Some pieces of scuba gear are essential for life support. The diving regulator is one piece that keeps you alive underwater. It supplies the air you breathe – that is for those of us who don’t have gills. This scuba gear review of the Mares MR22 ABYSS regulator results from my personal experience. I dove with the MR22 over a 13-year period of my diving life.
After my first few years of diving with a cheaper model regulator, I realized that my diving style needed an upgrade. It was too intense for those low-end items that preserved my health. (In my younger years I went for the cheap on my initial scuba equipment mainly due to my less than mild mannered way of living.)
At the time of my regulator upgrade decision the MR22 ABYSS was the state of the art regulator that my local dive shop carried. After diving for those first few years I knew that scuba diving was definitely a part of my life. So I decided to get the best model regulator available.
The first stage uses a balanced diaphragm design. The diaphragm separates the control chamber from the water pressure and main spring.
The second stage offers minimized breathing effort by way of the Vortex Assisted Design (VAD). This feature gives high performance at all recreational diving depths. It also works well under extreme conditions such as cold-water descents. The VAD has a bypass tube that pulls the expanding air in the second stage. The tube flows air around the second stage valve. Then delivers that air straight to the breathing chamber for the diver’s inhalation cycle.
The VAD construction also makes for a lower risk of the regulator freezing up.
For cold water temperatures Mares provides a Cold Water Diving (CWD) Kit. (Water below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is cold water.) This kit further prevents regulator freeze up. The CWD is optional and requires authorized service center installation.
During my years of diving this particular piece of scuba gear I experienced free flow on very few occasions. Each time that happened I found that I dropped the regulator into the water with the mouthpiece up. The free flow stopped every time when I turned the regulator over so the mouthpiece pointed downward.
I found the MR22 ABYSS has a lack of flexibility at the end of the hose. I also think the maintenance costs are high.
Sometimes I secure my regulator with a hose keeper so I don’t need to search behind me if it gets loose. Many times over the years I forgot to pull the hose out of the keeper when I descended. With this regulator hose held by the keeper I found restricted head movement from side to side. In fact, a couple times when a motion to the side grabbed my attention, and I swung my head to see what it was, the regulator ripped out of my mouth.
That’s not much fun when you’re on the inhale cycle.
Annual maintenance costs for the ABYSS are high. Close to three times the maintenance fees of some of the other high-end regulators.
The best thing about the MR22 is its breathing ease when you’re hovering face up underwater. I often like to establish buoyancy at depth and hover face up watching the sun’s rays dancing around on the surface. This regulator is the easiest breathing piece of scuba equipment I’ve used in that position.
During the time my Mares MR22 ABYSS kept me alive underwater I enjoyed its performance.
When you’re looking to buy new, or different, life support diving equipment I recommend that you try it out. Make a few dives on the scuba gear in consideration before making the purchase commitment. But I don’t think you’ll go wrong if you decide this regulator fits your diving style.
The Mares MR22 ABYSS is one model of scuba gear that I highly recommend for scuba diving life support.