Dive bags come in a huge range of varieties from simple mesh bags to all singing and dancing trolley bags and that is because a dive bag can mean something completely different from one diver to the next. Choosing the right bag for you will depend entirely on what YOU need it to do.
When looking at a dive bag it is surprisingly important to think about what you want it for and you might even find yourself with a selection of bags to suit different jobs. One might be your everyday general duffel style dive bag but you might have a lightweight wheeled trolley bag for travelling and a drawstring mesh bag to store your bits and pieces on the boat.
What To Consider
Material / Weight / Construction
Dive Bags are often biased towards either durability or lightness and will either be built with heavy duty materials, reinforced stitching and big chunky zips designed to withstand years of regular abuse or they will be finished with lightweight materials and alloy framework that allows you to maximise the amount of kit you can fit in a flight weight allowance.
Be realistic about your needs and think about any problems you might encounter like flight size restrictions. A monstrously huge bag may fit all your dive kit in and still have space for the kitchen sink but can you still pick it up?
Strap and Handles
A lot of bags (especially those higher up the price scale) are fitted with multi-purpose or removable straps that allows the bag to be adapted to suit a number of uses or transport requirements.
Think carefully about what you want. Lugging a 20kg duffel bag about is fine if you are just moving it from the back of the car a few steps to where you are kitting up but over a distance it’s hard work. A couple of shoulder straps could make all the difference.
Wheels are almost a necessity for airports. Trolleys aren’t always available and you can often end up walking quite a distance between collection points.
They can be a hindrance as well though, adding weight to a bag and being next to useless over rough ground, loose sand or pebbles meaning you’ll have to carry the bag anyway.
Do you want plenty of separate pockets for your fins, regulators, documents and accessories or you happy with lumping everything in together. More pockets makes the bag more expensive but it does help to protect your equipment.
Some bags have external fins slots that allow them to act as rigid side panels, giving the bag structure even when empty.