We get a lot of inquires about what makes the best dive bag and if any bag can be used to store and transport scuba equipment. The “best” bag depends largely on what type of diving you’ll be using it for.
It is important to note that regular luggage, packs and sports bags generally do not make very good substitutes for a well-made dive bag. Diving gear bags are usually made with strong, corrosion resistant zippers. This is an essential detail for all salt-water divers. If a zipper becomes corroded closed, it isn’t very pleasant having to cut open your bag to get at your gear. A zipper stuck open does not perform its job very well. Roller bags for diving gear take corrosion and the weight of the gear into account and have robust wheels and frames, unlike many generic roller suitcases and bags. Dive bags also usually take into account the drainage issue that is a particular concern when dealing with wet/damp dive equipment. This is usually accomplished with strategically placed mesh or grommets.
Duffel Scuba Bags
Possibly the most popular gear bag, a large duffel bag is versatile. These bags pack down relatively small for storage and don’t add much bulk or weight to already cumbersome gear. They are handy when hauling gear to and from the car and sometimes when traveling via boat or transit. A durable duffel bag like the Halcyon Premium Gear Bag will last a long time and stand up to significant abuse for a minimal initial investment. These are a favourite with instructors and active divers due to their versatility.
Roller Scuba Bags
Rolling bags are a more civilized approach to dive bags. These come in a variety of flavours, from small carry-on bags, to roller duffel bags to larger roller suitcases. These are usually preferred by divers doing a lot of traveling with their gear. This is an easy way to transport gear through airports, ferry terminals, parking lots, etc.
Carry-On Scuba Bags
Carry-on bags are designed to meet carry-on size restrictions for most major airlines. These are available in roller versions. If you are traveling to warm water, these are a safe, compact way to keep all or most of your gear with you in the safety of the plane cabin. They also are compact enough to take on most dive boats and don’t take up much space in the car.
Backpacks and Snorkeling Bags
There are a few backpack style dive and snorkeling bags available or various sizes. Mid-sized mesh backpacks are very popular with snorkelers as they are a lightweight, easy way to keep all your gear together once you’ve arrived at your tropical destination. They also make decent pool bags for those looking to practice their skills or a way to keep your snorkeling gear together on your boat.
Other backpacks with dry compartments for wet swimsuits, towels, etc are also available.
Regulator bags are important. These small, padded bags protect your life support equipment. Regulator bags can be packed inside other gear bags or carried separately. Some have additional functionality such as the Akona Collapsing Mesh Duffel Bag which, as the name suggests, expands from a padded reg bag to a large duffel bag, making it ideal for holiday travel. Bring your regs on carry on and check your other gear and when you arrive at your destination, combine it all in this one multipurpose bag for your days on a dive boat or at the beach. Others come with special compartments for dive computers and/or tools and parts.
Dry Bags for Outdoor & Watersports
Dry bags are a favourite among outdoor and watersports enthusiasts, not just divers. Dry bags range in size from small wallet-sized wrist or waist lanyard attached stow packs to large duffel or backpack style or sling bags. These bags can be used to keep your wet gear away from items that need to stay dry or the opposite, to keep valuables and/or electronics, clothes, etc away from wet gear or the elements. From scuba diving to kayaking to hiking these packs come in very useful.
Other bags or packs that divers may need include drysuit bags (as these suits can be somewhat delicate and are best packed separately), undergarment bags (to keep them dry, although too bulky for personal bags), weight bags (must be heavy duty), computer or dive light bags with extra padding.