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Thread: BP & Wing recommendations for recreation diving?

  1. #1
    Grouper dkh6070's Avatar
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    BP & Wing recommendations for recreation diving?

    Hello everyone,

    My questions are specifically for "AL vs SS back-plate" and "smallest wing" suggestions for warm water travel, single tank diving. I am going to change to a BP&W. I am not looking for it to be a debate, only some helpful ideas that I may not be aware of as a new BP&W buyer when selecting new gear. I know there are many debates about tec diving and set ups but that is not my intent. Only ease and comfort during my Pre-beach&beer diving in the Cayman's or Cozumel.

    About Me = I am 95% warm water, travel, vacation and live aboard diving with a few cenotes or caverns thrown in while in Mexico. I would love to do some wreck diving off NC or in the Keys. I'm an advanced diver with just over 100 dives. I used a BP&W before and really liked it. Wife has switched over last year but went with the Transpac concoction and she loves it but to many snaps, disconnects and straps. I was interested in the traditional BP&W setup to be simple, streamlined and changeable if I change my diving habits.

    The Plate = Outside of weight (my research shows ~2lbs vs ~5lbs), what is the advantage/disadvantages to the SS plate. Also, the priced range from $90-$200. Why the variance. Is it different types of stainless used? If so, what are the benefits of one over the other etc. Is the SS plate to much weight for traveling? We typically are pushing weight limits on luggage as we like to try and have only one bag each. I typically use 6-8 lbs (depending on exposure suit) After trying out a BP&W setup with a SS plate in a 2/3 mil shorty, I did not need any weight. I felt naked but free to move. I loved it and have been saying for a year I was changing. No weight belt would be great but wearing weight belts never really bother. Well.. except when I swam 1/4 mile out from shore after forgetting to put it on and wondering why I couldn't get down. Friend went down and grabbed me some rocks. It worked!

    The Wing = I want to use the most streamlined wing and have noticed there is everything from a 23lb to a 44 lb wing for single tank diving. Is 23lbs of lift enough for my type of diving? What are your suggestions for my type of diving. I do not want to purchase based on anything I might do in the future. I can purchase a new wing if I change diving habits, as long as the plate, harness and tank straps are common gear, that is all I am looking for.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas and help,

    Duane Hebert

  2. #2
    Megalodon
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkh6070 View Post
    Hello everyone, My questions are specifically for "AL vs SS back-plate" and "smallest wing" suggestions for warm water travel, single tank diving. I am going to change to a BP&W. I am not looking for it to be a debate, only some helpful ideas that I may not be aware of as a new BP&W buyer when selecting new gear. I know there are many debates about tec diving and set ups but that is not my intent. Only ease and comfort during my Pre-beach&beer diving in the Cayman's or Cozumel.


    Good, good another diver coming to the dark side. Give in to your ha… oh wait, wrong movie. Nothing wrong with a BP/W set up. A lot of things right though. I too went down the dark path and enjoyed it.

    About Me = I am 95% warm water, travel, vacation and live aboard diving with a few cenotes or caverns thrown in while in Mexico. I would love to do some wreck diving off NC or in the Keys. I'm an advanced diver with just over 100 dives. I used a BP&W before and really liked it. Wife has switched over last year but went with the Transpac concoction and she loves it but to many snaps, disconnects and straps. I was interested in the traditional BP&W setup to be simple, streamlined and changeable if I change my diving habits. The Plate = Outside of weight (my research shows ~2lbs vs ~5lbs), what is the advantage/disadvantages to the SS plate. Also, the priced range from $90-$200. Why the variance. Is it different types of stainless used? If so, what are the benefits of one over the other etc. Is the SS plate to much weight for traveling? We typically are pushing weight limits on luggage as we like to try and have only one bag each. I typically use 6-8 lbs (depending on exposure suit) After trying out a BP&W setup with a SS plate in a 2/3 mil shorty, I did not need any weight. I felt naked but free to move. I loved it and have been saying for a year I was changing. No weight belt would be great but wearing weight belts never really bother. Well.. except when I swam 1/4 mile out from shore after forgetting to put it on and wondering why I couldn't get down. Friend went down and grabbed me some rocks. It worked!


    Well, weight and name are the big differences in price. A SS plate are traditionally 5# vs 2#-3# for Al as a rule. The biggest difference to me on the AL vs. SS is durability and abuse: I’ve had both and find that the SS plate holds up to rough use better than Al but, a slight bend in an Al can be easily fixed without a press or a vise. Also, look at the layout of the various plates and see which one suits you better. You want to dive singles so slots for tank bands is a must unless you plan on using a single tank adapter (STA) some have an array of holes and slots on the edge to customize what you want to add to your plate such as a SMB or lift bag, finger spool, knife, goody bag, ect. SS plate are usually more expensive due to materials.
    Of note, all of the pates have an 11" on center to the holes along the center line for ether doubles or a STA as an industry standard.
    On the Scuba Toys site, for aluminum, look at the
    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detai...GALUMBackPlate
    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=HollisBackplate

    For Stainless:
    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detai...ID=SSBackPlate
    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detai...eRiteBackPlate
    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=HOGSSBackPlate


    Also, you can add weight pouches to the shoulder and waist straps so you can forgo the extra belt. Dive Rite has some 16# and 32# set ups that are designed to dump weight in an emergency, other manufacturers have them as well..

    The Wing = I want to use the most streamlined wing and have noticed there is everything from a 23lb to a 44 lb wing for single tank diving. Is 23lbs of lift enough for my type of diving? What are your suggestions for my type of diving. I do not want to purchase based on anything I might do in the future. I can purchase a new wing if I change diving habits, as long as the plate, harness and tank straps are common gear, that is all I am looking for. Thanks in advance for your ideas and help, Duane Hebert


    For a single tank in warm water, 23# lift will be more than ample. The low profile is great! The biggest mistake is to get a dual purpose wing – one that is slated to work with both a single tank and doubles. These are a compromise wing that doesn’t do well with either singles or doubles. They “Taco” on singles making them higher profile thus more drag and air consumption. They also kind of bow forward into your arms and shoulders with doubles making it harder to move and maintain trim as they are more likely to turtle on you with heavier doubles. Also, unless you are planning to go DIR, pay a little extra and get a comfort harness like the Dive Rite Transplate Harness or Hollis Elite 2 they add some comfort and ease of getting in and out of your rig.

    Have fun, enjoy and let us know how it goes.
    Last edited by navyhmc; 12-03-2014 at 13:47.

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  3. #3
    Guppy
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    For travel I use a commercial diving harness that I modified so a wing could be attached. This is lighter then a back plate and has no ridge running down the middle so the tank rests 1/4" away from your back. The smallest wing I could find was an Oxycheq 18lb wing but it is somewhat ridged and would not pack as flat in a suitcase as I wanted. I ended up getting a Dive Rite Travel EXP 26lb wing that fits much better in a suitcase. This wing was also wide open inside the donut enabling me to place the cam bands further apart then normal. With a thin shorty this is far more lift then I need, even an 18lb wing would have had more lift then was required to do the job. The point behind both choices was weight and pack size for travel to warm water locations. I got a used harness for $25 and a new wing for $100 on ebay. The pics I wanted to put up here are too large to be downloaded so if you have any interest in seeing them send me an email.

  4. #4
    If you are traveling, the weight difference between aluminum and steel can make a difference. Additionally, not all steel is the same. Some steel is more resistant to salt water. For example, 316 stainless steel will rust easier than 304 stainless steel. I don't think anyone makes a plate with 201 stainless steel because it would rust too much. Some manufacturers have stopped making aluminum plates. Instead they are creating steel plates with a lot of cut outs. I had a look at these new 'lighter' steel plates and they look like they could get bent in difficult to repair ways. I went with an aluminum plate for travel in order to keep the weight down.

    The price difference is multiple factors. The type of metal could play a difference but it is more often what the manufacturer thinks they can get away with. Some plates have different bends (the DiveRite plate doesn't work for my body shape; too much bend and holds the tank too far away from my body). So if you want a certain bend you might have to pay more or less for the plate. I believe some plates cost more because they are associated with a blue H or some similar reason. Just marketing and not really worth extra money.

    I like to wear a weight belt. If all my weight is in my gear and I take my gear off, I become positively buoyant. If I'm wearing the weight, I can take my gear off without shooting to the surface. Also, if I'm traveling I prefer lighter gear and borrow weights from the dive operator.

    For the wing you want to look at 18 to 25 pounds for a single tank. If the wing is wider and thin you want keep it down to 18 pounds. If the wing is a little thicker you can go up to something in the 20s. I have a 25 pound wing but that is really pushing the limits for tropical diving. I selected it because it had internal bungee. When I let the air out, even above water, the bungees will compress the wing. This is great for reducing taco effect underwater and it makes the wing compress nicely out of water when packing it in my luggage. The bungee is inside the wing rather than on the outside. Being inside the wing means it is not a catch hazard. The other nice thing about my wing is that it has a built in single tank adapter (STA). This means I don't need to use a STA. A STA will add a couple of pounds to the gear. So not needing one helps to keep the weight down. As pointed out, you need slots in the plate if you are using a built in STA.

    All in all, a plate which follows the curve of my back means it stays close to my back. A built in STA and strapping the tank close to my back is very stable and less drag than something which holds the tank away from my back. However, the shallow bend in the plate means I have to use sex bolts (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detai...SAssemblyScrew). Standard wing nut bolts wouldn't work for me.

    The Hollis Elite Harness does make it easier to get in and out of the rig but it is black and I like to be different. I just bought 8 feet of red webbing, 4 feet of yellow webbing and all the hardware. I then made a basic harness with the red webbing and a weight belt with the yellow webbing. I like to be colorful and easy to spot. Makes it easy for students to find me when I'm working.

    Also, when I need to replace my harness I can just buy 8 feet of webbing and make another harness.
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  5. #5
    Grouper dkh6070's Avatar
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    Navy, Exactly the information i was looking for thank you very much.

  6. #6
    Grouper dkh6070's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubadiver888 View Post
    I just bought 8 feet of red webbing, 4 feet of yellow webbing and all the hardware. I then made a basic harness with the red webbing and a weight belt with the yellow webbing. I like to be colorful
    I was thinking of doing the same thing. Two people on the Belize Sun Dancer had colored webbing and I thought it was easy know who they were. Thank you for taking the time to answer. It was very helpful.

  7. #7
    Grouper dkh6070's Avatar
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    I learned a lot by your explanation. Very much appreciated. One follow on question. I just assumed they all had slots for Cam Bands. Why do some plates have one slot for top and bottom bands and some have two slots for top and bottom bands as seen in the example photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by navyhmc View Post
    You want to dive singles so slots for tank bands is a must unless you plan on using a single tank adapter (STA)
    On the Scuba Toys site, for aluminum, look at the


  8. #8
    Megalodon
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    Edge/HOG added the wider slots to accommodate the difference between a 7"-7.25" and a 8" tank... Giving you an option on securing your tank.

    I did forget the sex bolts that SD888 mentioned. When using a STA or double, the threads that extend through the plate to secure it also hold the wing secure. The tank and tank bands do an okay job of it, but you have a little play in the wing and it will not be in the same place every dive. A pair of sex bolts holding the wing centered on the plate eliminates that. Plus, you can move the wing up an down on the plate to help with your trim. Wing design permitting.

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  9. #9
    Megalodon
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    Sex Bolt:

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  10. #10
    Grouper dkh6070's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by navyhmc View Post
    Sex Bolt:
    I was expecting a much different picture.

    How did you wind up in Wichita after being in the Navy? I spent 12 years at Pearl on Subs and swore I'd never live in the cold again.

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