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Light Weight / Travel BCDs

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by QUADratic, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. QUADratic

    QUADratic Garibaldi

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    Hi . . New to the forum and hoping to get some expert advuice :)


    I am looking to buy a new light weight travel BCD for use pretty much exclusively in warm waters on holiday. I have narrowed my search down to 2 TUSA models

    BCJ-6900 X-Pert (wing)
    BCJ-1800 Voyager (jacket)

    The are pretty much the same price (in the UK at least)
    The 1800 looks to be a reasonable amount lighter than the 6900 (6.6lbs/3kg vs 3.7kg8.1lbs )
    However the lift on the 1800 seems to only be about 26lbs(11.8kg) which seems pretty low IMO, the 6900 has 33lbs (15kg) which whilst not huge seems to be more reasonable.

    I never feel the need to run much air if any in my BCD whilst under but can't quite figure out if I will find the 1800 lacking in lift in any way.

    I won't be using it for anything techie, mainly reef and simple wreck dives with my wife during holidays. At most I'll be wearing a 5mm full body and be carryign a compact digital and small SMB + line

    Any thoughts . . anyone have experience of eirther ? They both seem to be pretty well reviewed . .


    TUSA UK : BC JACKETS : BCJ-6900
    Gear / Accessories | Scuba Diving Magazine
    Gear / Accessories | Scuba Diving Magazine

    TUSA UK : BC JACKETS : BCJ-1800 Voyager
    Gear / BCs | Scuba Diving Magazine


    Or maybe suggestions for alternatives ????

    Many thanks !
     
  2. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
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    They both look large to me. Zeagle makes a very small travel BC. Unless you are wearing a 7mm suit in warm water you will likely not need more than 20# lift if not overweighted. Integrated weights tend to be bulky-consider a weight belt or trim pockets. Sorry for the brief reply. IMHO, in a BC, less is more. You don't need large pockets.
     
  3. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
    2,517
    477
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    Further to my last harried post. Many divers on SB have tried the Zeagle Express Tech and like it - see Express Tech - Backplate BCs - BCs - Zeagle Dive Systems - it is extremely compact. My only comments were that I wish it came with a stainless steel buckle and a crotch strap.
     
  4. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver Tech Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    14,296
    6,884
    113
    I wouldn't buy either. Both are large and bulky from a travel perspective.

    How did you narrow your choice down to these two options??
     
  5. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
    2,517
    477
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    He read the quoted magazine article.

    It is very likely that DD will suggest that you get a backplate and wing (BP&W). I deliberately didn't make that suggestion, but such a suggestion is a fair one. FWIW, I still own a BC but now dive a BP&W exclusively. The aluminum BP setup is compact and only slightly heavier than my travel BC (which did not have integrated weights).
     
  6. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver Tech Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    14,296
    6,884
    113
    Many of which are nothing more than 'sponsored adverts'. :shakehead:

    Yes, I do tend to mention them as an option, because many novice divers have either (1) not heard of them or (2) have a false impression about them.

    The Zeagle Express Tech seems to get a lot of positive feedback here on SB - so that seems like a top option if a jacket BCD configuration is preferable. BP&W options should definitely be investigated though.
     
  7. Lobzilla

    Lobzilla Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New Hampshire, PA, Maryland
    551
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    As far as the merits of BP/wing is concerned, here are some travel and local scenarios with the same base configuration adjusted to exposure protection and tanks.

    Christmas in Germany, indoor, warm, 3mm shorty, single tank: AL backplate with Oxycheq 30# wing (wing could be smaller but 30# is OK)
    New Year's in Massachusetts, cold, drysuit, single HP100 tank: AL backplate with Oxycheq 30# wing and weights on cam bands
    February in Florida, reasonably warm, 7mm wetsuit, AL80 doubles: AL backplate with Halcyon 40# wing
    August in Vancouver, not too cold, drysuit, AL80 doubles: AL backplate with Halcyon 40# wing and V-weight
    October in Pennsylvania, still pleasant, drysuit, steel LP104 doubles: AL backplate with Halcyon 60# wing (40# is not enough for these puppies)

    Weight for harness, backplate and wing ~7lbs.
     
  8. QUADratic

    QUADratic Garibaldi

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    Hi all thanks for all the advise, I had a look into the Zeagle's but the few places I found them in the UK seemed to be charging nearly double the price of the BCJ 1800 and then sending out to Switzerland was even more.

    If I start hitting colder water and more techie dives they are likley to be closer by rather than abroad so weight less of an issue and I'll likely go for BP&W . . something more solid.


    As it is I ended up getting the TUSA 1800 for 270.00GBP with free postage and from what I have seen it's actually pretty good and has everythign I could need.

    Of course I am yet to try it in anger and will be more than happy to provide full feedback once it has been baptised. But So far thoughts are :

    POSITIVES

    • Seems well made with decent grade cordura and finishing - certainly feels better made than the Zuma or Cressi travel BCs I have seen
    • Actually weighs in at just 2.4Kg (5lbs ? ) including the weight pockets - so better than I expected.
    • Its a good fit with decent adjustment, feels comfortable.
    • Easily packs down small enought to fit in my suitacase with rest of tropic kit + rest of holiday essentials - I'm not backpacking with it : )
    • Some nice features like internal routing for pressure gauge - as I use wireless to my DC I only carry a pressure gauge for emergencies so it's quite handy to be able to tuck it away and be streamlined

    NEGATIVES
    • Only 1 dump valve - which seems a bit stingy. I'm sure an extra one at the top would have have not added much more weight, and provides options
    • The D rings are plastic (again to save weight) but there are 10 of them and they seem plenty strong enough to carry my Camera and compass etc


    As for the negs they are not biggies for me . . Like I say I'll never be using this for more that tropical fun dives with my family for the next few years (a 1 and a 3 year old limit my risk taking these days !).

    Cheers

    All the best
    N
     
  9. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver Tech Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    14,296
    6,884
    113
    Buying from the UK and not got an A.P Valves/Buddy BCD in your shortlist?!?

    My gosh... times must have changed since I left... ;)
     
  10. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
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    Come on guys, when are you going to get it straight, the ET IS a BP/wing, it just has a soft BP. For a travel BC the plastic buckle is not a problem. The ET weights in at around 1.8 kg (4 lbs) in the original striped down 24 lb lift (no WI or padding) version. Add a couple of D rings and a crotch strap and you are ready to go, I also added a pocket to mine. As for lift, the 24 is excessive for a travel BC (assuming warm water) a 10 or 15 lb option would be nice.
     

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