How Heavy Is A SCUBA Tank & Gear?
How Heavy Is A SCUBA Tank & Gear?
SCUBA tanks and gear can be very heavy on land. The weight will be determined by what gear you need to bring for a successful planned dive. Consider a setup that involves a wetsuit, gloves, mask, snorkel, dive boots, and fins. Then add the buoyancy control device or BCD and strap on your SCUBA air tank with a valve and regulator or two. You’re almost ready but odds are you have to add a weight belt and extra pounds of weight to get closer to neutral buoyancy once you hit the water.
All this gear can add up, especially if you have to carry it any distance over land! So, how heavy is a SCUBA tank & gear? Find out!
Here is a breakdown for common SCUBA diving cylinders and typical SCUBA gear.
- Air Tanks
- Dive Belt and Weights
- Valve and Regulators
- Mask and Snorkels
- Gloves, Dive Boots, SCUBA Hood
You may be thinking you won’t need all this gear, and sometimes you will be right. In warmer waters and shorter dives you won’t need as much protection and can get away with a thinner wetsuit or skip it. SCUBA tanks or cylinders usually add the most weight and can range in weight from 5 lbs to 35 lbs or more for dual tank setups.
A SCUBA tank is usually a metal cylinder that is designed to hold a predetermined amount of compressed air. How heavy is a SCUBA tank? The weight of a SCUBA tank is determined by the type and amount of metal used as well as the weight of compressed air or breathing mix added to the tank. SCUBA diving cylinders are most commonly made with steel or aluminum. An average air tank used for SCUBA diving at some dive schools is the aluminum 80 cubic foot (cu ft) air tank which can weigh around 31 lbs. Compare this to a steel SCUBA cylinder which can range from 28 to 30 lbs on dry land for similar capacity. The advantage of steel tanks is that they are stronger, hold more air at comparable sizes to aluminum tanks, and have less of an impact on buoyancy throughout a dive.
You can find a wide range of SCUBA cylinders, each designed for a slightly different purpose. Cylinders manufactured for SCUBA diving are regulated for safety reasons and come in standard sizes and types. To get a feel for the weight, inquire if your local sporting store, SCUBA diving shop, or SCUBA training school will allow you to try out a typical setup and feel the weight of an air tank for yourself.
Also take a SCUBA class if you haven’t in a while or at all. They should cover all of this information and more! You can find smaller tanks like a 5 lb emergency supply cylinder.
Wetsuits help you retain body heat by trapping a layer of water against you. They also provide some protection against scrapes, cuts, and punctures underwater. The deeper you plan to go underwater the colder the surrounding temperature will become, even in tropical regions. The temperature difference will leach heat from you over time to heat up the surrounding water, you generous heater you. A wetsuit slows your heat loss and also provides buoyancy due to the nature of the materials used.
Wetsuits come in a variety of types such as single and combo suits which can be adjusted for different diving scenarios. Wetsuits range in thickness from 0.5 mm to 8 mm. The more wetsuit you use, the more buoyant you will be in water, which will require more weight to allow you to submerge. You will also have a harder time moving in a thicker wetsuit!
Compared to a diving tank, a wetsuit’s weight is almost unnoticeable at around two to seven pounds for the average person. Wetsuits retain water so weight increases once wet by roughly 50% but is rarely a noticeable factor.
BCD (Buoyancy Control Device)
When it comes to your Buoyancy Control Device, commonly called a BCD, the number of integrated features and components used will determine the weight. The BCD can have a metal backplate to help hold your diving cylinder, inflatable sections to increase or decrease buoyancy, attachments, and the BCD inflator/deflator device used to control buoyancy.
Some come with pockets which can hold weights in different areas to remove the need for a dive belt. Before I got a dive bag to attach to my BCD, I would sometimes store my gloves or underwater treasures in the pockets of my BCD. Depending on the type you can expect two to five pounds of weight from an average dry BCD.
Dive Belt and Weights
A dive belt is a device that typically wraps around the waist and has multiple pockets for individual smaller weights to be added to decrease buoyancy. Average divers may have to use 10-40 lbs of weight to counteract the buoyancy of their wetsuit and rented dive rig. A few pounds can be compensated for with breathing control and other techniques but you want to be close to neutral for an easier dive and slower air consumption.
Valves and Regulators
Valves are necessary to control the compressed air flow from a dive cylinder to the first stage of your regulator. There are, of course, different types of valves to choose from depending on your need or availability of gear. The valves screw into the tanks and once compressed air is added you attach your regulator to the valve. Regulators bring the air to your mouth and adjust the flow of air more so it is breathable at different depths. Integrated versions include a second regulator for emergencies as well as a pressure gauge to check remaining air in the cylinder.
There is a wide variety of diving gear you can acquire to make your SCUBA adventure more enjoyable. For example, a snorkel on your dive mask allows you to swim easier at the surface. A snorkel and mask will add a few pounds of weight depending on the type. SCUBA dive gloves help. There are some things
under the water that you may not want to touch with your bare hands. I’ve encountered poisonous fish, snakes, jellyfish, stinging algae, and more fun stuff on some of my dives.
Even snorkeling, I take my wetsuit gloves as well as boots to strap my fins. A dive knife with a slot to cut fishing line is a smart addition in case you or someone else gets tangled up at the bottom of the ocean. You may want to add a depth gauge to know how deep you are, or a dive computer that can help you manage your dive and keep track of your adventures.
How Heavy is SCUBA Gear?
How heavy is a SCUBA tank and gear? A SCUBA tank and gear can weigh between 10 to 80 pounds depending on what you need. A typical setup you might wear for a SCUBA diving adventure could be around 40 to 50 pounds. However, once you are in the water, none of that weight is noticeable. The issue is carrying this gear across land or maneuvering into the water from a boat. Building up your endurance through training and exercise is one way to manage.
Another is to dive with SCUBA diving friends who are willing to help carry your gear to the water. Once a friend and I came up from a dive way down the shore from where we started and realized the current was too strong for us to swim back. We had to get to the beach then lug our heavy gear a long way back to our car. Plan ahead for a more fun dive.