Product Review: ScubaMax Freediving Fin Gear Bag
The ScubaMax Fin bag has been my freediving travel partner for almost a year now. It’s my gear bag of choice when I want to go lean and mean getting to a freediving session in the open water or at the pool.
The initial struggle to find a suitable product took some time to resolve. The desire was for a bag that accommodated long fins (one piece carbon fins, non-removable pockets) and some other items like mask and snorkel. Wetsuit carrying capacity wasn’t considered initially.
Most fin bags didn’t appear long enough, or were dear in price for the initial budget. A back-pack style was an important requirement, I wanted hands-free capability to hike, take pictures, carry a drink bottle or just for the ease of porting stuff on the shoulders instead of a hand-carry or one-shoulder bag.
At the start, I toted another bag to handle my wetsuit and other stuff like float and line, knife, camera and snacks like muesli bars.
More Than I Bargained For
Soon I discovered that this bag could actually do all of what I wanted really easily and much much more comfortably. It became the only bag used for carrying all my gear around. It even had drain holes in the bottom of the bag and the larger compartment so water didn’t pool at the bottom when wet gear was in it.
The shoulder straps are certainly its achilles, they’re pretty simple, not well padded and the way it is designed the hitch point on the shoulders means the bottom of the fins / bottom of the bag knocks into the back of your thighs when walking.
Sometimes to overcome this, I’ll wear the bag sash style, so that it sits diagonally across one shoulder and around my hip, kind of like a Crumpler messenger bag. Most of the time, it’s okay though.
The inner section is cavernous in its ability to swallow the fins, a wetsuit, other neoprene things like socks, and sometimes even a second wetsuit or a fat beach towel.
The small pocket at the top is cool for a dive watch, phone, wallet, keys, muesli bars, small bits and pieces.
The large pocket easily eats up a deflated dive float (spearfishing style), thin 20m line, 1 kg weight, knife, snorkel, mask and torch. Plus a small bottle of soapy water or talcum powder, depending on your needs there.
Zips and Zippers
The zips are all two way and have two zippers. The pull tags on the zippers are pretty average and quickly the plastic hold tabs will give way to you creating a knots instead. The zips have held up well for me, they haven’t been maintained in any kind of way with a wax or lubricant or even cleaning of any sort. They still run relatively smooth and don’t get stuck.
This bag is with me four days a week to and from the pool plus open water sea sessions. It’s always alternating between dry and wet over the course of a 24-48hour period and gets chucked around on the floor, in the car, on the ground, in the boat and everywhere else.
Wear n Tear
Signs of wear are apparent on the piping around the edges, especially the bottom corners which have worn significantly. The actual material however is in really good shape, has no odour and is still black even after many hours of sun, chlorine and salt. The big compartment’s drain hole round insert has disappeared, which I’m sure will lead to an acceleration in the hole enlarging, but for now it seems to be holding up well.
At this price point, I think it serves purposes really well. A more padded shoulder strap will add comfort, as well as cost, and in the same vein so would a strap provided for hip-mounting/stabilising.
There is a newer version by a different brand, this seems to be targeted at the spearfishing market more potently with straps to hold a speargun. Or a camera tripod…!
The real test though: Would I buy it again?
Yep, for sure, wouldn’t blink an eye.