Even if you rent the majority of your gear, it is still a good idea to have a gear bag for your scuba supplies.
If a bag won't hold all of your gear, it is a poor item to purchase. Take an inventory of your gear and then think about what scuba gear you plan on purchasing in the next couple of years. Once you have a strong idea of how much room your gear will need, you'll know what size of bag to purchase.
A pair of fins, regulator, octopus, gloves, repair kit, mask, snorkel, BCD, gloves, hood, and boots will not fit in a compact backpack. To accommodate that amount of gear, a large bag will be required. If you plan on traveling from a cold-water location to a warm-water location, then you may only need your mask, snorkel, light, and gloves; if that is the case, then a more compact bag will probably be sufficient.
If you are a boat diver, you may want to consider a gear bag that will allow you to maintain your balance and keep your hands free. Therefore, a large backpack-style bag will most likely be the best choice.
A general purpose storage bag (a.k.a., not one intended for a great deal of travel) should have plenty of pockets that will allow you to organize your gear in a way that works for you. A large fin pocket keeps your fins together and keeps your regulator hoses from wrapping themselves around your fins and fin straps. Having another pocket that can be dedicated to repair and last-minute details is also a highly-desired feature; this allows you to know exactly where your extra fin strap, anti-fog solution, etc. are located right when you need them. Be kind to your dive buddy; know where your items are in order to avoid delaying the dive unnecessarily.
When selecting which bag to purchase, take the bag's thread count and material into consideration. A flimsy material will likely fail (frequently at the zipper's seams or the handles' seams) when it is put to the test of carrying your gear.
Scuba gear isn't exactly the lightest stuff around and a thin or flimsy material will not stand the test of time. Much like when buying sheets for your bed, the higher the thread count, the better the sheet. The same is true with dive bags; a bag that has a thread count of 1200 is strong, but a bag with a 1600 thread count is that much sturdier.
Most dive bags are made of a nylon material, frequently with a mesh (sometimes rubber-coated mesh) in certain areas to increase airflow, allowing your gear to dry more readily and will help avoid carrying excess water (and weight) around with your gear.
Before loading your new gear bag with your scuba equipment, take a few moments to inspect the seams and handles. If anything looks like a strong breeze may be the end of the bag, consider returning the bag for a sturdier alternative.
What is the best way for you to get to gear? There is no right answer to this question; it all boils down to personal choice.
When looking at the various gear bags that are available, think about how you'd like to get at your gear. Do you want a bag that you can practically butterfly so it is completely open and all of your gear is easily found? Would you like a bag that has a drawstring closure that allows you to quickly close your bag and go? Different bag designs mean different ways to get to your gear; zipper placements and the number of zippers or drawstrings can greatly impact how you view and get your hands on your gear.
If you plan on traveling with your scuba gear, make sure your bag will work with you, instead of against you.
Many travel bags for scuba gear have wheels (occasionally, retractable) and a pull handle (again, frequently retractable). These features, while simple at first glance, can mean the difference between smoothly moving through the crowds at the airport and awkwardly sliding your gear bag once it gets too heavy to keep on your shoulder. You traveling buddies will be much less likely to maintain their enthusiasm if you wander through the airport or city complaining about how heavy or cumbersome your gear bag is.
Prevent sand and grime build-up in your gear bag zippers. Protect and clean the zipper of you bag to make it last a long, long time.
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Protect your scuba gear while traveling and secure your expensive scuba gear, and keep it accesible only to you and the TSA agent.
The last thing you want to do is find out on the beach or dive boat that something is wrong with your gear, and not have a way to fix the problem. By carrying a save-a-dive kit, you can still safely enjoy your dive or snorkeling adventure just like you planned.
This exclusive package includes most of the accessories that are a must-have for your dive. Pe prepared for almost anything.
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