Dive Bags: Pack Like a Pro

You don’t know how many times I’ve witnessed another diver on the boat with gear scattered everywhere.  It not only creates a problem for other divers, but builds upon any pre-dive stress they may have.  Experienced divers know that an organized dive bag, whether it is a roller bag or mesh one, will get you in the water faster as well as rinsed and on your way to lunch faster.  Also, there are special considerations when packing for travel.  To have you packed like a pro, here are a few tips we’ve picked up from experienced divers.

How to pack your dive bag for the dive site:

Optimal organization

The bag you pack for use at the dive site is a bit different than how you pack for travel.  The general philosophy when packing for use at the dive site is to pack what you need last, first.  Since you are not going to need those fins until it is time to dive, put fins in first.  At the opposite end, the first thing you do when you get to your dive site is set up your gear.  You want to put your regulator and BCD on the tank before you leave the dock in case there are any problems.  You need the BCD and regulator first; pack those towards the top.  Here are more packing tips…

Pro Packing Tips

  1. Pack your dive bag in this order (starting from the bottom up)
    1. Fins (unless you have side fin pockets.  In which case, use them!)
    2. Accessories such as mask, snorkel, boots, gloves, hood, lights, SMB, reel, etc.
    3. BCD
    4. Regulator and computer
    5. Wetsuit – while you many not put your wetsuit on immediately upon arriving at the dive site, it provides nice padding for your regulator in case something gets put on top of your bag.
  2. Side fin pockets make your main bag compartment less cluttered. You can also keep your boots stored with your fins in the main compartment, so you always know where they are.
  3. Items such as gloves, boots, lights, reels, SMBs, etc., can clutter up your dive bag fast.  Keep these items in a mesh bag.
  4. Mesh dive bags are a great way to keep your items together in a rinse tank after the dive.  Tuck one (or two) into your gear bag pocket for post-dive clean up.  When you are done diving, simply put the items in the bag and dunk into the rinse tank.
  5. Store smaller items like mask defog, Pro-Plugs and save-a-dive kit in front pockets of the bag.
  6. Store dive essential spares such as backup mask or regulator separate from your other main dive gear.  This prevents it from getting wet and requiring a rinse at the end of the day.
  7. No matter how hard you try, the items you want to keep dry and clean still manage to end up with salt water and/or sand on them.  Keep them safe by storing them in a drybag.  Check out the Moyo for GoPro to keep your camera safe.

How to pack your dive bag for travel:

Maximum protection

Your checked luggage takes abuse while traveling.  Therefore, packing your dive bag for travel takes special consideration.  Here are a few tips from both dive pros and the TSA to make sure your gear arrives at your destination intact.

Caicos Cargo Pack

Pro Packing Tips:

  1. Always carry on your dive computer!  If the rest of your dive gear shows up late, you can still start your dive vacation by renting some temporary gear.  However, it is not a wise plan to switch dive computers once your dive bag arrives.  Keep your dive computer with you the whole way to make sure your dive profile is accurate.  Besides, why would you want to learn how to use a different dive computer on your vacation?
  2. Pack your expensive and/or delicate dive equipment in your carry-on, and lock your dive bags with a TSA approved lock. – This one comes straight from the TSA.  Even they don’t trust what goes on once the conveyor belt takes your bag out of sight.
  3. Make sure you bring your prescriptions, including seasickness medication and decongestants with you.  Especially if you are traveling to a remote location.
  4. Pack your BCD first and in the middle of the bag, then put the fins on either side.  This helps to provide padding on the bottom from the BCD, and a wall on either side from the fins.
  5. Make sure your mask is in a protective hard case.
  6. Stow your regulator in a regulator bag for extra padding.  It is also easy to carry on.
  7. If you must pack delicate items in your checked luggage, wrap them in a wetsuit or clothing for padding.
  8. Don’t pack your weights. Every dive boat and dive destination has them available.
  9. If you choose to travel with Spare Air (emergency pony bottle), make sure the valve is out of the cylinder and is packed on top so it can be inspected at your time of departure.
  10. Make sure you pack your scuba diving knife in your checked luggage.  Trust me on this one, they don’t find it amusing.
  11. Pack a mesh bag to carry gear to and from the hotel.  It also makes a great dunk bag for post-dive rinsing.

With Stahlsac, you can #GoAnywhere.  Stahlsac offers a wide variety of roller, carry-on, regulator bags, camera bags and mesh dive bags and backpacks.  Find a retailer near you.

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