01 Nov 5 tips to packing lighter for your next dive holiday
It’s that time of year, when us Aussie’s are packing our bags, preparing to head on those beautiful tropical holidays around the world… (or DREAMING of packing our bags and heading overseas!) But what to pack, what to pack… between your clothes and dive gear, your excess luggage start to pile up. Kilo. By. Kilo. Add that to the fact that most major airlines have now abolished a “sporting” allowance and you’re really left putting everything you want to take on the bed, then halving in, then halving it again.
We can’t help you with the personal luggage, but here are a few helpful ideas to make your travel dive kit just that little bit lighter…
- Switch your wetsuit for some Lavacore……
Wetsuits are great but can be a little bulky when travelling. If you’re travelling to somewhere nice and tropical, take some Lavacore along with you. Lavacore is a technically advanced fabric with a fleece inner lining that serves as thermal protection. What’s great about Lavacore is that it insulates to the equivalent of a 2.5mm to 3mm wetsuit but, as it is not neoprene, it is not buoyant or bulky. This makes it easy to get in and out of, the same space and weight as regular clothing, you can wear a top, bottom or full suit and it is not buoyant, meaning you won’t need nearly to add nearly as much weight to dive in it. Alternatively, if you are going somewhere with cooler waters, you can put lavacore under a lighter wetsuit and keep your luggage down.
- Switch your full size fins for a travel size fin
Full fins are great but can be painful and heavy to travel with. The length of the fin can make them take up too much space or require a bigger bag, and the weight can run through your baggage limits. Invest in a set of travel fins that are light weight, smaller and fit comfortably in a bag. We like the Oceanic Accel fins if you like to dive with a boot, or the V6 if you want a full foot fin in a split fin option. Get real smart, and find a set that will double for easy snorkelling as well!
- Look at a great travel BCD.
With travel being the way of the world today, all the best brands have jumped on board and made their own travel BCD’s. Travel BCD’s are lightweight, not bulky and make life a hell of a lot easier. At a weight of 1 – 3kg’s, you can’t really go wrong. A travel BCD doesn’t only have to be for travel, you can use it away or at home. We like the Oceanic Biolite for travel. A simple but effective design, it squishes down nice and compact in your bag. Our only advice would be to invest in the cumberband as well, particularly if you get any hip or lower back aches, as it provides more back support.
For those that dive wings, Halcyon also does a great travel wing called the Halcyon Traveler BCD. This great unit is almost identical to its other wings with the unique cinch design, however it has a plastic back plate to make it lighter for travel.
- Invest in a duffel, not a bag on wheels
Many people say travel with a bag that has wheels because of lifting. We understand that some people require the bag on wheels, but there are a few reasons why a duffel can be the way to go. Firstly, bags with wheels have all this extra plastic and metal which make the bag HEAVY. Suddenly you’re removing 5kgs out of the gear that matters to put 5kg in of weight that doesn’t. Secondly, with trolleys, transfers, and the ability to put one bag on the handle of another, it shouldn’t be that tough. If after all that it still is – get your dive buddy or a fit looking stranger to help you out. Thirdly bags on wheels are often (not always) shorter, making it tough to fit your gear in without bulking out the bag.
A duffel is lighter, often dry and easy to put on your shoulder and manoeuvre around a liveaboard. There are a number of great dive travel bag out there, but some advice we give divers is don’t go past the spearfishing bags such as Rob Allen mesh duffel. Yes, we know they are designed for spearfishing, but they are slightly longer, more slender and easier to pack, so if you do want to take your bigger fins, or more gear – you can. And at their price tag, you can’t really go wrong.
- Pack yourself a little essentials kit in your mask case
You don’t want to go over the top with your spares kit as you have limited space, but a few spares in your mask case, doesn’t hurt. The rule is, if it doesn’t fit in there, you probably don’t need it. Pack the essentials – a new mask strap, some sea gold, O-rings, Allen’s Key, cable ties mouth piece, fin strap, O-ring pick, din insert, yoke adaptor and an RDP table (in your log book) or spare dive computer. Pack them up tight pop them in the corner of your bag and you are good to go!
Lighten up your kit with a few of these items and see how you weigh in on your next trip. What have you done to your travel kit to lighten the baggage load?