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Hello! I am a brand new member! I got my OW certification a few months ago and I am eager to assemble my gear. Up to this point, I have been borrowing gear from the dive shop where I took my lessons. I really like the dive shop and the people that works there. Unfortuanately, the only female BC they carry is the ScubaPro LadyHawk. While it fits really well, at $600, it is about 100% out of my price range.
I have been looking online at different places and found a few that cost around $300. So far, I really liked these three:
Which one should I get?? I am leaning toward the Mares Jubilee. I would really appreciate any help/suggestions you can give me. I am not sure if my size matters, but I am about 5'8" and 150lbs.
If there is another BC that I overlooked, I am totally open for suggestions.
It gives a great fit since it is modular (you can order one size body and another size cumberbund). The down side is the chest strap. I steered away from the Zena because of the zipper..but of course this is personal preference.
There are several back bladder BC's out there. I'd recommend looking at any of those.
Prior to a back inflate system I had a second hand Sequest (vest style) which I bought from the shop I trained at for $75.00
Shops periodically sell off their training stock to get new.
You might try and cut a deal with them.
Now I dive an OMS IQ Soft Pac which is a soft version of a backplate with a back wing (i.e. no vest style wrap around bladder). I have added modular pockets for equipment without having the restrictions of a vest sqeeze. OMS also has weight integrated pockets that can be adjusted so they don't sag (clip them to the soft pac D-rings rather then to the chest d-ring).
As everyone will tell you, find one that works best for you.
I find the only issue with the back inflator is that it will threw you forward when you hit the surface. If you new that can cause a little bit of an issue until you get use to it. Other then that they are wonderful. But choosing what is best for you and what you are comfortable with is the most important thing first and formost.
Just remember your BC is probably the most important equipment you have to buy!! I have a Zeagle Ranger. We put a shorter harness on it for women and I love it!! It was $650 but well worth the cost. I'll skimp on other things to have a better BC. I'd rather be safe!
I guess the only reason that I have been concentrating on women BCs is because how well the LadyHawk fits me. I have tried several different types of BCs at my dive shop while I was getting certified. Even though I am not like a twig, I had problems with even the small size BC floating on top of me.
I am very curious about the backplate system. I guess I always thought it was unwieldy and hard to travel with. But I am totally wrong!
I completely agree on the importance of the BC. That's why I am so grateful for all of your suggestions and help. Although my budget is really limited, I rather wait a bit longer and get the "right" one for me than wasting money on a below par piece of equipment.
actually got it because I liked the vest/zipper concept. I had been using a TUSA back inflating-cumberbund style BC. Got tired of the velcro getting stuck everywhere but where it was supposed to go. Plus it always seemed to loosen up once in the water. With the Zena, you zip up the vest, then tighten up 3 sets of straps (hips, waist & shoulders) to get the fit you want. Once under, I can tighten them a bit more if needed for a snug fit, and no tank sliding on my back ..... I also went Zena due to the ability to custom fit the 3 sections - since I'm short, large & busty, I went with medium back, medium shoulders and a large vest section. Worked like a charm. I'd say the two drawbacks I've found (and adjusted to) are the lack of pockets - only 1 small roll-up pocket (but you can get add-on pockets for the sides), and it can be a bit quirky venting air - it took me a few dives to get the hang of angling so the air would all flow out as needed. I also like that it packs up very small for traveling. I also decided to spend the extra and get it with the Octo+ - putting my octo & air inflator in one unit. Eliminated one hose and my regular octo getting in my way ...... anyway - happy shopping and do spend the time to find wht you really like - it may be worth the wait!!