I’ve spoken before about keeping a small kit of easily found bits in order to keep your camera housing in top order. If something goes wrong and actually breaks while you’re travelling, then you’ll need something more.
Here’s a list of stuff to keep in your repair kit, so you can get back in the water.
If you have a repair kit for your dive gear, you likely already have a few of these already, so don’t double up!
- Tools can increase your baggage weight significantly. Pack only what you need, so check over the various screws in your housing and strobe before packing.
- Some tools, like multitools with knives, cannot be brought on as hand/carry-on luggage. Put in your check-in bags only!
Multi-tool. Not a Swiss-army knife, but something like a Leatherman. Even a small mini-multi-tool is great for most jobs. Cutting cables, unscrewing bolts and so forth.
I recommend one with needle-nose pliers, as opposed to linesman / combination pliers.
Allen-key set. For those small, odd screws. If you can, maybe replace them. I replaced all the star-screws in my laptop with philips-head screws, for example. Cost: about $1.50USD
Tiny screw drivers. These are good for changing dive computer batteries as well. I also use flatheads for scraping corrosion or gunk from hard to reach places.
Spare O-rings. Usually hard to buy, but you probably got a few when you bought your strobes and housing. Find them – they’re probably at the bottom of the box they came in, or slipped inside the manual you only read once. I recommend putting them in small plastic bags, and put a piece of masking tape on the bag with the item and location it should go. For example, “V10S torch, battery compartment”, or “D850 housing, inner main ring”.
If you know exactly the dimensions (internal diameter, thickness) and material type, then I highly recommend Bohemia Seal, based in Czech Republic (Czechia). Their prices are fantastic and they ship worldwide.
Fibre optic cable. For your strobes. Now, when this breaks, it really sucks. Fortunately, they’re easy to replace. Just use normal TV/Hi-fi/audio or computer network optic cable. You might need to whittle a little with your multitool, but it’ll work. You don’t need a perfect connection, and you’re not sending data – it just needs to be bright enough to trigger your flash.
For quick repairs that do not have to be durable, superglue will do the job, is small, and can be bought just about anywhere. For the more concerned readers, go for sealant or epoxy.
WARNING. There can be travel restrictions on certain products, due to flammability. Do not attempt to bring such products on a flight, in check-in or carry-on luggage.
Sealant. Not for the housing, but for everything around it. Affixing optic cables, internal repairs or just holding something together.
Epoxy, 2 part. For sealant or epoxy, I usually recommend buying locally. Best not travel with this stuff. It’s often easy to find. In any case, this is what you use if something needs to be put back together and never come apart.
I wouldn’t trust housing shell repairs with this, though. If your shell cracks, get a new housing – do not try to repair the main housing.
Toiletry bag. This acts more like a soft-pack, light weight tool box for everything. If you get one that opens flat, you can also use it like a work space, to help catch screws. But keep everything in ziplock bags – small ones.
Big thanks to the Western Australian Underwater Photographic Society (WAUPS) for helping inspire and contribute to this article!