We are often asked what’s the best fishing travel luggage. Rok Max customer Phil Hambly, recently back from the Maldives, sent us this report of his experience with the Snowbee XS Travel Bag:
Why Snowbee XS?
I looked at them all. I wanted something relatively discreet, luggage that didn’t scream ‘this contains expensive fishing tackle!’. I also wanted something that had a fair capacity without being overly cumbersome and something of good quality at a reasonable price. I also wanted luggage that comfortably held and fully protected 3-piece popper / jigging rods. The Snowbee XS Travel Bag ticked all of those boxes.
What about capacity?
In a word it’s like the Tardis! There’s more space, pockets, zippers and hideaway areas that you might imagine.
I packed five rods in the base unit alone - (1) Shimano Ocea BB 180g popper rod (2) Shimano Ocea BB 120g stick bait rod (3) Fox Travel 300g jigging rod (4) Tenryu travel spinning rod, and (5) a Sage Xi2 fly rod.
I also packed 2 fly reels, 3 pair of pliers, 10 wind-on leaders, 2 pairs of fishing gloves, 2 buffs, 1 wallet containing spare hooks, 1 wallet containing spare swivels, rings and essential bits, 1 popper tube... and 2 pairs of trousers. Pretty awesome. And that’s just the base unit.
What about the top zipper area?
Good question. I packed in two big reel cases (Shimano Stella 14000 and 8000), 10 poppers, 10 stick baits, 10 trolling lures, 10 jigging lures,10 smaller lures. I also squeezed in my Simms wading boots, 3 pairs of wading socks, 2 CF fly boxes, a lightweight waterproof jacket, 4 fishing shirts, 4 T-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts and flip flops.
I almost forgot... I also squeezed in 4 spare spools for my Shimano Stella’s and a fishing gimbal and harness. It was tight, but it was like a jigsaw. A thing of beauty that only another obsessive fisherman could appreciate.
Any top tips?
Yes. Don’t cut up your wife’s pilates mat to add extra protection to the sides, top and end of the bag after packing. I did, she went bonkers! Use the Eagle Creek zipper bags to stow everything neatly. In practice this bag was packed in my mind over a 6 month period as I pounded the motorways with work. Everything had its place. Everything was protected. OCD isn’t all bad!
How about portability?
Good I think. It’s certainly not as ungainly as some. It wrapped up nice and tight and I used two TSA security locks – one on the bottom rod compartment and another on the top. I put an extra webbing strap around the whole bag (that OCD thing again) to keep it neat and compact. Here’s a picture of it against our other bag to give a sense of scale and size. By the way I smuggled a 6th rod and spare reel in my wife’s luggage also. It cost her a pair of shoes... and, yes, she went crackers when she found out! Ah, life on the marital raggedy edge.
What about weight and size
I had a self inflicted excess weight charge of £65 at LGW and another $60 for the seaplane. Those jigging lures did it for me and my bag hit the scales at 31kg. It was just inside the upper BA limit of 32kg. I call that military planning. There was no issue in terms of oversize luggage. Although it was right on the size limit (or possible an inch over) it was checked in at the normal check in desk.
And did it make it to the Maldives?
Thank goodness, YES! Here’s our seaplane arrival in the Maldives and the bag being wheeled away. Nice quality rubber wheels by the way.
Any damage to anything?
Not a scratch. The reels, rods, bits and bobs were absolutely fine. The bag itself got a bit scuffed on the way back home (a tiny tear to the protective rubber around the wheels) but it did it’s job brilliantly. I physically examined 12 bags across four fishing shops and spent hours on the internet. I take my hat off to Snowbee and Rok Max. This is a great piece of kit.
And the fishing?
Awesome, just awesome - GT, Bluefin Trevally, Grouper, Barracuda... and fish I didn’t even know existed. All pristine. All bristling with teeth, spines and attitude. Explosive takes, screaming reels and heart stopping rushes to the coral reef. I’ve sent Rok Max some photos. This is bucket list stuff. Give it a go.