Gear Review – Cressi Piovra Backpack

Today we’re having a look at the new Cressi Piovra Backpack. An excellent dive bag for trek and dive sessions.



The dive bag is a piece of gear that is often undervalued. As it’s not being used during the actual dive activity it usually ends up far down on the list of prioritized purchases. But the fact is that a good dive bag can be the key to access a whole new range of dive sites previously deemed inaccessible. 

First of all I want to make clear that even though the Cressi Piovra backpack is a new release from the Italian manufacturer, the design is in no way new. In fact it’s a rather straight forward rip off of the highly popular Mundial 2 backpack from French manufacturer Beuchat. Choice of material, features and overall design seems to be pretty much identical. So the verdict from this review can be applied to the Beuchat original as well.

Features

The Piovra is a backpack style dive bag designed to keep all your essential dive equipment, including long bladed freedivingfins, inside its main compartment. If you use it for spearfishing up to two guns can be strapped to the sides using the designated attachment points.

Attachment points for speargun

One of my favourite features of this bag is the second compartment which is thermally insulated and functions as a cooler compartment. Perfect to keep your catch fresh after a successful spearfishing session or hold cold drinks for a warm summer day.

Cooler compartment

The carrying straps are sufficiently padded for comfort and an adjustable chest strap helps to achieve further  comfort.

Padded back straps

Material and quality

According to the manufacturer the main choice of material is a mix of heavy duty 600 and 900 derier nylon with different coatings for different parts of the bag. The bottom is of a wear resistant anti skid material.

The quality of material and seams leave very little to wish for. From the looks of it I expect to get many years of use out of this bag.

Disadvantages

If  this matters to you is up to you of course but the bag is not fully waterproof. It even has big mesh covered windows on the sides for drainage. If you are looking for a water tight bag to keep your clothes dry on rough boat rides, look elsewhere.

A missing feature that I was initially worried about is an adjustable waist band to offload the weight from your shoulders to your hips. After some serious consideration though I realized that can be compensated for by carrying your dive weights on your belt and thereby reduce the load on your shoulders. With that said. With a full zet of spearfishing equipment in the big you need to be generally fit with a healthy back to carry the bag for longer distances.

Putting it to use

The past week I took the bag for a virgin trek and dive trip to test it out. This particular day I loaded it with the following gear.

  • 5 mm freediving suit
  • 5 mm dive socks
  • Dynema gloves
  • Mares Razor plastic freediving fins
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Dive buoy
  • Surface line
  • Dive torch
  • Dive knife
  • Weight vest loaded with 4kg lead
  • A towel
  • 50cl water bottle
  • A Sandwich
  • One cooler block
  • A 75cm speargun

The gear in the bag

Total weight of the bag was about 15 kg. In addition I was carrying 3.75kg of weight on my belt and a 65cl waterbottle in my hand. So all in all almost 20kg, a pretty heavy load.

Bag loaded and ready to go

To fit all the gear in the bag was not a problem, instead there was still space to spare.

Rear view

The trek I did was a 3 km path through a valley with a fairly steep final decent down to the water line. It took me roughly 45 min to walk. I’m not going to lie, I definitely felt the load on my shoulders, but I still found the bag fairly comfortable despite its heavy load.

The end of the trek

Despite the load I did in no way spend all my energy getting there, instead I had enough left in the tank for a 3.5h hour spearfishing session with 55 dives without feeling the trek too much, all followed by the walk back of course. But then I was spent.

For disclosure I’m a generally fit 40 year old male, but in no way in top shape.

Final verdict and value

If you are looking for a backpack style dive bag to carry your gear for a bit of a distance, look no further than the Cressi Piovra, or for that sake the almost identical original Beuchat Mundial 2. The reason I chose the Cressi is that the Beuchat was sold out from the online stores I visited and the Cressi was available at a deal for 45 EUR plus shipping. A very good deal indeed. Typically these bags are found in the range from 60 to 85 EUR. Even that a good value.

If instead you are primarily looking for a waterproof bag to keep the wet gear from soaking the trunk of your car or your clothes dry on the boat while diving there are better options out there.