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BAGTechnomad Bag

A whole lotta bag
MANUFACTURERS MIGHT HATE IT WHEN I WRITE about a bad experience I had with a bit of their kit, but they forget that I hate having the bad experience just as much. Some years ago, I took a bag away on a trip and, before I had got very far, the wheels fell off! The inconvenience of handling it after that was nearly as bad as the conversations I had to endure with the boss of the manufacturer, Se–or Furioso.
ÂÂÂÂ After some years, when the wounds had healed, the British distributor confessed that those bags had been so bad that more than half of his sold stock had been returned under guarantee, and that he had stopped selling bags since that time.
ÂÂÂÂ Mares has just introduced a whole range of dive bags under the name of Technomad. They bear sub-designations based on their cubic capacity in litres. The largest is the Mares Technomad 140 and the smallest are the Technomad 100 and 100 Mesh bag. The Technomad 125 and 115 come in between.
ÂÂÂÂ Just as you would expect from a company such as Mares, these are not just ordinary bags. Each one is loaded with innovative ideas. The distributor was so confident in the bags ability to do and survive the job that he sent me the whole range to try.
ÂÂÂÂ As I explain elsewhere in this issue, I have been known to check in rather overweight at airports, such are the demands of travelling with several sets of equipment to try for these pages, but I am not an Ivana Trump.
ÂÂÂÂ I rejected the idea of turning up at Gatwick with a set of five matching bags and chose one, the biggest and, in some ways, the simplest Technomad, the 140.
ÂÂÂÂ I wanted to give it a survival-rating and test whether it would still roll after the rocks of misfortune handed out by British and Egyptian airport-handling, and two long Egyptian bus rides, had done their worst.
ÂÂÂÂ Now a bag might bear the brand of a well-known scuba-diving equipment manufacturer, but dismiss the idea that it was made in that companys factory. Bags come from the Far East. The Mares bag range is no exception and the materials of the Technomad 140 were given form in a bag factory in Taiwan.
ÂÂÂÂ Italian design is all very well, but its the challenge of quality control over long distances that European manufacturers must face. The 140 has a rigid U-shaped base with three strong runners riveted in place. Its soft sides form a box-like shape.
ÂÂÂÂ The bottom section is closed off on the inside with an internal net cover that zips into place. Its big enough to take all the dive gear of most travelling divers.
ÂÂÂÂ The top half closes onto this. Its a soft rectangular section that also has a damp-proof zipped cover. Its capacious enough to take all your clothes, even if you need to take something for a formal occasion, too.
ÂÂÂÂ The two parts zip together so that only a single zip is exposed to the outside world. Both sections have a lining that can be wiped easily using a damp cloth.
ÂÂÂÂ One advantage of this rather simple design over its more complicated siblings is that, size for size, it has less inherent weight of its own. So you dont end up paying excess baggage charges that include the unwanted weight of the dive bag.
ÂÂÂÂ Once loaded, there are carrying handles fore and aft and on one side. There is also an extending handle for use with the large nylon wheels which, in the event, did not fall off. The main problem seems to be that the 140 consumes so much kit that, fully loaded with dive gear, no baggage-handler is going to be willing to lift it.
ÂÂÂÂ I packed nearly 40kg of stuff into it first time before I realised that I would have to take at least 10kg out and put it in another bag. Still, such capacity is great news for ping-pong ball salesmen!
ÂÂÂÂ Once loaded with, say, only 25kg of kit, I can still foresee a problem. If you use the side-handle, the stress of lifting the bag is taken by the internal zips. These will get ripped out from the surrounding material. Its inevitable that a baggage handler will do this, so I suggest cutting that offending side-handle off first!
ÂÂÂÂ Use only the end-handles and the extending handle and the reinforced top and bottom takes care of things.
ÂÂÂÂ How did I get on Well, the bag survived its first trip down to Southern Egypt well, with nothing more than a bit of edge-piping scuffed. So I immediately loaded it ready for a second trip elsewhere.
The Technomad 140 costs £115.

  • Blandford Sub-Aqua 01923 801573, www.blandfordsubaqua.co.uk


  • Divernet
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    + Youll never need a bigger bag


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    - Too heavy to lift when fully loaded
    - Get rid of that side handle