Essential Ice Diving Gear & Equipment | Scuba Diving Magazine

Essential Scuba Gear and Equipment for Ice Diving and Cold-Water Environments

People Cutting Hole in Ice Scuba Diving

Divers use tongs to remove a triangle-wedge of ice before going diving in frozen lakes.

Gerald Nowak

There is no more gear-intensive niche of diving. Consider that setup for an ice dive can commence at 9 a.m., with first divers splashing in at noon.

In the three hours in between, a four-wheeler clears the snow. Next come chain saws.

Tongs remove a triangle-wedge of ice large enough to cool the world’s biggest cocktail. More gear. Ice screws. Locking carabiners. Divers suit up in harnesses and helmets. Safety team suits up in flotation gear.

The entry point is staked with caution tape, to warn passersby, but perhaps also to remind students of the myriad rules. Don’t breathe on your regulator on the surface because it might freeze. Your helmet is the only thing ­keeping you from smacking your noggin against ice in the event of a runaway ascent. Under the ice, divers travel no more than a combined horizontal and vertical distance of 130 feet. Is it worth it? Save that thought for the warming hut.

5 Essential pieces of ice-diving gear and equipment

Scuba Diving Drysuit Hood

Pinnacle Aquatics Drysuit Hood

Courtesy Pinnacle Aquatics

Pinnacle Aquatics Drysuit Hood

Pinnacle Aquatics’s 7 mm merino ­drysuit hood features a short-cut collar and a gusseted rear zipper that makes donning and doffing easier. The smooth-skin inner lining seals with your drysuit neck seal. Available in sizes small to XXL.
Price: $69 More Info:


Scuba Diving BC for Cold Water

Apeks Black Ice Scuba BC

Zach Stovall

Apeks Black Ice

Even the name of this weight-integrated BC suggests that the ­heavy-duty construction won’t let you down. Its oversize weight pouches are just what you need to help dial in your buoyancy for this type of tec diving.
Price: $715 More Info:


Cold Water Scuba Diving Regulator

Mares Abyss 22 Navy Regulator

Zach Stovall

Mares Abyss 22 Navy Reg

If you’re looking for a reg that can be pushed to extremes, look no further than the Abyss 22 Navy, which was the first reg approved for cold-water use by the military. The first stage has a dry-sealed spring chamber to prevent freezing and protect internal compartments from contaminants.
Price: $629 More Info:


Drysuit for Cold Water Scuba Diving

Bare Sports HDC Expedition Tech Drysuit

Zach Stovall

Bare Sports HDC Expedition Tech Dry

If this suit — made from ­flexible Cordura fabrics — looks like it wouldn’t withstand the rigors of ice diving, think again. The ­heavy-duty kneepads are made from Kevlar — the same material used in body armor — and its slim “cave cut” design improves its ­in-water dynamics.
Price: $2,999.95 More Info:


Scuba Diving Finger Mitts for Cold Water Diving

Bare Sports 7 mm K-Palm Three-Finger Mitt

Courtesy Bare Sports

Bare Sports 7 mm K-Palm Three-Finger Mitt

If you prefer a ­three-finger mitt-style glove, the ­double-glued, blind-stitched K-Palm has a Kevlar covering on high-abrasion areas such as the palm and fingers, and a gauntlet-style ­adjustable cuff that ­minimizes ­water ­intrusion.
Price: $51.95 More Info: