Bag Scubapro Nimbus DivenRoll Modular Bag
When I started diving, I bought a soft dive bag. It was purchased almost as an afterthought with my first set of kit. It was probably manufactured in a sweatshop in the Far East, and it lasted less than a year.
     I was gradually promoted to expensive but hard-wearing US-made products. After more than 50 trips abroad, I sent the first of these that I had acquired back for an overhaul. I cannot complain about their longevity, and soft bags have the advantage that they can be got rid of into small storage places on boats, once you have unloaded them.
     But then I found that, for certain items of kit, a hard crate is more suitable. I bought a lightweight one at the local DIY superstore. It was cheap but came with wheels. The wheels had gone, courtesy of an uncaring airport baggage-handler, after the first trip.
     The Scubapro Nimbus Dive n Roll Modular bag combines the idea of a crate with that of a bag. It weighs around 7kg empty and is a tapered hard crate, measuring around 63 x 35 x 18cm at its shallowest point. It has large wheels and an extending handle.
     The lid of this crate is a separate dive bag. This has two internal net sections for segregating gear, and an outside pocket. There is also a small detachable bag.
     The tapered shape helps the bag retain stability once fully loaded and standing upright, although it does slightly compromise its ability to swallow everything you might wish to carry. That said, it certainly took a full set of dive gear plus all my personal luggage for a weeks trip.
     So what were the downsides If you pass through an American airport during your journey, you now have to leave bags unlocked so that the security staff can search them without you being present. The fact that these specially trained personnel managed to break the main zip on my outward journey proved that a fixed set of instructions to undo the zip fully before attempting to open the bag was necessary.
     I attached this on my second foray through the USA with better success, and the now-repaired zip stayed intact.
     There was another important design problem. The Dive n Roll allows you to unzip the whole soft section and carry it, by means either of its handle or its concealed rucksack-style straps, to your accommodation, while leaving the main crate-like section at the dive centre, or dive deck on a liveaboard. That is a very convenient option.
     Alas, checking in only one item may mean that you can pick up only one item later from the baggage belt.
     If some untrustworthy person unzips the soft section and carries it off before you can retrieve it, leaving you with only the crate, I fear that the airline will insist that the remaining section might be the only part you originally checked in.
     As it was, the Dive n Roll arrived at my final destination without the zip-on small detachable bag. Returning home, I was relieved to find out later that my wife, thinking along the same lines, had removed this empty and unused part long before I set off.
     I suggested to Scubapros chief designer Roberto that a message clearly printed on the top of the crate section to indicate that it was one of two parts would prove that a part was missing. This simple step might go some way to reducing the risk of intentional separation while the item is beyond the owners supervision.
     That apart, this is a very convenient way to transport your gear, and its big wheels and extending handle made light work of moving it along on flat surfaces.
The Scubapro Nimbus Dive n Roll Modular bag costs £145.
  • Scubapro UK 01256 812636, www.scubapro.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Many of the advantages of a crate
    + Will take all your gear

    - Zip problems
    - Will some thief take some of your gear