Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!The dive gear is cluttering the guest room. It’s a dried, organized, checked for wear and tear, checked off my “to take” list, and ready to be packed. Here’s my packing system explained.

When I purchased all my dive gear; it was a large expenditure. In the past, I rented or borrowed gear, but a couple years ago, I realized I’d be doing a lot more diving and would want and need my own gear. As long as I was getting all new dive gear… it was a great time to go ahead and splurge on updated fins, mask, snorkel – everything! With all those purchases, buying specially-designed dive bags got put on a back burner.

As a big fan of “Use What You Have Decorating,” I decided to use what I already had for holding my new gear. Yes, I wouldn’t be all coordinated and new with my previously-loved-items storage system, however, arriving on a dive boat with all new matching, color-coordinated bags might scream “newbie,” and I figured I’d rather be looked at as odd or thrifty rather than as an amateur.

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

First, I checked my attic and found a perfectly serviceable rolling duffle bag; soft sides, quick drying, and all my gear fit perfectly in it. It’s narrower than my dive partner’s Blackhawk dive bag, so it rolls between a cruise ship bunk and bulkhead easier. It weighs 6.3 pounds. Next, I found a padded laptop bag. Brilliant! Perfect fit and construction for my regulator and dive computer. Lacking a proper cinch bag, I elected to simply use a canvas zippered tote for my BCD that it just fit into.

Early on, I realized I would want to establish a packing system for keeping my gear organized within a larger rolling duffel bag. My plan was to have separate components to secure the gear in the huge bag, and provide the ability to remove any one set of items independently. In other words, I would not need to take everything out of the bag to access one single item; only the container in which that item was located. Turns out the system works perfectly!

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

When I was shopping for my BCD, I had carefully considered just exactly what type of diving I really would be doing, and chose accordingly. In another post, I’ll cover all the considerations and pro’s and con’s this search covered. I chose the Zeagle Zena, and one of “her” features was “packability.”

In the showroom of my LDS – my Local Dive Shop – iDive Florida, I discovered I could fit my new Zena BCD and the regulator, gauges, computer completely in their Stahlsac designed for the regulator set up only! The Zena can be compressed to a rather small package. I wasn’t ready to spend the money on the Stahlsac bag, especially since I had already realized the laptop bag would do.

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

My regulator and gauges fit perfectly into an old Soren laptop bag. While you may laugh, I figured that a bag designed to protect a delicate $1,500 laptop certainly could protect my precious Suunto Zoop Novo dive computer! The bag is made of durable fabric, is fully padded, unzips all the way around, has pockets, unzips flat for a great padded working surface, and even has a hook and loop strap to keep my gear secure. It has top handles, so it can slide over the handle of a wheeled bag for travel, and it is fairly slim. I rinse it every time it encounters salt water, and it dries rather quickly. I imagine there are stacks of laptop bags just languishing at outlet and discount stores, or even in your closet! “Use what you have decorating” at it’s best!

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

For my BCD, I decided to use a canvas bag from the Albury Sail Loft on Man-O-War Cay in the Bahamas. The sail loft is a family-owned business that produces very recognizable canvas bags with their famous “MOW” patch. The bags are unmistakable; a real status symbol as they are not sold online; you must actually visit the island in order to purchase their bags. I’ve been in the Frankfurt, Germany airport and had someone comment on my bag; they are that identifiable! The drawback to using a canvas bag is it does not dry easily, so I try to use it only for separating and compressing my BCD. I carry a mesh bag for transporting all the gear later once it’s wet.

All those small items I carry around; my Akona Seco dive booties, which happen to be self-bailing, dive slate, sunscreen, gloves, and other small items all fit perfectly in the mesh and nylon dust bag that came with the Akona booties. I found mine at iDive in St. Augustine, FL.

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

For knives and dive lights, I use a mesh drawstring bag to keep them organized and grouped.

My dive weights, well, I broke down and purchased a bag specifically designed to hold them. I chose it because it was the only bag they had in stock at Force-E Scuba Center in Riviera Beach, FL. It’s the Akona Weight Bag, and it is very sturdy and rinses and dries easily.

My fins go in the big rolling bag first, to provide a barrier to protect everything since my rolling duffel is not heavy duty. My wetsuit goes in last, also to provide padding to the contents of the bag. If dive weights are coming with me; they go in the bottom of the bag to help the duffel stay upright. Mask box and dry box go toward the top so I don’t have to unzip very far to access them, and they are protected from above by the handle and anything I put in the top area, like a shirt or towel, which I place in a Scubapro dry bag. I won mine in a raffle at a NAS JAX Skin & Scuba Club meeting.

pack dive gear roll, Pack Your Dive Gear! Let’s Roll!

So, that’s my packing system! It’s working, however, I am considering a new rolling duffel. Since I already have the Akona weight bag, and it seems very durable, I’m considering the Akona Roller Backpack. I looked at it briefly at Force-E. I iked it, and it seemed not too wide, but I didn’t like the 14 pounds it weighs. I suppose that is the trade-off; weight for durability.

What I Learned: I probably have some type of bag for any dive gear storage need I have, and other people probably do too. Lighter bags are preferable to canvas since it gets and stays wet and heavy. For the price of a new rolling bag, I can go dive a couple more times while I agonize over the choices available.

Any suggestions on a travel dive bag?

Details:

I can get ALL my dive gear AND clothes and shoes in this: Akona Roller Dive Gear Travel Backpack

Bill fits either all his dive gear and clothing, or both our sets of dive gear into his BLACKHAWK! Enhanced Divers Travel Bag with Wheels

That red tag on the bag – our Divers Alert Network insurance!

Where to dive out of Nassau on New Providence Island: Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas

Akona Roller Backpack
Akona Seco Dive Booties
Akona Weight Bag
Albury Sail Loft Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas
Blackhawk Rolling Dive Bag
iDive St. Augustine, Florida Dive Shop
NAS JAX Skin & Scuba Club
Scubapro Compact Dry Bag
Stahlsac Regulator Bag
Suunto Zoop Novo Dive Computer
Zeagle Zena BCD

Also pictured but not mentioned in the article:

Royal Caribbean Luggage Tag – A promotional gift received on board the ship!
DAN Divers Alert Network luggage tag – Available in event support packages; I got mine from my local dive club, NAS JAX Skin & Scuba.
NAUI luggage tag – This was a freebie promotional item; the closest I can find is Jelly Luggage Tags from Lewis N. Clark.

Packing Checklists

DAN Basic Packing Checklist
PADI’S Ultimate Scuba Vacation Packing List
Scuba Diver Life’s Ultimate Dive Trip Prep and Packing List – scroll down a bit for the packing list!
Scuba Center.com Sample Packing List
Leisure Pro Scuba Diving Packing List
HerPackingList.com’s Ultimate Female Travel Packing List for a Scuba Diving Trip

What to Read Next: Rinsing and Drying Your Dive Gear on a Cruise

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