If you are an avid traveller and also an obsessed diver, you will need to find a compromise with yourself when going on a long trip.
As I explained on the post about Buying your own equipment, there are many reasons why someone like me would want to travel light. Extremely light. Almost negligibly light.
One of the reasons is the “freedom factor”. To me the “freedom factor” is that feeling of peace when there is no clutter. Not too many things around. Not too many items to think or care about. Having possessions is kind of stressful, and both at home and when on trips I rather have less than more.
The “freedom factor” when travelling is the lightness and efficiency of my trips. I pack extra light, take only essentials, and never miss a thing. Not needing to check in luggage saves time, money and hassle. I walk from plane to plane with not one worry in the world.
I also like trekking, visiting cultural landmarks, walking around cities and talking to locals. And I do not like carrying heavy luggage on this. If you do, you might want to get to the hostel/guesthouse as soon as you hit the new spot, in order to drop off the bags. This makes it so difficult to visit places in between. You cannot easily leave point A in the morning, spend all day visiting point B, and arrive at point C at night. And it all seems quite limiting, only for the sake of a heavy backpack full of – probably – unnecessary things!
But once you have taken the leap into your diving-obsessive travelling, then you need to figure out a way to live with your standards of light travelling despite the burden of your beloved possessions.
So let’s see how everything packs together.
Using only a 60L backpack to carry all – and I mean ALL – my scuba gear. Plus some other things of course.
Now, this is no ordinary backpack. I call it the “magic backpack”. I have never seen another 60L backpack that easily fits in all airline overhead compartments and dimension-checking thingies. I travelled with a full backpack with multiple low-costs without ever paying for a checked-in bag.
But we need to see if things will truly fit.
Starting to pack
Starting out with the fins, the BCD is a bit more tricky.
The small items
I use the regulator bag to transport more delicate pieces of equipment. Using the wetsuit socks and some homemade padded bags I store delicate items such as the mask, the computer, the lamp, the camera or the logbook.
I add my shortie, 2.5mm wetsuit to add another layer of protection to my delicate gear.
This regulator bag is small enough to be considered a “handbag” that can be easily stored under the front seat on the plane. This is a way to optimise the space in my backpack while keeping the most important items safe on the flight. I add here also other items that I use on the flight, such as chargers, book, phone, wallet, passport… Overall it makes for an awkward handbag 🙂
The rest of the equipment
With everything packed up, including the mesh bag, there is still a lot of space for clothes.
Clothing and personal items
These is a mock-up of all the clothes that I would need for a 3-week-long trip. It is the same amount as for a 2-week-long trip or to 1 month or 2 months. For any trip longer than 2 weeks, my rule is that I need to wash my clothes. So the length of the trip only changes the frequency of the washes.
So this backpack now includes a big beach towel, a microfiber towel for showering, a set of 7 t-shirts, 3 shorts, 2 dresses, 2 yoga pants, swimming suits and flip-flops. I add some essential toiletries as well, including sunblock.
Considering that it is winter at home and it is cold, the travelling clothes will include a winter raincoat and trekking boots, that might be used during the trip. But since they are worn during the flight they do not add up in terms of space or weight.
As you can see here, it packs up small.
In terms of weight, to illustrate how easy it would be to travel considering these two pieces, have a look at these pictures:
So really, all in all, with all my equipment gear (considering 2 light wetsuits that can layer up), and clothes for a summer location, towels, essential toiletries, and some personal items… It all weighs only 11.5kg. This is acceptable as hand luggage by most airline companies.
Happy travels and happy diving!