Bag Stahlsac 208 Pacific
My diving friend Brian bought an antique golf club. He paid more than £1000 for it. It proved to be the final straw in his already shaky marriage.
     Long after his divorce, he sold the club for more than £1 million and now uses the money to travel the world, going on diving holidays. Thats how I met him, but theres a difference. He travels first class. I pay excess-baggage fees.
     Most airline officials play golf. Golfers get special baggage-allowance concessions at airport check-ins. Few airline officials go diving. You know the rest.
     This magazine campaigned to get special checked-weight concessions for divers. The subject was even added to the agenda for two annual IATA meetings. But with no keen divers there to drive it forward, it was always likely to languish low on the agenda.
     So what to do I suggest putting all your dive gear in a golf bag and claiming it as golf equipment. If questioned, you can always claim that you are forever putting your balls in the water.
     You may think I give the products of Stahlsac too much coverage in these pages, but Stahlsac makes luggage. It is not a diving-equipment manufacturer that buys its bags in the Far East and simply brands them.
     This stuff is expensive but it is built to last. I sent a bag back for a little renovation work after 52 dive trips. Yes, after all those journeys the plastic chassis on which the wheels were mounted was broken, but otherwise the bag was in perfect operational condition. The material was not scuffed and the zips functioned exactly as they always had.
     The Stahl brothers are a well-known double act in the diving industry. I suggested to Jim Stahl that he make a bag called the Stahlsac Golf, with the label big and proud where check-in staff would see it. He took the idea away with him, but Americans dont suffer punitive European checked-baggage limits.
     In the meantime, he gave me a new Stahlsac Pacific to try. The Pacific is not a golf bag but has dimensions ideally suited to carrying a set of clubs. That should work!
     With an overall length of 89cm, the Pacific should accommodate all but the silliest length of fins. It forms a cylinder of around 33cm in diameter, so that when packed it takes on the shape of a sailors kitbag, with a handle at one end.
     It has two main zipped sections. One is well ventilated with a mesh side and the other totally enclosed. The mesh section allows you to keep wet items separate from those which you might prefer not to be contaminated, but offers little privacy.
     The clever bit is that you can use both or totally fill the bag using either section alone, so there is no danger of anyone seeing whats inside should you wish to conceal it
     Inside the enclosed section is a separate compartment that worked well for a few personal items of tropical clothing, and there is a small outer zipped section for last-minute items.
     The Pacific has two adjustable straps that are permanently attached and can either be clipped together to give a traditional hold-all grip or separated so that you can mount it on your back like a rucksack. A clip-on diagonal strap gives a fourth way of carrying it.
     As usual, this bag is made to the Stahlsac last-forever standard, with strong material reinforced where needed.
     The good news is that, although it is a Stahlsac, its simplicity of design and absence of hard features makes it available at, if not a cheap price, at least an attainable one.
The Stahlsac 208 Pacific costs £99.
  • MarKat 01935815424, www.markat.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Looks as if it could contain golf clubs
    + Stahlsac quality

    - Not called a Golf bag
    - Good quality has a price