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Author Topic: Type of BCDs to get  (Read 7893 times)

fusionx99

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Type of BCDs to get
« on: 14 Sep 10, 20:03 »
Hello! Guys! I have tot of getting a own BCD for myself, there are many types to choose from, i meant the types of BCDs.From my knowledge i only know 3 types..jackets, wings, backplate. i had done survey backplate & wings BCDs are slightly much costly compare to jackets type.So i wonder what are the pro & cons between them?  ???
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siaokao

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #1 on: 14 Sep 10, 21:21 »
IMH and very personal opinion..

Generally 3 types.. Traditional jacket type, jacket rear floatation/inflation type, backplate/wing.

Jacket style, tried once in pool, personally dun like it at all.  But many divers are very happy using them.

Jacket style rear floatation/inflation type.  Some come with wings, others have bladders integrated into rear of jacket.  Unlike the traditional jacket styled BCD, air is only inflated into back of diver, generally provide diver with better trim and stability underwater.  Such BCD still comes with various compartments/pockets found in traditional styled jacket BCD.  Another advantage is that such BCD are generally lighter than backplates and are flexible thus easy for travelling. I've been using such BCD since OW till recently.

Backplate/Wing BCD.  They are generally very simple setup, in its simplest form, have only backplate, wing and harness. Traditionally used by tech divers, but in recent years, more and more rec divers see the benefit of such system and are getting really popular.  Such system generally provide rec divers with better trim control and are generally more streamlined thus less drag underwater.  Such system however do not GENERALLY come with integrated pockets/storage, not as comfortable out of water and more difficult to don/remove.  They are also heavier thus not as travel friendly.  However, many modern backplate systems do have some innovative solutions to make transition easier for rec divers. Price wise, I think you can get one for as low as $600.

End of day, its a very personal decision, I like my current backplate/wing system, but others may not like it at all.  So , if you can, try them out b4 making that decision.  

My 1 cent..   ;D
« Last Edit: 14 Sep 10, 22:34 by siaokao »
So they call it a 'FACT' coz someone made some statements on a 'FACT SHEET'? hummm...

fusionx99

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #2 on: 14 Sep 10, 23:29 »
IMH and very personal opinion..

Generally 3 types.. Traditional jacket type, jacket rear floatation/inflation type, backplate/wing.

Jacket style, tried once in pool, personally dun like it at all.  But many divers are very happy using them.

Jacket style rear floatation/inflation type.  Some come with wings, others have bladders integrated into rear of jacket.  Unlike the traditional jacket styled BCD, air is only inflated into back of diver, generally provide diver with better trim and stability underwater.  Such BCD still comes with various compartments/pockets found in traditional styled jacket BCD.  Another advantage is that such BCD are generally lighter than backplates and are flexible thus easy for travelling. I've been using such BCD since OW till recently.

Backplate/Wing BCD.  They are generally very simple setup, in its simplest form, have only backplate, wing and harness. Traditionally used by tech divers, but in recent years, more and more rec divers see the benefit of such system and are getting really popular.  Such system generally provide rec divers with better trim control and are generally more streamlined thus less drag underwater.  Such system however do not GENERALLY come with integrated pockets/storage, not as comfortable out of water and more difficult to don/remove.  They are also heavier thus not as travel friendly.  However, many modern backplate systems do have some innovative solutions to make transition easier for rec divers. Price wise, I think you can get one for as low as $600.

End of day, its a very personal decision, I like my current backplate/wing system, but others may not like it at all.  So , if you can, try them out b4 making that decision.  

My 1 cent..   ;D

Thanks bro for your detail explanation! About the  jacket rear floatation/inflation type i guess you are toking about the rear inflated BC,for jacket & back inflated BCs i think its quite straight forward.What about diverite BCs there are transpac,transplate & harness type.The wings are sold separately also? whats the diff?(abit blur sorry) Do they have integrated weight systems? For what i know that if i am using a backplate BCs i dun really have to put on weights? :-\
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siaokao

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #3 on: 15 Sep 10, 00:57 »
Well, I'm not familiar with diverite products, but I think the harness type is the traditional backplate with harness setup.  

Transplate is a backplate without harness, using webbing with lots of padding in place of the harness (for comfort but may not be desirable to some).  

Transpac is a Transplate with metallic backplate removed, substituted with a fabric "backplate" of sort (very jacket styled). Again I believe they do this for comfort, reduced weight and travel friendly. I will say this is very similar to makes like Zeagel range of rear inflated 'jacket' styled BCD with wings.

And as in all backplate systems, you will have to buy the appropriate wing to mount (depending on the kind of diving you are doing).

Typically for such configuration, integrated weight system simply means you buy their weight pockets and mount on waist band.  For other makes like Zeagel, they do have integrated weight pockets already part of the product.

As to diving without weights.. really depends on your backplate weight (backplate is a form of weight), type of tanks you use, your exposure suit, other loads you carry, buoyancy control and your personal buoyancy.  With a 3/2 wetsuit and my aluminum backplate, I can descent without additional weights, but because tanks usually used in our part of the world are aluminum AL80s, your tank will actually be +ve buoyant when empty. Thus I still carry a 2lb weight with me so I can complete my 5m stop at end of dive safely.
« Last Edit: 15 Sep 10, 01:04 by siaokao »
So they call it a 'FACT' coz someone made some statements on a 'FACT SHEET'? hummm...

diver-hloc

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #4 on: 15 Sep 10, 09:09 »
For most backplate system.... the shop will sell you one whole set.... which includes float, backplate with harness/webbing, a plate that will hold the airtank (don't remember the name  :P).

The magic of a backplate system is that all these parts could be upgraded as you move on....

* Doing Tech Diving and need to us dual airtank.... just upgrade to a bigger float/wings and a dual tank holder.

* Grown fat or slim down... shortern or lengthern the harness to suit your need.

* Need more D Rings to hang your gears.... buy some and add them to your harness.

* Don't wish to use a weight belt.... a steel plate is already 3kg, Aluminium is 1kg... get weight pouch and straped them onto your tank harness. 
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fusionx99

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #5 on: 15 Sep 10, 11:10 »
Oh understood.. Thanks for all the detail explanations.... Hmmm so a backplate is much more versatile.Do i need certain level of experiences to get a backplate/wings BCDs? i meant bouyancy control wise,cos i only clock 14 dives  ;D The price range is around 600 and above?( siaokao mention).Maybe i can rent a backplate BC
and try it local water see whether do i like it before i buy.Anyone kn ???ows where to rent a backplate/wings BCs?
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siaokao

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #6 on: 15 Sep 10, 13:33 »
Its somewhat true that a backplate system is more versatile, but the question is, do u need the added versatility or do you want comfort and traveling weight? Ok, I know it sounds confusing, but you should buy something that will suite ur needs.  While the 'trend' is now very much towards backplate systems, you should get it for the right reasons, dun just buy coz the rest are buying.  Most backplate owners will never dive with more than 1 tank, never need the flexibility to change wings.. coz they never have any intention of getting past rec diving.  So the added versatility is pointless.  U need to understand there are no such thing as 'best' system, they are all abt compromises..

For me, I believe in no padding, single continuous harness on a metallic backplate (btw, diverite uses 2 pc harness).. Others may like some padding coz they dive with rashie/broadshorts.  Some like jacket style for lightweight and travel ease.

So end of day, best is to try them out.  If you want to know how a backplate feels like at the shop, make sure you try it on while its properly adjusted, with a loosely fitted backplate system, you will not experience how it is like to actually don one.  For mine, its actually much more difficult to don.  Don/doffing drills underwater can be different from a jacket styled which most of us are trained on. 

In case, you so decide to go towards the direction of a backplate/wing system, go talk to pros at shops that have more expertise in backplate/wing systems.  Regular diveshops may not have necessary knowledge to help you make an informed decision.  Backplate/wing system is not as straight forward to decide as most ppl like to believe.  Of coz, if unlike me, you have cash to spare, a Halcyon Infinity sounds like a safe choice..  ;D

Buoyancy control is similar to the traditional jacket styled BCD.  In fact, I find it easier to get in trim and adjust movement of air in bladder.  Renting one to try, I'm not sure who provides such service... sorry, can't help in this area. ;)

Oh understood.. Thanks for all the detail explanations.... Hmmm so a backplate is much more versatile.Do i need certain level of experiences to get a backplate/wings BCDs? i meant bouyancy control wise,cos i only clock 14 dives  ;D The price range is around 600 and above?( siaokao mention).Maybe i can rent a backplate BC
and try it local water see whether do i like it before i buy.Anyone kn ???ows where to rent a backplate/wings BCs?
So they call it a 'FACT' coz someone made some statements on a 'FACT SHEET'? hummm...

diver-hloc

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #7 on: 15 Sep 10, 14:54 »
I agree with siaokao in that its is very much up to you in choosing your own BCD.


Why I Like Backplate (Bp) system -
* Upgradable - I've change the Harness a few times to suit my wrist line and comfort. Just buy weight belt type webbing at Army Market and make the Harness myself.
* No more squeese - Got my Bp before there was back inflated jacket BCD... I hate being squeesed
* Add On - I've added D-Ring all over my Harness to suit my own need regarding where I hang my stuffs (camer, torch, pointer... etc). Also add on pouches as pockets.
* No more weight belt (both Pro & Con).

Why I Dislike Packplate (Bp) system -
* Due to a soild plate.... harder to transport during travels.
* Heavier than normal BCD.
* Having a steel plate (3kg)... meant that you are losing 3kg of your luggage weight when on flight. Even Aluminium plate (1kg) use up your luggage weight.
* Expensive to get orginal parts.... but 3rd party or DIY parts will offset.


Overall TS.... its up to you to decide which type you like.


PS.... I don't feel any difference while using Backplate when compara to Jacket type BCD. Some people said that they felt being 'Push Forward' when using Bp and there are rumors that if you faint on the surface... you could be drown this way. But no... I've never talk to anyone who had a friend/family/buddies that had died this way.... ;D
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thomssi

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #8 on: 15 Sep 10, 16:19 »
Some other thoughts (I use a Halcyon Pioneer).

You can get weight pockets to add on to the harness (on hips, as mentioned can also get tank band stuff), you can also get pockets, it would be tricky to fit both.  BP/Wing configs don't have pockets generally (unless you stuff the sausage up your back in the Halcyon system) so what do you do with stuff.  Lots of D-rings but you may not like having shears, sausage, torch, pointer etc all clipped rather than in a pocket.  You can buy pockets which you basically glue to your wetsuit leg but never seen anyone use one.  Shouldn't be a big deal but if you have lots of toys you may wonder what you are going to do with them.

Lack of squeeze, feels better but unless you reach behind and pinch the wing you don't know how much air is in the bladder.  Not a big deal but takes getting used to.

Generally much better re: drag, my air consumption improved massively overnight, then again I previously had a big-ass stab jacket so maybe not the best comparison.

In terms of travel it packs very small, smaller than the stab jacket and doesn't weigh too much more (Al plate), again my jacket was big so YMMV.

Relatively they are overpriced for what is essentialy a bent bit of metal, a bag and some straps but if you dive much then on a "per dive" basis it is not a big deal.

One other point nobody has mentioned yet, most systems will require a single tank adapter (I think this includes latest Halcyon ones, pioneer doesn't need one though), the wings don't have tank band holes in them and these are attached to another bit of metal that is attahed on the tank side of the wing.  These can be bought weighted as well taking lead off your waste but also mucking up your travel allowance.

antacid

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Re: Type of BCDs to get
« Reply #9 on: 16 Sep 10, 19:05 »
looking at the questions you're asking, i think it's best if you went down to a dive shop with both types of BCs, and various models for both types. this way, you can see for yourself and (hopefully) the staff will be able to advise you on the pros and cons of the different models.

my jacket BC is heavier than my backplate BC, but i prefer the jacket because it gives me more lift (bigger bladder), and has pockets to stash my stuff.

also for newer divers, they are easier to put on due to the adjustable harness straps (OK, i know halcyon has that funky strap system now, but as a guide - not available for the other BPs), provide more stability on the surface, and generally easier to manage the air in the bladder.
*this is from my personal observations after diving with many divers of different abilities. i'm sure your own experiences would be different.

99% of my friends use a backplate system, and they have to either DIY or spend lots of money to buy halcyon pouches so they can bring their slate, SMB+reel, pocket mask, lure, and all sorts of bits and ends. either that or they look like christmas trees. some need to use the crotch strap, and some don't. the travel series ones with 24lbs lift or less are a little too small for anyone over 80kg with a DSLR rig. fully inflated, my pioneer 27lb wing only lifts me to about chin level out of the water. definitely not for rough waters with my camera stuff.

go have a look, try them out at the pool before you make a decision. and BP systems are essentially the same regardless of brand, so just see how rich you are?