Back to the Essence

This blog was started with the idea we could pass on some ideas as to how to pack using carry on luggage only. Our methods will not be for everyone, but it can be done.

We have failed to go carry on only only once. This was a complicated trip to SE Asia that involved a two week tour of Myanmar and a week long dive trip on a live-aboard. We could have packed carry on but we would have had to rent dive gear and this would defeat the purpose of owning our own dive gear, so we caved in and packed for two separate trips causing us to have one checked bag.

The last couple of trips have been dive exclusive and we have managed to get our dive gear and what we think we need to survive for a week in carry on luggage. Here’s how.

Take a minimal of clothing. And I mean absolute minimal. Take laundry detergent so clothes can be washed in the sink or in the shower. Read the two previous posts to find out what we are taking for clothes to scuba dive in the Bahamas.

Review dive gear and only take what is really needed. If going to a hot climate, leave the cold weather/water gear at home. Check out the previous post for our list of what we are taking to the Bahamas.

Minimize all those extras that populate the general packing list. Leave at home the sleep sacks, umbrellas and travel towels that would be needed on a “touring” type holiday, but not on a dive holiday. I will list what we are taking on the Bahamas trip in a subsequent post.

For a scuba dive trip, we each take a rollie carry on suitcase and backpack.  All bags conform to the airline requirements for size and weight.

Debbie’s Rollie Carry On Bag

First layer of Debbie's carry-on bag

First layer of Debbie’s rollie carry-on bag

Clothes are packed in the bottom of the bag in between the struts for the handle. Smaller clothing items are stuffed into the feet of dive fins. Flip flops, dive log, dive booties and grren bag holding miscellaneous small camera and dive equipment are the next layer. Dive fins are packed down the sides of the bag.

Second layer of carry-on bag

Second layer of Debbie’s rollie carry-on bag

The next layer is my BCD, which takes up most of the bag. On top of the BCD will be my wetsuit and hoodie. I will then stuff my toiletries and miscellaneous smaller items  into any holes I find. The tie down straps will make the contents of the bag a nice tight package. This bag will weigh right on the allowable 22 lbs that Air Canada deems for carry on luggage.

Debbie’s Carry On Backpack

My backpack and its contents

Debbie’s backpack and its contents

My backpack holds my regulators inside a small triathlon bag, camera and housing, iPad, dive mask, socks, sarong,liquids bag, wallet and miscellaneous small items (kleenex, pens etc) . I always carry my mask in my shoulder bag as it is a prescription mask and I do not want to arrive at a destination without it (just in case the carry on suitcase ends up getting checked and subsequently gets lost). I wrap the camera and housing inside one swimsuit and it travels inside a cosmetic type bag. I carry my prescription drugs in the backpack also. With the weight of the regulators, this bag ends up to be a little heavy, but not over airline allowable limit.

Murray’s Rollie Carry On Bag

Here is a look at the bottom layers of his carry on suitcase. His clothing is underneath his fins in between the struts. He has tucked various small items in his fins and into any holes.

Murray's carry on bag's bottom layers

Murray’s rollie carry on bag’s bottom layers

Here is the layer with his BCD. He will also pack his wetsuit on top on the BCD and tuck toiletries etc in any holes to fill up the spaces.

Murray's carry on bag with BCD

Murray’s rollie carry on bag with BCD

Murray’s bag will be right at the weight limit allowed by Air Canada. It is a small bag than mine as his BCD is a travel BCD and packs much smaller than mine.

Murray’s Carry On Backpack

Murray's carry on backpack

Murray’s carry on backpack and contents

His backpack contains regulators, dive lights, ebook, dive computers, liquids bag and miscellaneous small items. He has decided not to take his SLR camera on this trip and has replaced the weight with the dive lights, which we do not always take.

This is how we pack carry on luggage for a warm climate scuba dive trip. Give it a try!

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