My last 3 months has been busy – for both business and pleasure, I’ve made 4 round-trip flights, plus another to the DEMA Show in Orlando last week. In each case, midway through the airport routine comes the time when I have to check bags. There’s just no way around it sometimes, and even if I pack as efficiently as possible to try to carry everything on the plane with me it seems like at least one bag needs to be checked. If I’m diving, that can easily go to 2.
Two bags on US Air and United runs $60 – each way. Alaska is a few bucks easier at $50 each way, but for a round trip it’s still at least an additional $100 over what I paid for my ticket. As cumbersome as it is sometimes, it makes sense these days to carry as much onto the plane as possible. I’ve been seeing Chad Watson from DiveCaddy at the dive shows for several years, starting at the Tacoma show back in 2010. He created a new system to carry dive gear in a strong, portable 1680D nylon bag that wraps around and compresses all your gear that makes it all very compact, and allows you to carry on all your dive gear (and more) onto the plane with you – including fins, regulator, BCD, and even a few days worth of clothes. It’s a strong, efficient system that not only works very well, but also makes so much sense today, especially when having to pay $120 round-trip to get your gear to the dive location and back. At $279 retail, it will quickly pay for itself over just a few trips, and because it’s built so durably, will last many more years after that.
While walking over to the GoPro display at DEMA I bumped into Chad and the DiveCaddy booth, and paid particularly close attention to what he’s been up to – this time from the honest perspective of someone who has been traveling a lot lately and looking for a better solution on carrying dive gear and racking up baggage fees at the counter each time I travel.
Chad introduced me and a nice size crowd of other interested divers to the recently released 3rd Generation Dive Caddy. I pulled my camera out of the bag to record his presentation, and here’s what he had to say (Click to watch):
The Dive Caddy G3 is an strong, versatile, and quality-built system. Some of the things that impressed me were that the BCD in his back was not an X-Small BC for tropical travel (as you might expect during a sales pitch), but an XL Zeagle Ranger and the other gear similarly setup for an XL- size diver. The 1680-denier nylon is extremely durable, and there are more than enough compressions straps and extra-heavy duty buckles for heavy use over many years. If it saves $100 per trip, it will pay for itself in no time.
If you travel a lot (or even a little) and cringe at pushing your credit card into the machine for an instant $25-30 per bag charge, check out the DiveCaddy. Seriously. It’s a great solution and will not only save you money, but more than pay for itself over just a few dive trips. For more information on the Dive Caddy, visit their website at divecaddy.net. The DiveCaddy is available at dive shops and online outlets, including Amazon.com.
(This is an unpaid, uncompensated review. It’s just a great product that’s worth sharing!).