How to Fly and Travel with Your Scuba Gear

How to Fly and Travel with Your Scuba Gear
How to Fly and Travel with Your Scuba Gear

How to Fly and Travel with Your Scuba Gear

OK, you've booked that Scuba Trip of a lifetime to the Far east or other exotic locale - and now you need to be sure all your gear arrives there safely. Especially with some of the new TSA regulations there are a few things every diver needs to know about traveling with Scuba Gear.

​Of course before packing any Scuba gear for travel it is best to have a complete gear "check-up" and make sure everything is functioning properly. Many divers will buy some spiffy new piece of equipment for a dive trip and never take it out of the box before they travel, not a good idea according to the pros - always test even brand new equipment before you travel with it.

How to pack

Scuba Gear Bag

​Once you are sure that everything you want to take is working, the best way to pack gear for airplane travel is in a specific Scuba Gear Bag. There are two advantages to suing a gear bag. Not only are these bags designed to keep Scuba Gear safe, some of the airlines that fly to popular scuba destinations may allow you to check an official Scuba Gear Bag, and not charge you for an additional piece of luggage. Check with your specific airline for their policy regarding a checked scuba gear bag.

A scuba mask should be protected by a hard case whether it is checked or in your carry on.
Fins should be placed bottom-to-bottom, and wrapped in a towel.
One-gallon plastic freezer bags are great for storing your divelog and other "keep dry" items - place these bags in an easily accessible exterior pocket of your dive bag.

Since you likely want to be able to take your gear bag directly from the plane and just toss it on your dive boat when you head out, the pros suggest that you pack your gear in the reverse order of suiting up - in other words pack your fins first since you put them on last, and your Wetsuit last so it is on top of your bag as you put it on first.

Pro Tip

TSA Lock

Here is a Tip: It's a good idea to purchase TSA locks for your Scuba gear bags - these can be found online. They are TSA approved combination pad locks that feature a Red Diamond. They can secure your gear from pilfering, but TSA agents have a special key that can open the lock if they need to inspect your bag. If they do the Red Diamond on the lock turns green so you know your bag has been inspected.

It is a good idea to catalog all the gear you are traveling with by description and serial number. Pack your BCD in your checked dive bag, but wrap it securely to prevent any damage or punctures.

Most divers will rent scuba tanks when arriving at their destination; you cannot bring pressurized tanks onto an airplane.

You can see the exact specifications for transporting empty air cylinders on the TSA's website, but the regulator and valve must be completely removed so that the inspector can see inside of the tank.

Sophisticated equipment such as dive computers and your regulator should be placed in your carry-on luggage. And remember to remove any dive knives, spear fishing equipment or your trusty "Leatherman" multi-tool from your carry-on dive bag or they will be confiscated.

When you go home

Be sure to completely wash out and dry all of your gear after your trip before packing for you return flight. Use only fresh clean water. A thorough cleaning of your equipment will make sure you do not bring home any unwanted "souvenirs" like mold, and not to mention the retched stink you will raise if you allow ocean deposits to ferment in a sealed dive bag during a few hour plane ride.

Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships

Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships
Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships wreck dive

Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships

Beyond exploring reefs and other underwater inhabitants of the deep, probably one of the most exciting, interesting and challenging dives for the recreational scuba diver is the Wreck Dive.

Wreck diving requires particular skills, and specialty certification is required before taking on the challenges of exploring a sunken ship or other wreck, but the additional training is well worth it.

Underwater wrecks are fascinating not only because of the history and the eerie feeling one gets exploring the decks and corridors of a vessel that once plied the surface, but underwater wrecks become havens for all manner of aquatic flora and fauna.

Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships wreck dive

And while you do need an advanced scuba certification to become wreck diver certified, contrary to popular belief, wrecks are not necessarily deep-water dives; in fact there are many popular and interesting wreck dives that take place in relatively shallow waters.

Wrecks are irresistible to scuba divers. In fact not all wrecks are ships that met with a tragic fate in open waters, many wrecks were sunk intentionally for scuba divers to explore, or to be part of "artificial reefs" and build up marine habitats.

In either case, there is nothing quite like descending through the waters, bubbles trailing off behind you, the sound of your own breath quickening ever so slightly as a hulking shape beneath you begins to take on recognizable form. Suddenly a window, or door, or a gaping hole in the hull appears large enough to swim through, and your adventure begins as you swim back in time.

Not all wrecks are ships - plans, trains and even automobiles exsist below the surface, in fact my first experience with a wreck was encountering a '69 VW Beatle during my very first open water dive in a quarry in New Jersey.

Treasure hunting

Scuba Diving on Wrecks and Sunken Ships wreck dive

Every sport or recreational scuba diver is at heart an explorer. Wreck diving also feeds the scuba divers desire to be an amateur archeologist, or even a treasure hunter. Wreck divers find many interesting artifacts even on recent wrecks.

Be sure to check with the local laws governing salvage and what you can keep and cannot keep regarding found items on a wreck - but even if you cannot keep your "treasures" diver finds contribute to historians and researchers by helping them identify and catalog ship wrecks.

As you might imagine there are great Wreck Dives all over the world, mankind has left its make all over the ocean floors for centuries. But some of the top rated Wreck Dives are located right here in the U.S.

Recently National Geographic Magazine listed "Wreck Diving off the Coast of Carolina" as one of its Top 10 Water Adventures. In these perilous waters of the Atlantic where Gulf Stream and Artic waters collide, more than 2000 ships have met their fate, making this "Graveyard of the Atlantic" one of the best sites for wreck diving in the world.

Advanced training

The very things that make scuba diving on wrecks interesting and exciting, make them a much more hazardous environment to the diver then ordinary open water diving. That is why advanced training is necessary to recognize and deal with the potential dangers in a wreck including shards of metal, entanglement hazards due to rigging, nets and lines, disorientation and a lot of metal that can render your compass useless.

Many dive experts suggest that when seeking advanced training specialties you take cavern and cave training along with wreck certification as many of the skills overlap, especially those involving penetration.

That is why the top certifying organizations often offer combined "adventure diving" certifications that include wreck diving, cavern/cave diving and another specialty like night diving. The more training you receive the safer diver and better steward of the marine environment you will become.

Scuba Diving – A Hobby for the Whole Family

Child Scuba Diving
Child scuba diving

Scuba Diving – A Hobby for the Whole Family

Scuba diving, or at least underwater adventure is a hobby that can be enjoyed by the whole family. While there are age restrictions on Scuba Diving certifications, depending on the certifying organization, today children of all ages can take part to some degree of exploring the underwater world.

There is no age requirement to snorkel or skin dive. And if you are planning any kind of dive trip to well-known reef or other dive locations, there are always great opportunities to snorkel. The key to getting your kids to have fun with snorkeling or skin diving is to build their confidence and get comfortable with equipment.

The best place to do this is in the bathtub believe it or not. Kids will get a kick out of this and have opportunity to get used to the feel of the mask on their faces and how to breath trough the snorkel. Then once you arrive at your dive destination, take a few spins in the hotel pool first. Again the pool will afford a great opportunity to raise your kid's confidence level, in a clear fear- free environment. Kids will feel safer snorkeling in a pool where there are no waves, there are walls for boundaries, and no fear of what may be "lurking" below them.

Once you get out into the open water with your now proud skin diver, still select a site for snorkeling that is calm, with minimal waves. For the young snorklers even who may be strong swimmers, it is a good idea to have them use water wings or other floatation devices, this way they are not using up too much of their energy just staying afloat on the surface before they slide under for a dive.


Popping up in many dive locations that are giving kids even as young as four an almost "real" Scuba experience and the thrill of a lifetime are two relatively new concepts called SASY and SNUBA. SASY stands for Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth. It was invented by father and dive enthusiast Wayne Hasser who wanted his young children to have a chance to share in his love for diving, with an experience closer to Scuba than merely snorkeling. The SASY system which can be used by children 5 and up is basically a combination of a BC (buoyancy compensator) and a life vest. The SASY vest has been designed with foam pads and equipped to hold a lightweight Pony bottle of air in a pouch on the back. The child does use a regulator but the vest keeps the child from going below snorkeling depth.


SNUBA which you can also find at many dive resorts is a system that can be used by children as young as 4 years old. Snuba is a shallow dive system that is kind of cross between Scuba and Skin diving. A "Snuba" diver is tethered by a 20 foot air hose attached to a standard scuba tank that follows his or her movements beneath the surface on a raft floating above. The sytem uses a vest similar to the SASY system that allows the snuba diver to stay near the surface or dive as deep as the line will allow.


These intermediary systems are great ways to get your kids introduced to the wonderful world of scuba diving. As they get older and can become certified divers as teens, Scuba can be a great activity that keeps families closer together and can teach kids responsibility for the maintenance of their gear, their personal safety and the safety of others, and at the same time gain an appreciation for conservation and the underwater world.

Best Hammock – Reviews and Top Picks 2017

Best hammock reviews
Best hammock reviews

Best Hammock – Reviews and Top Picks

Gaining their name from the bark of the hamak tree from which they were originally woven one thousand years ago, hammocks are still quite popular today. However, technology has changed even the simple hammock and different materials and styles make choosing the best hammock a little trickier than it used to be.

Whether you’re searching for the best hammock for camping or the best double hammock to lounge in with your significant other, our hammock reviews will help you make a solid choice.

Best Hammock Summary

Reviews of the Best Hammocks

Honest Outfitters Single & Double Camping Hammock

Best hammock Honest Outfitters Single Double Camping Hammock

Weighing only 1.5 pounds, this hammock is designed for camping and backpacking. It has a pouch attached to the hammock, making it extremely easy to pack it up and go.

At $19 (for the single size), this was the least expensive hammock we reviewed. There is also a double version available for $30.

The single size has a weight capacity of 400 pounds, while the double can hold up to 500 pounds. Made of 210T parachute nylon, this is a durable choice.

One feature many users enjoyed is the high quality included straps for securing the hammock. It also comes with two steel carabiners.


- Good value
- Includes straps
- Durable


- No instructions included
- Some found uncomfortable

This camping hammock is larger than many nylon hammocks, adding to the level of comfort. While many users found this model to be quite comfortable, some found that it was less comfortable than more expensive options, noting that it could be too tight in the middle and too loose on the sides.

While it is very quick and easy to set up, some did note that instructions on how to secure it with the straps would be helpful for those that had never used a camping hammock before.

Based on our camping hammock reviews, the Honest Outfitters Camping Hammock would be a great choice for those on a budget or those looking to use a hammock primarily for camping or travel.

Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammock

Best hammock Hammock By Wise Owl Outfitter

The Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammock is available in both a single size  and double size. It is also available in many colors which users found to be highly attractive and well designed.

The Wise Owl camping hammock offers a good value, with many finding it to be of similar quality to much more expensive models.

With the single weighing only 16 ounces and packing up quite compact, this is a great choice for backpacking. The double weighs 26 ounces.


- Lightweight
- Many color choices
- Durable


- Includes ropes, but no straps

People found this camping hammock to be quite easy to pack and unpack. It is made of durable 210T parachute nylon and the fabric is breathable, soft, and comfortable.

Some did note that the double size might be more comfortable for taller users. It has a 400 pound weight capacity.

This option includes two carabiners and two ropes. Several people noted that tree straps are much easier to use and better for the trees, so you may want to look into buying separate tree straps if you choose this hammock.

Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock

Best hammock Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock

The Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock costs $27. It is available in four colors.

This option is designed for camping and backpacking and weighs 1.5 pounds. It easily folds into an attached pocket.

Made of 210T parachute nylon, this is a durable choice. It is lightweight and breathable and many found it to be quite comfortable.

The Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock has a 500 pound weight capacity.


- Comfortable
- Easy to use
- Durable


- Included straps are too short

It is not waterproof, but the material dries very quickly. It is very quick and intuitive to unpack and pack up.

This camping hammock comes with 2 carabiners, 2 ropes, and 2 tree straps. However, some found the tree straps too short to be practical, so you may want to invest in some longer ones if you choose this hammock.

Some users also complained that the hammock they received did not appear to be new.

Sportneer Double Hammock

Best Hammock Sportneer Camping Hammock with Mosquito Net

The Sportneer Double Hammock is designed primarily for backyard use and lounging. It is large enough to comfortably fit two adults (up to 450 pounds).

It is made of woven polyester with a hard wood spreader.

While it can be left outside, this hammock is not designed to be left out in the rain. One unique feature of this hammock is that it comes with a detachable pillow that buttons on and off.


- Comfortable
- Sturdy
- Nice Design


- Included accessories could be better

Two S hooks and chains are included to secure the hammock, though many users used cords, ropes, thicker chains, or a hammock stand instead. Some felt that the included chains were too short or too thin to be practical or safe.

This hammock was found to be very comfortable and durable. Many users were also quite pleased with the aesthetic design.

The Sportneer double hammock is easy to set up and many found it to be quite a good value.

Vivere Double Hammock with Space-Saving Steel Stand

Best Hammock Vivere Double Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand

The Vivere double hammock is a double with a 450 pound weight capacity. Some found that it could even comfortably hold two adults and two children.

This hammock costs over $100, but includes a steel hammock stand and carry case as well as the hammock. This version is made of cotton, but there is also a polyester version and a weather resistant sunbrella version available, at a higher price.

While not specifically designed for camping, some found that this worked well for camping and travel due to the carry case. There were mixed reviews on the ease of assembly, so make sure you practice before you take it on vacation with you.

This hammock is very comfortable and many found it to be quite durable. Some did have issues with the hammock ripping, but this may be due to improper washing – the cotton version should be hand washed with cold water.


- Multiple fabric choices
- Comes with stand and carry case


- Some found assembly difficult
- Some hammocks ripped

The cotton version should not be left out in the rain as it may mildew or mold. It allows good airflow and keeps the user cool.

Many found this hammock to be very comfortable for sleeping, with some people even using it to replace their primary bed inside. Some also used this for indoor seating due to the comfort and the provided stand.

This would be a great choice for someone who doesn’t want to deal with securing their hammock to trees, or for someone who wants a hammock for both home use and light travel.

Choosing the Best Hammock for You

Using a hammock, either to relax outdoors or to sleep in, has many benefits. But which is the best hammock for you?

Think about the climate where you’ll be using the hammock, whether you’ll just be lounging or actually sleeping in it, and whether you’ll be taking it camping and relying on it for shelter. Also consider how many people you want your hammock to comfortably and safely hold and any additional gear you will need to get the most out of the experience.

There are a lot of things to think about, but the below information should help get you started, and get you off the computer and back to enjoying the great outdoors.

Benefits of Using a Hammock

· Hammocks help you fall asleep, and sleep more deeply, due to the rocking motion.

· Hammocks can be highly portable, whether you’re taking yours camping, on a trip to relax by the lake, or to your neighbor’s backyard barbecue.

· Depending on your needs, hammocks can be quite inexpensive, making them an easy addition to your outdoor gear.

Size Matters

Do you picture yourself sleeping out under the stars in your hammock in utter solitude? Or would you prefer to hang out in your hammock with a good buddy in the shade with a cold beer? Some hammocks are singles, made for one person, while others can comfortable hold two, or even more.

Types of Hammocks

  • Rope Hammocks: This is the classic hammock you picture lounging in in your backyard. Rope hammocks can be hung between two trees, using a hammock stand, or using two posts.
    Made of either cotton or nylon rope, rope hammocks are great for hot weather, as they get great airflow. Nylon rope hammocks will hold up better in inclement weather, while cotton will be more flexible and may feel better against your skin.
  • Brazilian Hammocks: Tightly woven from cotton, Brazilian hammocks are designed for relaxation. They are extremely comfortable, but not as durable for outdoor adventure use.
    Brazilian hammocks do not allow as much airflow as rope hammocks, and so may not be as suitable for very hot climates. Mexican / Nicaraguan hammocks are a similar option, but are generally made of lighter cotton.
  • Jungle Hammocks: Designed to be hung between two trees, these generally have built in tree straps. Jungle hammocks are made to protect you from tropical weather and insects, and thus include a rain tarp and mosquito net.
  • Parachute Hammocks: These are generally made of nylon, extremely durable, and often used for camping or hiking. Options range from ultralight to heavy duty depending on how you plan to use your parachute hammock.
Best hammock reviews legs

Useful Hammock Accessories

  • Hammock Quilt – This is like a blanket liner for the inside of your hammock, providing additional warmth if you’re sleeping out in the cold.
  • Underquilt – This is a blanket that hangs under your hammock to provide insulation and warmth.
  • Straps – Hammock straps allow you to secure your hammock between two trees or poles.
  • Carabiners – This is one method of securing your hammock to your straps.
  • Ring Buckles – These allow you to easily tighten or loosen the rope securing your hammock.
  • Hammock Tarp – A tarp can be hung above you to protect you from rain.
  • Bug Net – These protect you from mosquitos and other bugs while you sleep, and are particularly important in tropical climates or jungle environments.
  • Posts – Posts offer an alternative way to hang your hammock if there are no trees around, or if the trees are not of suitable size or distance from each other.
  • Hammock Stand – These are often used to support hammocks in your backyard and offer a very easy way to hang your hammock if you plan to primarily use it t home.


While there are many great options available, we found the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammock to be the best camping hammock, as well as the best overall choice. It is available in many colors and is very lightweight for backpacking.

Even if you are just looking to lounge in your backyard, this is a quick drying, durable, and comfortable option, making it the best hammock for a variety of uses. Its portability could also be quite useful outside of camping, for instance if you’re simply traveling to a friend’s house or want to bring it on vacation.

Product images sourced from

Best Dive Computer – Reviews and Top Picks 2017

best dive computer

Best Dive Computer – Reviews and Top Picks

best dive computer

A scuba dive computer can enhance both the enjoyment and the safety of your dive, so it is critical to find the best dive computer for you, but this is not always easy. Dive computers measure the time and depth of your dive.

The dive computer will let you know when to ascend and what ascent rate to use so that you don’t get decompression sickness. Choosing such an importance piece of scuba diving gear can be overwhelming, but our dive computer reviews highlight the key information you need to make an informed decision.

Best Dive Computer Summary

Reviews of the Best Dive Computers

Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Computer

Best dive computer Suunto Zoop Wrist Computer

At $200, the Suunto Zoop Novo was the least expensive scuba computer we reviewed and offers a good value. It is simple and easy to use.

This model has built in dive planner functionality. It has a large display screen that is easy to read.

The Suunto Zoop Novo has Nitrox ability. It does not have a compass, air integration, or a fresh water setting.

This dive computer has audio alarms for maximum depth, maximum time, excessive ascent rate, and surpassing ceilings for safety and decompression stops. The audio portion of the alarm can be disabled. Some users found the alarms to be difficult to hear.


- Simple and user friendly interface
- Easy to read display
- Good value


- Confusing manual
- USB cable not included

The Suunto Zoop Novo uses a conservative algorithm, so think about how this aligns with your personal preferences. It has a great battery life and several color choices.

One common complaint was that the user manual could be quite confusing. There is an optional online course on how to use this dive computer if you need additional help after reading the manual.

Additionally, users complained that the USB cable needed to connect the dive computer with a PC was not included, and was quite expensive to purchase separately.

Overall, this is a good value dive computer for those looking for simple, easy to use functionality. It may be the best scuba dive computer for beginners.

Genesis Resource Pro Dive Computer with In-line Console

Best dive computer Genesis Resource Pro Computer with In Line Console

At $270, this was one of the less expensive models we reviewed and many users found it to be an excellent value. The Genesis Resource Pro includes a compass and a 5000 psi pressure gauge as well.

It is Nitrox capable and has an Air/Nitrox mode in addition to a separate gauge operating mode.

With deep stop reminders and a safety stop countdown timer, this dive computer supports you in observing safety protocols during your dive. It also uses visual alarms.

This scuba computer displays visual bar graph indicators for nitrogen, oxygen limit, and ascent rate.


- Intuitive and easy to use
- Good value
- Includes pressure gauge and compass


- User manual is confusing
- Short battery life

Most users found the Genesis Resource Pro to be intuitive and easy to use and to have all of the functionality needed for recreational divers.

One complaint users did have was regarding the user manual, which they found to be confusing. Some users also complained about the short battery life.

This would be a good choice for beginners or casual recreational divers who prefer not to wear a wrist mounted dive computer.

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Computer Watch

Best dive computer Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air Nitrox Computer Watch

The Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Dive computer has some great technical features, but suffers a bit in terms of ease of use.

With the capability to set two different gas mixtures and switch between them, this watch style scuba dive computer offers more technical features than many options of comparable price. It also allows you to choose between two different algorithms, accounting for differences in dive conditions and personal preferences.

This option has programmable audio alarms for things like maximum depth. Some users found the alarms to be too quiet.

People also found this dive computer small, lightweight, and durable. It has a “watch” mode that allows you to wear it as a watch when you’re not diving, and is available in a variety of colors.


- Technical functionality (can set two gas mixtures and switch)
- Small and wearable as a watch
- Two algorithms to choose from


- Confusing user interface
- Confusing instruction manual
- USB cable not included

While this dive computer has great functionality, it can be a little tricky to learn to use. Many found the user manual to be highly confusing.

In addition, the interface could be more user-friendly. For example, some users found the menu titles difficult to understand.

This is a great choice for those who want a more technical wrist mounted dive computer and have the patience to take the time to learn how to use it.

Shearwater Research Perdix Dive Computer

Best dive computer Shearwater Perdix Underwater Scuba Diving Computer

The Shearwater Research Perdix dive computer is the most expensive model we reviewed at $849, but has the functionality for both recreational and technical divers.

The Perdix is Nitrox, Air, and Trimix capable. It has four different diving modes: recreational, technical, INT, and gauge.

A digital compass is also integrated into this model. It has Bluetooth capability to transfer your dive data to your Mac or PC without a USB.

The Perdix also allows you to customize the startup screen so that you can easily see the information most important to you.


- Easy to read screen
- Air, Nitrox, and Trimix capable
- Bluetooth integration


- Price

The 2.2 inch screen is easy to read underwater, even in murky conditions. The Perdix is lightweight, at 0.34 pounds.

In addition to all of the technical functionality, users found the Perdix to be easy and intuitive to use.

Due to its larger screen and technical modes, this model would not function as a watch when you’re not diving, as many wrist mounted dive computers do. The price will also be a deterrent for some.

Overall, the Perdix is a great scuba dive computer for both recreational and technical divers due to its mix of functionality and usability.

Choosing the Best Dive Computer for You

There are many options available in the growing market of scuba dive computers. Consider the following when deciding which is the best dive computer for you.

Why use a dive computer?

Dive computers perform ongoing, real time calculations to help you have a safe ascent. They calculate the projected uptake and release of nitrogen in your body based on changes in depth throughout your dive. They tell you the ascent rate necessary for safe decompression.

Decompression is the process of releasing the inert gasses that build up in your body from breathing in such a high pressure environment. This can be done safely by controlling the ascent rate so that it isn’t too fast, and by including decompression stops, where you pause periodically at certain depths throughout your ascent.

Using a dive computer largely replaces your need for a dive watch, depth gauge, and dive tables. You should still bring and be familiar with dive tables in case of any sort of malfunction.

Because of their dynamic calculations, dive computers give you more time under water. While a table would only account for the maximum depth you reach, your computer will account for times spent at different depths, maximizing the duration of your dive.

Dive computers can also improve your safety as they take away the human error inherent in performing your own calculations.


best dive computer

Wrist mounted dive computers often look similar to a sports watch, although some have a larger, rectangular screen. Some argue that wrist mounted dive computers are more natural to read. It is also easier to use a wrist mounted dive computer with rental scuba gear if you’re traveling.

Alternatively, some dive computers mount to your console. These can be larger than wrist mounted and thus easier to read for some, particularly in cloudy waters. They can also be easier to use in cold water, when you may be wearing gloves, making it more difficult to use the wristwatch functions.

Standard Features:

You can expect these to be included in almost any dive computer you purchase.

· Duration: This tells you how long your dive has been thus far.

· Ascent Rate – this measures how quickly you are ascending (e.g., 45 feet per minute), and alerts you if you are ascending too quickly.

· Depth – Dive computers track both your current depth and your depth throughout the dive, and adjust calculations accordingly.

· Time Remaining: This tells you how long you have remaining before you need to begin your ascent.

· Emergency Decompression – This will guide you through making an emergency decompression stop if you stay down past the recommended decompression limit. It will tell you at what depth to stop and for how long, before you complete your ascent.

Optional Features:

These features vary by model. Consider which might be important for you when deciding which dive computer is the best for your needs.

· Audible Ascent Alarm: Some dive computers only have a visual cue that it’s time to ascend, while others have an alarm you can hear. This is key if you’re easily distracted by your surroundings or simply don’t want to have to worry about constantly checking your computer.

· Water temperature: Some scuba computers measure the temperature of the water around you.

· Direction: This prevents you from needing a separate compass.

· Dive log: This saves a record of your past dives, which can often be transferred to your personal computer.

· Adjustable algorithm: some dive computers allow you to select which algorithm will be used for the ascent calculations based on the conditions of your dive, how you’re feeling physically, and your personal preferences.

· Air Integrated: Air integrated dive computers tell you your cylinder pressure as well as how much air time you have remaining. Due to its reliance on many factors including depth and current strength, this can be difficult to calculate, making this a great feature for all divers, but especially beginners.

· Programmable Safety Stops: In addition to ascending slowly, it is recommended that divers stop at certain intervals throughout their ascent (e.g. at 15 feet for 3 minutes) to ensure proper decompression. Some dive computers allow you to program these safety stops in so that you can easily see when it’s time to observe them.

Which Dive Computer is the Best?

Best dive computer Shearwater Perdix Underwater Scuba Diving Computer

The best dive computer depends largely on what’s important to you, but if your budget allows it, we recommend the Shearwater Research Perdix.

It combines user friendliness with technical functionality in a way no other model we reviewed does, making it an excellent choice for both recreational and technical divers. Even if you don’t need all of the functionality right now, the Perdix will grow with you as you advance in scuba diving over time, making this the best dive computer for divers of all levels.

Product images sourced from

How To Hang a Hammock – Hammocks 101

How to hang a hammock

How To Hang a Hammock - Hammocks 101

How to hang a hammock top

Are you dreaming of relaxing in the sunshine in your backyard, or replacing your cumbersome tent with the freedom of a lightweight backpacking hammock? Whether you’re not sure how to hang a hammock or you’re seeking advice on which hammocks are best for your specific needs, we’ve done the research for you.

As outdoor equipment goes, hammocks are quite simple, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality or ignore your individual preferences when making your selection. Our Hammocks 101 post will answer your questions on, how to use a hammock, whether a hammock is right for you, and which is the best hammock if you decide you want one.

How do I hang a hammock?

Knowing how to properly hang a hammock will help make sure you’re both safe and comfortable. When it comes to securing your hammock, you have several options.

You can use either rope or special tree straps to tie it to trees or posts. Alternatively, if you’re primarily planning to use your hammock at home, you can use hanging hardware or a hammock stand to avoid knots altogether.

How far apart should my posts or trees be?

How to hang a hammock 2

Ideally, look for trees that are between 13 and 16 feet apart. Distances as close as 10 feet can work, and up to 25 feet can work if you have the proper tree straps.

Measure the length of your hammock, and then add a few feet if possible to allow you to adjust the tension to your liking. This is especially important for hammocks with a spreader bar, such as rope hammocks.

How high should my hammock be off the ground?

When hanging your hammock, keep in mind that it will sag lower once you’re in it. The ideal height depends on the length of your hammock and the distance between the trees or posts you’re using.

For instance, if your hammock is 13 feet long and the two trees are 14 feet apart, you should ideally secure the ends of your hammock at about 72 inches. However, this does not need to be precise – experiment and see what feels comfortable to you.

If you’re looking for an exact answer, try using this hammock hanging calculator.

Should I use rope, straps, hanging hardware, or a hammock stand?

  • Straps: Many find straps to be the easiest method for camping or backpacking. They also will not damage tree trunks.
    Straps are also lightweight and relatively inexpensive. One of their biggest advantages is that the length is easily adjusted, giving you a broader array of options when choosing which two trees to use.
  • Rope: If you know the proper knots, you can simply use two pieces of rope to secure your hammock to two trees. Many people find this method more difficult, particularly to adjust, and it can also cause damage to tree trunks as the rope digs into the tree bark.
  • Hanging Hardware: This involves the use of chains, wall anchors, and S hooks. This is obviously a more permanent method of securing your hammock and is popular for indoor use, such as if you are planning to use a hammock rather than a bed.
  • Hammock Stand: This may be the easiest method if you plan to primarily use your hammock at home, especially if you do not have trees the ideal distance apart. This is a ready-made stand that fits your hammock – no knots or S hooks needed.

Are hammocks bad for your back?

The short answer is no. However, just like with a bad mattress, a poorly made hammock, or one that is not hung well, can cause you back pain, so make sure to choose wisely and spend a little time adjusting it for maximum comfort and support.

It is well worth the effort though, as hammocks have been shown to help people fall asleep more quickly, as well as encourage deep sleep. Hammocks also encourage you to sleep on your back, rather than your side or stomach, which is the ideal position for people with back pain.

Are hammocks a good alternative to tents for camping?

If you like to camp, there are several reasons you should try swapping out your tent for a camping hammock:

  • Cost: Purchasing a high quality hammock is considerably less expensive than a high quality tent. You can get a quality camping hammock for under $20, so there’s very little reason not to give it a try.
  • Time: If you’ve practiced and suitable trees are around, setting up a hammock can take you less than five minutes – more time to enjoy the hiking trails or start building that campfire. If you’re not sure if there will be trees where you’re camping, you can use posts.
  • Weight: Some camping hammocks weigh only one pound and fold up quite compact, making them especially great for backpacking or hike-in campsites.
  • Comfort: Many find sleeping in a hammock to be far more comfortable to sleeping on the ground. This offers a much less expensive, less cumbersome, and less time consuming option than using a quality camping mattress.

Which hammock should I buy?

How to hang a hammock 3

The best hammock for you depends on your purpose. Are you an explorer at heart looking to carry a bed with you wherever you go? Or are you gearing up for long summer evenings enjoying a good book or a cold beer in your backyard?

Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Lounging / Backyard: The Vivere Double Hammock is a great choice if you’re primarily planning to use your hammock at home. It costs just over $100, but comes with a quality hammock stand, making it a good value.

One thing we like about this option is that both the hammock and stand fit into an included carry case. So while you won’t be taking it backpacking, you could easily bring this hammock on a road trip to the beach.

Camping: We recommend the Wise Owl Outfitters camping hammock. Available as either a single ($26) or a double ($36), it is a good value and quite lightweight at just 16 ounces for the single.

Easy to pack up into its attached compact pouch, this option would be great for a backpacking trip where you want to avoid pitching and taking down a tent at a different campsite each night. It’s extremely durable and available in a variety of unique colors.

Should you try a hammock?

Our verdict: YES!

Hammocks are great for sleeping, lounging, or camping – pretty much everyone enjoys at least one of those activities. No matter how you like to spend your time, a hammock is a low cost and low maintenance addition to your outdoor gear.

Some people even find them so comfortable, that they use them indoors as a fun seating option or even as their primary bed. However you plan to use it, our Hammocks 101 guide can help you choose the best option for you and show you how to hang a hammock so that you’re staring up at the sky in no time.

How to Choose the Best BCD

Best BCD
Best BCD

How to Choose the Best BCD

Whether you’re wondering “what does BCD stand for?” or you’re already deeply immersed in the scuba diving world, selecting the best BCD can be overwhelming.

From travel BCDs to weight integrated BCDs, there are many options for this important piece of scuba diving equipment. Choosing the best BCD is important for both safety and your enjoyment while diving.

Here are 8 considerations in choosing the best BCD for you.

1. The Basics: What is a BCD in scuba diving?

BCD stands for buoyancy compensator device. A BCD is something you wear while scuba diving to help you maintain positive buoyancy on the surface of the water, allowing you to float, and neutral buoyacny when under water.

Wetsuits are buoyant, but their buoyancy decreases as you descend deeper into the water, due to the compression of air bubbles. Adding air to your BCD as you descend allows you to compensate for this change in buoyancy.

2. Different Types of BCDs

Choosing the best BCD for your needs is more complicated than just selecting the top rated BCD on the market. You should consider these different types to determine which is right for you:

Best BDC

Jacket Style BCD: Also known as a wraparound style BCD, this common option is a vest that looks similar to a life jacket. It has an air bladder that wraps around your body and inflates in the front, sides, and back.

Jacket style BCDs often have storage pockets for gear and provide great stability when you’re on the surface, allowing you to stay upright. Some people find them comfortable while others find them constricting, so it’s beneficial to try one out and make sure you get the right size before purchasing if you can.

One downside to this type of BCD is that it can be bulky and cause drag, which slows you down when you’re swimming under water.

Jacket style BCDs are perhaps the easiest type to learn how to use and are great for beginner divers, though many experienced divers use them as well.

Back Inflation BCD: The air bladder in back inflation BCDs is located in the back, rather than wrapping around your whole torso. Picture more of a backpack than a life vest.

This can feel less constricting and is great for divers wishing to carry a large camera in the front.

Back Inflation BCDs have less drag when you’re swimming under water, but do make it more difficult to stay upright when at the surface. They can also have a higher lift capacity and are often used by technical divers.

Hybrid: Hybrid BCDs wrap around your torso, but carry most of the air in the back, combining the advantages of wraparounds and back inflation BCDs.

Best BCD Wing BCD

Backplate and Wing BCD: Really a subset of back inflation BCDs, the backplate and wing option is much more streamlined and provides you with the greatest mobility and stability. This is a great choice if you plan to dive in narrow areas like caves or hate feeling constricted.

Many beginner and recreational divers, however, do not prefer this type of BCD as it has no storage pockets for gear and no weight integration pockets. You would need to use a separate weight belt.

Backplate and wing BCDs are a great option in terms of buoyancy, but are better for advanced divers.

Sidemount BCD: Designed for technical and cave diving, sidemount BCDs let you carry dive tanks under your arms instead of on your back to get into narrow spots.

3. Lift Capacity

Lift capacity refers to how much weight a BCD can keep afloat.

The amount of lift you need depends in large part on how deep you’re diving, the type of wet suit you wear, and how much weight you’re carrying. Wearing a full wetsuit in colder water will provide more buoyancy, thus requiring greater lift capacity in cold climate dives.

Your body composition also impacts the lift capacity you need in a BCD.

4. Basic Features of your BCD

These are key features to understand about your BCD:

  • Air Bladder – This is what holds the air to make you buoyant.
  • Valves – The dump valve lets you release the air from the air bladder, while the pressure release valve prevents the air bladder from bursting if overfilled; these two valves are sometimes combined.
  • Cylinder Mount – Included in many BCDs, this is where you secure your tank.
  • Weights – Wearing weights helps you to descend, reach greater depths, and stay under water. Wet suits increase your buoyancy and weights counteract that phenomenon.
    Some BCDs have integrated weight pockets while others require you to wear a separate weight belt.
    Many people find integrated weight pockets to be more comfortable and convenient. Whichever type you use, make sure you know how to quickly release the weights to maintain safety.
  • Inflator: Oral inflators allow you to inflate your BCD through blowing in air while power inflators allow you to inflate through pressing a button. Oral inflators serve primarily as a backup for the power inflator.

5. Bonus BCD Features

The following features are available in some models, so think about which are most important to you when choosing the best BCD for your needs.

Storage Pockets – These allow you to conveniently bring gear; storage pockets will not be found in backplate and wing BCDs. Some BCDs also have D-rings where you can clip on additional gear.

Hose Retainers: Some BCDs have clips or tabs to help you secure your hoses into place.

Padding: The level and placement of padding will vary by BCD, so make sure to consider this for comfort.

Quick Release Straps: These make it easier to remove your BCD.

Color: This may seem trivial, but a BCD with some sort of bright color is safer than an all-black BCD, as it will increase your visibility on the surface.

6. Top Rated BCDs

While the best BCD for you will depend in part on personal preference these top rated BCDs will not steer you wrong:

Best BCD Cressi Start BCD

Cressi Start BCD: This jacket style BCD is a great value. It is stable, durable, and has 2 storage pockets, in addition to D-rings to attach gear.

The Cressi Start does not have integrated weight pockets, so you will need a weight belt.

Best BCD Mares Hybrid Pro BCD

Mares Hybrid Pro: This back inflation BCD costs just over $400 and includes an integrated weight system. Users were pleased with both the quality and the comfort of this model.

Best BCD Aqualung Pro HD BCD

Aqualung Pro HD BCD i300 Dive Computer Titan: At over $900, the Auqalung Pro is more of an investment, but it comes with a dive computer as well. This is a wraparound jacket BCD and includes weight integration pockets.

Users were highly satisfied with the comfort and functionality, but did note that the sizing runs a little large.

7. Best Travel BCDs

Do you plan to dive near home or bring your gear on tropical vacations? If you want gear that will travel the globe with you, make sure to consider the best travel BCDs when making your choice.

Travel BCDs are more compact, making them easier to pack, but this can sacrifice some functionality. Travel BCDs are also lightweight so they don’t weigh down your luggage.

Through our BCD reviews, we identified some of the best travel BCDs to meet your globetrotting needs:

BEST BCD Scuba Pro Litehawk BCD

● The Scubapro Litehawk, a back inflation BCD weighing only 5.2 pounds, has removable weight pockets available, and four D-rings. Costing $560, users found this travel BCD to be comfortable and not at all bulky.

Best BCD Cressi Travellight BCD

● The less expensive Cressi Travelite BCD is a jacket style BCD weighing just slightly more, at 5.5 pounds. It has weight pockets as well as accessory pockets and is designed to fold up very quickly and fit into a carry bag.

Users found the Travelite to be lightweight and easy to fold, but some had issues with weight pockets detaching and seams ripping.

8. BCD Safety

Choosing the best BCD for you, and more importantly, learning how to use it, is integral to your safety when diving. One study in Australia found that over 10% of the diving incidents studied were linked to BCDs, many due to diver error.

Some things you can do to protect your safety include:

  • Choose a high quality BCD that fits you well.
  • Invest in a comprehensive diving course and make sure you ask your instructor about proper weighting and buoyancy control until you have a thorough understanding.
  • Special courses just on buoyancy are also offered.
  • Practice! This article outlines some helpful drills you can do to practice using your BCD and this article provides safety tips and videos related to buoyancy, including breath control.

What to Remember

BCDs are integral to buoyancy control, which helps you have a safe and enjoyable dive.

This is no place to skimp; choose a top rated BCD and make sure it’s the best BCD to meet your individual needs – whether that’s diving in the cold waters of Fjord Norway or Thailand’s tropical Similan Islands.

Product images sourced from

Best Inflatable Kayaks – Reviews and Top Picks 2017

Best inflatable kayak adventure-top
Best inflatable kayak adventure-top

Best Inflatable Kayaks – Reviews and Top Picks

One of the most interesting developments in the sport of kayaking has been the emergence of inflatable kayaks, allowing people with limited storage space or those who wish to travel with their kayak to enjoy kayaking’s benefits. Choosing the best inflatable kayak for your needs can be overwhelming though with so many choices now on the market.

Our inflatable kayak reviews will help you make an informed choice and get out on the water – whether in the Värmland of Sweden or the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, you can take your inflatable kayak wherever your next adventure happens to be.

Best Inflatable Kayak Summary

Reviews of the Best Inflatable Kayaks

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Best inflatable kayak Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

The least expensive of the inflatable kayaks we considered, the Intex Challenger offers a great value. It is a good choice for beginners or casual users.

Some taller paddlers found the leg space of this sit-in kayak to be cramped. This option has a weight limit of 220 pounds, with some people noting that it did not perform well toward the top of that limit.

The Intex Challenger K1 is stable and durable, with two air chambers to protect against punctures. It is best designed for calm or flat water.


- Value
- Easy to inflate
- Good storage space
- Easy to get in and out of


- Lower weight limit
- Cramped for tall people

Users generally found this model to be easy to inflate with the included pump and easy to get in and out of. The included paddle received mixed reviews.

The seat bottom can be inflated or left flat. This offers nice flexibility as it allows you some choice in how high up you sit.

This inflatable kayak has ample storage space. It also has a net on the front to hold snacks or small gear.

This is a compact option that takes up little space. However, it does weigh more than the other one person kayak we reviewed, and some users did find it difficult to fold up and get back in the bag after use.

Sevylor Coleman QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak

Best inflatable kayak Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak

One of the most unique features of the Sevylor QuickPak is that it folds up into a lightweight (less than 20 pounds) backpack. This is especially advantageous if you plan to hike to a lake or river with your inflatable kayak.

While this was the second least expensive of the inflatable kayaks we reviewed, it costs far more than the other one person model we considered.

It offers a 400-pound weight capacity and, while difficult tracking was an issue for some lightweight paddlers, heavier paddlers had a positive experience with this model.


- High weight capacity
- Easy to assemble, inflate, and carry


- Poor reviews of paddle
- Difficult tracking

This option is probably best for relatively calm or flat water, such as a lake.

The QuickPak is durable with multiple air chambers to protect against puncture. Some did note that the front of the kayak sometimes lifted up and found it helpful to weigh it down with cargo.

This inflatable kayak is easy and quick to assemble and inflate. However, while paddlers found the pump to be easy to use, some did complain about the low quality of the paddle.

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

Best inflatable kayak Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak Best choice

The Sea Eagle 370 measures 12’ 6” long and 34” wide. It weighs 32 pounds and has a high weight capacity of 650 pounds.

This model is stable and durable. People largely found its tracking to be less than that of a hard shell, but good for an inflatable kayak.

While this kayak is easy to transport and carry to the water, it is likely too heavy and cumbersome to carry for an enjoyable hiking experience. The included carry bag only has one handle and does not easily hold the paddles, making it most suitable to carry only for short distances.


- Convertible to one or two person
- High weight capacity (650 lb.)


- Small storage pockets
- Cumbersome for hiking

One convenient aspect of this model is the flexible seating arrangement. You can remove and rearrange the seats, allowing you to take it out solo or with a friend.

Some users did note that this kayak performed better in windy conditions when two paddlers were on board.

The Pro Package comes with two paddles, two deluxe inflatable seats, a foot pump, a carry case, and a repair kit. Many users reported the deluxe seats (an upgrade from other SE370 packages) to be quite comfortable for an inflatable kayak.

The included foot pump is of high quality, and this kayak is easy to inflate. It also has two carry handles and a self-bailing drain valve.

One downside we found in reviewing the SE370 is its small storage pockets. It only has two mesh pockets, located on the seatbacks, which may be a negative if you wish to bring it out on all-day excursions.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Best inflatable kayak Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

This inflatable kayak is uniquely designed for paddlers who wish to fish. It includes fishing pole holders as well as paddle holders.

The vessel has multiple mesh storage pockets, as well as D-rings, making it easy for you to bring all of the gear you need. The 470 lb. weight capacity helps ensure you can carry any fish you catch back to shore.

This was one of the most durable models we reviewed, with a strong nylon cover on top of multiple air chambers to protect against punctures. It is also a very stable option, though some noted that it was difficult to stay on the desired course on windy days.


- Durable
- Storage pockets
- Stable
- Fishing pole and paddle holders


- Placement of pole holders gets in the way
- Few included accessories

A carry bag and pressure gauge are included, but not a pump or paddles. It has an adjustable seat, carry handles and a one year warranty.

This kayak comes equipped with trolling motor fittings if you wish to add a motor.

While this inflatable kayak is designed for two people, some paddlers found that it could be used as a single as well, with gear placed in the empty seat for balance. Some users also had success bringing their dogs on board for fishing excursions.

The main complaint people had about the Coleman Colorado was the placement of the fishing pole holders, which can get in the way when you’re paddling.

Advanced Elements AE1007-R Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Best inflatable kayak Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The most expensive of the inflatable kayaks we considered, the AE1107-R is also the longest, measuring 15 feet long and 32 inches wide. The length affords plenty of leg room, making this a good choice if you are a taller paddler.

This is a stable option, with many people successfully using it in waves or strong currents. It has a weight capacity of 550 pounds.

Users noted that the AE1007-R has excellent tracking for an inflatable kayak, due in part to the aluminum frame.


- Good tracking
- Convertible to one or two person
- Stable


- Heavy
- Difficult to carry
- Expensive
- Does not include paddle or pump

Three layers of material make this a highly durable choice so that you won’t need to worry about punctures if you hit some rocks while out on the water.

The position of the seats may be adjusted, making this kayak convertible for either one person or two-person rides.

Weighing in at 56 pounds, this kayak is significantly heavier than the others we reviewed. This added weight combined with a carry bag somewhat lacking in functionality makes this inflatable kayak difficult to carry to the water.

Additionally, this kayak does not come with a pump or paddles, which may be a consideration given the higher price point.

Choosing the Best Inflatable Kayak for You

Inflatable Kayak versus Hard Shell?

Traditional hard shell kayaks generally offer superior tracking and speed while inflatables offer more stability and flexibility. Some things to keep in mind when considering an inflatable kayak versus a hard shell are:

· Portability – This is the most obvious benefit of an inflatable kayak and is increasingly relevant as more and more people live in apartments or condos or face storage challenges. The portability of inflatable kayaks also allows you to bring your vessel with you on your travels – saving you the cost of a rental and ensuring you enjoy the quality you’re used when away from home.

· Ease of Use – Inflatable kayaks can weigh as little as 16 pounds and also save you the trouble of securing your kayak to a roof rack every time you want to take it out. You should, however, consider the quality of pump you use and the ease of inflation when selecting your inflatable kayak to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience.

· Experience – Inflatable kayaks are generally more stable, which is particularly important if you’re a beginner. They do offer somewhat less speed and maneuverability than their hard shell counterparts though, so if you’re looking to race, an inflatable may not be the right choice for you.

· Safety – You may like the idea of an inflatable kayak, but wonder, “are inflatable kayaks safe?” Inflatable kayaks are considered at least as safe as hard shells due to their stability and buoyancy. Many inflatables have multiple air chambers to protect against punctures.

Even within the inflatable market, there are a multitude of options available. With so many good choices out there, how should you go about choosing?

Best inflatable kayak

Key Considerations:

Primary Use - Whether you want to kayak in whitewater rapids, the open sea, or a calm lake, there is a kayak designed for that purpose. The shape and length of the kayak are important factors in how it will perform in different water conditions.

For example, white water kayaks turn up at the ends and are rounded on the bottom. Touring kayaks are longer and have more storage space.

Kayaks designed for fitness and recreation offer stability and lower prices, but may not be the best for extreme water conditions.

Social: Do you see yourself embarking alone on a quiet morning on a still lake and capturing photos of the wildlife? Or do you picture heading out with your best friends on a Saturday afternoon to people watch and soak up the sunshine?

One person, two person, and even four person inflatable kayaks are available.

Size: Length, width, depth, and weight capacity will all impact your kayak’s performance. Longer kayaks are faster and more efficient, while shorter kayaks can make quicker turns.

Wider kayaks are more stable but require more energy to paddle. Greater depth can offer more comfort for larger paddlers and provide more storage capacity, but may make for a slower ride.

When considering weight capacity, remember to think about any gear you plan to bring or additional passengers for a multi-person kayak.


As you can see, choosing the best inflatable kayak depends largely on how you plan to use it. However, as the best all-around choice, we recommend the Sea Eagle SE370.

We especially liked that it converts to a solo or tandem kayak while remaining at a reasonable price point. The ease of use, comfortable seats, and stability make this a great choice for getting out on the water.

Product images sourced from

SUP Yoga – What is it and is it worth a try?

Sup yoga

SUP Yoga - What is it and is it worth a try?

Stand up paddle boarding and yoga both offer huge benefits on their own, but what happens when you combine the two? If you’ve seen yogis out on their paddle boards, you may wonder if SUP yoga is a fitness trend meant only for the master yogi, or if it’s something more casual practitioners might enjoy.

Given the fitness benefits, opportunity to improve your yoga technique and meditative aspects of being out on the water, it is certainly worth looking into. Even if you’re sold on giving SUP yoga a try though, how should you go about it? Do you need a special yoga paddle board? Do you need to live by the ocean?

We’ve answered some of the common questions that arise about SUP yoga to remove the intimidation factor and make this fun and challenging activity more approachable for you.

What is SUP Yoga?

SUP yoga refers to practicing yoga on a stand up paddle board. Doing yoga on a SUP often includes a combination of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga.

Do I need to be an expert yogi?

While some familiarity with common yoga poses may be helpful, you by no means need to be an expert. This is because performing even the simplest, most common yoga poses like cat-cow or tree pose offers great benefit.

Even if you have never tried yoga before, there are classes targeted toward beginners.

What are stand up paddle board yoga’s benefits?

The added instability of being on the board coupled with the chance to practice yoga out in nature offers both physical and mental benefits.

What are the physical benefits?

Core Strength: Being out on the water on an unstable surface forces you to constantly use your core for balance. You will also recruit other less frequently used muscles to help you maintain balance, even in simple asanas like child’s pose.

Increased Balance: Stand up paddle board yoga is a constant challenge to your balance. Mastering yoga positions on your board may translate to increased balance when you practice on land, or even in your day to day activities.

Technique – While a skilled yoga instructor can give you valuable feedback, practicing yoga on a SUP may highlight more subtle improvements you can make in your practice, such as exerting equal force on your right and left side. If you are out of balance or favoring one side, you will instantly feel the instability.

What are the mental benefits?

Stress relief: The simple act of taking your practice outside, and especially, taking it to the water, may help you let go of the stresses of everyday life. Scientific studies have shown that being on the water reduces stress.

Focus: Performing even simple poses out on your board will require a greater level of presence and focus. You can’t simply zone out or go through the motions with the added challenge SUP yoga brings.

Let go of Perfectionism: Being out on the water may help you let go of any fear of “messing up” a yoga pose. The environment is so different from what you would find in a yoga studio, and the added challenge and elements like current make it much more likely that even advanced practitioners will stumble, which is perfectly acceptable.

Do I need a special yoga SUP board?

SUP Yoga

As the practice has grown in popularity, specialty SUP yoga boards have emerged on the market. However, if you already have a board or are looking for a more all-purpose board, you certainly don’t need a special yoga SUP.

There are a few key features to keep in mind though to make sure you have a positive experience:

Width: Some yoga- specific boards are as wide as 35 inches to afford greater stability. If you’re using an all-purpose board, you may want to look for one at least 32 inches wide, especially if you’re less experienced.

Surface: You will want to use a board with a deck pad or foam soft top for greater comfort and gripping.

Bungees or Paddle Holder: You will need to keep your paddle secure and your hands free.

Portability: You may want to consider an inflatable SUP if you plan to practice SUP yoga on vacation. If you do go with an inflatable, look for one that is 6 inches thick (some are only 4-5 inches thick) for greater stability.

Comfort: Many yoga-specific boards avoid carry handles in the middle, as these may interfere with postures like savasana. Consider these design details for greater comfort.

High Volume / Weight Capacity: A higher weight capacity than you would normally need will increase stability as you shift your weight and move through different postures.

What gear / accessories do I need?

While you don’t absolutely need anything other than your board, the following may enhance your practice and make you more comfortable:

Anchor – to keep your board in place while you practice, especially if you’re practicing with a friend or group

Paddle Holder or Bungees – so you can be hands-free; some SUPs come with these

Go Pro Mount or Phone Holder – if you’d like to document your yoga flow to critique your own technique or show off to your friends on Instagram

Water Bottle Holder – for easy hydration

LED Lights – if you want to do a sunset flow

Waist Pack PFD (personal flotation device) – to keep you safe without a bulky life vest

Indo Yoga board – to allow you to practice with instability on dry land, like in the winter if you live somewhere cold

Quick Dry Clothing – to give you a comfortable savasana and return paddle, even if you’ve fallen in

Where can I practice SUP yoga?

Flat or calm water like a lake may be best, especially for beginners. Some people do

practice in slow rivers or the ocean, but this increases the difficulty level.

You should also make sure you practice somewhere where it’s safe if you fall, avoiding overcrowded or rocky areas.

How can I get started?

Whether you live in LA, New York, or Columbus, SUP Yoga classes have become quite abundant, and the odds are you can find one near you. Many studios offer private lessons as well.

If a class is not offered near you or you are looking for a more immersive experience, SUP Retreats are now available all over the world.

If you’re on a budget or simply prefer to practice alone, start with the basics to get your balance and get used to the more challenging environment. You may want to simply begin with child’s pose and then move into cat /cow before trying standing poses like Warrior I or tree pose.

To help with stability, try fixing your gaze on a set point on the horizon. Experiment with your form, widening your stance or altering your footing to keep you stable.

Should you give SUP yoga a try?

Our verdict: YES!

Whether you’re looking for a killer ab workout or searching for a little bit of Zen in your busy life, SUP yoga is definitely a trend worth trying. It offers significant mental and health benefits, in addition to being a fun way try something new and add some adventure to your day.

If you’re not sure if SUP yoga is for you, just rent a board and give it a try or take a class with a friend. There’s little commitment and plenty of benefits.