Sunday, July 3, 2011

How To Pack Your Luggage: Part 3 - Dive Bags

Well Hello Again to our fellow Eat Travel Dive readers!

I have a treat in store for the divers amongst us. This is part 3 of our blog series on how to pack your luggage. As we all know the most important part of any diver's luggage is not their clothes, shoes, make-up or even undies....it's our dive gear - without which we never travel!!

So, how does one fit all of their clothes etc and their dive gear into one bag? Well unless you're flying with "Shithouse Airlines" you'll probably find written in the small print that you can either pay for, or in some amazing cases, have a free baggage allowance for Sports or Scuba Diving Equipment. Now, At this point it is important to tell you that each airline has their own ideas on this, so be prudent and read the T's & C's of your chosen airline. That said, Team WinGaz are flying long haul with Malaysian from Sydney to Heathrow (London), and then later we fly from Gatwick (London) to Sharm el Sheikh (Sinai, Egypt) with Easy Jet (AKA Cheezy Jet!!! lol I'm just joking Easy Jet people....)


So, Malaysian, in their infinite wisdom offer a FBA (Free Baggage Allowance) of 20Kg for checked baggage, plus another 10Kg for Scuba Equipment, and 5Kg for Carry-On.....All within your standard flight ticket.... not so bad, but they'll STING you with excess baggage charges if you do go over your limits....(It happened to me)....

Easy Jet, in my opinion do well out of their deal. Its 20Kg Checked, plus 12Kg for Scuba Gear (but it must be in it's own bag) and you pay for this! The best thing is that Carry-on must be within the size dimensions, but has an UNLIMITED weight allowance.... YAHOOOOOO!!! =)

So, all those heavy Regulators and Torches can now be carried in the cabin.... Mwah ha ha ha!!

SO, If I work to the fact that I'm allowed 20Kg, 10Kg and 5Kg....I'll be good.

The first thing you need to do is create another packing list for your dive gear. Next you need to organise it and decide how you'll break it down (where possible) so you can pack it more efficiently.

Winnie & I both travel with the following dive gear:
  • Dive Rite Transpac Harness
  • Dive Rite Rec Wing BCD Bladder
  • 2 x Dive Rite Cam Band Straps
  • Apeks XTX200 Regulators (1st & 2nd Stage, Primary, Occy, SPG and Hoses)
  • Wetsuit, Booties, Gloves, Hoods & Weight Belt
  • Fins, Mask & Snorkel
  • U/W Compact Camera Housing (Winnie)
  • Main & Back-up Torch
  • Teaching Slates & Wrist Slates
  • Pocket Mask
  • Reel, Knife, SMBs
  • Dive Computers
PLUS, on top of this I travel with the following extra items:
  • Transpac Stabiliser Plates (made from Stainless) for Twin Tank / Tec Diving
  • Dive Rite Dual Bladder EXP Classic Wing for Tec Diving
  • Apeks XTX200 Regulator (Additional 1st Stage, Additional Hoses)
  • 2 x Dive Rite RG3100 Deco Regulators (1st & 2nd Stages, Hoses and SPGs)
  • Basic Tools
The next step is to break down your dive gear so it packs easily. With Dive Rite equipment, it is completely modular system them breaks into component parts - The Transpac unbolts from the wing (2 screws), the wing folds flat, the harness backpad can be removed (and used to pad the dive bag) the harness can be unclipped and led flat. I like to break the regulators down, removing hoses from first stages, and plugging with the appropriate First Stage LP/HP plugs. I also add protective hose end covers to protect the end of the hoses. This enables the first stages which each weigh approx 1Kg each to be redistributed through my luggage. The hoses and second stages, SPGs and Inflator Hoses are coiled and packed flat. Winnie and I use Milflex Braided Hoses for better durability, but they're also heaps lighter so they make my luggage lighter too... YAY! I remove fin straps from fins to minimise damage during transit. I remove old batteries from torches (replace on arrival at destination).

After breaking the gear down it's time to pack it. Place the wing, folded flat in the bottom of the holdall bag. Then add the fins to each long side of the bag. Add the hoses, torches, compact camera housing, and accessories. I pad this lot out with wetsuit, boots and remaining software. I tuck the cam bands, weight belt and tools into pouches at the ends & sides of the bag. I place the flat harness on top with the slates (I keep them in an "old school" blue PADI Vinyl satchel) then finally squish the padded backpad from the harness into the top.

I hope you found this post useful?

I want to publish this sooner rather than later (since some of you are coming and going on your trips overseas soon, and I wanna make this useful), but I currently don't have access to the USB port on the pc I'm using in the hotel we're in, so, IF you want photos to prove this all fits, please email me at garrybateman@gmail.com or leave me a comment! I will then do a photo post blog!

GAFFA

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