Your Scuba Gear Bag
Whether you’re scuba diving near your home or on an exotic dive vacation, you need a sturdy dive bag to transport your scuba gear.
Scuba equipment is bulky and sometimes heavy, especially when wet. A gear bag provides a sturdy container that makes it easier to carry your stuff, keep it organized and protect it. Typically, a scuba diver carries all scuba diving equipment except a scuba tank, weights and underwater photography equipment in a gear bag. Dry suits usually have their own gear bag.
Also known as : dive bag, gear bag, equipment bag, kit bag, duffle, scuba bag, scuba gear bag
Sturdy design – All though dive gear bags look similar to cargo bags made for other purposes, they’re actually designed specifically for the job. The most important design difference is that they’re made from heavy duty fabric that will not rot from water exposure. They also use heavy, reinforced stitching so the bag doesn’t fail at the seams.
Large, corrosion-proof zippers – The most common failure point you see on bags used for diving that aren’t intended for it is the zipper either jamming or failing and splitting open (which is a disaster if it happens as checked baggage). Gear bags have large gauge zippers that don’t corrode, and stand up to the stress dive equipment can create.
Weight-supporting straps – Similarly, gear bags have straps designed for the purpose. They’re heavily reinforced so they won’t tear out and/or pass all the way under the bag to take the weight.
Wheels – Why lug it when you can roll it? Many bags have wheels on one end so you glide effortlessly through the airport or down the dock.
Backpack design – Of course, you can’t roll over all surfaces, so some gear bags are giant backpacks. You can get scuba gear bags that are backpacks with wheels for the best of both.
Drain holes – You’re going to throw wet gear into your bag, so it’s nice if that water can find its way out. Many bags have small reinforced holes for this. Just don’t check your bag for air travel with it still gushing water.
Detachable pocket – Some gear bags have a removable pocket for fragile items you take diving, but don’t want to check. This lets you remove the pocket to carry on at the airport. Uh, don’t try to carry on your dive knife.
Lots of pockets, few pockets – Some divers like lots of compartments so they can organize. Others like a big sack they just pile everything into. Neither is better – just choose which you like.
How to choose a gear bag
A gear bag is an investment, but getting a good one returns your investment by lasting years and protecting your gear.
- Choose a bag that is about 33% larger than what you currently need. You’ll end up using the space.
- Buy the right bag once. Trying to make do with something other than a proper gear bag is often more expensive, typically in the form of lost or damaged scuba gear.
- Check the warranty. Some bags have longer warranties. They cost more, but bags take a beating and a long warranty can go a long way.
- You want your gear bag and your gear bag. When diving in tropical destinations, often you can fly your gear in a regular gear bag, but at the dive resort, all you may need is a heavy duty, mesh equipment bag.
- Pack to fly, then pack to dive. Between rising baggage charges and security screenings, it seems the airlines basically want people to show up naked with a wad of cash. That doesn’t work for divers, but planning will reduce baggage costs. Weigh your bags. If necessary, put gear in your clothes bag and clothes in your gear bag so you have two bags that are within weight instead of one well within and the other overweight. Redistribute everything when you arrive.