Imagine being able to pack your entire scuba kit into one bag, stick it in an overhead locker on the plane, avoid the baggage handlers’ torture chamber and know that it’s safe and secure.
The US Oceanic company may have come up with a solution, in the form of its much talked-about Aeris Jetpack.

The Design

The Jetpack is a travel BC and a backpack all rolled into one, the idea being to allow you to travel with it as carry-on luggage.

A good-quality BC tends to take up a large percentage of your allotted space and weight, so the designers decided that this should form the basis, and then clip on a semi-dry rucksack that’s large enough to take most of your other gear while keeping the end result within airline size limits.
Surprisingly for a travel BC, the Jetpack is made from fairly heavy-grade materials but weighed in at just 2.96kg on electronic scales.
The harness uses a combination of 1000 denier cordura and 800 denier double-coated nylon. The bladder is 420 denier nylon and has a bungee cord to draw the wing back to reduce drag and keep the bladder tidy and easy to pack.
A standard corrugated inflator hose is fitted complete with an integrated pull-dump and additional right-hand-side rear kidney-dump.
Tank attachment is via a camband placed at the top and a Velcro’d strap at the bottom for stabilisation. Dumpable weight-pouches are supplied and will take around 6kg.
There is also the option of non-dumpable cambelt pouches that will take a further 4kg.
This is a one-size-fits-all BC with an extremely adjustable harness system. The shoulder-straps have a lot of additional length and can be extended at both the top and bottom.
The excess webbing is then rolled up and held in place by Velcro keepers.
The chest-strap can be slid up and down a rail for best positioning, and the strap itself can be lengthened if required. The shoulder-straps incorporate webbing loops rather than D-rings for attaching accessories.
The cummerbund and waist-belt both allow loads of adjustment, and the weight-pockets can be moved around to obtain the best position for trim and balance.
A generous amount of strategically placed Velcro assists in the adjustment department and, once you have the right configuration, keeps everything just where you need it.
The waist-strap buckle works with a simple pull away from the body rather than a sideways yank, and is a neat touch.
In its packed form the BC is enclosed within its own separate section. The back is zipped up inside a single cover and the BC harness is used for the rucksack straps for the entire system.

The Day Bag
The rucksack-style bag is constructed from 800 denier double-coated nylon and has an overall capacity of 42 litres. It’s made to a “semi-dry” spec, with water-resistant zips and more external pockets and internal pouches than you might reasonably expect.
If you feel the need, hideaway straps can be used to turn the bag into a standalone backpack when separated from the Jetpack.
The back is padded for comfort and will also aid in protecting a laptop tucked away in its own dedicated pouch.
The empty bag weighs just 0.9kg and clips to the BC with five snap-clips fitted to compression straps, so if the need arises you can squeeze it down to fit the airline size regulations.

In Use
I took the Aeris Jetpack halfway across the world and used it in the way in which it was designed. It took all my dive-kit and some clothes, plus my laptop and expensive torches.
The only thing that wouldn’t fit were my fins.
I use Mares Quattros, which proved too long and had to be packed in the hold baggage, but shorter fins would have been no problem.
As a backpack the Jetpack was comfortable and distributed the weight well. I used the outside pockets to keep my passport and travel documents secure but readily accessible.
I had no problems with the check-in staff at any of the airports I visited.
As a solution to carry-on dive kit it worked really well while travelling with an airline that allowed up to 23kg, though I wouldn’t like to try to get it past the over-zealous staff of airlines that allow only 5kg.

Under water
Before getting the BC wet I had spent some time configuring it for my size and personal tastes, and found that making adjustments was easy enough.
To me, the build quality and design make the Jetpack feel like a top-end product rather than the lightweight travel BC it is. Under water it performed well, the wing configuration balancing nicely with my weight requirements, and it held me in a neutral position, slightly head-up but almost horizontal.
The bungee kept the wing tight, and made sure that it didn’t flap around. Dumping air was easy in any position, from either the corrugated-hose shoulder-pull or kidney-dumps.
At the surface the BC supplied me with plenty of lift to keep my face well away from the water, although it did tend to push me forward a little.
The tank felt secure, and the soft back with its extra padding made the 30-plus dives I carried out using it a painless experience.

Conclusion
As airlines continue to restrict what divers can take abroad, yet still give generous allowances for golfers, innovative ideas that go some way to addressing our needs will always be welcome.
If more airlines follow the likes of BA and Easyjet, you’ll be able to get the most out of the Aeris system. Alternatively, you could just pack it to whatever limits apply.
If my initial feeling was that the BC wouldn’t cut the mustard under water, I was off the mark – it was excellent. I’m short and a little on the compact side (chubby) so a one-size-fits-all doesn’t normally apply, but thanks to the huge range of adjustments I had no problems with the Jetpack. A big thumbs-up to Oceanic.
If you want better baggage allowances, take up golf, but I can’t see much use for a nine iron in the Maldives.

PRICES £457
SIZES One size fits all
LIFT Just under 14kg
WEIGHT Combined 3.86 kg
CONTACT www.diveaeris.com
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