I love scuba diving, especially wreck diving. I'm a GUE-trained technical diver and cave diver, but I also enjoy blowing bubbles at 6 meters sometimes. I've dived in a few places in the world: from the tropical waters in South-East Asia and the Red Sea to the murky and cold lakes in Germany. I hope to add a few more spots each year.
Getting your own dive equipment is not absolutely necessary (as a travel diver you can get away with little). If you want to dive in cold water, however, or strive to perfect your buoyancy and comfort, it's definitely the better choice. Below you can find some of my dive gear.
I'm happily diving with two Scubapro MK17 first stages, which are sealed, diaphragm-type first stages. My primary second stage is the A700, which breathes wonderfully and looks fantastic. My backup regulator is the C300 that came with the original set I bought – it will get replaced sooner or later.
DIR suggests you use three lights for redundancy: A primary light (usually canister style), and two backup lights in case the first one fails (inside a wreck or cave). A canister light is something you only buy if you want to get into tech diving. The canister houses the batteries and is worn at the hip, the light head is connected via a cable and is worn on the left hand using a Goodman handle. What matters for this type of light is burn time, light output, and focus. In order to signal with the light, you have to see a clearly defined spot.
I've purchased my lights from Light Monkey, and so far I've been happy with them. The primary is the 26W LED, which has both a 6° spot and two less bright coronas around it. The backups are tiny compared to other backup lights, but give enough light using only 2 watts.
If you are anything like me, the tanks are the last thing you buy. Like regulators, they need frequent servicing. Unlike regulators, the servicing is mandated by law. Also, they are heavy and you have to get them filled up.
All these things make them the least desirable items to purchase, but there is no way around it if you want to be independent from a dive school. Moreover, for doubles diving it's helpful for your trim to set up the tanks exactly as you need them.
Mine are 8 liter doubles holding up to 300bar of pressure. That's more than tanks usually can take, meaning that you get almost as much air as with the normal 12 liter doubles. My doubles are smaller and less heavy than the D12.
Scubapro Jetfins. Best fins ever: indestructible, heavy, powerful, back-kick-enabling, with spring straps. Get them, if you can.