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View Full Version : Time for new BC - Brigade vs Stilleto?



bversteegh
08-04-2007, 23:52
My 8 year old Seaquest Black Diamond BC has started to self destruct (the plastic backpack broke on my last trip); plus it is kind of heavy. So am looking for a new BC; pretty much sold on Zeagle - so here's my question:

I am fairly big (6'2 and 235 lb, wide shoulders/chest), and an avid uw photographer. Definately want back inflation; and the ability to put a little weight in back to trim out is nice. Have fallen in love with the Indo-Pacific region, so looking for a great travel BC, lighweight that packs in small volume (usually dive a 3 mil wetsuit/10 lbs of lead). Also decent SECURE pockets to carry wet lens, backup lights, and safety gear are desirable (the black diamond side pockets were horrible).

So given all that, what are the differences between the Brigade and the Stilleto? I tried on the Stilleto one day at ST when I was killing time on the way to the airport (and really liked the fit), but didn't look at the Brigade - hadn't done enough research to even know it existed. Can you give me a quick comparison - and particulary, what is the difference in dry weight?

creggur
08-05-2007, 13:18
I can't really compare the two, but I can tell you I love my Brigade... Packs up nicely for travel, yet has the heavy duty straps and D-rings of the Ranger as it is Ranger straps with a smaller bladder. I was making the same comparison as you, and went with the Brigade.

Here was my line of thinking:
Ranger Harness = Top of the line quality, and SS D-rings

Sweet fold down pocket on the front has already come in handy

Smaller bladder for warm water diving and it packs down nice for travel

With your ST Forum discount you can get the Brigade w/rear weight pockets and still be less expensive than the Stilleto.

Last but not least Larry commisioned the building of the Brigade, and as a self-described recreational diver with tons of experience, it was everything he would want in a BC..How can you go wrong??

Truth is you can't reallly go wrong with either one, but for me the Brigade edged out the Stilleto...Good luck..

ScubaToys Larry
08-05-2007, 13:38
The difference is the stilletto has narrower shoulders, less d-rings, no ability to upgrade to larger bladders, no grommets for twins, and the material it's made out of is a thinner, lower denier fabric.

The Stiletto is basically an old escape with metal d-rings instead of plastic. The Brigade is basically a Ranger with a smaller easier to pack bladder, and an extra roll down pocket.

Zenagirl
08-05-2007, 16:23
My husband is a pretty big guy too (6'4", 220#) with broad shoulders and a wide chest. He's also a photographer and wanted decent pockets. He tried on both the Stilletto and Ranger at Diver's Direct in FL when we were there last month. He said hands down the Ranger was more comfortable. So after I tried to talk him into a Brigade in vain (since we're warm water divers), we ordered a Ranger LTD from Joe at ScubaToys!

Although the Stilletto would probably pack smaller, the Ranger is going to pack a whole lot smaller than his old SeaQuest BC and it weighs at least 2 pounds less. My husband is a very happy man now. :D Thanks Joe!

Buoyant1
08-05-2007, 19:25
Not to steal Zeagle's thunder...(I love their stuff!) but when I tried a Dive Rite TransPlate, I fell in love with it! (if you're going with the back inflate type of thing) I just need to figure out a way to "sneak" it into the house without the Mrs. knowing that I swapped BC's!

I would definately attempt trying one of those before comitting to anything else. The Zeagle BC's are top notch though!

Dive-aholic
08-05-2007, 22:41
Why not look at a back plate and wings? Especially with the photography, it may work better for you. I went from back inflate to bp/w and am so glad I did!

ScubaToys Larry
08-05-2007, 22:47
If you don't want pockets and integrated weights... the bp/w is an option. But I use my pockets for a bunch of stuff... from lens filters to small lights to flash diffusers, and I'll never put on another weight belt!

Dive-aholic
08-05-2007, 22:50
You can always add pockets to the harness or glue some on to your wet suit or dry suit.

BTW, Larry, do you carry the XS Scuba pockets? They're pretty popular. You should list them on the store site.

ScubaToys Larry
08-05-2007, 23:04
Yea, we have them... There is a lot of stuff we have to get on the site... If you see we have anything from that manufacturer - we probably have it all!

And some people just like BC's. I hated diving a BP/W... I don't want to glue on pockets to my stuff. I want to buy it. Put it on a tank. Put weights in it. Put some stuff in the pockets... and dive it!

But your mileage may vary.

bperrybap
08-05-2007, 23:45
The side pockets on the Brigade are quite a bit bigger than
the ones on the Stilleto.
Believe it or not, a Princetontec Miniwave light will fit in the brigade/ranger pockets without any sort of pushing or cramming.

I do like the looks of the bladder on the stilleto better.
It just looks nicer and more streamlined to me.
Not sure that it really makes any difference though.

--- bill

ScubaToys Larry
08-05-2007, 23:51
bperrybap... good to see you here. Heck, that's 3 times in one week I've run into you! Of course I like it better the other times.... standing in front of our cash register! :smiley2:

Dive-aholic
08-06-2007, 02:05
Yea, we have them... There is a lot of stuff we have to get on the site... If you see we have anything from that manufacturer - we probably have it all!

And some people just like BC's. I hated diving a BP/W... I don't want to glue on pockets to my stuff. I want to buy it. Put it on a tank. Put weights in it. Put some stuff in the pockets... and dive it!

But your mileage may vary.

Good to know. I'll probably be ordering a couple more when I place my next order.

And you're right, different strokes for different folks. There's nothing wrong with BC's. I just find that since the BP/W isn't advertised much, not many new divers know about them. I believe every diver should be well informed before making a major purchase like a BC. I wish I had known about it. It could have saved me a few grand!