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BC confusion, and possible reaction to old gear?

Discussion in 'Diving Into New Gear' started by MacGyver - DXS, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. MacGyver - DXS

    MacGyver - DXS Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Eastern TN
    I'll attempt to introduce myself. [ahem]
    My Dad was certified in the 70's, and growing up, he taught me to snorkle, and by extension, got me interested in SCUBA. The expense, and my own nervousness, kept me from pursuing that interest until now. I'm in my 20's, and have finally taken the plunge, [in more ways than one], and committed to getting my kit, and signing up for an open water class [pending].

    I've been lurking around scubaboard for a few weeks now, [Lots of Very Helpful Info], but I'm looking for some specifics, and I have an opinion question.

    I am having trouble picking a BC.
    Now, to qualify; I am looking almost exclusively at used gear, and I have been able to determine that I want a back inflation type. Beyond that, I don't know. Weight integration seems great, I know that's possible on a cloth bc; is that possible on a backplate?
    I doubt I would ever dive doubles, so that's not really a consideration.
    Is a backplate more durable than a fabric bc? More secure? What should I pay attention to regarding dump valves? Brands to stay away from?
    Is there anything I haven't thought of/probably missed?

    Oh, and that opinion question.
    I mentioned I was buying used gear.
    My regs are scubapro mk5 1st/109 &
    108 2nd stages. Showing up to class with these, and an older back inflation bc..... is this likely to cause a problem with my instructor? If so, [since that's the gear I prefer], is there anything I can do to put him/her at ease about me/my gear?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    MacGyver - DXS likes this.
  3. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    The regs are fine, but I think you should pump the brakes on purchasing a BC till after the class.

    BCs take a keen eye to determine what's serviceable and what's not. They wear out, and there are better materials now than where were years ago.

    My recommendation (after you take the course) would be to purchase a used backplate and maybe a new wing UNLESS you are certain of your ability to assess whether its a quality piece of kit or not.
    dewdropsonrosa likes this.
  4. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    yes, you can add weight pockets to a bpw. or go with a steel plate/weighted sta. durability wise, modern wings with 1000+ dernier cordura are usually more heavy duty than recreational bcds although there are exceptions like the zeagle ranger. if you are tall or short, you may need to look into a tall or short plate. the standard plate works best for 5'6" to 6'2" or so.
  5. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    Good advice so far, further....for the cost of a used BCD you might only be a few dollars away from a backplate and wing. Read up on “a balanced rig” if your instructor doesn’t know what that is. It’ll help you decide what kind of weight system you’ll need.
  6. MacGyver - DXS

    MacGyver - DXS Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Eastern TN
    Okay, I guess you guys know of other places to look for used gear.
    I've dug around for an hour, and this is what I came up with;
    back inflation bc, $150-250 used.
    Backplate, harness, and wing, $450 new. I can't find the pieces used, rigs seem to be sold complete, usually $500 and up.
    Unless I misunderstood, and "a few dollars" means $150.
    Still worth considering, imo. A brand new, highly modifiable rig, vs a limited, used rig....... that I would get nothing out of when I decided to upgrade.
  7. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    The MK5/109-8 if serviced will hold it's own with any reg on the market today, if your instructor has issues with them- assuming they have been serviced, a new instructor may be in order.

    Don't get too hung up on the BC, if you are looking at used one, pretty much any will do as long as it's serviceable....if it holds air and the inflator/deflators work. Used jacket style are often times on sales sites for very little money. While I prefer a back inflate, for a first BC for little money, a used jacket is hard to beat. You can always sell it later for almost as much as you have in it. Honestly, unless you are really hard on a BC, they will last many many years so actually wearing one out is not a concern. A little sun or chlorine fading is not a big deal, looks bad but doesn't really hurt anything.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    To the OP,

    DGX has a bp/w setup for $300. Deep 6 also has a nice (but more expensive, this is what I use for my open water students) setup as well.
    MacGyver - DXS likes this.
  9. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    What @herman said!

    Because the prices between used and new BP/W are closer together, you might want to pick up a serviceable used jacket BC, which are less expensive and more prevalent, and save for a new and/or wait for a real good deal on a used BP/W. The diving skills are the same regardless of the BC you use. Its the diver not the gear that makes the difference.

    Good luck

  10. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    That depends on:
    1. Does your instructor also make money by selling dive gear? If so, you might have a problem. If he's just an instructor you probably won't.
    2. Is your instructor a jerk? There's a lot of them out there.

    I'd bet that he would be just fine with you bringing quality working gear to use. He might balk at a BP/W. I've heard instructors sometimes give you a hairy eyeball there, but I've never experienced it myself.
    Sam Miller III likes this.

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