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LCFrigon
10-18-2007, 12:00
I always read about the different types of BCDs but would love to hear some reasons rather than just bp/w is the best!!!

I have only dove with a jacket style BCD and don't see any problems with them, but have also seen people use back inflation BCDs and am very interested, but also hear a lot about back plates with wings.

My question is HOW are they different and which BCDs do people prefer and why? Comfortableness? Buoyancy? Positioning? etc.. Pros and cons would be great.

Thanks everyone!

RoadRacer1978
10-18-2007, 12:13
Comes down to personal choice and what works best for you. A lot of people say I like "insert product here" and it's the best. And for them, it probably is the best. I also have only dove with a regualr old BCD and really like it. I am able to stay horizontal in the water. I can change to any position in the water and maintain that position without a problem. On the surface I can inflate the BCD and remain upright or turn on my back and swim, it's my choice what I want to do on the surface.

I am willing and want to try other styles such as a BP/W setup t se how it will work for me. I may like it better, I may not. Only you can decide what is best for you and what will work for you particular style of diving.

On a side note if you do decide to get into tech diving, a BP/W setup is going to be necessary for doubles. That is the main advantage I see for the BP/W setup at his time, but I have no personal experience with one and cannot say if I like or dislike that setup yet.

cgvmer
10-18-2007, 12:38
As RoadRacer said, it is really personal choice. I spent 1 1/2 years renting my gear and found it difficult to find comfortable jacket BCD's, but that is me and I am 6'5" 300+ lbs... so when I had a chance to rent a back-inflate unit (transpaK from diverite) I felt so comfortable I looked at and stayed with a Bp/W.
This might not be the best decision for you. I suggest that you spend some time using various gear configs and find one that is right for you.

Generally, the BP/W's are more flexible, prices range from high $300's to whatever you want to pay, I personally find many parts available on ebay (it's hard to damage a stainless steel BP) which may lower your cost.

torrey
10-18-2007, 14:34
This is what I've noticed with the two BC's I've owned:

Inflatable vest (Scubapro Accent) - inflates all around body, mostly in back; a little bulky as jacket is also inflated under arms and around waist; air all around tends to want to position divers more vertically or diagonally; keeps you vertical on surface as well.

Back inflate vest (Scubapro Seahawk) - inflates only behind diver; still has a jacket design with a cumberbun around waist and pockets around hips; air only behind diver tends to position diver more horizontally; a little more difficult to keep upright at the surface unless you lean back over bladder to center it under you.

A backplate/wing setup is going to be similar to the back inflate as far as positioning. The primary difference is that the bp/w setup uses webbing to go around shoulders, chest, crotch and waist, whereas the back inflate vest is still more of a jacket.

I personally like the back inflate vest the best because I like the comfort of something which engulfs me like a jacket without the bulk of air all around.

Zenagirl
10-18-2007, 14:39
It really comes down to what features you like. I don't particularly like the BP/W set up because I hate the crotch strap and found the webbing uncomfortable since I dive warm only. I also don't like cumberbun or waist straps and want weight integration. I do like the wing feature and the simplicity of the BP/W set-up which led me to my current BC, the Zeagle Zena. Weight integrated, wing design, no cumberbun, padded shoulders, 2 tank bands, and very minimalist in design and function.

I would never be so arrogant (or stupid) as to try to say that the Zena is right for all women, however I do encourage women to consider it as an option when they are looking. My motivation is to get women to try as many options as they can so they can choose the best one for THEM.

In my husband's case, he wanted a jacket style BC when he first started diving. He wanted weight integrated, big pockets, and padding for comfort. After nearly 150 dives, he decided he no longer likes how the BC moves on his body, the weight pockets are unreliable (he's lost one before), the pockets are too big and easy to drop stuff out of, and he doesnt like how the air moves around in it. He's an underwater photographer and often contorts his body (upside down and sideways) to stay off the coral to get the shots.

Because of how pleased I've been with my Zeagle, he wanted to try a Ranger and has since bought a Ranger LTD. He still has pockets, though smaller, the weights aren't put into pouches that can be lost (and they are positioned differently), the wing design will keep the air from moving around his entire body, and the harness simply fits better (can be custom sized) for far less movement. He considered a BP/W for about 5 minutes, but didn't like the way the webbing felt on his body since sometimes he dives without a wetsuit.

The hard part is figuring out exactly what you really want. Once that happens, finding the right configuration isn't so hard. ;)

BSea
10-18-2007, 15:39
Ok, Here's my 2.

Here's features I think are important in deciding on a BC.

1st off, most BCs are very bouyant. Jackets generally being the most bouyant. Most people don't consider the bouyancy of their BC. If you take your standard jacket bc to a pool, and then add weight to see how much it takes to sink it, you'll be surprised. That is extra weight that you have to carry to be neutral in the water. So I think that less bouyant is better.

Versatile without being complicated. Can the BC be used with differant types of exposure suits. I'm not talking about going from singles to doubles, I'm just talking about going from a shortie in tropical waters to a dry suit for cold water.

Is there storage (like pockets) and places to clip off accessories?

Does it pack well for trips?

Is it easily serviced?

Jacket: I can't really think of anything that I belive that a jacket does that is better than any other sytle of BC with the possible exception of floating you more upright on the surface.
They are very bouyant. As a rule they are the most bouyant style.
They aren't versatle. you generally can't add or remove pockets or D-rings, or change the wing size.
They usually have pockets, and ample D-Rings to clip off accessories.
Does not pack as well as other styles (this is a generalization. I'm sure you could find a particular jacket that packs smaller than a particular back inflate model.)If you ruin the bladder, and it can't be replaced, you basically have nothing left

Back inflate is probably the most popular BC out there. They can be very streamlined like a BP/W, or as bulky as a jacket. Some are weight integrated, and have trim pockets. Some like the Zeagle & Dive Rite are very modular, and you can change wings for different diving requirements. The Dive Rite Trans Pack is really a BP/W, but the BP is really a soft pack. And as long as they aren't over inflated on the surface, you won't pitch forward. Just add enough air to keep you head above water.

To me, nothing is more versatile than a BP/W. A Standard BP/W isn't bouyant even without the BP. It's just webbing & SS D-rings & a buckle. Anything that takes weight off my rig is a plus.
It will have just as many pockets and D-rings as you want. It can be weight integrated or not.
It packs smaller than any other BC I've ever owned.
Since it is modular, it can be easily serviced. Some people have complained that the straps aren't comfortable, and that's true when you oare walking around on the boat or shore, but underwater is where I think it more comfortable. Now if I had to hike to dive sites, I'd probably chage my mind, but most of my dives are boat dives, or dives where there isn't much walking to the water.

These are the BCs I've owned since I gave up my horse collar.
Sea Quest Balance - Back inflate
Zeagle Brigade - Back Inflate
BP/W

I used a few jacket BC's as rental gear. I didn't really use them enough to get a good feel for them, and I don't remember the make or models.

Finally, as everyone has said, it really what you want. There are really few bad choices as long as you get to dive. I think any piece of gear that you don't have to fiddle with while diving is a good piece of gear. If you have to think about it, then you probably arn't enjoying the dive.

awap
10-18-2007, 15:43
stability and customization.

Ever notice divers in a conventional BCD shuffeling their way to the entry? Where is their tank? It has usually slipped down with the valve at shoulder blade level and the tank bumping them in the butt. While not quite as bad in the water, the tank and BC are still loose enough to move around. Not so with a BP and with a few BCDs like the Diverite transpack. These rigs limit tank travel to maybe an inch both in and out of the water.

With most BCDs you either need to like the setup they provide or look at another model. Did you want pocket? Where and how large? Weight integrated? D-rings for attaching a pony or whatever? With most BCs, you get to decide whether you can live with it or not. If you change your mind on configuration, you probably need to buy another one. With a backplate, you can pretty much have whatever you want and if you decide to change, you change it.

I went to a plate (homemade) about 6 years ago with no regrets. My wife liked her jacket and did not like the idea of a plate. After 13 years, she finally decided it was time for a change and gave a plate a try. As I new she would, she did not like it. They can have some comfort issues out of the water and she was not ready to give up QRs. So she opted for a transpac. You get the same stability and customizations capabilities with a bit more comfort and the QRs. The down side is it is more complex and expensive and requires weight pouches on the tank straps for trim and balance..
Buit she likes the way she has more options for carrying and storing gear. She got her pockets which she always liked as well as other gear storage options. And she still has those damn QRs. But she is happy so I am too. Happy birthday to me.

BSea
10-18-2007, 16:16
stability and customization.

Ever notice divers in a conventional BCD shuffeling their way to the entry? Where is their tank? It has usually slipped down with the valve at shoulder blade level and the tank bumping them in the butt. While not quite as bad in the water, the tank and BC are still loose enough to move around. Not so with a BP and with a few BCDs like the Diverite transpack. These rigs limit tank travel to maybe an inch both in and out of the water.

With most BCDs you either need to like the setup they provide or look at another model. Did you want pocket? Where and how large? Weight integrated? D-rings for attaching a pony or whatever? With most BCs, you get to decide whether you can live with it or not. If you change your mind on configuration, you probably need to buy another one. With a backplate, you can pretty much have whatever you want and if you decide to change, you change it.

I went to a plate (homemade) about 6 years ago with no regrets. My wife liked her jacket and did not like the idea of a plate. After 13 years, she finally decided it was time for a change and gave a plate a try. As I new she would, she did not like it. They can have some comfort issues out of the water and she was not ready to give up QRs. So she opted for a transpac. You get the same stability and customizations capabilities with a bit more comfort and the QRs. The down side is it is more complex and expensive and requires weight pouches on the tank straps for trim and balance..
Buit she likes the way she has more options for carrying and storing gear. She got her pockets which she always liked as well as other gear storage options. And she still has those damn QRs. But she is happy so I am too. Happy birthday to me.

Had to think about it for awhile, but finally figured out that QR's = Quick Release.

terrillja
10-18-2007, 17:28
On a side note if you do decide to get into tech diving, a BP/W setup is going to be necessary for doubles.

Actually, no.

Most people who dive doubles use a BP/W, but the Oceanic Probe LX can be used with doubles if you buy an accessory kit for $120. It's part of the reason why I bought the Probe LX, so I have a jacket style BC, but can use doubles with it if I choose to at some point.

RoadRacer1978
10-18-2007, 17:40
On a side note if you do decide to get into tech diving, a BP/W setup is going to be necessary for doubles.

Actually, no.

Most people who dive doubles use a BP/W, but the Oceanic Probe LX can be used with doubles if you buy an accessory kit for $120. It's part of the reason why I bought the Probe LX, so I have a jacket style BC, but can use doubles with it if I choose to at some point.

Had no idea and nobody ever shared that info with me before. Thanks. That is another option that is good to know about.

BSea
10-18-2007, 18:00
On a side note if you do decide to get into tech diving, a BP/W setup is going to be necessary for doubles.

Actually, no.

Most people who dive doubles use a BP/W, but the Oceanic Probe LX can be used with doubles if you buy an accessory kit for $120. It's part of the reason why I bought the Probe LX, so I have a jacket style BC, but can use doubles with it if I choose to at some point.
You can also use a Zeagle Ranger & Tech for doubles (Maybe some other models too). But bear in mind that most people that dive doubles don't use the same BC that they use for singles. The main reason is the wing for doubles is usually larger than a single wing. Now I don't know anything about the oceanic probe, so that may work great for doubles. But there must be a reason that most people that dive doubles use a BP/W.

awap
10-18-2007, 19:21
On a side note if you do decide to get into tech diving, a BP/W setup is going to be necessary for doubles.

Actually, no.

Most people who dive doubles use a BP/W, but the Oceanic Probe LX can be used with doubles if you buy an accessory kit for $120. It's part of the reason why I bought the Probe LX, so I have a jacket style BC, but can use doubles with it if I choose to at some point.

Had no idea and nobody ever shared that info with me before. Thanks. That is another option that is good to know about.

I thought most BCDs with a hard plastic back piece could be used with doubles. All I have noticed had two holes for connecting banded doubles and the appropriate contour for attaching them.

Both my old scubapro and seaquest jackets seem to be designed that way.

Splitlip
10-18-2007, 19:45
Comes down to personal choice and what works best for you. A lot of people say I like "insert product here" and it's the best. And for them, it probably is the best. I also have only dove with a regualr old BCD and really like it. I am able to stay horizontal in the water. I can change to any position in the water and maintain that position without a problem. On the surface I can inflate the BCD and remain upright or turn on my back and swim, it's my choice what I want to do on the surface.



You are absolutely correct.

One of the great things about stab jackets is the bubble migrates around your body to find the optimum location for your position. (the Scubapro Classic does this really well)
Chest squeeze? A large Scubapro classic has 61# of lift when inflated fully. Sure your gonna get chest squeeze if you fully inflate. But how many of us in a rec scenario need 61# of lift. If we do, we are way overweighted.

LCFrigon
10-19-2007, 09:45
Thanks everyone for your comments! They have been very useful!