Northwest Dive & Travel Expo 2012: Day 2 Coverage

The following are the highlights from the show floor of the 2nd day of the  2012 Pacific Northwest Dive & Travel Expo in Tacoma WA:

  • We were impressed with the unique and sturdy Aqualung 3 LED  Alu Trio Dive light, which has a distinctive, flattened, elliptical shape that fits easily in a BC or drysuit pocket. The anodized aluminum light puts out 780 lumens using 8 AA batters but only 4 are required to use the light at full power. The extra batteries increase the burn time. At first glance you might wonder about the fit, but it feels natural and comfortable in your hand. MSRP is $350. There is also a traditional round Alu Solo which puts out 260 lumens.
  • We stopped by and chatted with Doc of Doc’s Pro Plugs. Doc has been a fixture at dive shows for decades. He said he created the Pro Plugs back,  in 1978. We find the Pro Plugs are great for helping divers prevent ear problems. Today we learned today that their unique design with the small hole piercing the center also makes them useful at rock concerts and races. The small hole cuts down on the noise but still allows you to hear what is going on.
  • Fans of the Light and Motion Sola 1200 dive light  often ask if a car charger is available.  Talking with the Sola rep at the booth, the rep realized that they have a car charger in their famous bicycle line that will work with the Sola 1200. He promised to make it available to dive shops. (OPPS – UPDATE: We called Light and Motion to confirm and it turns out that this product is not availailable. The sell a standard car DC plug to 110 volt adapter, but no direct car to the Sola adapter. Sorry.)
  • Jason Gallic of Palo Alto Software showed us their business planning software which he says can help dive shops with sales and marketing. We’re getting a copy for review and will report back.
  • The makers of Frog Spit mask defogger, which we have tested and liked, made a smaller dispenser. Divers commented that their previous 2 oz. size allowed too much product to be applied to the mask. The newer size is a small spray dispenser.  Also available are small travel dispensers similar to the design of single use eye drop containers but they still hold several days use of Frog Spit in each. These packages are sealed and can be carried in your dry suit or BCD pocket.
  • Zeagle has a new travel BC called the Wicked Lite. Weighing in at less than 4 lbs, this back inflate BC rolls up in a neat package that will fit easily into your luggage. It has 32 lbs of lift and can carry 16 lbs of weight. MSRP is $400.
  • The Dive Commercial International booth rep told us that some commercial divers are switching from the traditional compressed neoprene drysuits in favor of the super-flexible Whites drysuits.
  • For the first time, Huish Outdoors had all three of their recently acquired companies together on the show floor, Atomic, BARE and StahlSac. BARE was showing their SB System drysuit along with their other new drysuits with similar features except for the breathability.
  • Many visitors to the DUI booth were interested in the new Flex Extreme. We found it interesting when the rep reported that there is a trend of more people wanting to dive dry.
  • SSI Training had multiple local dive shops working together in their booth. What a concept!!!
  • NAUI Worlwide gets the best free bags at the show award, with the return of their colorful and useful bags that were on hiatus last year.