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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Spare Air 300 Emergency 3.0 Cu. Ft. Pony Bottle Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Spare Air 300 Emergency 3.0 Cu. Ft. Pony Bottle Review Posted in: Between $251-$500, Other Accessories

Two basic questions cut to the core of buying a back-up breathing unit, such as Spare Air’s 300 pony bottle: is a redundant air system really necessary, and what redundant system best meets my needs. Even a modest stand-alone back-up bottle like the Spare Air 300 isn’t cheap, and more elaborate pony bottles are even more expensive.

For recreational divers, spare air systems sometimes seem like going overkill on safety. If you own your own scuba kit, you probably have confidence in it, and your buddy should be close at hand in an emergency anyway. Most casual recreational divers, however, have never had a panicked or incompetent diver put them into trouble before. The first time a crazed diver whose own air supply is compromised yanks on your hoses and pulls your own regulator out of your mouth changes the way you look at diving safety, because it makes every unknown buddy you pair up with on a dive a cause for concern. Finally, just because you keep up on your routine maintenance does not absolutely preclude accidental gear failure.

Spare Air is the perfect back-up air system for recreational divers for several reasons. It has sufficient air to reach the surface under normal open water circumstances. Tests by Popular Mechanics indicated that the 3.0 cu.-foot Spare Air bottle last for less than a minute at 100 feet and about 90 seconds at 60 feet, so the capacity is ample for a controlled ascent. Unlike many pony bottles, the Spare Air 300 is small enough to be stored in an easily accessed holster mounted on a BCD, whereas most bigger pony bottles are attached to the main air cylinder. The latter arrangement is bulkier, less convenient, and not as easily accessed in an emergency. Finally, a diver can easily give the Spare Air bottle to another diver, making it very flexible.

Ultimately, a Spare Air bottle is the type of safety gear that it is better to have, because the day you or a dive buddy needs it is the day it more than pays for itself. If you solo dive, a back-up system like Spare Air is absolutely essential. It is also a logical gift choice for non-divers who worry about their diver spouse, friend or relative’s safety. The Spare Air 300 is so convenient to wear that if a diver gets it, they have no excuse for not strapping it on, and having it widens a diver’s safety margin just that much more.

Average Price: $299