Product Review: Fourth Element Light Manta Travel Bag
The f.Light Manta Travel Bag is a large travel duffel from British dive gear producer Fourth Element.
Mostly known for their wetsuits and drysuit undergarments, they have taken a stab at travel gear with the launch of the f.Light Manta Travel Bag.
The bag is designed to be a light, back-carried duffel, made for minimalism and low weight. The Manta bag can be combined with a carry-on bag called the Remora, and the two can then be combined and carried together.
Made as a duffel-type bag and weighing in at less than 1 kg, it is superbly suited for weight-conscious diving travellers and the steep luggage charges some airlines are introducing.
The bag is very roomy, and will hold most anyone’s diving gear, even if your plan includes drysuit diving. The low weight makes it less likely that you’ll need to pay over-weight surcharges at the airport (or at least you’ll know that you’re not paying for your suitcase’s weight, only your gear’s).
Removable shoulder straps makes it easy to carry on your back, in reasonable comfort. And the construction seems sturdy enough to take the rigors of travel, though Fourth Element does make a point of saying that it was “designed for carrying, not dragging across the floor” on the label (not that that is likely to stop airport personnel from doing just that).
The bag is available in black, and black only, making it very discreet, as it doesn’t scream “expensive dive gear inside” as some duffels might.
The bag is extremely minimalistic, to keep the weight low, but that also means that you’ll find no little gadgets, no fin pockets, and no wheels for rolling. If you’re not up for carrying your bag on your back when a trolley isn’t around, this probably isn’t the bag for you.
The bag is indeed discrete, but might also be hard to discern from other large, black duffels on an airport conveyor belt. And while it is reasonably easy to carry due to the low weight, rumors have it that the bag’s material won’t take much dragging around on concrete floors or tarmac. And while this is a rare situation, it is by no means an impossible one.
I can’t confirm or deny these rumors myself, as I haven’t had the heart to try it.
Fourth Element themselves say that they’ve only had very few incidents reported, but are releasing a slightly heavier (though only by some 150 grams) version of the Manta bag, with a more sturdy bottom.
Light, sturdy, roomy, and easy to store at home, at your hotel, or onboard a liveaboard, this bag is a travelling diver’s dream.
It is minimalistic to the extreme, and this may not be to everyone’s liking. Still, it is one of the most innovative travel bags for divers in a long, long time.
- Type: Duffel
- Capacity: 115 liters
- Weight: 895 grams
- Wheels: No
- Backpack style straps: Yes
- Score: 8/10