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Preview of Aqua Lung's carry-on bag

  August 25, 2010

So when I was at Sea World last week for my interview/freediving lesson with Mike Wells I also had the chance to check out Aqua Lung’s new carry-on bag, Departure.

With an entire set of scuba gear, no weights or tanks of course, the bag weighs 8kg (17lbs)!

But there’s a catch - that’s with a special lightweight range of gear Aqua Lung have made to go in the bag.

For those of us divers who already have gear, or perhaps even several sets, our first reaction might be to baulk at buying yet another set of gear.

But a lot of the design in the pieces were quite practical and you don’t have to buy the full set of gear with the bag. 

I would, for example, still used my Dite Rite Transpac harness, which is soft, pretty light and easy to fold or compact, and I would probably look at using Aqua Lung’s neutrally buoyant second stages and foldable hoses with my Scuba Pro first stage.

Yes that’s right...a neutrally buoyant occy! It was so light in my hand but it still looked and felt sturdy. 

Of course I haven’t dived with it yet, but I will be doing a review of the bag and full set of gear when the first shipments arrive in Australia in about a month.

I am especially keen to try out the Hot Shot fins that make up for their short length (to fit lengthwise inside the bag) by having a hinge around the foot pocket so the point of inflection (the point down from which all the thrust from a kick with a fin is created) is at the middle of the foot instead of at the toes like in traditional designs.

close up of the underside of the Hot Shot fins

I prefer diving with shorter fins anyway from my cave and wreck diving training but these are some seriously short fins!

I’m also interested in how the low volume masks feel. They have a special joint where the strap attaches to the frame that allows them to fold down small enough to fit inside the foot pocket of one of the fins. 

the Cardanic joint

mask fitting completely inside the fin foot pocket

I enjoy my current Dite Rite low-volume mask so it might not be much of a change for me.

Weight limits are always an issue for me, especially since I’ve got camera gear on top of scuba gear so it’s something I could see coming in handy for warm water diving.

Obviously with colder temperatures you need more thermal protection and sometimes sturdier equipment but there are so many locations - think Indonesia, Palau, Fiji, Vanuatu - where this set would be perfect.

And at the pricing they’ve got it for in the States, don’t know exactly figures for Australia yet, three or four trips where you hire a full set of gear or half a dozen times of paying excess baggage fees and the set would pay for itself.

And just because it’s carry-on size doesn’t mean you have to carry the bag on the plane.
I would be checking it as I always carry my camera, housing and lap top on the plane with me. 

The benefit then being less of a chance of going over my weight allowance for checked baggage, not to mention less strain on my lower back from pulling it in and out of the car boot, baggage carousel, etc.

Here’s a play by play of how all the pieces fit into the Departure bag:

Fins go in along the sides and there's a nifty little picture in case you forget :)

both fins on opposite sides, foot pockets facing towards the top of the bag....

Zuma BCD rolls up and fits in the middle....

full-length tropical wetsuit and Flight regs go on top....

a few shirts, shorts and a book on top...

room in the top pocket for papers and brochures....

and you're done!

and Jeff from Aqua Lung with the bag for a bit of perspective on the size of the bag

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