You've got your Ultra-light regulator from Scubapro, your multi-functional BCD from Dive Rite, new Citizen watch, Aeris computer, Titanium knife, shorty and drysuit. You make other so-called gear-heads look like guppies. Only problem is, how you gonna carry all this stuff?
Dive bags are the often forgotten about piece of high performance scuba equipment. People will drop a grand on a new reg but forget the bag to carry and protect it. With this in mind, let's bag it and check out some toy sacks.
How many bags are you going to end up with? I say at least five, not counting some different sizes. First off and most basic, we have a mask bag. Most masks come with some hard or soft case but if yours didn't then Akona makes a great mask bag complete with a little pocket for your Sea Drops. (A bottle of Sea Drops actually comes with the bag.)
Our next bag is our regulator case. As I mentioned, after you've made the investment for a regulator, you've got to be nuts not to spend another $30 - $40 for a case to protect it. Lots of people make different reg bags. Make sure that the one you get has an instrument sleeve built in, this way your gauge set/computer has extra protection.
A goody bag is optional. All you SoCal bug hunters (that would be people in Southern California who catch lobster) know that a good bag is essential. If you're going after bugs, Trident makes some bags with canvas sides and mesh bottoms. (So lobster legs don't get caught) Otherwise mesh bags are great and they come in all different sizes.
And now we get to our final bags, they are the travel bags. First we have to have a good, padded, travel bag for getting to our dream dive spot. Then we'll need a good mesh backpack for going to and from the boat, the beach or just going around once you've reached your destination. For the first bag, I say bigger is better, Bigger bag means more fun buying toys to fill it. As an Instructor and gear guy, I always travel with the kitchen sink. A few masks, two sets of fins, extra reg and BCD a few dozen lights and spare parts for all this stuff means I need a BIG bag. With all this extra weight, make sure the bag has wheels and a retractable handle. Backpack straps are nice but with the wheels, you'll never need them. I have the Stalsac Extra Large Dive Cargo Pack with wheels and I love it. I've trashed the heck out of mine and it's still ticking. Lastly we have a mesh backpack. Granted you've got lots of stuff you've taken with you but you'll want to take just what you need out on the boat. The mesh backpack is great since you can dunk the whole thing in the rinse tank after the dives and then just set it in a locker or out on the balcony of your room till the next day. Of course always make sure to properly store your gear if you're not going to use it for awhile.
Make sure to read the next article in which I'll go over proper tipping for the sherpas you've hired to carry all your bags.
Let's go diving!