If you're the type of person who struggles to zip up your suitcase without a friend's help, packing for a dive trip may seem daunting. Diving, as an equipment-intensive hobby, can be tricky to pack for. However, before you start randomly throwing snorkels, dive torches and that bulky old seven millimetre semi-dry wetsuit into your bag, knowing how to pack for a dive trip goes a long way. Knowing what to pack will depend to some degree on where you are headed, but here are some tips to help you decide what to pack and what to rent for your next diving escapade.

What You Will Need

First things first, make a list. Start with your documents, including your passport, certification cards, dive insurance policy and logbook. Make sure to check your passport validity and the destination's visa requirements well in advance of your trip.

If you are planning on taking a certification course during your trip, also consider adding a signed medical statement to your list of documents, as it may be easier than having a medical done during your holiday.

When it comes to certification cards, you may not need physical cards, as dive centres can typically check your credentials online. However, if you have them at hand, take your highest-level certification card and, if you have it, your Nitrox card. This will make checking in with the dive centre a little quicker.

Hand Luggage vs Checked Luggage

Once you've decided which items to take and which to rent, it's important to decide which items can go in your carry-on luggage and which should be checked. Dive tools and knives should be placed in checked luggage, while masks and regulators are candidates for carry-on bags.

Masks are relatively fragile, and many prefer to pop it in their carry-on bags. Remember to pack it securely, preferably within a protective case, with added padding in the box.

The choice of carrying regulators in carry-on or checked luggage often splits opinions. If you decide to pack them in checked luggage, use a padded reg bag or wrap them in a towel. If you attach your dive knife to your regs and choose to carry them in your hand luggage, make sure you remove the knife and pop it into your checked bags.

How To Pack for a Dive Trip

Once you've figured out what to pack and what goes in your checked luggage, the real fun begins. This is where you reveal your packing style: the 'stuff everything in' approach or methodical planner.

Opting for the latter usually results in less chaos, but a combination of the two methods is the most common. If you are bringing your fins , pack them first to keep them flat onthe bottom of your bag. Depending on your fins' style, the foot pockets of your fins can also safeguard more delicate items. You can also fill the foot pockets with socks to maintain their shape during the journey.

If you are taking both your BCD and regulator, it's a good idea to place the BCD atop the fins, with the hard backplate facing downwards. Then, place the regulator inside the BCD and pad them with t-shirts or a towel before folding the sides of the BCD for extra padding and protection.

Don't forget to save some space for your regular clothes and holiday essentials. Packing them last around your dive equipment will stop things moving around and provides added protection. Packing for any holiday can be a trying experience and adding dive equipment to the mix doesn't make it any easier. However, with a little forethought and planning, it can become a lot less daunting and, hopefully, smoother sailing...