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After monkeying with a large smb for a while now I think I am in the market for one of the smaller buoys on the market. While it is great to have a monster tube for visibility the reality is that I rarely shoot it from deeper than 40 feet and never get the larger bag to inflate anywhere near full.
I have heard good things about the smaller Halcyon bags as far as being easy to use and compact. The new Dss bag also looks very nice. Has anyone seen or had experience with both bags? It looks like I can't go wrong with either one, but was wondering if anyone had any input one way or the other. I have a local shop that carries both brands and can order either, but doesn't stock the smaller smb's.
What do your local skippers think of the Halcyon bags?
Over here in the UK most skippers think they are not big enough for the conditions and though I am not from your part of the world I would have a sneaking suspicion that they might say the same.
I own both, although my DSS bag is new to me and I've only deployed it in the pool so far.
If you want something you can shoot and have full on the surface with a minimum of breath, the DSS bag ROCKS. It's amazing how much the tapered shape reduces the required inflation volume. I also think (although I haven't tested this in open water yet) that the big inflator cross-section, combined with the fact that you don't have to push it with your teeth or anything to get it to accept air, will make the bag easy to inflate with a very cold face. I'm still not sure about the slit OPV for emptying the bag, but we'll see.
The Halcyon bag was my pick of the small SMBs before I played with the DSS one. This was because it had the flexibility to inflate orally or with an inflator hose, and I found the inflator easier to use with cold lips than the ones that require that you push on the end of the inflator to get it to accept gas.
But for general ease of use for ascent marking purposes, the DSS bag looks like it's going to be the winner. Guess I'm going to have to give up hanging on the bag for a buoyancy crutch during ascent, though . . .
Lynne...when you say you are not sure about the slit OPV are you saying that it is hard to empty or something else? I hadn't noticed the tapered shape, that really makes allot of sense.
I am not too worried about size. It's not really an issue in the conditions I am diving in. I always seem to get shallow before deploying and the large buoy only gets enough air in it for 18" out of the water before it wants to take off. Also looking for a size that will fit in a pocket pre-rigged to a spool (and still be able to get it out:shakehead ).
Well, both my Halcyon and DSS bags fit in my dry suit pocket when rigged on a spool, and on good days, I can get them out . . .
The OPV on the Halcyon bag is a standard OPV, with a string you pull to empty the bag. The DSS bag has a heavy flexible plastic disc with a slit in the middle of it. To empty the bag, you flex the disc and the slit opens. I didn't have any problem doing this in the pool, with bare hands, but I haven't tried it with cold, clumsy dry glove fingers yet. I'm diving all day tomorrow, so I should have a chance on at least one of the dives to shoot a bag and see how it goes, and I'll report back.