Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Is dedicated dive gear luggage worth the expense, or will regular luggage do the trick? Will other, more serious divers judge you? Will your gear be destroyed? Here’s an analysis of what we’ve found through traveling by car, plane, and cruise ship.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of an Ordinary Rolling Duffle Bag

An ordinary duffle bag that rolls is often very lightweight, which is one of its main benefits. The ones I have weighed are definitely under ten pounds, and often run around the five-pound mark, outperforming branded dive gear “lightweight” versions that are pleased to weight around seven pounds.

They are easy to replace, and they have a lot of options in the colors and styles available. Also, there are lots of different features available such as length of , and you can use TSA-approved locks on them.

The drawbacks would be that they have no specially-padded sections, the material might be less tough material for where sharp edges like the blades or fins protrude. Also, they might not be long enough for fins.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

My dive partner uses an LLBean rolling bag that runs a bit over $100, and I use one from Game, South Africa that was about R190, or, $20. It’s lasted almost 20 years. Above he’s got his regulators in an actual regulator bag!

Lightweight, inexpensive – you’ll use these a lot, and have a low “cost per use” from them.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Heavy Duty Dive Gear Travel Bag Benefits and Drawbacks

Easily recognizable bags with the words SCUBA on them alerting everyone that expensive equipment is inside is one of my main complaints with dive-specific luggage. I really hate to announce that I am carrying $2,000 worth of gear in this one bag.

Also, why include draining pockets for fins which actually dry first? Who is swimming right up until they jump on the plane, and needs to pop those fins in right before takeoff, with them dripping?

Usually a padded section for your regulator is included. However, to me this almost doesn’t matter since I’m going to take it out and carry my regs on the plane with me anyway. I’ve been using a padded laptop case that is more space-saving than “traditional” regulator bags.

My dive partner has a heavy duty rolling dive bag from Blackhawk, the BLACKHAWK! Enhanced Divers Travel Bag with Wheels above. It’s served him well for over 20 years, has enough room for two sets of gear. The main drawback is that it is so wide, it’s not great for cruise ship dive trips.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

When the Tough Dive Bags Are Great

So… I did pick up two of the Akona Roller Dive Gear Travel Backpacks, and I do love the tough wheels. They work just fine for car trips when weight and space is not an issue. We can fit two sets of dive gear in one, or one set and a month’s worth of clothes.

For a cruise, weight is not a factor, and your bags get a lot of rough handling, so that is the perfect time to use these fourteen-pounders.

The weight of some of these bags precludes you from flying with them – and that is the very time you do want all that extra rigidity and thicker fabric. I say save your money unless you are cruising, the, by all means, invest.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Middle of the Road, the Lightweight Range.

Recently, I purchased a “less than” bag from Akona; the Akona Carry-On Roller Bag Less Than 7LBS. I love it dearly. If I bend my fins, I can fit my entire diving kit in it. I wrap my regs in my BCD, mask in its case, flashlights in their case, and still have room for a few clothing items.

However, I don’t like to leave my fins bent for too long. It’s a great bag for travel by any method – car, plane, or cruise ship. It’s lightweight enough to heft around easily, and the handle is long enough that I don’t bash my ankles.

My dive partner just got the newly-released Scubapro GO Travel Fins , and they are 24″ long. Also saved him about five pounds. Check the length of yours carefully.

Final evaluation: I love the Akona bag, except for the bending my fins part.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons


Speaking of the mask case, on a recent dive to Cuba I learned some funny useful adaptations. When you’re not diving, the best place for your mask is in its case so it does not get scratched.

When you are diving and the mask is on your face, the mask case is the best place to put the sunglasses you just took off of your face, and your cell phone for protection.

I always keep my cell phone in a Lifeproof FRE Waterproof case. I don’t like the Nuud case because it lacks the sturdy back; only the FRE is really tough. I can shoot video and record with that case.

Yes, I carry my cell phone with me, even out of the country, and on dive boats, so I can mark the dive sites as we are anchoring, I can take a picture and it will be geotagged to where we are plus I can mark the latitude and longitude on Dive Log SPG.

Another thing we do is carry a lighter mesh duffle bag in our large travel bag, and use that for getting on and off dive boats. Working around a large rolling bag on a dive boat would be tough!

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Important Considerations – Flying

If you intend to fly, pay close attention to the measurement and weight allowances of the carrier on which you are flying. This laptop case works well as a carry-on for my regulators. I already owned it, and it’s well-padded.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

It’s a bit surprising what actually fits into the overheads on planes. Remember that you have a bit of leeway with length, and maybe even with width, but when it comes to the thickness of your bag front to back; there’s no cheating that.

Call and ask if there are diving or excess package. They may offer you additional weight and number of bags. Also, they may be less expensive than excess baggage fees.

Also, pay close attention to weight allowances. Carry a tiny luggage scale with you – we bring an inexpensive Digital Hanging Luggage Scale – if you were right on the edge, purchased a few souvenirs and are carrying a wet wetsuit, you might slip over the limit.

I’ve got an article coming up soon about how we saved nearly 20 pounds each by making some easy modifications to our dive gear – subscribe to the blog so you will receive notifications when new articles are published.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Flight Thoughts

Pay attention to rules about batteries; remove them from your torches, and consult if they must be in your checked bags. Dive computer will do best in your carry-on, regulators too. Some people remove the dive computer battery so if there’s a problem, the computer is not ruined, and it does not accidentally turn on and drain the battery.flying

Flying with a dive knife in its sheath, in your checked luggage is usually allowed. Make sure to check before you fly. Same with safety shears.

To be completely worry-free, we opted for the DiveRite Line Cutter with Sheath. They are on our BCDs, in our checked luggage when we fly. If your airline does not allow any of those, rent or purchase them upon arrival. Donate them to a local upon departure.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Locking Your Bags

Examine the bag you are thinking about taking with you, and check and see if you’re able to to lock the zippers together. Some bags only have one zipper pull, but have a ring a fixed near the end of the zipper so that you can secure it. Others do not.

Other systems have two separate pulls that can be locked together.

Invest in some TSA-approved locks so that your gear is secure.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons
Tags all tucked inside so they don’t catch on conveyor belts.

Travel Tags

I use lots of tags. Mine kind of dangle, so I slip them into an area that’s not crucial. Anyone can see that there is a tag there, just stuffed into a pocket. They are easily able to pull them out and identify the luggage. Including the address and phone number of your destination is probably a good idea.

On my luggage tags, I put my phone number and address and email inside the plastic tag which is a little bit difficult to see through. But, anyone official can reach in and pull it out and read it very easily.

I’ve been reading that it is sufficient to put your name phone number and email address on your tag, that the mailing address is not necessary since any airline representative is going to call your cellular telephone anyway. Does anyone have any comments on that? Which is better? Address or don’t address?

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Dry Bags

We have a couple dry bags of various thicknesses and weights. For travel, I can shave a few more inches of space as well as a couple more ounces by trading in a 1 pound heavy duty dry bag for a 1 ounce lightweight dry bag.

We chose the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack in a bright yellow color.

This light weight dry bag is not nearly as tough as the heavier one we have from DAN, but usually all that is in it is my dry clothes and a towel, if even that. It would not be the end of the world if that bag was damaged and my clothes got wet. A slight inconvenience, but nothing critical or crucial.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Don’t forget that where you travel, you might be in one of those vacation destinations that has banned all those toxic ingredients found in some sunscreens. To be safe yourself, preserve the reef, stay legal, and comply with liquid volume allowances, treat yourself to some Stream2Sea products.

Already packaged in TSA-approved volumes, their travel kits have perfect sizes of sunscreen, shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and more. Stream2Sea has generously given me a discount code “KimW” for you to use at the checkout at checkout to save 10%.

What sets them apart from other “reef-safe” sunscreens? Theirs actually is tested safe for coral larvae, and, come in biodegradable containers.

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Links to “Can’t Live Without” for Dive Travel

The following are links to items we have purchased from Amazon. Using my links does not increase your price, but I might receive a small commission of the sale, which allows me to keep publishing! Thank you!

Tough Rolling Duffle Bags – ranging from $30 to $300, make sure you measure the length of your fins, or…

Scubapro GO Travel Fins – my dive partner got these for a recent dive trip to Cuba. They saved over five pounds, and performed beautifully. He loves them!

TSA-approved locks – they weight about a quarter of a pound each, FYI.

BLACKHAWK! Enhanced Divers Travel Bag with Wheels – the price is fantastic. Weighs nine pounds, 27.5x19x12.5 dimensions.

Akona Roller Dive Gear Travel Backpack – 31x14x21, 14.5 pounds.

Akona Carry-On Roller Bag Less Than 7LBS – 24 x 14 x 10 and 6.3 pounds.

Akona <10lbs Roller Dive Bag – 8.4 pounds

Best Sellers in Diving Roller Bags – Amazon’s most popular products baed on sales.

Digital Hanging Luggage Scale – what a great item! Light enough to travel with you in case of increased luggage weight concerns.

Lifeproof FRE Waterproof case – cannot be beat.

DiveRite Line Cutter with Sheath – so compact and lightweight!

, Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

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