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So does anyone actually have to use an AL plate because of potentially being overweighted with SS? With a 5mm full suit, I was using 12 lbs in the ocean and 6lbs in fresh water, and that with a traditional BC. This is with me being inexperienced, so I don't know how much more weight I'd be dropping.
Well, you're likely to lose 2 to 3 lbs with the switch away from the BC, and lose 5 more pounds with a SS backplate. So in the ocean, you'd be wearing about 4 lbs of ballast, and in fresh water, you'd most likely need none. There are people who find that state of affairs worrisome and insist on carrying weight which can be easily jettisoned, and to do that in fresh water, you'd need an Al or Kydex plate.
It really depends on what you are doing. If you do overhead stuff and dive with a buddy I can see why ditchable (aka as loseable) weight would make you nervous. If you never do any overhead diving and don't dive with a buddy all the time like me, I want ditchable weight, because I am not concerned about overhead, virtual or real, but I AM concerned about sinking to the bottom and drowning.