LOTS OF PEOPLE SEEM TO BE UNCERTAIN about dive kit; what to buy, what to wear, redundancy and so on, so I thought you might find it useful if I explained the kit I use.
The first item is my underwear. I dont normally talk about my shreddies in public, but I think theyre relevant here.
Essentially, go thermal. My wife bought me my first set of trap-door long-johns quite a few years ago now and, while that probably tells you all you need to know about the romantic side of our relationship, at least I know that my bits and pieces would be warm enough to work if called upon.
Of course, Ive gone hi-tech over the years, and I now buy the Extreme Polar Super-Arctic Explorer stuff from climbing shops for the great performance and dive-site cred. In really cold water, of course, extra layers are essential, and in such conditions I add all-cotton lunchbox-huggers from a well-known high-street chain.
I was surprised that just a pound got me so much quality gear, to be honest, but theyve never let me down. I just dont tell people where I buy them.
Next, my undersuit. Specialist thermal fleece, with the super-titanium lining and the extra absorbency and rapid wicking properties, made by the Titanic Expedition Company. Its black, of course, and while it does show talcum powder marks, the colour and the super-absorbency and wicking do a really good job if the deco-stops turn out to be longer than I can comfortably maintain, if you know what I mean.
hspace=5 I have tried a pee valve, but I've never got the hang of when to start and when to open the valve. And the chafing!
Anyway, my drysuit is the matching Titanic Technical Wreck Expert Ultra-Durable in compressed neoprene with internal braces and a tailored waist, with the optional Crowbar and Lump-Hammer Retention System. Ive tried membrane suits and crushed neoprene, but frankly they make me look as if Ive been vacuum-wrapped, which does nothing for my manly figure.
Full 8mm neoprene makes me look even better, of course, but I cant get my arms close enough to my sides to carry a roll of carpet, let alone reach the inflate valve.
This looks fine strutting along the jetty, but is a real pain in the water.
My suit has a rotating low-profile inlet with an auto-dump on my right shoulder, a cuff dump on my left forearm and a pull dump on my butt for those awkward ascents.
So that the string doesnt get tangled with the kidney dump from my wing, the butt-dump
(I know, bad name, sorry!) is on my left, but really it doesnt matter, because I use a double wing with a kidney-dump at each side.
A good-quality hood is essential. I wear thick neoprene for warmth, and have my hoods made to measure in pink by Richard Head Enterprises, with radar reflective patches. Everyone Ive dived with has been really impressed by how easily they can see me at the surface.
Oh, and I have radar-reflection strips and a built-in EPIRB on my drysuit as well, plus a strap-on pocket for a baseball cap (a Limited Edition Schumacher-Signed Ferrari Formula One Cap with Extended Peak and Sponsors Logos, though Im sure other caps would be OK). This is just in case I have to bob on the surface for a while and its very sunny.
I also carry a bottle of water and a bar of chocolate for real emergencies. I keep a back-up bottle of water and two extra bars of chocolate in a second strap-on pocket attached to my left thigh.

MY BC IS A WING, for comfort in the water.
I take the view that my primary means of buoyancy control is the wing, with the drysuit for last-ditch safety and extra redundancy.
Redundancy is so important that I use a set-up with two totally independent buoyancy cells on the harness, each with its own direct feed, but coming over different shoulders so that I dont get confused as to which one contains air.
To make sure I dont get it wrong, I ensure that I always put air in the suit to prevent squeeze first, then inflate on descent using the left-hand direct feed and vent on ascent from the right-hand one, blowing both wings and the suit on the surface to keep my head clear of the waves.
Rapid ascents are still a bit of an issue, but Im confident that things are getting better.
I use integrated weights, and find the 24kg Harness Mount Easy-Out Pouches a real boon, though I had to fit bigger toggles so that in very cold water I could still work them while wearing three-finger mitts.
The extra grip is now so effective that I rarely lose more than one pouch on a dive weekend.

IM A BIG BELIEVER that you can never have too much gas under water, so I take gas supply very seriously. The most important part of the process is calculating probable gas usage based on my SAC (Surface Air Consumption) plus appropriate increases at depth.
I profile every dive beforehand minute by minute, and use a computer program I wrote myself to work out how much gas I need.
Im refining the system all the time, and can now predict my gas usage within 2.547% of actual. Im reasonably happy with this on dry-land tests, but I cant seem to get closer than 4.874% while in the water.
Once I have a profile that works and allows me to complete the dive within the limits of the gas I can carry, I then rig my cylinders.
I have a number of options, but my favourite is a pair of manifolded 15-litre cylinders I carry inverted. It can make sitting on the boat a bit tricky, but the positioning of my butt-dump makes that option less than inviting anyway.
My primary regulator set is a top-of-the-line side-vent design, so that exhaust bubbles are deflected clear of my face to keep my vision clear at all times. As this is the main bit of kit on which my life depends, I had the manifold for my twins specially built to provide two separate valves to which to attach two separate regulator sets.
This means that on any dive I have four second stages from which to breathe or, more realistically given my gas-management system, I can bring three out-of-air divers to the surface all at the same time.
Both first stages and all four second stages are environmentally sealed and Teflon-coated, with additional heat-sinks to reduce the possibility of a free-flow in cold water.
The second stages are different shades of red. As you know, red light is absorbed by water, so by using these different shades of red they go black at different depths, and I can use different gas mixes by switching to the reg that has just gone black on descent or become red on ascent.
I needed long hoses for the inverted cylinders, so I took the opportunity to change the standard 15mm Heavy-Duty Super-Flexmaster spec to the 16mm Super-Heavy-Duty Master FlexMaster Pro with the Super-Sure Titanium connectors.
For safety, I carry a 3- or 5-litre pony on every dive, with a full regulator set with two second stages attached. I rig this as a side-slung stage clipped to the D-rings of my BC (I had the standard stainless-steel D-rings replaced with super-durable extra-life titanium/beryllium alloy rings that I bought from a mail-order American S&M catalogue, specifying an additional eight rings for accessories.)
My mask is a super-wide-view job that works like a dome port, and matches my pink hood perfectly. Ive skimped a bit on the spare mask, however, and gone with a standard mask to save some space in the second cargo pocket strapped to my left leg, just below the one that holds my water and chocolate.
My delayed SMB is an auto-fill job with its own crack-bottle. Im a bit uncomfortable relying on one device that could malfunction, however, so I carry another designed for oral inflation, and I practise using both. After being picked up by two different hardboats, I now never deploy more than one bag per dive.
My primary blobs are both yellow, so I also carry a back-up in red with a spare reel just in case, plus a pre-made 5m buddy-line and a small line on a spindle for lining in and out of wrecks. These occupy the two additional strap-on pockets below the main pocket on my right leg.

MY KNIFE, BACK-UP KNIFE, shears and net-cutter are attached to various places on my BC harness, and I have another extra knife for use in emergencies on the inside of my left calf.
I always dive with at least two computers. They run the same deep-stop algorithm, but I chose models from different manufacturers and follow whichever is the most conservative, unless I really need a pee.
Popping the reset button, or the battery on the bent computer, and lock-outs arent an issue and I can continue diving. This also seems to clear my nitrogen loading for the second dive. I dont understand why more people dont do this.
As a last resort I also have a set of tables, a dive-timer, a watch and the slate with the pre-planned profile and times.
Diving is all about safety, and apart from the strained back, twisted ankles and hernia Ive never had a diving-related problem, though my friends attribute this more to the fact that when Im fully kitted I cant even stand upright, let alone jump in the water.
Anyway, Im no expert, but try my approach to kit. Id love to hear how you get on!