View Full Version : BC back inflate or jacket style

10-11-2007, 20:59
I'm going 2 purchase a BC this year and I'm having a tuff decision. Back inflate or jacket style. When I'm floating at the surface my feet seem 2 drop with a back inflate, but with a jacket style it seems 2 drop also but the swim backwards isn't as bad. Am I doing something wrong? I use Force Fins. These fins R a negitive bouyant, but I'm handicapped and I find them E-Z 2 dive with.

10-12-2007, 07:30
Hi Maverick, I went from a jacket style (hate them- hate anything that wraps around me) to a Zeagle Brigade; bought it new at ST and used it for my AOW class a few weeks back. Thing I learned while in the water with other Brigade users, you just have to simply bring your knees up towards your chest to "realign" yourself in the water towards your back, then as he showed me, simply lay back in the water. If you have too much air it might tend to push the other way; another trick he taught me is if you use say 12lbs of weight, have maybe 8 in the front pockets and 4 in the back; this too helps. Swimming on your back in this BC also is a breeze. Hope this helps ya out a bit!

10-12-2007, 07:51
Have you ever dove with a BP/W config?

I would suggest you try it, before buying. I did and loved it and bought one.

BUT even though I am an advocate of BP/W I would not suggest you get one without renting first.

10-12-2007, 11:11
I have a back inflate BC and really like it. Yes, it can tend to push your face towards the water when at the surface but there are a few tricks to counter that:

1. Balance tyour weights between your front and back pockets. I dive with 12 pounds and put 6 in the back and 6 up front. That seems to help.

2. Don't over inflate when at the surface. The more air you pump back there the more you will be pushed forward into the water. Inflate just enough to keep your head above the water.

3. Swim backwards when at the surface. It's actually pretty relaxing looking up at the sky !!!

Bring the Payne
10-12-2007, 11:17
Something you might consider is the mares dragon at like I use. Its not really back inflate and its not really jacket....its sort of in the middle so you get the best of both worlds.

10-12-2007, 12:07
i used to rent equipment for a while and i always hated jacket style BC for it squeezes my body. since i got my bp/w (or back inflated style in your case) i was much happier. remember that what counts most is confort U/W, not above. hopefully you won't spend that much time at the surface.

10-12-2007, 14:36
Try them both and make your decision based upon your preference! We all have opinions and likes dislikes that suit our personalities.

10-12-2007, 15:00
I have a back inflation and it works very well for me.

10-12-2007, 18:18
Back inflate here! BP/W as soon as I can afford it though...

10-12-2007, 21:56
I rented a jacket for a handful of dives, but purchased a back-inflate after trying it in the ST pool. I really like the back-inflate (although I've never tried the BP/W combination).

I second the recommendation about trying the first. My 16-year son ended up with a jacket vs a back-inflate. He tried both and he preferred the "squeeze" aspect of a jacket. So, everyone is different is my point.

12-13-2007, 22:57
I also prefer a back inflated. I love all the free room in the front when diving. As mentioned previous you do get pushed forward when its inflated. Just follow the tips as previously mentioned and you'll be good to go:smiley20:

12-14-2007, 08:10
The best advice IMO is to try as many different types, styles, and brands that you can before you buy. If you can try them in the water, even better. There isn't one right answer that will fit everyone's needs.

For instance, I know someone who loves the wrap around feel that a jacket gives her, she hates back inflation. I love my back-inflation BC and hate the feeling of restriction of a jacket, but also hate the way at BP/W feels. Then there are folks who won't consider anything other than a BP/W. And we're ALL right!

Great example, though with fins and not BCs. We were on a liveaboard this summer with a friend. He buddied up with a guy who our friend had trouble keeping up with in his splits (when they were swimming, not snooping with their heads in the coral). He decided he wanted to buy new fins before our trip to Hawaii. Well, a few days ago we all met up at the LDS to play in the pool and check out our gear. He took the opportunity to try my Jetfins and my husband's Mares Avanti Quattro fins, as well as a couple of fins at the LDS. You know what he decided? Nothing was as comfortable for him as his own fins and he didn't switch.

Moral of the story: Never buy something on the recommendation of anyone else before you've tried it for yourself.

12-14-2007, 08:38
Here is some info I posted in another forum. Just a quick copy and paste so some of it is info you did not ask for. It may help with your decision.

Now, when you get ready to purchase your BCD and REG....You will want to try on and wear (around the dive shop) as many different BCDs as possible. Go for comfort plain and simple, as well as weight integreted, even if it means a few more bucks. It would be nice if you could try a back inflate during class (in the pool) as well as a jacket style.

I've heard many argue that a back inflate has a tendency to pitch you foward in the water at the surface. My response to this would be " if you were stiff as a board and used absolutely no muscle control, yes it will pitch you foward". I'll also say " It has been my experiance that a near empty(as it will be near the end of a dive) aluminum 80 (tank you most likely start out using) attatched to a jacket style BCD will do the same damn thing if you use absolutely no muscle control at the surface". A little bit of finning on the surface will keep you in a very comfy reclined position with both BCDs.

You will find as time goes by that bouyancy control and horizontal trim will be easier achieved and maintained with a nice middle of the road backinflate BCD that has a couple of weight pocket near the tank plate or back of the BCD. As for the reg, Look at some of the bottom of the line Scubapros (MK25/S555 or MK25/S600), they are a bit big and bulky, yet very reliable and durable. Get an idea of what they cost. Then decide weather or not you can afford to spend a bit more for something middle of the road in their models. Look at a Aqua lung Titain LX as well this is an excellent reg for around $400.00 bucks.

You will hear many different opinions on equipment. All too often these opinions can become pissing contest. Use your head, do your homework. Compile all the info you get from various individuals here and make a well thought out educated decision, and I'll bet dollars to pesos that whatever you wind up with, as long as you care for it properly, will last you for years to come. Infact you will most likely wind up replacing or "upgrading" simply out of want and not out of necessity.

I wish you the best! Welcome to a new a facinating world!



Enjoy the moments, cherish the passion, recognize these things when they are staring you in the face. Let the peace of the ocean wash over you, the warmth of the sun shine upon you and the light of the moon adorn you.

Mainline Florida:-)

12-14-2007, 08:39
This is definetly an option. My Mares Morphos is a hybrid between back inflate and jacket. It takes quite a bit of air in the BC before the sides of the bladder inflate. So most of the time, there is only air in the back. But when at the surface, you put more air in, and voila, you have a jacket that hold you up straight in the water!

Just food for thought!:smiley20:

Something you might consider is the mares dragon at like I use. Its not really back inflate and its not really jacket....its sort of in the middle so you get the best of both worlds.

12-14-2007, 09:51
I have used a Jacket style most of my "diving life". I'm old enough that I got certified back in 1978 with the old "horse collar" BCs! When I got my first jacket style, I couldn't understand why anyone would want anything more. I have used it for years and years......then, this past early fall, I borrowed a friends transpac, and really liked it. I have since bought ST Zeagle Brigrade, a back inflate BC. While it is true that it reacts somewhat differently on the surface, it is a DREAM under water! As has been said above, try before you buy, but I think you will really really like the back inflate. I don't know why anyone would want something more!

12-14-2007, 10:18
As for the reg, Look at some of the bottom of the line Scubapros (MK25/S555 or MK25/S600)

Slight typo there :)

12-14-2007, 14:41
I have owned 2 back inflate BC's. The second purchased from ST w/in the last year. I don't think it pushes you to much forward on the surface. I usually have no problem just lying back on it and staying afloat. I use steel 120's so that may have some impact but I love the back inflate BC. Try both and buy what fits your needs and comfort the most.

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
12-14-2007, 15:22
I find back inflate much better under water *and* at the surface, especially with steel tanks. Jacket might be a little better with an empty AL80 but that is very easy to manage by just leaning back and/or finning a bit. I think it would only matter if I were unconscious.

In fact when I used a jacket style in OW class I had a problem with my feet tending to float up in front of me. Never had that problem with my harness and wing.

Also, most people I see wear their tanks too low. You need to be able to reach back and turn the valve. With an empty AL80 wearing the tank too low can cause you to tend to tilt forward at the surface.

12-18-2007, 21:40
I have a jacket BC and wish I had the $$$ for a back inflate or better yet BP/W..

12-19-2007, 00:04
I have a back inflate that I prefer for my personal diving. But I also have a jacket style which is much easier to teach in because at the surface I am more balanced. And in teaching you are at the surface explaining, briefing, or preparing for the next CESA.

12-27-2007, 13:20
I know this is old, but i'll add my experience comments...I was a Tried and true jacket BC wearer, until I tried my excursion (rental at time) I fell in love with the way it felt....especially with large steel tanks a back inflate is the way to go as inflated it wraps the tank, so you arent so rolly. With my jacket BC i constantly was adjusting weight placement with different size tanks....now i might have to adjust pundage...but not placement.

12-28-2007, 01:32
I dove a jacket-style BC for my open water cert. During the course I felt unstable and would often roll to one side or the other (yes my weights were balanced).

After alot of research, I went with back-inflation (Zeagle Brigade). I have not been "thrown on my face" once on the surface and have no stability problems underwater. I am very happy with back-inflate.

12-28-2007, 01:35
I dove a jacket-style BC for my open water cert. During the course I felt unstable and would often roll to one side or the other (yes my weights were balanced).

After alot of research, I went with back-inflation (Zeagle Brigade). I have not been "thrown on my face" once on the surface and have no stability problems underwater. I am very happy with back-inflate.

This seems to be the common thought for the Zeagle products. :smiley20:

12-29-2007, 13:45
I have the Oceanic Excursion and love it, tried jacket style in my rental days. But when it came down to it I bought a back inflate model, if you don't over inflate on the surface you won't have any problems. If you don't mind the extra weight and price it's hard to find anyone with a back plate and wing that doesn't love it (probably my next purchase).

02-28-2008, 20:54
I'm actually thinking now of switching over to back inflate. Tough decision to make, many great choices.

02-29-2008, 00:28
I have a Zeagle Stiletto and love it. I just make sure that have the right amount of weight in the back pockets.