Notes about things regarding scuba diving that I have come to know.

Our DiveMobile

When we began diving in 2005 we took a page from our camping experience and did what we could to streamline how we handled our dive gear. That involved among other things how we clean, store and haul all of the toys this sport entails. Initially our primary dive platform was a long bed Aerostar and it did a nice job. After a few years and nearly a quarter million miles it was time to say goodbye and the search for a replacement began. One day when roaming car lots I tripped over this beast and I liked it so much that I let the bank buy it for me.

A fair amount of what you see loaded stays in place from dive outing to dive outing. Our diving is for all intents and purposes shore diving at fresh and salt water sites around New England, primarily in southern Maine. More often than not we don all of our gear right off the back of the van and return with it to limit the handling. Some sites warrant cylinder changes near the water.

This page is intended to share some of what we carry and how we do so. It's an adaptable system. Sometimes I might bring a hand truck for a remote entry and other times a full picnic cooler comes along. it all depends on the outing. When getting home from a day of diving we can get things all cleaned and hung to dry in about 40 minutes. That includes replenishing consumables in the van and setting some things up for the next outing. Diving from this platform 5 or more times per week in season is not uncommon. I'm showing it here with my gear. If my wife joins me the additional 2 totes, gear bag and what-not pretty much fills it in. I hope you can find an idea or 2 here that will make your dive trips more enjoyable.

This is our dive mobile before we begin to load gear. It's a 2005 GMC Savanna. It's configuration is a little uncommon as it has swinging side doors on both sides. That's great for loading and unloading cylinders with a short reach.

The rear bench seat hasn't been installed in years. This vehicle is mainly used as a truck for diving and other tasks like hauling rubbish to the town transfer station. Up front on the remaining bench seat we usually have extra towels, dive log binders and other needs of the day, like lunch and beverages.

The floor has been covered with EPDM rubber roofing material. The rubber sheeting is ,040" thick and costs about 50 cents per square foot. It is easily trimmed to fit with good scissors and holds up well. I had 3 years on it when the photo was taken. It is intentionally long in the back to keep salt water and general crud off of the back bumper. It's done a great job at keeping the corrosives away from the vehicle.

The next thing that goes in is this curbing. It helps define the cargo bed so things stay in place. it actually overhangs the step wells and adds some usable bed space.

A closer look at the curbing. It's built with common lumber and Luan plywood. It's nothing too fancy except a coat of beige enamel to make it look tidy.
Next in are the 2 cylinder cradles. They are easily accessed from the side doors.
The cradles are just placed in the corners. They also go in our other vehicles for trips to the dive shop and the rare dive outing without this vehicle.

Keeping the heavy load outboard and between the axles makes for a well balanced vehicle and keeps the back door area clear for preparations and gearing up.

They handle all of our cylinders. The boot of a HP80 just hangs off the back and longer cylinders like the HP 100 hang out a little more but balances firmly in the cradle.
A long view with 4 cylinders loaded.

If it's a trip that will require lots of air, 2 more cylinders fit between the cradles with the boots facing forward with a towel in-between to take up the slack.

The cradles keep the cylinders from clanging into each other and offer the valves some protection. Totes can go over the cylinders if needed while the valves are sheltered below.
The yellow toolbox is common vehicle stuff like jumper cables, engine fluids, fuses, basic hand tools and the like.

The orange box is the save-a-dive kit. It's stocked with tools, parts, accessories and plenty of goodies for solving problems in the field.

Not shown but under the bench seat is a red toolbox that is stocked as a first aid kit.

Dive sites vary in sanitary accommodations. Sometimes there are no public facilities or discrete places to answer nature's call. When that's a possibility we bring along our porta-potty. One gallon of water spiked with a packet of RV holding tank deodorized keeps think smelling fresh. It all packs dry in the bucket and we deploy it as needed. It does double duty in the vestibule of the camping tent.
With 2 divers and local exposure protection ranging from a shorty to dry suit we use many weight combinations. We usually carry an assortment of extras to work from and to help a buddy that may come up short or want to mix and match for a configuration check. This hard bottom heavy fabric tool bag makes an awesome weight bag.
The porta-pottie, weight bag and weight belt du-jour get loaded forward to help concentrate the center of gravity.
In goes the DAN oxygen kit. When going remote we bring along a larger back-up cylinder.
The BC and regulator usually go into a tote alone to travel undisturbed.

I'm only showing my gear here. Usually this is doubled when adding my wife's stuff.

All of the other loose gear gets loaded into a second tote. If diving dry, the dry suit gets a 3rd tote.

As the totes get emptied pre-dive we each flip one over to use as a table for staging small items like mask, lights, fins & gloves. We take or clip these things after donning our BC and toss the tote in the van before heading to the water.

The totes go in along with a few small tarps to change on or for setting get on as needed.
My gear bag and fins go in next.

Fins may be loose or standing in a tote depending on my mood. The dry suit tote and garment bag may be added at this point too. As mentioned these items often double when my wife joins in.

A basket of 1/2 liter rinse / quenching water bottles set at the door. We use these for lots of things like quenching ourselves after donning wetsuits on a warm sunny day. A sh0t of water down the neck breaks the heat stress. We leave a few out to rinse keys after the dive and to rinse regulator connections before breaking them free. They come in handy to rinse sand and what not from the gear lo lessen the mess we bring home. Lastly when changing a good rinse useful after diving wet.
The last thing we don't want to forget is a fox tail brush to keep the cargo bed tidy.

If we pack carefully we can even bring camping gear for a week but that's a whole other story.

This page created March 2010