before the caravan
Through out the years I have traveled a ton! During this time I have used a lot of different luggage for carrying my dive equipment. Several years ago before weight restrictions for airlines, Grady and I would fit two complete sets of equipment inside a Pelican hard case. These cases were nice for protection, however not for weight. Pelican cases are indeed much heavier than a semi-rigid bag, such as the Caravan. Now with weight restrictions down to 50 pounds, we have made packing into a science!
In the past 25 years in business we have sold many brands that sold their own semi-rigid bags. However, none have lasted more than 5 trips before completely blowing out the seams when the baggage handlers abuse them.
what can I pack
Currently, I still choose to use the Scubapro Caravan bag after using it for about 10 years. Yes, I did just retire my first one after about 40 trips. The zipper finally decided to break on me. I think it’s a win for the durability of the bag to get me through that many trips and protect my expensive dive equipment!
I have found that I can pack my Hydros BCD, Nova fins, 3mm wetsuit, vests, boots, two masks, a complete SAD kit with a spare regulator, and enough clothes to get me by for the trip. Inside the Caravan are two straps that can hold my gear down to the back rigid section.
One major problem with using normal suit cases for dive equipment is the overall height of the bag. I personally use the Scubapro Nova fins and they’re slightly longer fins. The caravan bag can fit just about any recreational diving fin (vertical) on the market.
fEATURES AND TIPS
The Caravan Bag weighs 8.6 pounds empty, which allows plenty of weight for heavy dive gear! It has very durable wheels that will make it through rough conditions (snow has killed many of our previous bags). One large benefit of the bag is it stands up on its own; unfortunately there are not a lot of dive bags that do stand up.
There are two large straps that go over the Caravan bag to relieve tension on the YKK zippers which is huge! Imagine bringing back some extra souvenirs – you don’t want your bag to suddenly pop open! With just the back being rigid, it allows the sides to collapse down. I can easily store this bag anywhere without taking up massive spots of space just to not be used but a couple times a year.
My packing tips for the Caravan:
– Place fins on the sides for added reinforcement and protection
– BCD goes in next, be sure to tuck BPI or AIR 2 inside of it
– Place remaining dive gear inside by wrapping fragile items with neoprene items
– Set a trash bag on the side pocket of the Caravan (used for wet items on the way home)
– Don’t forget about those side pockets and front pockets (great for packing flip flops)
Always carry your regulator, computer, and prescription masks on the plane with you!