Guide for How to Pack for a Dive Trip

Have you ever tried to pack for a trip? You know the excruciating pain of trying not to forget anything… underwear… check. Toothbrush… check. night clothes… check. And the list goes on. But when you are going on a dive trip, there is additional stuff you need to make sure you pack… like your dive gear. Enter our blog post for today. Not all airlines are the same, but most airlines have a fee for checked bags these days. Be sure you check with the airline you’re flying to know the exact regulations. This particular guide is based off a checked bag that can weigh no more than 50 lbs.

Let’s start with your bag. Every big bag that you pack your gear in to weighs different amounts. For our demonstration here, we’re using the SCUBAPRO 10lb Caravan bag that has rolling wheels. I put the empty bag on my scale to see how much weight you initially are using from your 50lb maximum. By the way, getting a good weight scale is beneficial! The SCUBAPRO website says it weighs 10lbs. My scale says 9.6. If you want to weigh on the side of caution (which sometimes is helpful) go with 10. So let’s do the math. Say it with me 50-10=40. We’re not going to do any of this Common Core Math… We’re going to stick to the basics! If you want to go by our weight scale (which I know is pretty darn accurate) then we have 50-9.6=40.4.

The next thing you don’t want to forget to pack is your fins. Here lately a bunch of us have tried a few different styles of fins and what I can tell you is… when you find your faves, stick with them! Or else, don’t try to switch up on a long dive trip… try at a lake dive where it’s just a day, not a full week or even in a pool setting! You’ll thank me . For our demonstration here we packed the SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Gorilla Fins.

The scales don’t lie… you’re looking at 5.05lbs or else if you want to be safe, round up to 6lbs. Remember from your math class that anything past .5 rounds up, anything.4 or less rounds down. But I think no matter what we’ll round up. Better to err on the side of caution! So if you’re still with me, let’s do the math… 40-6=34 or 40.4-5.05=35.35. Are you trusting my math? Don’t worry, I got an A in Algebra both in high school and college and an A in trigonometry. I took Trigonometry because in high school I was told if you ever thought you were going to go into any field involving science, take it so I did. I really didn’t need it. But this post isn’t about my math skills, I’m just proving my credibility .

Moving right along. So… the next thing you don’t want to forget is your BC. Why you might ask? Well, everyone has their preference of BC’s. For this demonstration we’re using the SCUBAPRO Knighthawk in a size Large.

So let’s get out the trusty scale and find out it weighs 5.05lbs. Now, Note: Don’t take your weights with you… get some there to use on your trip. This is also referring to traveling where you’re flying. If you’re driving, take your weights . So now comes the question, do you round up. This is only .05… not .5 there is a difference. By the way there’s also a difference when counting out weight of potatoes, but that’s another story for another day. Back to the weight of a BC… if you want to err on the side of caution, round up. If you aren’t too worried, round down. If you want to go exact weights… use 5.05. Options people, major options. Math time:

round up: 34-6=28

round down: 34-5=29

exact numbers: 35.35-5.05=30.3

Is all this math making your head spin? Not mine, just checking how you were doing!

Okay so I didn’t weigh these. Remember your dive boots though… they are what help your fins stay on your feet!! I believe there are stories of our people getting to Cozumel without dive boots. Not good. All dive boots weigh different because well they are different too. Wow, lots of variables, this is why weighing your stuff before getting to the airport is a MUST! These are the SCUBAPRO Heavy-Duty Short Boot, 3mm.

Don’t forget your mask either. Now… keep in mind if your mask has prescription lenses in it, keep it with you in your carryon just so they don’t get broken and make your dive trip miserable! This is the SCUBAPRO Orbit Frameless Mask. I don’t have the weight on this. Man, it makes it hard to do math when you don’t have weights. I blame Deb and Mark. They told me I didn’t need to weigh these .

Okay, so let’s start packing our bag. Deb likes to put her fins one on each side (look at picture for example), BC on it’s back down in the bottom, Mask in case toward one side and squeeze your dive boots in where there’s a hole. This leaves plenty of packing room for other “stuff.”

What other stuff might we be referring to? Well a Dive Suit of course. Now if you’re going to Cozumel, winter is a little cooler than summer is for diving (even though weather is great there year round). Make sure you take a dive suit warm enough that you don’t get cold, but not too warm. When we went in May, a bunch of our group took this SCUBAPRO 1 1/2 mil Pyroflex Steamer. I thought it was more than plenty warm for the dives we made. In February a 3mm might be better. It’s personal preference all the way around. In May 2 of our people (ahem, Dan and Jared) dove in rash guards and shorts. All personal preference. Just make sure you leave weight room in your bag for the dive suit you plan to take.

Deb recommends to put that in next. 

Finally comes the little things to pack. When drift diving, you need a safety sausage to release starting around 30 feet to let all boats, including your dive boat know you’re ascending upward and there are divers below. Also make sure to group up at this point so the boat doesn’t have to make multiple stops, but that is just a side note… you don’t have to do that when you’re packing!!

Don’t forget the Mesh bag either! It comes in quite handy!

The Anti-fog and the Ear drops as well.

Let’s also not forget the fun socks. These are extremely handy when putting on dive suits (especially damp ones) and dive boots!

Now that your bag is packed and I can’t account for any of the weight of those last few items… we’ll rely totally on the scales. We’re looking at 27.15 official lbs. Or then you can round up… 28 or round down 27. Like my Math skills?

Once all dive gear is packed that is necessary for a travel destination (aka somewhere you fly to) you have wiggle room. So some more math. 50lbs-27.15lbs=22.85lbs round up or down as you please although I’d definitely go original or round down in this case. That leaves you roughly 22-23lbs that you can pack extra stuff in to. 

What is the extra stuff I’m referring to? I’m so glad you asked!!!

  1. You have room now to pack some of your clothes. But make sure in your Carry on you pack – Change of clothes, swimsuit, prescription mask, medications, regulator/computer because sometimes your checked bag does not show up when you do.
  2. Batteries must not be loose, make sure they are in the container they were purchased in and are in your checked bag.
  3. shorts, longer pants, capris, t-shirts, short sleeves, long sleeves
  • winter months – it is cooler sometimes even in the Caribbean might want to pack a jacket, long sleeved shirts, light weight pants/capris.
  1. Swimsuits/cover ups – always light weight jacket for the boat. Never know when you might need it. Packable jackets are great, even take packable pants in winter months for the dive boat.
  2. Sturdy shoes/flip flops (non-slip for boat) if you will be doing lots of walking, mask de-fog, sunscreen, bug spray

And those are the tips I have for you. Anyone notice my counting started over? I didn’t do that, it’s the computer programs fault and I don’t know how to fix it… plus it adds some comic relief for such a serious topic. Any other hints, tips, or tricks you want to share? Leave them in the comments!! Oh I have 2 last tips….

  • Make sure you account for the fact your gear might be damp on the way home. That comes in handy when weighing gear home so you don’t have to pay overage fees.
  • And from the sounds of things, don’t let Grady near your packed bag, you might wind up getting to Cozumel without some personal items… just ask Deb.

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