The loss left me looking for a new dive-bag, one that doesn’t eat into airlines' paltry weight limits but will comfortably take everything I need for an overseas dive trip.
Aqua Lung may have saved the day in the form of a Duffel from its 2016 Explorer collection.

The Design
The main material used to construct this humble bag is robust PVC-coated 1680-denier polyester. The base is made from a reinforced V-diamond material complete with corner guards.
The front has a zipped pocket capacious enough to take Aqua Lung’s Explorer regulator bag, and contains an organisational pocket panel. The front also has webbing strips with anchor-loops for hanging easy-access gear, and can be used to secure the bag to a boat-deck in rough seas. Main access is through a zipped tarpaulin panel at the top.
The Explorer Duffel measures 73 x 36 x 36cm and has a capacity of 95 litres. It weighs 2kg empty and comes with a double haul handle and padded keeper along with a removable shoulder-strap.
The bag comes in an all-black with royal-blue accents with grey webbing haul straps and white Aqua Lung livery, plus a discreet dive-flag logo and a writeable nameplate.

In Use
I loaded the Explorer Duffel with a full set of dive-kit, plus essential travel items such as a toothbrush, a few T-shirts, a pair of beach shorts, a couple of pairs of undercrackers and a small first-aid kit. Pleasingly, it weighed in at only 15kg and I knew I had at least 5kg to spare before the airport check-in Gestapo read me my rights.
I was then left with a bit of a dilemma – should I take more clothes, or more dive-gear? The simple answer was both, as I certainly had the room. The bag’s cavernous interior wasn’t nearly full, and in fact I could even take a spare wetsuit, you know – just in case.
Hang on a mo – I was travelling to the Caribbean and transiting via Grantly Adams International airport in Barbados.
There isn’t a single baggage trolley there, and the porters charge a staggering amount of dollars to move your bags from arrivals to the transit desk. But 15kg is an extremely manageable weight, so I decided to leave it as it was, carry it between terminals myself and spend the saved dollars on a couple of beers.
This is the advantage of this delightfully lightweight but seemingly tough piece of diver luggage – it can comfortably take all you should ever need for an overseas trip and it’s unlikely to tip the scales over the edge due to its own weight.
The shoulder-strap has a small pad, as do the twin haul handles – they add a bit of comfort when humping the bag about.
The tarpaulin top will also help to keep the contents dry when the baggage-handlers abandon it on the runway during the tropical downpours that seem to greet everyone arriving in the Caribbean.
But remember, tough as the material may be, ultimately this is a soft bag, so the contents will be vulnerable to indelicate baggage-handling.

Conclusion
This is a bag for the weight-conscious travelling diver; it doesn’t have wheels and a rigid base to aid in transporting it around an airport, hotel or resort and would need to be physically carried as opposed to being pulled or pushed along.
It looks to be a tough bit of kit, although I can’t verify this as I’ve only just packed it for the next trip, and haven’t yet had the chance to see what damage the baggage-handlers can inflict behind closed doors.
I’m not a fan of the large logos on either side of the bag, as they don’t just advertise the maker but tell anyone who cares to look that it’s filled with expensive and highly sellable dive gear.
A few strips of black duct tape will sort that out, and then this Explorer Duffel should be just fine.

SPECS
PRICE: £55
MATERIALS: PVC coated 1680 Denier polyester, tarpaulin
SIZE: 73 x 36 x 36cm
WEIGHT: 2kg
CAPACITY: 95 litres
CONTACT: www.aqualung.com/uk
DIVER GUIDE 8/10