Jacket BC or Wing BC

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by Marcos, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos Nassau Grouper

    Hi all, I bought a jacket style BC, but I'm hearing that a Wing style may be better. Especially since I am a very ambitious new diver and already have mulitple wreck dives planned in the Atlantic. Any advice or pros and cons of each style would be appreciated.
  2. Walter

    Walter Scuba Instructor

    Lots of people prefer one or the other. I've used both, IMHO, there's really not much difference when diving.
  3. Drewpy

    Drewpy Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: No. California
    OH NO!! Here we go again....??:wacko:
    k ellis likes this.
  4. washow88

    washow88 Barracuda

    It does not matter what everyone else is using, use what makes you comfortable. Try both and decide which one suits you.
  5. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    I have dove jackets, back inflates and recently a BP/wing. Each has it's own benefits and which suits you best depends on your personal preferences and needs. The trim and surface floatation characteristics do vary between the differenct types. Jacket types are for the most part, not well suited for double tanks. Some back inflates and all BP/wings (assuming the proper wing is installed)will handle doubles as well as single tanks. If you already own a BC, dive it, get some experience, maybe borrow/rent some different types and see what works best for you.
    For what it's worth, of the 3, I prefer a simple, non-techie back inflate.
  6. Fat_Tony

    Fat_Tony Angel Fish

    Its a personal choice ...
  7. Cave Diver

    Cave Diver Moderator Staff Member

    IMO, a back inflate makes it easier for a diver to trim out properly.

    If you are considering going to any sort of tech diving, back inflate will eventually be a requirement. If you choose a system that allows you to change wings, then you have the ability to grow and tailor your equipment to suit your diving.

    Even when I was just doing recreational diving, I was much happier with back inflation than I was with a jacket style bc.

    The opinions and experiences of others may differ.
  8. JohnCollins

    JohnCollins Nassau Grouper

    I agree with the others here who say there isn't a big difference. From what I've read though, not only is virtually every poster here who has switched from a jacket to BP/wings happy about it, they are usually downright enthusiastic. Without experience with them, I'm anxious to try a set to check them out.

    But no need to rue your purchase choice or run out and get another BC right away. Although the BP/wings seem to be very good and probably give a slight edge in making trimming out easier, jacket BCs have been around a long time and are very well developed for comfort and functionality.

    FWIW, I have done about 60 dives on a jacket in the space of 4 years and I had no trouble trimming out with it. It is an old Seatec Manta jacket-style and I love it. No weights on it, I use a weight belt with neoprene pockets which place all the weights squarely and securely in the small of my back, and I wear the tank as low as I can get it in the jacket, and I trim out just fine, thank you very much. None of the "problems" trimming I read about here so often.

    So, I wouldn't sweat your purchase since it's new. You're fine and will likely enjoy your BC very much. However, if you plan on doing the diving you describe, you probably owe it to yourself to try the BP/wing package, and you may switch over in the future. Northeast Scuba Supply in Norristown is a good place to learn about them. Link here.


    Good luck!

    Sheri SGR and WB2GLP like this.
  9. Diversauras

    Diversauras Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Myrtle Beach SC
    I spent a week happily diving my jacket BC helping two people with wings try to get trimmed and weighted properly. The only answer is for you to use what works for you, and IMO it is more a function of the diver than the gear...
  10. richies

    richies Angel Fish

    but consider this...more and more people are changing FROM jackets TO wings, but not many (any?) the other way round...

  11. metaldector

    metaldector Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Longwood, FL
    From jacket after about 250 dives to a Zeagle Ranger back inflated BC. I don't see much difference in the diving. The only positively difference is that the Zeagle fits tight to my body and feels responsive to my movements. The jacket style felt sloppy and loose. I'm not totally happy with the Zeagel though and probably will go to a Back Plate and wing by next year. It's really a personal choice.:fight:
  12. mictrik

    mictrik Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New York
    Well what many, more or most people do is often indicative of the "follow the leader effect" and not a sign of what is better or best.

    The only real jacket BC is the Scubapro Stabilizer jacket or any other jacket that allows the air bubble to fully travel around your shoulder and around the tank (LIKE A WING). This allows for the greatest stability in all positions. Those BCD's with buckles at the shoulder for adjustment and "easy" donning are not stabilizer jackets.

    If a diver is properly weighted he/she will hardly inflate their BC's. IMO most of the BP and wing divers look like slow roving cranes and are anything but streamlined. A mostly deflated Stab jacket is more streamlined than a mostly deflated wing since most of the wings are too big.

    Now if you are placing the weight on your BC all bets are off as streamlining is out the window.

    I do like the backplate and wing if the wing is small so as to not impede streamlining. A thoughtfully sized setup allows for a less encumbered front area and the straps are free for the addition of attaching various tools.

    Bottom line is that too many people are choosing the BP/wings and using them while very over weighted. Net result a diving crane instead of a diver.
  13. fnfalman

    fnfalman Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern California, USA
    There's wreck diving and then there's wreck diving.

    Go down to a wreck, swim about it a bit isn't wreck diving.

    Swim through a big opening isn't wreck diving.

    Penetrate a wreck, especially one that isn't an artificial reef (ie not gutted) is serious business and doing it right & safely requires more than just a wing BC. It requires that you at least master some basic diving skills (establishing neutral buoyancy, proper finning techniques to suit the circumstances, maneuvering kicks, etc.). Then it requires that you take some advanced dive training that is tailored towards wreck penetration.
  14. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    Like we don't have enough of these threads weekly; do we really need to resurrect threads from OVER 7 years ago?
    k ellis likes this.
  15. Herk_Man

    Herk_Man Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Landlocked
    This is not a function of which is better (I am not supporting either, just commenting on the logic flaw here). More switch to wings because almost everyone starts out in a jacket. It's just a function of the industry.

    If the norm were that scuba shops started people out in wings, the trend would be the other way and it still wouldn't indicate a preference.
  16. LakeCountyDiver

    LakeCountyDiver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    Here you go 1 1/2 years old now just for you. :D
    BDSC and BurhanMuntasser like this.
  17. danvolker

    danvolker SFDJ Dive Team

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    Very true
    I have no idea what part of the planet your experiences could have shown you this, but in South Florida ( where there are lots of bp/wing divers and plenty of real DIR divers) nothing could be further from the truth.

    If in fact, the wing wearing diver was using a big wing, there is no faulting your analysis....but the whole DIR thing was about minimalism, and streamlining, and the wing choice is supposed to be the minimum size.....for me, with a drysuit, I am using either an 18 pound lift wing or a 27 pound lift wing ( this really depending on if I am shooting pictures or video and have a need to get heavy in a big current on the bottom, and get anchored. If I have no need to "anchor" myself to the bottom, I would never need more lift than the 18 pound wing would deliver--as my weight even with drysuit is only 18 pounds total, and part of this is because my camera housing is bouyant.
    Every bp/wing diver I know, embraces the smaller is better credo. Of course, there are the ones I don't know--the bungee wing crowd, who go with more is better..but they can't be lumped with us--lump them with some other group that thinks a diver needs the lift potential of a small boat.

    So take a Halcyon 18 pound wing, or the 27 pound lift wing, with minimum weight to perform an effortless hover during the 10 or 20 ft stop, and you have a very slick diver---one that would be much faster than their "evil twin" wearing a scubapro jacket....and the trim perfection is potentially so much better with the bp/wing than the stab jacket, that a diver really wanting perfection in trim and propulsive efficiency. would NOT want the stab.
  18. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    Nice use of the "evil twin" BS to cloak your anecdotal opinion that "with minimum weight to perform an effortless hover during the 10 or 20 ft stop" - the implied good twin using the wing would be "much faster" than the negatively labeled vest user.

    The problem with an argument like this is there is no supporting data; just the "feelings" of each individual user. Even when two not visibly much different divers try the same two different BC's; one of the divers may very well feel "faster" in one BC while the other diver feels "faster" in the other BC, even though neither of them was actually "faster." :shakehead:

    Then there is that "mythical" perfect trim BS. :confused:

    Different divers have different buoyancy characteristics and different dimensional characteristics. Bird bones, stork legs, thunder thighs, bubble butt, hour glass waist, beer gut, barrel chest, bodacious tata's, gorilla guns, orangutan arms, no neck and bone head are just a few possible differences. :coffee:

    Not to mention that different divers and different types of diving might have different definitions of perfect trim. I prefer the face lowest, waist slightly higher than face, knees slightly higher than waist; others seem to prefer exactly and completely horizontal. :crafty:

    Is it not possible that for some divers a specific vest BC gives them the trim they want and the speed they need? :dontknow:

    I contend that I have never typed that anybody "should" get a vest BC; all I have typed is that to not consider the equipment the vast majority of dives in the world are made in seems silly, especially if you are making similar dives to those vast majority dives. I contend that I have only ever argued with BP/W fanatics over their prevalent "absolute fact" style of typing about things that have no "absolute fact." :no:

    I have never jumped into a thread where BP/W's are the only topic and forced fed any vest BC propaganda, and I have not seen any other SB vest BC proponents doing that either. Can the BP/W proponents on SB all make similar claims about threads where the topic was only vest BC's? What about threads where the topic is vest vs back inflate BC's where the OP specifically types that BP/W is not on topic? :shocked2:

    And then you have the many SB members who seem to have some sort of vendetta. :rofl3:
    fjpatrum and BDSC like this.
  19. danvolker

    danvolker SFDJ Dive Team

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    "No supporting data..." Nothing like coming out of the box with the pretense of science and one of it's common mis-uses. As science in the year 2011 has become much more of a "who is paying, and what are we expected tp prove..or disprove", trying to sound scientific in your approach won't get you too far.

    If there was any "supporting data", it would have been "paid for" by a mass market diving industry manufacturer, and it would use science to "prove" the junk the mass marketer is selling is the better mousetrap. Closer to home, you have the prostitutes responsible for the Gear testing done by Rodales each year, where the worst junk in the dive world, can garner great praise with sufficient ad budgets.

    Here is the deal. Most dive shops sell BC's. The dive industry wants them to sell bc's. PADI wants them to sell BC's. You don't really need to know much to sell a vest bc. If you are going to sell a bp/wing, you really need to know how to dive it, and how to configure it for the potential buyer--this destroys a huge piece of the potential distribution for bp/wings.
    Then, you have all all the guys who dive vest style BC's, and any suggestion that they may not be diving the best gear leaves them feeling insulted, and upset. I'm thinking you may fall into this category, Halemano, but hopefully I will be proven wrong on this intuition.

    The next thing is the area people dive in and the level of challenge potential and adventure.
    The Keys ( which you dived for a time) are not challenging, they have essentially no currents, as is obviated with the normal practice of anchoring ( you can't anchor if there is a real current). I don't know squat about Hawaii...I get an impression you have alot of cruise ship quality dive tourists diving there ( the worst skills in the universe of diving), and guys like your self have a full time job trying to prevent hopelessly undertrained and underskilled pretenda-divers from getting into trouble.....Clearly this would be a poor market for bp/wings.

    With a bp/wing, weighting is distributed to allow any of these body types to achieve optimal trim. Come to Palm Beach, and Errol and I will put you in one, optimize weighting, Errol can give you the 15 minute Fundies program for wonder divers :D , and we will watch you change your tune as you see how much this improves trim and propulsive efficiency over the vest alternative :D
    The bp/wing with proper weighting will do any of these perfectly.
    Optimal trim is totally possible for many divers using a vest bc. Most will be slower, due to more drag inherent in the less streamlined form of the vest.
  20. dmoore19

    dmoore19 Denizen of the PUB ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado, United States
    So the BPW is kind of like the old shoes, PF Flyers? You can run faster, jump higher, dive deeper and come up dryer. I get it now.:rofl3::rofl3::rofl3::rofl3:

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