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Sep 01, 2007
AKB156: "Peace in a Bag", Sport Diver Magazine

September 2007, Sport Diver Magazine –

The new progression roller bag from AKONA is airline-friendly and dive-boat tough.
I always sweat weighing in at the airline ticket counter. On a recent trip I said a silent prayer as I hefted my dive bag up on the scale. Judgement was quickly rendered, with “49.5 lbs.” flashing on the display – just half a pound shy of the limit. Relief swept over me as the clerk gave me an “I didn’t think you’d make it” smile.
Such angst is common among divers, but stating with the right luggage can go a long way towards easing weigh-in stress. The roller bag mentioned above was the new Progression from AKONA, and I credit it with helping save me from busting the weight limit, because while it’s roomy, it isn’t so big that it tempts me to over-pack. Yet the Progression still swallowed all of my dive gear and most of my clothes for a week of island fun. On top of that it’s got a simple, robust design and some well-thought-out features.
By the numbers, the Progression is 30 by 17 by 13 inches, big enough to qualify as “full size” while still being maneuverable in tight spaces. A large main compartment is complemented by two good-size accessory pockets on the from of the bag. The entire front opens up via a zipper that wraps around three sides of the main compartment. The result is instant and total access to your gear. To keep things trim, the Progression does not have exterior fin pockets. Instead, fins are secured along the inside edges of the main compartment using small mesh pockets to hold the blade tips and Velcro-tabbed traps to secure foot pockets. This keeps fins flat and compact, and allows them to reinforce the sidewalls of the bag.
Of course, all this sleek design becomes academic if there’s no muscle to back it up. In this case, the Progression’s strength comes form a 600-denier poly/natural fiber-blend material with a polyurethane interior coating. This gives the bag a rugged exterior that can handle the abrasion and abuse of a trip through baggage claim, and a fabric that’s also highly water- and stain-resistant. The latter paid off for me when I mistakenly put my bag almost directly beneath the boat’s freshwater shower. After a couple of divers enjoyed a post-dive rinse, the hat and shirt I had stashed in the Progression’s accessory pocket were still dry.
Other features include bolded plastic Delrin zippers that are combined with auto-locking, brass sliders. Big, beefy and corrosion resistant, they are some of the best I’ve seen on a dive bag. There’s even a fat, two-inch compression strap that wraps around the Progression’s middle, adding a layer of security and helping take some strain off the main compartment zipper. AKONA has also provided a thickly padded regulator bag that fits perfectly in the lower accessory pocket. I didn’t have a need for it, but divers nervous about reg protection will certainly appreciate this touch.
My time with the Progression included one trip to a the tropics as well as a couple of local excursions. In just those few instances it was put through the luggage system at LAX airport, shoved under dive-boat benches and dragged across asphalt, broken cement and one really long stretch of gravel driveway. It handled the gravel better than I expected; the big-treaded wheels sort of skied through the mess. Through it all the Progression was stable while on the go.

IMPRESSIONS This well-proportioned, full sized bag is easy to travel with and stable while standing. It gets a big thumbs up for being simply designed and impressively rugged.
KEY FEATURES Two-position extendable handle, fully padded side walls, two accessory pockets, protective regulator bag and heavy-duty, non corrosive zippers.

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