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Traveling for Scuba Diving? Here’s How to Pack Your Gear Like a Pro

by Max
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Traveling for Scuba Diving - Packing Your Gear Like a Pro

No matter how experienced of a diver you are, traveling to different destinations and experiencing unique marine life is an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re exploring the majestic coral reefs of Raja Ampat or taking on adventurous dives in The Galapagos Islands – every dive spot offers something special and memorable.

However, packing gear for a scuba diving trip can be daunting for some. You want to pack everything you need but don’t want to risk anything getting lost or damaged in transit. This article will cover everything you need to know before your journey, so you can start packing your scuba diving gear like a pro!

Travel Bags Reviewed in this Post

  • The Best All-Round Travel Bag: Tusa Roller Bag.
    The Tusa Roller offers convenience and protection for your dive gear. With this bag, you’ll have plenty of room for all your dive equipment and accessories.
  • The Best Travel Bag For Long Distances: ScubaPro Porter Bag
    A firm scuba diver favorite, the ScubaPro Porter bag will keep your gear packed up and safe while traveling long distances.
  • The Best Travel Bag With Added Impact Protection: Tilos Airporter II Roller Bag
    With reinforced sides and bottom, the Tilos Airporter II Roller Bag has been designed to protect your scuba equipment no matter how far you travel.
  • The Most Versatile Travel Bag: Aqua Lung Explorer Roller Bag
    Sizable and with many compartments, the Aqua Lung Explorer Roller Bag lets you transport your gear easily.
  • The Best Carry-On Travel Bag: Akona Globetrotter Backpack Travel Gear Bag
    Keep your valuables close with this carry-on approved Akona Globetrotter Backpack. Small but mighty, this bag can fit everything you need for a successful dive trip.
  • The Best Weekend Travel Bag: Poseidon Day Pack Bag Ballistic Nylon
    The Poseidon Day Pack is the best bag for your next weekend getaway. The ballistic nylon fabric will keep your scuba equipment safe and secure while you’re on the go.

Read on for more information and details on each product.
We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. This does not affect our opinion of the products linked, which is 100% impartial and unbiased.

The Best Bags for Scuba Diving Gear

Choosing the right bag for your scuba diving gear is very important for traveling and the very first step in packing your scuba diving gear. Not only does it need to fit all your equipment, but it should also provide adequate protection.

Let’s take a look at some of the best bags currently on the market for scuba diving gear.

Best Scuba Diving Bags for Long Distance Travel

You want a good, sturdy bag when traveling long distances. The following bags are ideal for keeping your scuba equipment in tip-top condition during transit.

Tusa Roller Bag

Price: $225 Size: 11 x 17 x 26.4 inch

There really isn’t anything negative to say about this bag. It is incredibly spacious, with an 81-liter capacity, and has plenty of compartments and pockets for organizing your gear. The heavy-duty expandable pull handle and roller wheels make it one of the most convenient bags for travel.

You can rest assured that your scuba equipment will be safe and secure in this sturdy travel bag!

ScubaPro Porter Bag

Price: $232 Size: 31.5 x 17.7 x 13.7 inch

Complete with a top handle, roller wheels, and backpack straps – you can either roll or carry this bag with ease. The ScubaPro Porter bag is made from a stellar combination of 420D Nylon NT and 450D Ripstop, meaning this bag has been designed with durability in mind. With this bag, you can simply check your scuba gear in and enjoy your flight knowing all your equipment is safely tucked away.

The large main compartment and two external and two internal pockets also make organizing your kit a breeze. There’s no wonder why the ScubaPro Porter bag is a firm favorite among divers of all skill levels!

Tilos Airporter II Tote Roller Gear Bag

Price: $336 Size: 28 x 18 x 16 inch

The Tilos Airporter Roller Bag offers brilliant impact protection due to the hard bottom and sides, yet it is still very easy to carry. This bag has roller wheels, a stand-up foot, and two carry handles for effortless transportation to your vacation destination. We love the additional features, like the two large external front pockets and PVC-coated material – providing extra protection from the elements.

You can guarantee your scuba equipment will be safe and secure in the Tilos Airporter II Roller bag, no matter where the adventure takes you!

Aqua Lung Explorer Roller Bag

Price: $185 Size: 29 x 20 x 13 inch

The Aqua Lung Explorer roller bag accommodates a full dive kit and all your other gear. It has several side pockets which are designed to fit even giant fins like the Aqua Lung Sling-Shots. In addition, the many interior pockets let you organize all your gear, clothes and other essentials. With its rugged wheels, extendable aluminum handle, and its internal shock-absorbent frame structure, you can be sure to get through any airport and rough terrain with ease.

Best Scuba Diving Day Bags for Weekend Trips

The following bags are ideal for day trips to the beach or short getaways that don’t require your luggage to be checked in at the airport. Nonetheless, you want a good, sturdy back for packing your scuba diving gear safely!

Akona Globetrotter Backpack Travel Gear Bag

Price: $85 Size: 21 x 12 x 14 inch

The perfect size to fit everything you could need, from your fins to your regulator – the Akona Globetrotter Backpack is a fantastic option for those who want to travel light. It has a spacious main compartment and two external pockets to organize your gear.

The Akona Globetrotter is also the perfect size to fit as hand luggage, so you don’t have to worry about lost baggage. The compression straps securely fix your fins to the outside of the bag, leaving plenty of room to pack the rest of your gear.

Poseidon Day Pack Bag Ballistic Nylon

Price: $200 Size: 27.5 x 13.75 x 13.75 inch

If you need a bag for weekend trips, then the Poseidon Day Pack Bag is ideal. Not only does this stylish bag look great, but it also comes with a water drainage system – so you never have to worry about wet gear! The bag is constructed from heavy-duty waterproof ballistic nylon, which offers excellent protection for your scuba gear.

The Poseidon Day Pack Bag also features internal padding, side pockets, and additional accessory pockets – making it an ideal bag for weekend getaways.

What to Do Before You Pack Your Scuba Gear

Before we start looking at how to pack your diving gear, there are a few considerations to make first. It isn’t as simple as throwing everything into a bag and heading off to your destination! A great vacation starts with good preparation.

Here are some things to think about before you start packing gear for your scuba diving trip:

Research Your Destination

Some locations will have specific rules and regulations on what divers can and cannot do. Certain areas request divers not to wear gloves, whereas others may require a specific qualification level. Knowing what restrictions you may face ahead of time can prevent any last-minute surprises and help you pack accordingly.

Check Airport Restrictions

Whether you’re checking in luggage or taking it as hand-carry, it’s important to check the restrictions for both your departure and arrival airports. If you’re traveling internationally, you may be subject to additional checks and restrictions.

It’s a good idea to check the following:

  • Baggage weight allowance
  • Number of bags allowed
  • Maximum bag size
  • Carry-on or check-in restrictions, such as lithium batteries

Monitor the Weather

You want to ensure you have the right clothing and equipment for the weather in your destination. You don’t want to pack a 5mm wetsuit if the water is a comfortable 82°F. Equally, you don’t want to be caught in a tropical thunderstorm without the right rain gear!

Get Dive and Travel Insurance

Insurance isn’t just for protecting you in case of medical emergencies. It also helps protect your scuba gear in case it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. Always get a good dive and travel insurance policy before starting your trip.

Consider What You Can Rent

If you’re traveling to a dive resort or going on a liveaboard trip, you may be able to rent some of your scuba gear. This will save you from needing to carry heavy and bulky items in your bag, which is especially useful if you’re flying and have restrictions on baggage weight.

But we do understand why some divers prefer to bring their own gear – so always do your research and decide what works best for you.

Check Your Gear

It’s important to check each item of your scuba gear to see if it works properly before you leave. Nothing will ruin your trip more than discovering you can’t use your dive gear when you get there. If your equipment is due a service or has been in storage for a while, go get it serviced before you go.

Make a List

A packing list with all gear you need is essential for a successful scuba diving trip. It’s a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything and helps you to keep track of your gear and stay organized. You can handwrite your list, use a spreadsheet or print off a pre-made list. To help you out, here’s an example diving gear packing list to get you started:

  • Diving certification and dive logs
  • Dive insurance
  • Surface marker buoy (SMB or DSMB) – unless renting
  • Wetsuit or dry suit
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • A buoyancy control device (BCD) – weights removed; you can rent these at your destination
  • Regulator
  • Fins
  • Dive boots
  • Dive computer
  • Torch/ dive lights
  • Underwater camera
  • Save-a-dive kit

Don’t forget also to list personal items you’ll need, such as toiletries, sunscreen, and clothes.

Carry on Luggage vs. Checking In

When traveling anywhere, be it with your dive gear or not, you must choose between carrying your items on or checking them in. The overall baggage weight allowance will have a big impact on your decision.

If you’re taking your gear with you as a hand-carry, make sure it’s in suitable-sized bags that fit the restrictions for carry-on luggage. With airlines offering ever-decreasing allowances for hand-carry, many divers are using soft gear bags.

If you’re checking in luggage, make sure it is well labeled with your name, contact details, and flight information on the outside. It is also important to include your dive gear in your checked luggage insurance policy so you are covered in the case of loss or damage.

If you’re checking your equipment, it’s a good idea to pack any valuable items, like laptops or costly regulators, separately in your hand-carry bag.

How to Pack Scuba Diving Gear

Don’t be tempted just to shove all your items into a bag! There’s a reason you’re choosing to bring your own gear rather than renting. Maybe you’re an experienced tech diver, or perhaps you’re just excited to try out your new wetsuit – either way, you need to pack your scuba equipment properly before traveling.

Here are some of our top scuba diving gear packing tips to ensure you pack your items in the right order:

How to Pack Scuba Diving Gear

1. Dive Boots and Gloves

These small, lightweight items can go at the bottom of your bag. They can also go into a side pocket if you would prefer.

2. BCD

Your buoyancy control device is one of the biggest items in your scuba kit, so it makes sense to put this at the bottom of your bag – on top of your boots and gloves. This piece of equipment also provides a soft base to rest other items on top. You’ll want to let most of the air out to maximize luggage space, but leaving a little air in can help stop the sides of the bladder from sticking to itself.

There are travel BCDs you can purchase, which are often smaller and more lightweight than a standard BCD. You may want to look into this option if you often travel with your scuba equipment.

3. Fins

If you use a bag made specifically for scuba gear – there may be a pocket at the bottom or side dedicated to your fins. If your bag doesn’t have this feature, place your fins on either side of your BCD. This will stop them from bending during travel while also providing additional structure to your travel bag – helping to protect the rest of your gear.

Consider packing full-foot fins; they are usually smaller and mean you can leave your dive boots behind. This can save you both space and lessen the overall weight of your luggage.

4. Snorkel

Pop your snorkel in with your fins, be it in the dedicated pocket or next to the BCD.

5. Regulator

You will want a dedicated regulator bag to pack your regulator in. These can be bought online or at a dive shop and are designed to protect your regulator from any damage during transportation. Although, some divers do decide to simply pop their regulator between a towel or similar as added protection.

However you decide to pack a regulator, it is best to put this item in your carry-on bag. Regulators are delicate and can be expensive, so it is best to have them with you in the cabin.

6. Mask

Your mask should be stored in a hard plastic box, which is often supplied when you purchase your mask. Pack your mask in its protective box in either a side pocket or beside your BCD in the main compartment.

7. Torch or Dive Lights

Now it’s time to place any small items, such as torches and dive lights, into your bag. Packing these in a plastic box for extra protection is a good idea.

8. Save-a-Dive Kit

First, consider what is in your save-a-dive kit. If it contains items like replacement mask straps, O-rings, or small tools, you can pop these into the pockets of your BCD. If you’re packing bulkier items, these can be placed in the main compartment of your bag.

9. Dive Computer

Your dive computer should again be in a protective bag to keep it safe during transportation. Put this into your carry-on bag, as with the regulator. Removing the battery before transport is recommended (if you can). Remember to check any restrictions on traveling with batteries before you go.

10. SMB or DSMB

Small, compact items like SMBs and DSMBs can simply be placed in the side pockets of your bag. Alternatively, if you use a plastic box for your torch and dive lights, you can place these items in there.

11. Underwater Camera

This is another item that should be taken in your carry-on. A camera bag with extra padding is best to keep your photography equipment safe during travel.

12. Wetsuit or Dry Suit

Your wetsuit or dry suit should be completely dry before it is packed. Gently fold your exposure protection to fit, avoiding folding it too many times. Folding a wetsuit too much can cause damage or creases to the material and will also take up too much room. Place your suit on top of the other items to provide more padding and protection.

13. Other Items

Pack your remaining items, like clothes and travel documents, in any remaining space or pockets. A good scuba gear travel bag should provide plenty of compartments and pockets to store everything.

Additional Scuba Diving Packing Tips

Aside from packing your equipment in the right order, there are other tips to remember when packing for a scuba diving trip.

Let’s take a look at some of these ideas:

Weigh Your Bags

Weighing your bags before you leave for the airport is an important step. Some airlines have different weight restrictions, so make sure you know this before leaving. Knowing how heavy your bags are will help you when packing and ensure you are not over the limit.

Wear Heavy Clothes on the Plane

While you might look a little out of place wearing your BCD on the plane, you can still utilize some of your clothes to save on luggage fees. If you’re traveling to a cooler climate, you have likely packed a few heavier clothing items. Wear these on the plane to free up space in your bag and save you money.

Pack Light

Carefully consider what you pack for the trip, especially if your luggage is nearing the weight limit. Ask yourself if you really need each item before packing all your equipment.

Take Valuable Items in Your Carry On

We can’t stress this point enough! Lost luggage can ruin a trip; although inconvenient, you can at least replace dive equipment. However, valuable or sentimental items like laptops and cameras should always be in your hand luggage, so you can keep an eye on them at all times.

Use the Right Bag

While specific dive equipment bags are not always necessary, they are designed to help you organize and protect your gear during your journey. If you want to avoid any unnecessary stress, choose the right bag for your journey!

Final Thoughts on Packing Scuba Diving Gear

Packing the right scuba diving gear for your next trip doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With the right bag and the necessary precautions, you can keep your equipment safe and secure during your travels. Just be sure to pack your equipment carefully and check the weight restrictions before you fly.

With a little planning and these tips, you can rest assured that your gear is safe and sound for your next dive trip. So whether you are heading off to a bustling tourist destination or diving in a remote location, choose the best bag and pack your gear like a pro!

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