How to Pack A Dive Bag
When packing a dive bag for travel, the ‘stuff & smash’ strategy just isn’t going to work well. Dive gear is not an investment for the faint of heart, and many times we develop a weird emotional connection with our kits. Still rocking those vintage teal Tusa fins handed down to you when you first got certified – we see you!
Here are some tips to help you pack your dive bag like a pro and make sure your precious kit is well-protected in transit.
Want make sure you don’t forget anything?
First, what NOT to pack
There are 3 things that you can likely spare yourself from packing that will save you on both space and weight:
- Weights – these are absolutely not necessary when packing your dive bag and will only put you at risk for arriving at the airport overweight. The dive shop you’re diving with or renting tanks from should be able to provide these. And don’t worry, they will have weights in various sizes to help you configure your weight distribution exactly how you like it.
- Snorkel – check with the local guidelines to see if snorkels are recommended or required for any reason. The answer is likely that they are not, so bringing these comes down to personal preference.
- Gloves – most dive destinations, unless they’re colder water, do not allow gloves unless it’s for medical purposes. So check local guidelines and ditch the gloves if not necessary.
Choosing your dive bag
Is a legit travel dive bag necessary? NO. Will it make you look cooler? Okay, maybe. But travel dive bags are by no means necessary. They’re just convenient. Especially if your dive bag is the same brand as your gear – since they’re made specifically to the dimensions of your equipment. Many dive bags come with cool features like fin compartments, roller wheels and back pack systems for when you need to grab that gear and book it to your gate.
If you don’t want to spend the extra cash on a travel bag, no sweat. Any old suitcase will do. Just find one that’s slighty larger than your BCD, so that it fits snugly with your fins, but you have some additional space for the rest of your gear, accessories and even clothes.
5 Steps to Pack Your Dive Bag
- BCD Goes First: place in the bag with the back facing down. The backside will provide structure and protection. Make sure the inflator hose is tucked in and not getting smooshed underneath the backside. You can spread the BCD open a bit to allow you to place your other items inside it.
- Fins for Structure: Next, place your fins vertically on either side of the BCD. This creates a rigid frame for you to pack within. If you have dive booties, you can usually place these inside the foot of your fin.
- Pack Your Regulator with Care: Next you can place your regulator on top of the BCD. This should be in its regulator bag. Don’t have a regulator bag? This is one piece of protective travel gear we would recommend. But, you can also wrap it in a towel for added protection. If you want to be super safe, then carry on your regulator.
- Get the Accessories In: At this point there will likely be some extra space where you can secure your accessories, while also adding a bumper to prevent your BCD from moving around. Use this space for your mask, SMB and reel, save-a-dive-kit and whatever else fits. For delicate items like a mask or camera housing, be sure to put in protective casings, bubble wrap or wrap in clothes/towels for added cushion.
- Top off with the Wetsuit: Finally, lay your wetsuit on top. Try to minimize the number of times you fold your wetsuit so that you don’t create creases in it.
Most suitcases and dive travel bags will have additional compartments for any other items you might bring like chargers, dive logbooks, reef-safe sunscreen, etc. High value items like your cameras and dive computers are best kept in a carry on with you.
And it’s always good to give your bag a weight before you get to the airport. You can get a luggage scale online for cheap or if you want to go the free route: step on a regular scale holding your bag close to you, and then subtract your weight from the total to get the weight of your suitcase.
Now that you’ve got the packing process down, it’s time to decide where to go! Thinking about Roatan? Here’s the lowdown on diving here and why it’s considered world class.
And if you’re looking to add to your personal dive gear, we’re a certified ScubaPro dealer that always offers great deals and direct shipping.