Wheeled luggage is now my new-found friend. Italian gear giant Mares has a new wheeled bag system that offers a lot more than standard dive luggage – I know, because I’ve been giving it a go.

The Design
The Cruise System bag is constructed from 600-denier polyester with a twin PU coating, and has a black outer skin and a light-grey interior lining. Inside there are two straps for securing the contents, and elasticated mesh pockets on the flanks to help organise essential bits and bobs.
All the zippers are YKK high-quality nylon with large finger loops.
External compression straps are provided to reduce the profile when the bag is partially filled, or to take unwanted pressure off the zippers when it’s filled to the gunwales.
Mesh panels in the sides of the bag allow for ventilation to assist in drying the contents even when it is sealed.
An internal frame incorporating a telescoping handle that links with the hard plastic base and wheels, along with two rails at the rear, provides rigidity and strength.
Handles at the head and base of the bag plus two at the front and one at the side give various carrying options.
The bag offers an internal capacity of 122 litres from its 51 x 31 x 79cm dimensions and weighs, it must be said, a not-inconsiderable 5.9kg. It’s finished with subtle embroidered livery that doesn’t scream “dive-bag” and honeycombed nylon panels with reflective piped edges.

The System
And now for something completely different, because a full set of dive gear can be hung, hosed off and left to dry – while still in the bag.
I’ve never been a big fan of dive luggage that incorporates a frame and wheels, because the extra weight of the bags is always a hindrance at airport check-ins. Or it was, until a recent trip to the Caribbean saw me transit through Barbados airport.
The planners at Barbados seem to have spotted an opportunity to provide an income for locals who work as porters, and charge ridiculous amounts of cash to move heavy bags from A to B.
There are no baggage trollies to be found, so I had no choice but to pay these extortionists $10 to move my heavy holdalls from the baggage reclaim in Arrivals to the transit desk 200m away.
Wheeled luggage is now my new-found friend. Italian gear giant Mares has a new wheeled bag system that offers a lot more than standard dive luggage – I know, because I’ve been giving it a go.

The Design
The Cruise System bag is constructed from 600-denier polyester with a twin PU coating, and has a black outer skin and a light-grey interior lining. Inside there are two straps for securing the contents, and elasticated mesh pockets on the flanks to help organise essential bits and bobs.
All the zippers are YKK high-quality nylon with large finger loops.
External compression straps are provided to reduce the profile when the bag is partially filled, or to take unwanted pressure off the zippers when it’s filled to the gunwales.
Mesh panels in the sides of the bag allow for ventilation to assist in drying the contents even when it is sealed.
An internal frame incorporating a telescoping handle that links with the hard plastic base and wheels, along with two rails at the rear, provides rigidity and strength.
Handles at the head and base of the bag plus two at the front and one at the side give various carrying options.
The bag offers an internal capacity of 122 litres from its 51 x 31 x 79cm dimensions and weighs, it must be said, a not-inconsiderable 5.9kg. It’s finished with subtle embroidered livery that doesn’t scream “dive-bag” and honeycombed nylon panels with reflective piped edges.

The Design
And now for something completely different, because a full set of dive gear can be hung, hosed off and left to dry – while still in the bag.
The Cruise System has three multi-purpose hangers complete with stainless-steel hooks and clip buckles.
The hangers are cleverly designed to take various dive-gear components including suits, BCs, regulators, boots, hoods, masks and fins. These can be hung externally
using the hooks, or inside the bag using the buckles.
When the kit is hung inside the bag it can be extended through a zipped opening so that suits are at full-length and aren’t scrunched up.
A drop-down mesh bag extends below the opening to keep everything in place and will catch any items that fall off the hangers; it also has a drain plug in the bottom.
The mesh bag is detachable via a zip and has a drawstring opening and shoulder-strap, making it ideal for separate use as a boat-bag.

In Use
I used the System bag to transport my gear to various inland dive-sites in the UK, and have to confess to not having taken it on any overseas trips, because the time period for the tests coincided with an early-year drought of sunny destination assignments.
However for the purposes of this test I put the bag through some rigorous use. It devoured my UK dive gear and its capacious dimensions took everything I could throw at it, including a dry-bag with spare clothes, underwater camera components, lights and spares.
The best bit was when I got home and deployed the hangers and drop-down mesh bag. I suspended the main bag by its external stainless hook in the garden, opened all the flaps, pulled the mesh bag down and washed the whole lot with a garden hose.
It was dry within a few hours, and all I had to do was tuck the gear back inside the bag, secure the zips and store it in my workshop ready for the next trip.
The roller system employs a wide wheelbase that provided a stable platform. It was smooth to pull or push on flat surfaces, and the strategically placed handles made it easy to lift in and out of the car too.
One stroke of genius is the light grey lining, which made finding items that normally vanish into the black void of other bags an easy task. It’s a minor feature, but I wish all makers of dive-bags would consider it.

Conclusion
Wheeled luggage is definitely heavier than standard bags, I started this review by stating that I wasn’t a fan until I was stuck at Arrivals with my heavy duffels and had to pay a mugger to move them.
This Mares Cruise System would have been most welcome in this scenario, as it would have been at most American airports when faced with paying non-refundable $5 fees for a trolley.
I would definitely sacrifice some non-essential kit against the weight gain of this bag rather than dip into my precious beer money – how fickle am I?
Mares has put a lot of thought into the design of this bag, and the result is a system that can be deployed at will, or used solely to transport dive gear.
Attention to detail is second to none. There are robust reinforcing strips at the wear-points, and even a dive-kit checklist and deployment guide printed in the main compartment cover.
The lighter-coloured interior isn’t unique in the baggage world, but it is a rarity and a welcome addition to what is a well-built, feature-rich, top-end dive-bag.
A 6kg bag is not for everyone, though to cut back on the weight the hangers and mesh bag can be left at home.
I’m sure I could live without them on overseas trips, especially when faced by those smiling assassins at the airport check-in.

PRICE £202
COLOUR Black with grey interior
VOLUME 122 litres
DIMENSIONS 51 x 31 x 79cm
WEIGHT 5.9kg
EXTERNAL POCKETS One small zipped pouch
CARRY HANDLES Five
COMPRESSION STRAPS Two
VENTILATION Two mesh panels
EXTRAS Three gear hangers. Drawstring mesh bag with shoulder-strap
CONTACT www.mares.com
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%