mouths are the same, hence they generally have a number of different mouthpieces to choose from. ( I prefer the Comfo Bite from Aqua lung, but a few divers find that the brace over the palate triggers the gag reflex).
They are also quite inexpensive, ranging from a couple dollars to about $25 on the more high-end, and can be replaced in a couple of minutes.
The main point to take away is, it doesn’t matter how good your regulator breathes, if your gums and jaws are sore after the first dive you need to switch your mouthpiece. There are simply too much mouthpieces available for you to put yourself through so much unnecessary pain.
Second Stage Swivel
Finding the right mouthpiece should solve the majority of your comfort problems. But, does it still feels like every time your turn your head the regulator second stage wants pull out of your mouth? This can be caused by many things like, having a hose too short for your body, the dive tank is too low in your BC, or your BC is simply too big and does not fit properly. Quickest and easiest way to fix this problem is to install a second stage swivel.
This device is attached between the second stage and low pressure hose, and allows for greater movement than just your standard second stage. Your second stage will stay comfortable in you mouth no matter how hard you turn your head.
Second stage swivels are becoming popular among high-end regulator, and can be found on almost all of Atomic Aquatic’s regulators. They also make a universal swivel that fits pretty much any second stage, but you can also find swivels made by Scubapro, Mares, and other top manufactures.
Braided Hose (Miflex Hose)
Another great way to customize your regulator is to change out your old rubber hoses with braided ones. These have become very popular the last few year and many new regulator now come equipped with them.
They are about 30% lighter than your traditional rubber hoses and are much more flexible. You can literally tie them in a knot without out restricting the flow of air, and because they are a lot more flexible they help reduce tug on the second stage which helps reduce jaw fatigue.
They are also more durable, offer better abrasion resistance, and have a higher burst pressure than your standard rubber hoses.
You can find them in many different colors for your second stage hose, as well as your BC quick disconnect hose, and high pressure hose for your console.
Another great advantage to switching all your rubber hoses to breaded hoses is that your entire regulator system can easily be coiled up into a much smaller package, which makes it much easier to store or pack for travelling.
Hose Protectors and Wraps
While we are on the topic of hoses, if you cannot afford new braided hoses, then you should look into protecting your rubber hoses.
The first thing you want to do is to put hose protectors on your hoses if they don’t already come with them. Hose protectors is simply a rubber sleeve that goes over the hose where its connect to the first stage. This is a high stress point on the hoses and the hose protector will reduce wear and extend the life of your hoses, this is expectancy important on the high pressure hose which supports a heavy console.
You can further protect your hose by adding hose wraps. As the name implies, they wrap around your regulator hoses to make them more visible as well as protect them from abrasions and sunlight.
The bright yellow make it easy for your dive buddy to find your Octo in the event of an emergency, especially in low visibility conditions. They are very easy to put on and adds no weight or bulk to your regulator system. Plus the blue on your primary just looks cool.
Quick Disconnect for Consoles
Do you have a console dive computer and wish you can easily disconnect it from your regulator without using tools? Well, a high-pressure hose quick release does just that.
Normally found on high-end dive computer consoles, it allows you to quickly remove your console from the regulator system for separate storing. This is great if you travel as it will allow you to take your dive computer as carry-on so you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged in your gear bag.
Another great advantage to having a quick disconnect is that it allows you to remove your console when you want to log your dives, this way you don’t have to carry the entire regulator system with you.
Hose Clips, Mouthpiece Holders, and Retractors
When buying a new regulator, accessories like hose Clips, mouthpiece holder, and extractors are often overlooked because they are normally associated your BC. However, they are very important piece of your regulator system as they enable you to organize your hoses to make you more streamline and prevent unnecessary snagging.
They also allow you to keep your octopus in place where you buddy can easily find it in an emergency. You can also attach a retractor to your console as well. This allows you to pull your gauges towards you for reading then retracts to your BC. This makes the console easy to find and prevents if from dangling where it can get snag or damage reef.
Now that you’ve fully customized your regulator and happy with all the cool enhancements you made, you need something to carry and protect your new pimped out regulator.
Remember, nothing is more important to a diver than their regulator system. This is the most expense piece of dive equipment that you can buy, especially if it includes a dive computer. So protecting your newly pimped out regulator in a padded regulator bag would be the next best thing to do.
It will allow you to stow your regulator separately from your other dive equipment, and make a great carry-on bag when travelling.
The Bottom Line
Sure, your new regulator works great right from the box, but what fun is that. There are many cool stuff out there to make diving much easier and a lot more enjoyable. We customize everything else, why not our regulators. Go for it!