On the other hand, a really strongly made bag can use up a good proportion of your checked-baggage allowance before you put anything in it. The startling and often hard-to-accept reality is that we must now take less stuff on trips than was the case during what now seems like the Golden Age of Travel.
The Scubapro Caravan bag weighs nearly 4kg before you load it. With a main section only 63cm long, I could just squeeze my Mares size XL fins into it.
It has a U-shaped main zipper that makes the aperture through which you load a little smaller and less accessible, but it adds to the strength and thus the longevity of the bag.
It has zipped side pockets, but these are far too small for fins, and suitable only for items loaded as an afterthought. Dont stick your wallet in here, because it will go missing!
It also has a useful end section. I found this a good place to put my regulators and small items.
It can be unzipped from the main bag, so if you want it to be there when you pick your bag up from the luggage-belt, make sure you fix the attaching zip shut with a cable tie.
I suppose the designers were thinking that it could be used for segregating dry clothes when the bag is used on a dive-boat, in which case it does it well. The zip that closes this section is well protected from salt spray by a covering flap of material.
If you use the bag in this way on a boat, you can simply unzip it from the wet bag and leave it in any dry place you can find.
This detached section also has a zipped sub-section, useful for small, crucial items such as car keys and money.
The bag is made from very durable material.
I have already used it on a couple of trips and it still looks like new, while a cheaper bag I used alongside it is ripping apart at its seams and suitable only for taking to the dump.
An extending handle is hidden behind another small zipped flap. The base of the bag has two runners, and wide-spaced wheels give it stability when towing it across flat airport floors.
It is meant to stand upright when loaded, aided by a bracket at the opposite side of the narrow end, but I never managed to load it with diving kit such that it didnt fall over.
However this bracket is useful when handling the loaded bag. After recently watching a baggage-handler grabbing bags by any available part, dragging them off a trailer and chucking them onto the moving belt leading to a plane, I was grateful that this now heavy bag had both this and another grip at the opposing end for this purpose. I didnt have to watch him tear the main carrying handles off.
Should you find you need only to partly fill the bag (something that happens for me only in my dreams), the main section has some in-built elastic straps.
The material that covers the inner base of the bag can be unzipped for cleaning if required.
I later took the Scubapro Caravan on a land-based trip in Egypt. This involved dragging my heavy underwater camera rig, in the bag, over half a mile of stony desert surface - twice a day.
I was concerned that the wheels might drop off, but the bag was as fully operational as ever, if a little dusty, after this punishing treatment.
I was able to use the detachable end-section with its built-in shoulder straps as an improvised rucksack for small fragile items that
I did not want rattled together with my camera kit in the main bag.
My main criticism of the bag is that it is a little small once you start trying to pack technical diving wings and a wetsuit in any sort of thickness but the lightest tropical weight, along with anything else thats a bit bulky.

Beaver Ambassador, £97
Beuchat California, £95
Mares Cruise Backpack Pro £119

WEIGHT 3.7kg
DIMENSIONS 81 x 36 x 32cm
CAPACITY 94 litres
CONTACT www.scubapro.com
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