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BCDs for Big Divers

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by CaptainPanda, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. CaptainPanda

    CaptainPanda Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Minnesota, United States
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    Hi, everyone!

    I'm more-or-less brand new to diving; I did a discover scuba trip in Mexico when I was a kid, but that was more than 20 years ago.

    I'm interested in getting OW certified in March in anticipation of a couple of trips to Hawaii and other tropic areas, but I'm a little concerned about finding equipment to fit me. I'm a bigger guy (300 pounds) but otherwise healthy enough to dive, and I doubt that I'd have any trouble keeping up with other divers.

    My initial thought was to purchase a jacket-style BC and get a cummerbund extender and waist band extender. This seems like to most economical of solutions, but I'd like to know if anyone has any experience with these sort of things.

    I've seen some people giving advice on BCs for larger divers, but it looks like most of the BCs that are recommended are unfortunately no longer available unless I'm lucky enough to find them used. I'd love to know if there are any updated recommendations from more experienced divers.

    I've also been told that I might be better off with a wing BC; I've looked a bit at those styles, and decided that either the Seac Nick BC or the Mares Hybrid Pure BC would be best, primarily due to cost. Does anyone have a recommendation for one or the other, or even a recommendation that I haven't thought of?

    Thanks for your help everyone!
     
  2. drk5036

    drk5036 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sapporo, Japan
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  3. Rob9876

    Rob9876 Barracuda

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    I weigh around 250-260, and although they make 2XL, I found that the XL version of these BCDs are plenty big (with still room for expansion, that I hope not to need :). So, I would think the 2XL version of each (they are made on same fabric pattern) would work fine:

    Sea Elite Scout BCD

    EDGE Element Jacket BCD

    My son has the cheaper Scout, and I ordered it too -- but got upgraded at no charge to the Element because they were temporarily out of XL. We now have over 25 dives on them, and we are both very happy with them.
     
    CaptainPanda likes this.
  4. formernuke

    formernuke Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New England
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    Your class will outfit you with a rental bc, most places this is a jacket style. After certified find a place to rent or borrow a backplate wing. Try it out this will give you a better idea of which style you prefer. It is better and cheaper to buy once and you can use the extra time to save up in case you want a more expensive one. It is cheaper to buy once cry once then buy resale for much less and buy again.
     
  5. Rob9876

    Rob9876 Barracuda

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    Oh, one other item worth mentioning: both BCDs that I mentioned have 41 lbs. of lift in the 2XL, which is a pretty good amount. Also, both BCDs are have quick-release integrated weight pouches that each hold 10 lbs. in front, and trim pouches that each hold 5 lbs. (for a total of 30 lbs). As a big guy, in salt water with 100 cf aluminum tank and 5mm wetsuit, it takes me 24 lbs. to submerge, and I like not having to use a weight belt.
     
    CaptainPanda likes this.
  6. CaptainPanda

    CaptainPanda Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Minnesota, United States
    11
    1
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    The Sea Elite Scout was actually my first choice - can't beat what appears to be a reliable, rugged BC with weight integration at that price point. :)
     
  7. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,880
    23,244
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    This is a great solution. So is the Zeagle Express Tech. I'm obese and have no problems with either of these. If you're going to stay in the sport, learn in the BC you will use.
     
    markmud, DanBMW and CaptainPanda like this.
  8. CaptainPanda

    CaptainPanda Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Minnesota, United States
    11
    1
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    Yeah, that's part of the reason I'm concerned; I don't know if they'll have rental equipment my size, so I'd like to be prepared, just in case.
     
  9. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

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    If you're planning on getting certified locally, contact the dive shops now. You've got a few months to prepare. You should even be able to go in and try some gear on. If you're planning on travelling to get certified, I'd still plan on reaching out. You may not need to worry at all. Also, 300lbs isn't out of the norm for divers.


    So a "wing" BC you were probably recommended has almost become a meme on SB (and other social media platforms). That's the Backplate/Wing (like this). These are usually a metal backplate with a wing screwed to them and a very long, continuous piece of webbing threaded through the backplate. As long as your waistline is under a few dozen feet, you can easily make one of these work for you. It may look "too simple," but it's gotten the cult following because of that simplicity. There's really nothing to fail, and it's much more comfortable than you may think (more comfortable than jacket-style BCDs, imo).
     
  10. Landau

    Landau Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver
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    I love my Aqualung DImension back inflate. I'm 6'2 200 lbs and when wearing a drysuit and thick undergarments have several inches to spare in the straps.

    The XL should be fine for you and the wait strap is designed so you can extend it by re-threading it.

    Definitely an option to consider.
     

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