As any traveler knows, a good set of luggage is worth its weight in gold, and nowhere does this adage ring more true than when it comes to dive-travel bags.
For the past four years I’ve traveled my fair share for work with a Mares laptop bag that has served me very well, so when it came to buying a new dive-specific gear bag for travel my first stop was the Mares cruise range. I finally settled on the Cruise Backpack Pro. Now two years later it has been through a lot, including countless baggage handlers and becoming an ant nest in the Sinai. Tip: never leave a bag with open candy in the sun. The bag has held up to it all and still looks new.
- Telescopic handle
- Backpack shoulder straps
- Heavy-duty wheels
- Hard bottom
- Spiral zippers
- Detachable pocket
- 600-denier nylon and heavy-duty PVC
- Durable zipper closures
- 5-inch (9 cm) diameter by 1.2-inch (3cm) wide treaded wheels
- 2-year limited warranty
- Overall measurements: 18.5 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 31.5 inches high (47 by 32 by 81 cm)
- Volume: 4.5 cubic feet (128 liters)
- Weight, empty: 11 pounds (5 kg)
It’s durable and the big, rubber wheels can handle even the roughest sandy track a dive site can offer. In fact, I’ve never had to use the backpack option as you can wheel it pretty much everywhere. The bag also has a telescopic handle that can be hidden away under a zip, though I have found the bag is large enough not to need this and can be pulled easily enough with the normal fabric handle. My only complaint is that I’d like the handle to be a bit firmer, as lifting the bag up stairs is a bit of a pain as the handle is too loose.
The bag comes with its own small toiletry bag, which is ideal for vacations, though mine is stuffed with first aid supplies and dive-gear spares.
Mares Cruise Backpack Pro
- Great wheels
- Tons of space
- Soft handle
- Could do with a side handle
- Particularly wide fins, like my tec fins, are a squeeze to fit in fin pockets
The main bag is voluminous at 4.5 cu feet (128 liters) and has separate external fin pockets on each side. I have managed to cram a 7mm wetsuit, drysuit, two masks, BCD, reel, SMB, hood, gloves, undergarments, two sets of fins, GoPro case, and travel regulators into the bag, with additional space for odds and ends. So if you pack well and travel light, the bag could really accommodate two divers.
Finally, the Cruise Backpack Pro is still fairly light, so it doesn’t take up too much of your luggage allowance before you even fill it. If you’re driving somewhere with the bag, it’ll fit perfectly in the trunk of your car. Overall, I’d give this bag a 9 out of 10.