Best Dive Gear Bags of 2023 Reviewed
How We Test
Our testing is designed to gauge each bag’s comparative usefulness, convenience and durability for dive and travel. Large roller bags were packed with the dive gear and personal items testers would typically travel with on dive trips that involve a flight. Dry duffels and mesh bags were evaluated with gear suitable for their size, design and intended use.
For large roller bags, the packing list included a complete set of gear and accessories. Testers’ kits were tailored to conditions requiring either a full 3mm or 5 mm wetsuit. We also packed personal items and clothes we would take on a typical weeklong liveaboard (casual, with emphasis on tees and shorts).
For dry duffels and mesh bags, we packed the gear normally used for a day of diving with either a full 3mm or 5mm wetsuit, along with assorted accessories and personal items.
Related Reading: Your First Set of Scuba Gear: A Buyer's Guide
Testing a Cressi dive bag.
Testers rated bags in the following categories:
Overall Design How well does the bag work to pack and safely transport items you would take on a dive trip? Does it have design features or materials that are beneficial for dive travel?
External Size/ Shape Are the external dimensions practical and convenient for the bag’s intended use?
Capacity Is the bag appropriately sized and shaped to handle a reasonable amount of gear?
Ruggedness Is the bag and its components (wheels, handles, zippers, grips, straps) built to withstand the rigors of air and dive travel?
Ease and Convenience When in use (packing, zipping, lifting, rolling, carrying, etc.), is the bag designed and constructed in a way that works well for securing and transporting gear and personal items?
Testers were asked to describe the things they like most—and least— about each bag. ScubaLab staff also measured and weighed each bag, and evaluated construction elements such as materials, stitching, hardware and reinforcements.
Q. Why might I want a waterproof duffel for hauling dive gear?
A. If you don’t have time to properly rinse dive gear after an ocean dive, keeping your equipment in such a bag will keep it from drying out and forming salt crystals until you can clean it properly. Even if you have rinsed your gear, it may not be fully dry. Keeping it in a watertight bag will prevent damp gear from leaking in the trunk of your car or on your hotel floor.
Specs 9lb.3oz. | 37x15.5x11.5 in.
This bag easily accommodates a full dive kit along with clothing and personal items. Three large compartments provide separate spaces for organization, but can be collapsed to make one oversize space. Oversize interior pockets are too big to secure tiny, loose items, although some testers thought they may be just big enough to store travel size fins. Excellent compression straps and huge padded side panels protect contents during transport. The back of the bag features a hidden magazine pocket (with a smaller mesh zip pocket) and a large, zippered compartment with drain holes at the bottom. This very well-made bag rolls and stands effortlessly on its sturdy chassis and large, all-terrain wheels. Some testers wished the telescoping handle had been an inch or two taller, but otherwise loved the bag’s multiple ergonomic grips. This big roller will likely net oversize baggage fees, but your gear couldn’t ask for a more stylish, durable and capable ride. A favorite of test divers, with excellent performance, the Shuttle 36” is our Testers Choice for roller bags.
LARGE ROLLER BAGS
LESS THAN 9LBS
Specs 8lb.11oz. | 30x17.5x11 in.
Smooth, quiet wheels and low-profile dimensions allow this bag to traverse airport terminals with ease. “Feels very trim with as much gear as it will hold,” one tester said. Overall width is kept to a minimum thanks to the rightside fin pocket, which is inset into the bag and big enough to hold a pair of big jet-style fins. It’s so convenient that it makes the other tighter pocket seem redundant. The main compartment opens vertically and easily holds an average set of dive gear and personal items needed for a liveaboard trip. The larger exterior pocket has a peculiar habit of shifting orientation within the soft front panel, which can unexpectedly move the contents above or below the zipper opening. The smaller pocket is lined with soft fabric to protect phones and other electronics. Testers appreciated the bag’s internal and external compression straps but didn’t like the lack of a bottom or side grips. Lightweight construction eases the load and includes padding along the fin pockets. Divers will appreciate this bag’s gear-friendly capacity and easy-traveling weight and dimensions.
Related Reading: AKONA Less Than 9LBS and Less Than 7LBS Bag
Specs 10lb. 1oz. | 32x16.5x13.5 in.
This big, boxy bag’s spacious, easy-to-pack interior compartment makes the most of its dimensions to swallow up anything a diver could need. “Huge! The compartment is full-size, so you don’t have to fiddle with getting big items to fit,” one tester said. The bag sports water resistant materials, ample padding, and—to the chagrin of testers—numerous identical looking zipper pulls. External compression straps feature integrated grips along the sides of the bag, which are very helpful for lifting and manipulating the bag. It stands securely if left unattended and features a telescoping handle and hidden backpack straps. “Though it’s about the size of a small refrigerator, it’s pretty easy to roll, lift and carry,” one tester said. The larger exterior pocket has a vent for airing out damp swimwear and can accommodate a 3 mm suit. Both fi n pockets are also vented. The smaller exterior pocket has a rubberized mesh zipper pocket to organize and contain loose items. A favorite of multiple test divers, this well-built bag has plenty of space and several thoughtful features for easy, convenient gear transport.
Specs 8lb. | 38.5x16.5x12.5 in.
This oversize bag protects gear inside tough water-resistant fabric and a molded EVA foam bottom. The lengthy, wide-opening compartment will hold everything you can throw at it, including freediving fi ns and/or a speargun. The interior sports three adjustable compression straps, one of which is highly visible thanks to its red color. There is a mesh panel on the inside of the opening panel and a small exterior waterproof pocket. EVA foam provides stability when standing or rolling, but the bag can tip if packed poorly. The bag relies on its length to put the top grip at a comfortable height for pulling. Testers felt a rigid telescoping handle would have offered better control and kept the bag from hitting the back of their legs while walking. The big bag can be difficult to wrangle if heavily loaded, but it’s a guaranteed fit for divers who want to haul as much gear as possible.
Specs 8lb. 3oz. | 29.5x18x11 in.
A squat, compact profile with three different grips make this bag easy to handle. External compression straps restrain and streamline large loads. The bag opens horizontally from left to right to reveal a large interior compartment with two large pockets on the inside of the opening panel—one of which is also accessible from the outside. The bag is roomy enough to simply throw in lightweight, travel gear and go. When packing cold-water gear, the Whale will still fit everything, but divers will need to be more strategic in using the bag’s many compartments. Packing softer items like clothing and exposure gear will round out the protection provided by the bag’s EVA foam bottom. The larger, bottom pocket has internal compression straps, but the main compartment does not. The bag pulls well and can be carried via clip-on backpack straps. Lightweight, with plenty of spaces for an organized packer to utilize, the Whale is a good and affordable option for divers who want to haul clothes and gear in a single bag. It is our Best Buy.
TRANSPORTER WHEELED DUFFEL90
Specs 7lb. 7oz. | 31.5x16x11.25 in.
This roller uses premium hardware and materials including a tough dual-sided TPU coating made of recycled polyester that shrugs off rain and saltwater spray. Compact dimensions and multiple ergonomic grips make the bag easy to wrangle. The bottom of the bag features a heavy-duty frame with large wheels that keeps the body of the bag protected and off the ground. “Rolls like a dream,” one tester said. The bag opens wide to provide access to the interior, with two medium-size mesh zip pockets on the inside of the panel. There is a second smaller compartment at the top, but it can be difficult to access once the main compartment is stuffed. Stowing travel-size fi ns and warm-water gear in the bag along with a weekend’s worth of clothes and personal items is doable, but most testers struggled to pack their full dive kit. Any fi n over 28 inches is just a bit too long to fi t. While not exactly a dive bag, it is a very well-made, premium piece of luggage that could serve as a water-resistant companion to safely haul clothing and other “normal” items during a dive trip.
WHAT DID TESTERS LIKE?
GET A GRIP Test divers liked bags that featured multiple, well-placed grips for lifting and handling the bag, such as the Abyss duffel, which features a pair of sturdy handles on each side of the bag. The added leverage makes a huge difference when placing luggage on a scale while checking in to a flight or handing off your kit to a crewmember while boarding a boat—especially for a larger bag and heavier loads of gear.
POCKET SIZE Interior pockets that are too long or deep allow gear to slide around every time the bag is handled. In this case, less is more. Testers preferred smaller, tighter pockets that held gear securely. A great example is the Osprey Transporter wheeled duffel, which splits the mesh panel on the inside flap into two medium size pockets that hold accessories taut, instead of one large loose hanging pocket.
COMPRESSION STRAPS Adjustable compression straps, whether inside or out— or in the case of the Akona rollers, both—are convenient for securing gear during transit and help the bag last longer by taking the stress off the zipper. If the back isn’t completely full, external straps can also help reduce the footprint of the bag.
Related Reading: This is the Best Dive Gear for 2023
LARGE ROLLER BAGS
Specs 7lb. 12oz. | 29.5x17x11 in.
This bag shares a similar design to the Whale, including compression straps in the bottom front pocket and a garment hook at the top of the interior compartment. Neither bag feels especially dive-oriented but each is big enough to stow bulky items such as fins and a BC. Large pockets on the front panel allow for easy organization of dive gear, clothing or both. EVA foam provides protection without compromising the bag’s lightweight construction, while external buckles cinch down bulky loads to keep the bag’s dimensions compact and airline-friendly. One notable difference between the bags is that the Equipage opens right-to-left, which reverses the location of the side handle (now on the right) and puts the small, zippered mesh pocket at the spine of the bag instead of the lip. The interior also uses a light gray lining, which makes it easier to find loose items quickly. It also has slightly larger zipper pulls, is noticeably lighter than the other bag and does not have an ID pocket. Lightweight and spacious, with compartments to spare, this bag was a favorite among testers.
Specs 6lb. 3oz. | 32x16x12.5 in.
This big, soft-sided bag easily holds anything a diver could need and folds up to save space between trips. It has a single large, vented fin pocket and one humongous internal compartment. The simple design makes the most of the bag’s cavernous interior dimensions, allowing divers to stow an enormous amount of gear. There are some water-resistant panels scattered inside and out. The bag’s floppy construction tips the scales at just 6 pounds, the lightest in its category. The trade-off is that the bag has no frame of its own, relying on sturdy fins and other packed gear for structure and support. Internal compression straps will help secure gear in the main compartment, but the bag will tip if packed carelessly. The top-mounted handle is used to roll the bag on small skate-style wheels and is complemented by a bottom grip for lifting. Hidden backpack straps, which some testers preferred to rolling, feature a waist strap to reduce pressure on the shoulders— although a chest strap may have been more helpful. “Capacious and cost-effective,” is how one tester described the bag overall.
Specs 5lb. 2oz. | 13.5x32x12.5 in.
This bag uses heavy-duty tarpaulin throughout but doesn’t have a waterproof zipper. The buckle secured fin pocket can be a tight fi t, but testers felt you could probably stow two full sets of gear— including fi ns—inside the bag with little trouble. A soft-sided vented exterior compartment encompasses almost half of the main compartment when fully extended. It can be used to air out a damp wetsuit, but testers felt it was a little irrational to have some wet gear sealed away to prevent leaks while the rest is open to the air. The big bag can get heavy quickly and only features a duffel-style grip and a shoulder strap for leverage. “Like carrying a baby whale,” one tester quipped. The Megaterra offers divers a super-large-capacity water-resistant duffel for a great price.
TRANSPORTER WATERPROOF DUFFEL 70
Specs 2lb. 8oz. | 8.5x 25.5x19 in.
Made of heavy-duty TPU-coated nylon with a waterproof zipper, Osprey claims this bag can be submerged for up to 30 minutes without leaking. Testers managed to stow a surprising amount of kit into the Transporter, despite its narrow, watertight zipper. Bulky items like BCs and standard length fins were a no-go. Internal compression straps help secure gear, which is helpful when converting the bag from a duffel bag to a backpack. They also support a clever removable zipper pouch. The bag is very comfortable and ergonomic to carry. Testers loved this bag, but felt its size, waterproof protection and ease of carry would be better suited to clothing and personal items, rather than their actual dive gear.
Specs 2lb. 6oz. | 7.5x15.5x13.5 in.
Made of heat-sealed tarpaulin with a Velcro-secured zipper, this durable waterproof bag can be used to keep dry items away from the elements or to stow wet gear post-dive to keep moisture safely locked inside— theoretically you could also use it to give your gear a freshwater soak. It has a drain to clear out residual water. The slit-like opening can make it difficult to access the interior. Most testers couldn’t fit their BCs in the bag. However, one tester whose kit comprised warm-water travel gear described the bag as “a perfect fit.” The bag is easy to carry short distances, but testers would have liked the option of a shoulder strap. Overall, it is a simple, sturdy and compact waterproof duffel.
MSRP $199.95 (50L), $229.95 (75L), $249.95 (100L)
Specs 4lb. 11oz. | 11.5x 28.5x15 in. (75L)
This tough weatherproof bag is durable and spacious, and can fold fl at for storage. Three sizes are available. Testers felt the middle size 75-liter version was just right, offering plenty of space for the average dive kit while maintaining a manageable size and weight. Removable hybrid carry straps can be used as a duffel handle or a backpack strap—there is no shoulder strap. Each side of the bag is adorned with a pair of grips for easy leverage when lifting. The bag’s U-shaped opening provides great access to the boxy interior, which includes a large mesh zip pocket, three mesh pouches and two small waterproof pockets. It offers lots of organization and a flexible design that could be used to protect dive gear or dry items. The Abyss was our Testers Choice for dry duffels.
HURON DX MESH BACK PACK
Specs 4lb. 11oz. | 11.5x 28.5x15 in. (75L)
Long enough for any pair of scuba fi ns and wide enough for any BC, this mesh backpack provides ample room for everything. “Perfect size for a full load of gear for boat diving or shore diving,” one tester noted. The bag has a wide opening drawstring top and a vertical side zipper, which can be used to quickly access items without digging through the entire bag. Rubberized mesh is durable and won’t catch on gear while packing or emptying the bag. Testers liked the bag’s exterior roll-top dry pocket, which provides an accessible, waterproof compartment to protect personal items and small electronics. The back interior panel features a full-length zipper pocket for additional stowage. Testers liked the padded adjustable shoulder straps, which include an adjustable chest strap to comfortably distribute heavy loads. The bag is offered in four eye-catching colors—including the dive-shop-exclusive dive flag design pictured here. A tried-and-true design with robust materials and the thoughtful addition of a waterproof pocket, this bag was a favorite of several testers. It was our Testers Choice for mesh bags.
Regulator bags and hard-shell cases are great for protecting sensitive gear but can take up a lot of space. If you don’t have room for such purpose built protection, you can protect regulators and imaging equipment by wrapping them in wetsuits, towels and clothing.
If you’re a frequent flyer who struggles to pack in all your kit, consider purchasing gear specifically designed for travel, such as lightweight, quick drying wetsuits, compact yet powerful fins, and BCs with foldable back pads.
Packing for multiple topside and underwater excursions can be challenging. If your travel often splits time above and below the water, focus on packing the gear that is most important to you, and rent the rest at your destination.
Pack your mask and dive computer in your carry-on bag. In the event your dive luggage is delayed—or worse, lost—you’ll still have a mask that fits and a familiar dive computer with your personal dive history.
If you’re adamant about staying below airline weight restrictions, make sure your gear is completely dry before you pack it for the return trip. Damp gear will add extra weight.
Related Reading: Nex Maya Scuba Regulator: ScubaLab Best Buy
HURON LT MESH BACK PACK
Specs 1lb. 5oz. | 31x 13x13 in.
Though very similar to the DX backpack, this version of the large-capacity mesh backpack has been altered to minimize weight and bulk. The simplified design uses an uncoated nylon mesh, which is lightweight and strong, but testers felt it would be more likely to catch on gear while packing. The molded side handle and secondary zipper opening are also absent from this model. The wide-mouth drawstring opening provides easy access to the bag’s roomy interior, which is large enough to accommodate everything the average scuba diver might need during a day of diving and then some. The streamlined exterior doesn’t sport an external pocket, but retains the long zippered pocket that runs along the length of the back panel. Ergonomic shoulder straps are padded and adjustable. They include an adjustable chest strap for comfort and convenience. This bag provides an ideal option for divers looking for a simple, lightweight mesh-style bag to carry their gear to and from the dive site with minimal weight and cost.
MEDIUM GEAR BAG
Specs 1lb. 5oz. | 24.5x13x13 in..
Made out of repurposed vinyl mesh, this simple, rugged duffel will look like new after years of use. The mildew-resistant, fast-draining mesh is tightly weaved to prevent sand entry. The medium size bag we tested was easy to lift, carry and handle. The trade-off is that it was a tight fit for all but the most minimalist and travel-minded sets of diver gear. Testers felt just a few more inches in length would have made the difference in getting in their BC or fins. Smaller items can quickly get buried. Gili offers individual zippered mesh pockets and pouches that could be used to keep small accessories together, but we would love to see some sort of pocket integrated into the design. Testers liked the sturdy grips and duffel-style handle. A favorite of multiple testers, this bag is hard to beat in terms of simplicity, durability and price. It was our Best Buy for mesh bags.
COURTESY XS SCUBA
Specs 2lb. 1oz.| 12.5x31x13.5 in.
This mesh bag easily accommodates a typical dive kit and collapses for easy travel enroute to your destination. Even better, it features a roomy padded regulator bag attached to one end, which can still be utilized to store and protect a reg when the duffel is in its collapsed state. A secondary zipper secures the mesh portion until it’s needed. The mesh portion, made of tough polyester mesh, is about 25 inches long. It can hold a day’s worth of dive gear with no problem, but be sure to pack fins along the bottom of the bag to provide some support to the otherwise floppy bag. The bag features a duffel-style handle, with no other grips for leverage. Testers had several features they would have liked to see incorporated into the bag, such as heavier coated mesh, additional grips and another smaller pocket for accessories. However, the trade-off of including too many creature comforts would potentially weigh down what is already an extremely lightweight, capable bag.
Related Reading: Think Beyond Pink
WHILE NOT FULLY TESTED, WE DID HAVE A CHANCE TO TRY THESE BAGS
AKONA LESS THAN 7LBS
Specs 6lb. 5oz. | 20.5x14x9.5 in.
This mini version of the full-size roller on page 26 is seemingly identical in all but size. It even has truncated fin pockets, although it’s hard to understand why—we stowed an extra pair of shoes inside ours. The electronics pocket is also slightly narrower, and the internal mesh pocket seems more reasonably sized. Features such as the solid compression straps, wide-opening internal compartment and conspicuous lack of a bottom handle performed similarly to the larger bag. It’s a nicely sized carry-on, especially if you’re into Russian nesting dolls.
SCUBAPRO BCD CARRY BAG
Specs 1lb. 4oz. | 20x12x9 in.
This simple, compact backpack has a single compartment with a drain outlet on the bottom and external compression straps to secure fi ns to the outside. It was designed to fi t a Hydros BC along with all the gear a scuba diver using a 7 mm wetsuit would need. We didn’t have a Hydros handy but tried to repeat the feat with another travel-oriented BC. It took some doing—the results were nothing pretty to look at, and we doubt the seams would hold up to such abuse long-term—but we were able to fit it all.
SEA TO SUMMIT BIG RIVER DRY BACK PACK
MSRP $169 (50L), $199.95 (75L)
Specs 1lb. 12oz. | 35.5x14.5x11 in.
This 420-denier nylon waterproof backpack has a roll-top closure and taped seams. It is super lightweight and features a backpack harness for easy, hands-free traversal and several lash points for securing the bag or for clipping on smaller items. A bright white lining helps highlight small items within the bag. The 75-liter version can easily accommodate clothing, towels and other “dry” gear for a weekend dive adventure. Just for kicks we tried to stuff an entire set of warm-water dive equipment into the bag. It’s a bit awkward and lumpy to carry, but it will fit!
SEAC BRO DRY BACK PACK
Specs 1lb. 13oz. | 23x11.5x6 in.
Wider than your typical roll-top dry bag, this backpack’s broad profile helps it stand firmly upright and provides a large carrying capacity while maintaining a streamlined look and feel. It also makes it easier to sift through the bag’s contents when hunting for a specific item since there’s a bit more room to maneuver inside the bag. The 25-liter bag has plenty of capacity for a day out on the water. A large back pad and adjustable, breathable straps make for easy carrying. An external waterproof pocket makes for convenient, accessible stowage of cellphones, keys and other small items.