Assembling the perfect set of dive gear can take a long time. The quest for the right mask, BCD, fins and accessories is definitely not a one-size-fits-all scenario — especially for women

The gear compiling process usually involves several steps. One key step is research. This takes the form of reading, watching videos or talking to fellow divers about gear that works well for them. Then it’s time to invest. At this point, a trial-and-error phase begins as you figure out the exact size that works best for you. Eventually, after repeating the process for each piece of kit, you will have an all-star cast of dive gear. Et voila!

It is worth noting that taking the time to find the perfect gear is worth the effort. It results in greater in-water comfort and increases the chances of enjoying your time in the water. Handily, these key dive gear pieces also make great gift ideas for female scuba divers, but be sure to check return policies!

To help you on your path to in-water security, comfort and style, we’ve put together a list of our top 12 dive gear pieces (including recommendations) a female diver should never be without.

padi women dive gear

1. Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)/Buoyancy Compensator (BC)

A comfortably fitting BCD is undoubtedly one of the most valuable items in any diver’s gear bag. Female BCDs are designed with the feminine form in mind. This means they sit higher on the waist and eliminate that uncomfortable friction which can often occur when women use a lower-sitting BCD designed for men. 

You may also want to check out BCDs with integrated weights to replace a waist weight belt which can often ride high (especially during inverted movements). Additionally, some women’s BCDs include a bra-like layer to offer additional support to the wearer.

2. Neoprene Vest

If you’re going to be diving in cooler waters or logging multiple dives in a day, it may be time to add some optional additional layers into your dive gear bag. A neoprene vest, with or without a hood (your choice), is a quick and easy way to do this. Note: Henderson offers a range of neoprene vests for women in sizes 4 to 14.

padi women dive gear womens dive day

3. Wetsuit or Drysuit (With Style)

Ready to mix up that all-black wetsuit look? Then surf brands, such as Body Glove and Roxy, may be what you’re looking for. A stylish wetsuit is a great way to stand out from the crowd (and your fellow divers). They are available in different patterns, colors and general styles.

Note: The 3/2mm Synchro Plus Chest Zip Suit is worth browsing. It features vibrant blue and pink coloring, alongside a cut which flatters the female form.

The same goes for drysuits. Because many drysuits are designed with men in mind, it’s important to look for one made specifically for women to ensure a proper fit. Check out the Fourth Element Women’s Hydra Neoprene Drysuit.

female dive gear essentials rash guard two girls on beach

4. Rash Guard

There are multiple reasons to have a rash guard in your essential dive gear set. Not only can a rash guard bring a hint of style to your dive day outfit, it can also add an extra layer of in-water warmth. Furthermore, a lot of rash guards offer SPF protection (eliminating the need for sunscreen), while making it easier to slip into a wetsuit at the same time.

Check out the line of rash guards available on PADI Gear. They’re super stylish and made from recycled plastic material.

5. Mask (Frameless)

Being able to see clearly underwater is even more important than when you’re on the surface. Masks are generally unisex creations. However, given the wide range of head shapes and sizes out there, one type of mask does not cater for every head. This means a mask that works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else — even if they happen to be of a similar size.

Frameless masks are a great option if you want to enjoy a more complete field of view and see more of your face in photos.

padi gear dive trshbag trash collection bag

6. Trshbg Ocean Cleanup Bag

This Trshbg Ocean Cleanup Bag makes it easier to play a part in keeping our oceans trash free. The hip-and-leg bag (which can be mounted on either leg thanks to its symmetrical design) allows you to collect trash as you happen across it during dives. Its smart design lets you push trash into the net where it’s held securely until it’s time for post-dive emptying using the built-in zipper. In addition, each bag is made from up-cycled, quick-drying materials.

7. Fins/Booties

A bad set of fins on your feet can turn any dive into a bad one. Whether they’re too tight and rubbing excessively, or too loose and keep constantly trying to escape, having to focus on your feet instead of the amazing things in front of you never results in a good time. And, as women generally have smaller feet, this can be huge issue with rental fins.

Combining a set of boots with fins offers several advantages over skin-to-boot fins. Not only do boots provide an additional layer of protection, they can also be worn when you’re not diving. When combined with a set of adjustable fins, each part of the on/off process is a lot easier and quicker for everyone involved.

padi dive gear hoodie shark teeth

8. Hoodie

Staying toasty on dive day mornings or warming up after a long dive is an essential element of any comfortable dive day. Hoodies provide you with the additional layers you need to be comfy and cozy during boat journeys, surface intervals or anytime you’re topside. The innovative designs available on PADI Gear include shark teeth, diving flags and a whale shark.

9. Neoprene Hood

If you’re particularly susceptible to cooler underwater conditions or just like the comfort of having your head covered, you may want to consider adding a neoprene hood to your gear. Standard all-black options are both functional and are usually more budget friendly. 

However, unique underwater accessories are easier to spot in a group of divers. So choosing something a little out of the ordinary, like an animal-inspired neoprene hood, can keep you safer underwater, too.

padi dive gear long sleeve hooded sun shirt

10. Sun Shirt 

With their UPF-50 sun protection, lightweight build quality and relaxed fit, unisex sun shirts are made with topside comfort in mind. In addition, if you buy a sun shirt on PADI Gear, you know each shirt is made from 100% recycled materials, including 15 landfill-sourced bottles, meaning both you and the environment benefit from these stylish gear additions.

11. Sun Mask/Gaiter

Whether you’re dealing with bitterly cold air in your face during a high-speed boat ride or too much sun during a surface interval, having a sun mask at your disposal is a smart idea. From a headband to a scarf, these versatile gear additions can be worn in pretty much any arrangement on your head. They can cover hold your hair out of the way or even act as an air-filtering face mask.

dive gear essentials women padi activewear model on beach

12. Swim Leggings

A good pair of swim leggings may actually become the first thing you reach for at the start of any dive day. From making it easier to slip into your wetsuit to providing an extra layer of warmth, these versatile wardrobe additions will more than earn their place in your dive-day ensemble.

Convinced? Check out PADI’s activewear collection, which includes a range of eco-friendly swim leggings. Furthermore, each set has an available rash guard pairing if you’re looking for a complete outfit.

Diver looking at Manta Ray

You’ll find plenty more female-friendly gear ideas in our Women’s Dive Day Collection. And, don’t forget to sign up for a PADI Women’s Dive Day event! Discover what’s going on near you below.

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