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The Best Dive Bags

ScubaLab reviews 16 new dive bags, including mesh dive bags, roller bags, and dry bags.
By Roger Roy and Robby Myers | Authored On February 5, 2019
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The Best Dive Bags

Dive bags are not the sexiest pieces of scuba gear. But having a high-quality bag for air travel or just making it onto the boat can be crucial for convenience and protecting your gear.

ScubaLab's team of test divers evaluated 16 dive bags — including large roller bags, mesh, and dry bags — on overall design, size/shape, capacity, ruggedness and convenience to determine the best dive bags of the year.

Check out the reviews below to which dive bags impressed our divers in ScubaLab's 2021 dive bag review.


LARGE ROLLER BAGS

Scubapro XP Pack Duo Bag

Scubapro XP Pack Duo Bag

MSRP $306 | CONTACT scubapro.com
SPECS 11 lbs. 5 oz. | 32x17x15 inches

Jon Whittle

This bag easily holds everything a diver could want for a weeklong dive trip. A narrow profile and conveniently placed ergonomic grips provide for easy lifting and rolling, despite the bag’s jumbo size. Two large compartments—each sporting a zippered pocket and compression straps—allow for easy packing and organization of dive gear, clothes and personal items. Both sections can be accessed independently, so you won’t have to rummage through the entire bag to find what you need. External compression straps help cinch down the load, but even so the bag’s cavernous interior and expandable front compartment can quickly exceed size and weight limits if overloaded. Tough skid rails, durable roller wheels and a sturdy telescoping handle are complemented by quality construction throughout. A favorite among test divers, with an unmatched combination of quality, convenience and capacity, the Scubapro XP Pack Duo Bag was our Testers Choice.


Akona Chelan

Akona Chelan Dive Bag

MSRP $230 | CONTACT akona.com
SPECS 7 lbs. 14 oz. | 33x20x14 inches

Jon Whittle

The Chelan was the largest bag in the test despite being lighter than all but one of the roller bags we evaluated. That let testers jam it full of dive gear and personal items but still tip the scales under the 50-pound mark (though they noted the soft-sided design could allow the unwary to blast well over the limit). The Ushaped front zipper opens wide for easy access to the main compartment, which has a mesh pocket and (slightly short) compression straps. On the front are two big zippered pockets, the larger sized to fit Akona’s Classic Reg Bag—which testers noted they’d not entrust their regs there without, as the pockets themselves aren’t padded and the bag is prone to flopping forward if not carefully loaded. The huge, well-vented side fin pockets let you air out wet gear, and the stout trolley handle makes for easy rolling.


Apeks 90L Roller

Apeks 90L Roller Dive Bag

MSRP $199 | CONTACT apeksdiving.com
SPECS 9 lbs. 4 oz. | 32.5x16.5x12 inches

Jon Whittle

High-end materials and hardware abound on the Apeks 90L Roller: stainless-steel zipper pulls, heavy-duty straps and buckles, and tough, water-shedding fabric all seem built to last. Multiple grips provide for easy wrangling, and the bag’s narrow profile is ideal for lifting and wheeling through crowded airports. The bag holds a reasonable amount given its size, and scored good for capacity. Even so, space can be tight—especially for divers who travel with large BCs or beefy fins. An external pocket assists with organization but takes up space within the main compartment and won’t allow you to squeeze in much once the bag is stuffed to the gills. Though it won’t hold as much as some of the other bags here, testers still overwhelmingly named it among their favorites and were willing to compromise capacity for the bag’s quality construction and travel-friendly size. The Apeks 90L Roller was our Best Buy for large roller bags.


Cressi Moby 5 Hydro

Cressi Moby 5 Dive Bag

MSRP $299.95 | CONTACT cressi.com
SPECS 11 lbs. 7 oz. | 31x20x14 inches

Jon Whittle

Tall and deep, the Hydro’s yawning main compartment easily accommodated our test load. In the words of one tester, “If it doesn’t fit in here, you don’t really need it.” Adjustable compression straps, which are long enough you won’t bury them in gear before you need them, help secure everything in place. The large vented fin pockets have a long U-shaped opening for easy access. The bag’s narrow profile is manageable while rolling, but can be difficult to lift as the central placement of the top and bottom handles doesn’t provide the best leverage. “Only feels big when you’re trying to lift it,” one tester commented. A flimsy telescoping handle seems like the Achilles’ heel of an otherwise well-built bag, which features tough hardware and a heavy-duty waterproof coating. Thick padding throughout the bag, including the external waterproof pocket, provides plenty of protection for dive kit and personal items.


Scubapro Caravan Bag

Scubapro Caravan Dive Bag

MSRP $259 | CONTACT scubapro.com
SPECS 9 lbs. 8 oz. | 30x16x16 inches

Jon Whittle

Essentially a duffel on roller wheels, the Caravan is compact, lightweight and easy to manage. Packing is hassle-free thanks to a wide horizontal opening that grants generous access to the bag’s bright-blue interior. Rated good for capacity, it can handle an average set of dive gear with ease, although heavy packers may have trouble squeezing in all of their clothes and personal items. Exterior pockets are small and tight. “Would be tough to fit anything in them,” one tester commented. Internal elastic compression straps are difficult to fish out after packing, but the external webbing straps and heavy-duty buckles are more than enough to cinch down the soft-sided bag. Solid construction incorporates a sturdy telescoping handle and tough skid rails. The bag’s design uses a single curved panel for the top and back, eliminating a seam and failure point. The bag rolls well on skate wheels, and the duffel-style handle is convenient for carrying lighter loads.


Seac Equipage 1000

Seac Equipage 1000

MSRP $199 | CONTACT seacsub.com
SPECS 8 lbs. 8 oz. | 30x17x15 inches

Jon Whittle

Although the Equipage 1000 looks like it would be more at home rolling through an airport lobby than being lugged down a muddy trail, testers found it surprisingly comfortable for backpacking with a full load, thanks to its clip-on shoulder straps and heat-formed EVA rear panel. It rolls just as well, and is easy to lift, drag or otherwise wrestle, with comfortable— and bright-red high-viz—grips at top and side. With a shape and dimensions a bit more streamlined than the larger bags, it struggled with our full dive-trip loads. But that wasn’t because of overall size so much as the limits posed by the bag’s internal design, with multiple zippered pockets that are part of the front flap taking up about half the space. The design also made it a pain to pack because it requires the bag to be upright with the front flap opened and horizontal.


Tusa Large Roller Bag

Tusa Large Roller Bag

MSRP $230 | CONTACT tusa.com
SPECS 10 lbs. 10 oz. | 30.5x19x12 inches

Jon Whittle

With a large vertical flap that opens like the hood of a 1960s Buick, this bag provides easy access for no-fuss packing. The large, boxy profile makes the most of the bag’s interior space while maintaining a manageable size for travel; it easily accommodated our test load. Three internal compartments and a set of elastic straps help organize and secure the load. The larger exterior pocket is as deep as the bag is tall, but the narrower opening makes it less than convenient. The bag stands on its own and is easy to lift and roll. Padded handles are comfortable to use, except for the relatively chintzy plastic grip on the bottom. The bag features solid construction and hardware, with rivets holding handles in place and tough external compression straps. Hard sides and padding in the front flap provide a decent amount of protection for sensitive gear.


XS Scuba B3 Bomber

XS Scuba B3 Bomber Dive Bag

MSRP $129.95 | CONTACT xsscuba.com
SPECS 7 lbs. 12 oz. | 29x16.5x15 inches

Jon Whittle

XS Scuba says the B3 stands for “big black bag,” which is an apt description of what one tester described as “a giant black hole on wheels.” Though it’s just shy of the largest overall dimensions, it was the lightest bag in the test. It easily sucked up all the gear testers threw in thanks to its huge main compartment, which seemed all the bigger for the lack of any padding or lining (allowing you to hose it out for cleaning). A pair of boxy external zippered pockets add easy-access space but are also unpadded, limiting the protection they can offer. Made of heavy-duty coated fabric, the B3 has decent grips at top, bottom and front. Testers worried about the flap zipper, which doesn’t have the benefit of external compression straps to relieve pressure, and the telescoping handle, which works well but is mounted on the exterior of the bag. But if the B3 had few frills, it was also the lowest priced bag in the test.


XS Scuba Voyager 60

XS Scuba Voyager 60 Dive Bag

MSRP $199.95 | CONTACT xsscuba.com
SPECS 8 lbs. 6 oz. | 30.5x16x10 inches

Jon Whittle

Nearly the lightest bag in the test, the Voyager assigns triple duty to a pair of exterior cinch straps that keep it secured against bag handler abuse, using them for backpack straps as well as the anchor points for a pair of handy grips. They work well for all three chores, and take only seconds to reconfigure for serviceable backpacking (though they don’t have much padding). The flap opens wide for packing, though the bag was slightly small for testers’ full gear loads. There are a pair of fin straps and wide, flat zippered pockets inside and a couple more on the front, but a packed tight load limits their capacity. The bag offers comfortable grip points aplenty for easy handling, and rolls smoothly on all-terrain wheels (though it’s tippy when loaded). The black-with-textured-gray color scheme gives the Voyager a sophisticated look that was pleasing to testers’ eyes.


DRY BAGS

Akona Tanami Sling Dry Back Pack

Akona Tanami Sling Dry Back Pack

MSRP $58 | CONTACT akona.com
SPECS 1 lb. 9 oz. | 23x12x8 inches

Jon Whittle

The interior of this large roll-top dry bag easily holds everything you might need in your dry bag during a day of diving. An exterior bungee, web loops and two mesh drawstring pockets increase its overall carrying capacity and provide options for carrying wet gear without putting your dry contents at risk. “Tons of carrying capacity; makes it function as a much bigger bag,” one tester commented. The soft side pockets are perfectly suited for easy access to normal-size bottles of water or sunscreen. One feature that stood out from most roll-top dry bags we’ve used is the flat back, which helps the bag lie comfortably against the back when carried using the included adjustable padded shoulder strap. Testers liked the shoulder strap just fine, but of the two Akona dry bags we tested, this is the one they felt would have benefited from backpack straps. The Tanami was our Best Buy for dry bags.


Akona Panama Dry Duffel Bag

Akona Panama Dry Duffel Bag

MSRP $87 | CONTACT akona.com
SPECS 2 lbs. 14 oz. | 24x13x13 inches

Jon Whittle

Divers gave the Panama top score for ruggedness in its category and were impressed with its tough materials and construction, including an abrasion-resistant panel on the bottom of the bag and webbing reinforcements throughout. “Built to last,” one tester noted. The large duffel-style bag can easily accommodate dry clothing and personal items for two divers during a day of diving or those of a single diver for a weekend getaway, but easily collapses down to nothing when empty. The opening could be just a hair wider, but otherwise packing the big compartment is quick and easy. A padded duffel handle and removable backpack straps allow for a variety of comfortable carry options, while webbing grips on the ends allow for easy lifting and handling. If the bag isn’t completely filled, items can shift around—especially when the bag is rotated for backpack use—but a zippered mesh pocket on the inside flap makes it easy to secure small items for easy access.


Apeks 30L Dry Bag

Apeks 30L Dry Bag

MSRP $105 | CONTACT apeksdiving.com
SPECS 2 lbs. 1 oz. | 21x9.5x8.5 inches

Jon Whittle

Phrases like “perfect size” and “just right” were how testers summarized this backpack’s internal capacity, which handily accommodated our test load, and its external dimensions, which allow it to easily slip beneath a dive bench or airplane seat. An exterior water-resistant pocket zips open for quick, easy access and has a small elastic pouch for securing items like keys and cellphones. Testers felt the opening of the main compartment was a little narrow but greatly appreciated the padded laptop sleeve within. External bungees can be used to secure wet towels or clothing. The bag features high-quality materials and construction. Testers were fans of the fully vented back and shoulder straps, which feature lots of padding and an adjustable chest strap. “Seriously comfortable,” one tester commented. Capable, convenient and a favorite among test divers, the Apeks 30L is our Testers Choice for dry bags.


IST Sports Dry Bag

IST Sports Dry Bag

MSRP $22 (20L), $28 (40L) | CONTACT istdivingsystem.com
SPECS 1 lb. (20L), 1 lb. 5 oz. (40L) | 24x9.3 inches (20L), 28x11.8 inches (40L)

Jon Whittle

Available in two sizes, this IST Sports dry bag offers a simple solution for divers who want to keep their gear dry and protected. The design is basic but durable, and the heavy-duty waterproof fabric and hard plastic squeeze buckles don’t appear like they’ll wear out any time soon. The smaller 20-liter model (pictured here) is more suited for use as a day boat bag, and its overall size makes it more comfortable when using the included shoulder strap. While the bigger 40-liter bag can easily hold enough items for two people for a day trip or enough for one during an extended trip, its single cavernous compartment allows for zero organization and makes it more cumbersome to carry when fully loaded. Instead, it seems better suited as a place to stuff your wet exposure gear at the end of the day so it doesn’t leak all over your trunk.


OMS Dry Bag Back Pack

OMS Dry Bag Back Pack

MSRP $90 | CONTACT divedui.com
SPECS 1 lb. 3 oz. | 33x21x21 inches

Jon Whittle

This bag is exactly what its name says: a backpack that’s a dry bag—and a really big one at that. (It also takes the prize for branding, with its high-viz red-and-yellow logo the size of a dinner plate). There’s not much help for organizing mixed loads of gear, but the big top opening and roomy interior make it easy to drop in even a large, bulky drysuit, with plenty of room for boots, hoods and undergarments. Made of quality materials with bonded seams, it reliably kept the wet out (or in) and looked new after multiple uses. The shoulder straps— cushioned and breathable, with an ergonomic curve and an adjustable sternum strap—work well unless the bag is really heavy or loaded with hard objects, since there’s no padding or form to the bag. Testers appreciated the bag’s capacity but wished for a separate pocket or two for small items, which tended to disappear in the pitch-black interior.


Scubapro Dry Bag 120L Roller Back Pack

Scubapro Dry Bag 120L Roller Back Pack

MSRP $350 | CONTACT scubapro.com
SPECS 5 lbs. 6 oz. | 34x16x14 inches

Jon Whittle

This roomy, versatile roller bag is made of tough, coated tarpaulin fabric with a long weatherproof zipper, saltwater-resistant wheels and cushioned backpack straps that double as a carrying strap. Very light for its size, it has a flexible bottom that can be folded over for easy storage, and you can hose it out for quick cleaning. Testers were impressed by the bag’s rugged construction and the ease of rolling it even with a big, heavy load (although longer-legged testers noted it tended to nip at their heels while towing). Its design and size let you pack all your gear and personal items, stow dry items safely during your diving, then stuff your wet gear inside for the trip home, without worrying about getting stinky wet stuff on the carpet of your spouse’s new SUV. Pricey, well-made and practical, it was among the favorites of testers.


Tusa Mesh Back Pack with Dry Bag

Tusa Mesh Back Pack with Dry Bag

MSRP $119 | CONTACT tusa.com
SPECS 1 lb. 15 oz. | 22x12.5x9.5 inches

Jon Whittle

This watersports backpack is actually two bags, with the bright-blue dry bag removable from the mesh backpack, allowing them to be used together or separately. The dry bag is big enough (27 by 12 inches empty) to hold a lot, and the mesh backpack has a pair of side pockets sized for fins, a large internal pouch and small zippered external pocket. Tester opinions fell in two camps, with some unsure how to best employ the bag’s features, while others saw a world of possibilities for diving, kayaking, camping, etc. What testers agreed on was the bag’s comfort as a backpack, with breathable mesh padding on the full back pad and the adjustable shoulder straps. Testers also liked the high-quality materials used throughout, and the attention to detail—like the elastic keepers on every adjustable strap to keep the ends from dangling.


MESH BAGS CHECK-OUT DIVE

Note: While not fully tested, we did have a chance to try these bags.

Akona Georgian Mesh Roller Back Pack

Akona Georgian Mesh Roller Back Pack

MSRP $144 | CONTACT akona.com
SPECS 6 lbs. 9 oz. | 29x15x14 inches

Jon Whittle

This hybrid bag is nicely sized for boat diving and collapses to a more manageable size when not in use. Adjustable padded backpack straps with an adjustable sternum strap are comfortable enough for extended use. Rolling the bag fully loaded is equally easy thanks to a tow strap that can be sized to match the diver’s height. The tall bag holds plenty of gear and is loaded through a wide drawstring opening. A side zipper provides quick access to items at the bottom without needing to dig down. Two exterior zippered compartments, one a boxy pouch in the front and the other a flat, hidden pocket along the back, provide good options for smaller items. The bag features heavy-duty construction throughout, including tough reinforcements and durable coated mesh.


Tusa Mesh Roller Bag

Tusa Mesh Roller Bag

MSRP $129 | CONTACT tusa.com
SPECS 5 lbs. 8 oz. | 30x14x13.5 inches

Jon Whittle

Large enough to accommodate a full set of gear with ease, this mesh bag has an angled shape that gives it a large capacity without being oversized. The top of the interior has a small open compartment for smaller items; the large front panel has a zippered pocket that’s more secure. Tough, coated mesh is used throughout the bag, and wheels, zippers and grips seem durable. Taller divers may need to stoop a bit while rolling the bag by its fixed tow handle, but it’s perfectly serviceable for a trip down the dock; a padded, adjustable shoulder strap provides an alternative. Multiple grips make it easy to lift and hand off while boarding a rocking dive boat. The bag folds up for storage under a dive bench, but easily holds its shape and rolls well, even when empty.


IST Sports MGB36 U - Shaped Mesh Bag

IST Sports MGB36 U Shaped Mesh Bag

MSRP $60 | CONTACT istdivingsystem.com
SPECS 1 lb. 7 oz. | 27.5x12x10 inches

Jon Whittle

Made of soft, lightweight materials, this bag packs away to almost nothing when not in use but has enough capacity to carry everything a diver needs for a day of diving in a 5 mm wetsuit, minus a BC. It opens wide for easy packing, although zipper pulls tend to hide underneath the overlapping flap. The bottom of the bag is made of a soft nylon mesh that allows water to drain and gear to air out during transit. It’s also well-suited for multiple days of diving, when you might prefer to quickly dunk your entire dive kit into a rinse bin between boat trips without needing to unpack everything. There aren’t any grips for general lifting and loading, but the adjustable handle allows the bag to be carried hand-held or over the shoulder. A removable luggage ID tag is included with the bag.


How We Test

Our testing is designed to gauge each bag’s comparative usefulness, convenience and durability for dive and travel. Large roller bags were packed with the dive and personal items testers typically travel with on dive trips that involve air travel. Dry bags and mesh bags were evaluated with gear suitable for their size, design and intended use.

For large roller bags, the packing list included a complete set of gear and accessories for dive conditions that would require a full 5 mm wetsuit. We also packed personal items and clothes we would take on a typical weeklong liveaboard (casual, with an emphasis on tees and shorts).

For mesh boat bags, we packed the gear ­normally used for ­diving with a 3 mm ­wetsuit, along with assorted ­accessories and ­personal items.

Testers rated bags in the following categories:

Overall design: How well does the bag work to pack and safely transport items you would take on a dive trip? Does it have design features or materials that are beneficial for dive travel?

External size/shape: Are the external dimensions practical and convenient for the bag’s intended use?

Capacity: Is the bag appropriately sized and shaped to handle a reasonable amount of gear?

Ruggedness: Is the bag and its components (wheels, handles, zippers, grips, straps) built to withstand the rigors of air and dive travel?

Ease and convenience: When in use (packing, zipping, lifting, rolling, carrying, etc.) is the bag designed and constructed in a way that works well for securing and transporting gear and personal items?

Testers were asked to describe the things they liked most—and least—about each bag. ScubaLab staff also measured and weighed each bag, and evaluated construction elements such as materials, stitching, hardware and reinforcements.

Are you a new diver? We'll show you all the scuba gear you're going to need: Your First Set of Scuba Gear: A Buyer's Guide.