As I was walking the expo halls of DEMA in 2013, I ran into Dive Caddy demonstrating their newest version of their dive bag or folding blanket or backpack or what is this thing as I was trying to figure it out; Chad, the founder and inventor, was demonstrating the product to his audience. Suddenly, as he started to unfold the contents, he pulled out a some clothes like shorts, t-shirts, etc. from one section, then a 5mm wet suit from another section, then long fins from another section which he unzipped, and then he unfolded another section which really impressed me which was a full size BCD (not just a travel BCD), basically he had almost everything a diver needed in this folded bag which actually was a back pack and I was thinking to myself, he forgot the mask, snorkel, regulator, dive computer, etc. but then he suddenly showed another compact bag that was to the side which had all these item inside. He called them your life support equipment and later showed (after he reassembled everything very neatly together and compactly) that the life support bag attached to the top or bottom of the back pack and had a separated sling strap that goes over the shoulder so if you had to check in the bag instead of carrying it on the plane, you could quickly unclip the life support bag and pull out the shoulder strap and attach it to the bag and carry it on the plane. The system even came with an oversized light weight folded duffle bag that you could quickly pull out and cover your Dive Caddy and it could be protected and then checked in and no one would know that it contained dive equipment before you gave it to the flight attendant on the plane to check it in for you because the plane’s overhead compartments were too full or too small for small single engine or propeller regional planes.
After seeing the demo, I knew I had to try this for myself and ordered one on the spot. They were being made and delivery was expected a few months later. It turned out they were due to arrive just before my shark dive in the Bahamas that same week so I was hoping to get it just before the trip to give it a try. Unfortunately that was the same week a major snow storm hit the State of Washington where the company headquarters are and when I emailed Chad, he said he just got them but was not sure he could get it to me in time. Well, Chad pulled a miracle, he risked his life and got into his truck and braved a bad snow storm and just made it to the UPS center before closing for next day delivery, the day before my trip. Thanks Chad.
I had to watch the video (below) once to remember what generally goes where since I was in a rush to pack and I have to admit, the first time was a little tricky with all the straps and options. But the second time it was a breeze.
Now, before the shark dive, I had to go on a weeklong business trip to NY in a snow blizzard then to the Bahamas to Tiger Beach for the shark dive via Florida so I did had more bags than I wanted, plus complete underwater camera gear and laptop computer stuff so I did put the Dive Caddy in a 30” rolling hard suit case with some other equipment. But it was very convenient to have all my dive gear rolled into one place so that when I got on the boat to unpack and set up my tanks and such, I did not have to carry stuff back and forth from my room to the boat and worry if I had forgotten anything. More importantly, when I got to the airport, since I had too much luggage and was overweight for the small plane (propeller plane) to the Bahamas and not flying my usual airlines, they wanted to charge me $500 more in fees for having 2 extra bags overweight. But I asked if I spread the weight over 3 bags since I was a Gold Star Alliance member, and asked if that would help?; it actually brought the price down to $225, go figure. So I quickly opened my suitcase, pulled the Dive Caddy out, pulled the empty duffle bag it comes with and covered the Dive Caddy back pack, put a lock and name tag on it and checked that in as my third bag and saved $175 - dang airlines.
Anyways, it is clearly one of my new favorite bag (almost paid for itself on that trip alone) in my large collection of bags/luggage that I have for traveling. I told Chad, the Holy Grail however, would be if he can invent a bag that can do the same thing for underwater cameras. He said he already has designed one and it was coming out soon. I can’t wait and I would wait in line for the first time like all those crazy people waiting in line for the first iPhone at the Apple store for days in advance if I knew there was one coming out that would work and could be compact and I could carry-on a plane while protecting my gear.
- Lots of adjustable straps
- Durable material that comes with a repair kit if necessary
- Sections for BC, wetsuit, fins, clothes
- Extra small bag that detaches for mask, regulator, computer, etc.
- Comes with large dive bag that can cover entire Dive Caddy in case you need to check the bag
- Zipper on small bag got stuck on mine and would not open so I had to return but got replacement right away.
- Second small bag had same problem but not as bad so I was able to fix
- A little pricy until you try it but once you use it then you see the value
*DiveWet does not get paid advertising or marketing fees. This is an independant piece.