My Review of DSS Kydex Backplate and 20lb LCD wing I had been looking for a travel BCD that was light, packed small and suitable for tropical diving with a 3mm wetsuit and single Al 80s. After considering a number of options I decided to try a Deep Sea Supply Kydex (plastic and stainless hybrid ) Backplate with a 30lb LCD wing and a Pro Fit harness. The medium size Kydex plate weighs 1.6 lbs dry which makes it much more travel friendly than the 6lb stainless unit. Endless hours of internet research and procrastination resulted in a decision to fit the tank bands of the backplate with Halcyon weight pockets capable of holding 5lbs each. These come in a set of two to be fitted to a tank band on either side of the tank and snuggled right down close to the wing to keep the weight even, central and as close as possible to where it would be with a steel backplate. A Diverite mask pocket was also ordered to fit to the waist belt of the harness and hold a spare mask and safety sausage etc. An email was sent to Tobin at DSS and followed up with a phone call to clinch the deal. Tobin took a few minutes to ask me some pertinent questions about style of diving and weights etc before suggesting that the 20lb wing would be all the buoyancy I should need. Let me say at this point that I am relatively inexperienced in the ways of back inflation, having owned one Zeagle Ranger back in the early nineties but otherwise used a variety of ADVs for all my diving. I work offshore and ordered the BCD from Angola then went directly from site to a dive holiday in Belize. My dive buddy confirmed that she had received all the components by mail and very kindly packed the lot up with all my other dive gear to meet me at the airport. On arrival at our lodgings on San Pedro Island I unpacked all the DSS goodies and read the instructions. The supplied components appeared to be of high quality and very utilitarian, however it became immediately obvious that a Hogarthian harness had been supplied instead of a Pro Fit! This was a little annoying at first, Im not into the DIR thing although I admit some of the principles are obviously sound and the equipment configuration makes sense for serious penetration dives. Oh well, just have to put it together and see what happens! The instructions were a little sparse and the text had to read carefully but it all went together very well, remember that I really know nothing about the Hog harness so this is a testament to the straightforward nature of the kit. The lengths of the shoulder harnesses were adjusted by moving the strapping back and forward through the lower slots until a good fit was achieved. Excess strap was cut off and the ends sealed with a lit match. The DSS line cutter (a short modified serrated blade knife in a webbing sheaf) came standard with the harness, this is really neat and I now use this instead of shears. The short DSS low pressure inflator hose was fitted to my reg and seemed to match the length of the corrugated hose on the wing well. The 20lb LCD wing is tiny, really small and can be orally inflated in a few breathes. I wondered whether it would provide adequate lift on the surface and also resolved to wear minimal weight at all times. The Halcyon pockets fitted perfectly and the Diverite mask pocket went onto the right waist belt. The closing flap of the mask pocket seemed a little flimsy and this suspicion was lately confirmed when it nearly allowed the spare mask to escape mid dive, I may replace this in due course with a Halcyon unit. How did it all work? The next morning I set up my gear on the boat and slipped two 3lb weights into the Halcyon weight pockets. I have never used a backplate/wing before so I was expecting the initial experience to be a little awkward. I lifted both shoulder harness, slipped my arms easily though, secured the waist belt, checked everything was in place and rolled off the boat. The partially filled 20lb wing immediately brought me back to the surface and I found the reclining surface position to be comfortable, reassuringly stable and high enough for normal surface conditions. If there was a bit of a sea running or it was choppy I would keep my reg in my mouth or alternatively use a snorkel, but really the surface position with a 3mm wetsuit and six pounds weight was very good. Air was dumped and I sank like a rock, this is when it becomes apparent just how buoyant a normal ADV or jacket BCD is! For following dives I went down to 4 pounds of weight in the rear pockets with a full length 3mm suit and no weight belt. It was a revelation for me after needing 10 lbs with my normal BCD. The Halcyon pockets/ Kydex backplate worked like a charm. I experimented with the positions of the weight pockets and eventually settled on both pockets fitted to the upper tank band. Good horizontal trim was easy to establish and there was no rolling tendency whatsoever. In any position I felt great balance and freedom of movement, it was all so easy! The lower profile of this BCD was also apparent when swimming into currents or catching up with other divers, I was able to achieve and sustain greater speeds than I could previously and with much less effort. And the Hogarthian harness? From the first dive it felt like I had been using it for years, not once when getting in or out of the harness on the boat or in the water was there any difficulty. It never needed any further adjustment for the next 16 dives and held my rig securely and comfortably. The short inflator hose did at times escape to the rear and required reaching behind the head to locate it, but it was really not a problem and most of the time it sat very conveniently on my left shoulder. All in all I am extremely please with my new travel rig and my ADV will be appearing shortly on Ebay. The bottom line here is that anyone who has been thinking about going to a backplate & wing but is a little intimidated by it..dont be! My next purchase will probably be a 30lb wing for the backplate for colder water destinations. The DSS Kydex backplate/ wing is a well thought out high quality rig for general diving and I can also recommend the Hogarthian harness and Halcyon weight pockets to complement it as a brilliant travel bcd. Consider me a convertee!