Tips on How to Travel With Your Dive Equipment
Scuba Gear Bags
Your first consideration is what you are going to use for packing your scuba gear for flying. Gear bags are generally big and expensive, but there’s usually a great variety of styles, shapes and sizes to choose from. You would be wise to select a plain, non-descript bag that doesn’t necessarily advertise what’s inside. You’ll also want to select a bag that has wheels and is big enough for your BCD, fins, wetsuit, mask, and accessories. Be aware of the airlines weight limitations on checked luggage (usually 50 lbs), and make sure you weigh your bag before arriving at the airport.
Scuba Diving Regulators
While a regulator could easily fit into your travel bag, you may want to pack it in your carry-on luggage. Pad the regulator with clothes and remember it’s in there before you throw that bag up in the overhead compartment. You can also buy a padded bag made especially for regulators if that makes you more comfortable. If you’re going to pack your regulator in your checked luggage, make sure that it’s in the middle of your bag and cushioned with a wetsuit or clothes.
Scuba Diving Computer
Your computer is one piece of expensive equipment that should always travel with you in your carry-on luggage. Again, cushion with clothes and if possible, remove the batteries. This way if there is a problem with the battery it doesn’t ruin the computer. Plus, there is no way the computer can turn on accidentally and waste the battery. Electronic communication devices (e.g., Nautilus Lifeline) should be kept in your carry-on luggage as well.
Scuba Diving Mask
Scuba diving masks come with a hard protective case which you can use when packing your scuba gear for flying. Masks are durable but you should still wrap the mask in a diveskin, wetsuit, or other piece of clothing to prevent scratches.
BCD’s take up a lot of room when you’re packing for flying. Make sure all the air is out before packing and fold the sides fairly tightly so that it as small as possible. Put the BCD in the bag in such a way that it helps to cushion the other equipment. If you have the funds, you could also purchase a travel BCD which is made for flying. They are typically lighter and take up less room than your standard BCD.
Scuba Diving Fins
Fins should be able to fit comfortably in the bag without bending. Consider placing them on the bottom or along the sides, and fill the feet with smaller items to economize on space. If you’re only taking your mask, fins and snorkel, then you’ll typically only use carry-on bags. Select a bag that can accommodate the fins without bending the blade, but is small enough to pass carry-on size limitations. Don’t panic if you have to bend the blade as it will straighten out fairly quickly once unpacked.
Scuba Diving Accessories
All the other things you may want when packing your scuba gear for flying should easily fit in the nooks and crannies of your gear bag. Items like slates, tank bangers, flashlights, defogger, etc. should fit with no problem. As there are space limitations in both checked and carry-on luggage, be sure you absolutely need or want a specific accessory given your destination and expected conditions.