Sunday, February 19, 2012

Aqua Lung Hot Shot Fins and Departure Carry On Bag - My Review

As I wrote in my post on day one of the Bahamas trip, I had brought along my newly purchased Hot Shot travel fins by Aqua Lung.  I also bought Aqua Lung's Departure Carry On bag, which was specifically designed to accommodate the Hot Shot fins.

I'm happy to say that I was able to pack all of my diving gear into the departure bag, namely, the aforementioned fins, my travel bcd, my regulator, my mask, my underwater flashlights, and my body skin.  However, it wasn't easy and I had to figure out by trial and error on my first few attempts before I could get everything to fit properly.  One trick was to stick some of the smaller items, like my dive lights, into the foot pockets of the fins.  All in all though, it worked out really well and I liked that I could have all my dive gear with me rather than being entrusted to the mercy of airport security checking my luggage or baggage handlers possibly misplacing it.  On the other hand, if I was travelling to a dive location where the water was warm enough to require a wet suit, I don't I could have gotten the wet suit to fit into the departure bag.

Now on to the Hot Shot fins.  For me, the best apart about them, besides being able to fit them into my carry on luggage, was how easy it was to slip them on and off.  There was no need to fiddle with clips.  All you need to do is to pull back the foot strap and slide your foot into the foot pocket.  As for their performance underwater, being a novice diver and having experience with only one other pair of fins, I couldn't say how they stack up against other fins.  I can say that I didn't have any trouble getting where I wanted to go with them.  I did relate in my Bahamas trip posts how I found myself in a couple of situations facing a strong current and having difficulty making headway, though it's highly likely that I wouldn't have fared any better with regular sized fins.

There is one caveat I do want to raise with respect to the Hot Shot fins.  According to the description of the fins on

This fin is designed to wear without dive boots, so leave the boots at home. Aqua Lung has designed the foot pocket to give unsurpassed comfort with the top and side of the pocket manufactured from a soft, comfortable against the bare skin material.

If you are going on a vacation trip where you will be doing just a handful of dives, you should be fine diving with bare feet in the Hot Shot fins.  This is not the case, at least based on my personal experience, if you are going on a trip on a liveaboard or dive resort where you expect to be diving anywhere from three to five dives a day for an entire week.  By the third or fourth day of the trip, my feet started to become badly scraped in a number of spots.

When I got home from the Bahamas trip, I tried to see if I could fit my feet in the fins wearing the neoprene booties I had, but they were too thick for my feet to fit into the foot pockets.  I ended up buying a pair of dive socks from a local dive shop and I was able to slide my feet into the foot pockets without any trouble.  I am expecting to go on a trip to the Caymans this coming July and I will see how my feet hold up wearing dive socks.

So, in conclusion, if you want to go on a dive trip to a warm, tropical destination and plan on flying there, the Aqua Lung Hot Shot fins and Departure bag are a great choice.  From my experience on the Bahamas trip, I realized that when it comes to diving in warm waters during the summer months, I can make do with just a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.  It's no problem, under those conditions, to fit everything I will need for my dives into the Departure bag.  I just hope the next five months go by quickly so that I can get into the water again.


Robert the Skeptic said...

We have our own masks and snorkels but we rent fins at the beach. Cheaper than paying $25 for checking a suitcase.

Anonymous said...

I just came back form a week on the Aquacat. I'm wondering if you where doing the big jump (side of the boat - 6 feet) or the small jump (back of the boat - 6 inches)?

I'm asking this question because I read the following in another review on leisurepro website: "a rubber piece kept popping out during my giant stride"

Did you experience that?

Thank you for your input!

Tommykey said...

@ Anonymous. Thanks for your question.

We did two drift dives. The first one, Wax Cut Drift, I dove off the dive platform just a few inches above the water, but for the Washing Machine, I dove off the side of the boat.

I did not experience any problems with any rubber pieces popping out during my giant stride.

The only problem I had with the fins, as mentioned in my post, was the scrapes on my feet because I didn't wear any dive socks.