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June 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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All About a Bag

from the June, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Ben,

Reference the lead sentence from your article on Palau in the May issue "Waiting to collect my bags at Tokyo's Narita airport in January, before transferring to my Palau flight, I was shocked when my dive bag containing $3000 worth of gear didn't arrive. It never did, apparently having been purloined by a baggage handler in Seattle or Portland, who couldn't resist a bag marked "ScubaPro."

Let me pass on my own practice for thirty years of dive travel -- thirty years in which I never had a bag stolen or 'lost.'
I always use beat-up military cargo bags, reinforced with cardboard, for my dive gear. The more the bags looked as if they contained dirty laundry, the better. No travel or scuba gear company ever paid me to advertise their products, so I see no need to label my bags with their names advertising the expensive gear inside.

I never use nametags furnished by travel agents or dive companies. Rather, I print my name and itinerary outbound (or inbound for the way home) and glue it on to sturdy plastic luggage tags, then cover with clear sealing tape. I put two or three of these tags on each bag with sturdy cable ties. Also, right inside the top zipper, on top of a towel I lay over my gear (some people use dirty laundry), I place a more detailed itinerary with way stops and destination information as well as home address and contact numbers. Finding my luggage in the 'go to customs' area is pretty easy -- my bags stand out, not because of brand names or dive tags plastered on them, but because they are the rattiest bags coming off the carousel.

Another benefit: the bags are easy to fold and stow in small closets or under liveaboard bunks.

- Ed Donohue, Fiddler's Green, Maryland

Ed, I fully agree. My dive bag today is a soft-sided suitcase that remained in my Cayman Island hotel room in 1989 during Hurricane Gilbert, while I spent the night at the East End Community Center. When I returned to my room, the soaked bag was floating in the sea surge left behind, and, rusted zipper and all, has traveled with me ever since.   - Ben

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