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beginner diver back plate and wing config

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by twofor2, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Kamaros

    Kamaros DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Mountain View, California
    You sound pretty similar to me. I'm also a fairly new diver that started with a BP/W right after getting certified, and have been using it primarily with single steel tanks (though with an 8/7/6mm semidry, which I've since upgraded to a drysuit).

    I'd definitely recommend the steel plate over the aluminum to shave off a few pounds of weight from your weight belt or pockets while diving locally. I actually also took my steel plate with me on a liveaboard in Hawaii, and didn't find it too heavy when paired with a 5mm.

    I can't comment about some of the more esoteric backplate designs (XDeep Zen, Freedom Plate, etc), but most backplates have fairly similar designs. If you think you might want to add additional accessories like a backpad (which I personally think is unnecessary with a wetsuit on), then it can help to purchase both from the same manufacturer to ensure that the holes line up compatibly.

    It's probably a little cheaper to assemble the harness components yourself, but I think the cost savings are fairly small and you may end up having to do things like install webbing grommets yourself. I personally just bought a harness kit.

    For cold water, I've had no issues with a 30 lb wing.

    DRIS tends to offer fairly good quality at a budget. The "web my harness" option means they'll thread the harness and D-rings for you. You still have to adjust everything for size and fit afterwards, and there are a lot of guides on how to thread the webbing online, so I thought it was worth the time to learn how to do it myself.
    MargaritaMike and Graeme Fraser like this.
  2. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Regular of the Pub

    Hard to say: around $350-400 is the base package price but Eric's plates cost about 70% of that and I don't think anyone would call them overpriced.
  3. twofor2

    twofor2 Angel Fish

    I'm probably going to splurge on a wing than a back plate at this point. I'm looking to get around a 30lb wing and maybe a DGX harness.
  4. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoFlo
    I was talking about just the plate alone. I know packages are where the real savings are, but if buying a plate alone what price point becomes “overpriced”
  5. ams511

    ams511 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Miami, Florida
    I think you would be better off buying a package. What you need is:

    Harness (including crotch strap)
    Tank Straps
    a pair of bolts
    and maybe a BC hose. Most wings come with one but I noticed the DGX wing does not.

    When you start adding the cost individual pieces (and shipping) from different vendors I don't think you can save much money (if at all) over a package. If cost savings is your goal. If your goal is to get exactly what you want then purchase the individual items.
  6. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Regular of the Pub

    I bought a "storm" Alu plate for something like $50 with harness... And then I bought a Freedom Contour for $200+. I don't think either was overpriced, YMMV.
  7. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    Eighty bucks.
  8. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    All the doubles style plates are channel based. This means that all of them are designed around the center channel ridge that is press braked into the plate and those plates are straight top to bottom. Halcyon, OMS, DSS, Dive Rite, Hog, Hollis, Apex, Fred T, DRIS, Oxycheq s/s, and several others of that style are are channel based plates. There are also some skeletonize versions of channel based plates out there like the Ghost and a light travel version of a doubles plate the has the sides cut away and looks like a dog bone, but they are still press braked center channel based designs. The VDH plate is a completely flat plate so does not have a center channel.
    The Freedom Plate is completely different from any channel based plate or flat plate. It is curved top to bottom to conform to the curve if your back and it is curved on the bottom side to side to conform to the curve of your waist. Then the sides are rolled back outward away from your body so the plate has no edges that cut into your back around the perimiter and this also allows the plate to “sink” into your back in a very ergonomic fashion. The top of the plate is also narrowed down to allow the upper portion of the plate to sink in to the valley in between your shoulder blades. The top shoulder straps come out of one slot so the webbing forms a “Y” which IMO is a more snug fit and prevents side to side movement of the rig. FP’s are also hand formed and very labor intensive to produce, therefore are a very limited production item. The price of them almost becomes a moot point because of the hand made factor, plus there is nothing else out there to compare them to. It’s the difference between a generic bench seat for an old pick up, or a custom formed race car seat for a Formula 1 car. The only thing they have in common is you sit on/in both of them but that’s about it.
    These are the differences between all the channel based plates and the FP which stands alone from all the other plates in design. It IS apples and oranges.
    So to ask “when do they become overpriced”, I don’t know how to answer that if that question was in any way aimed at me. I get what I have to get to make it worth it for me to keep making FP’s.
    rhwestfall likes this.
  9. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
  10. MargaritaMike

    MargaritaMike Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: On a non-divable lake in SE Texas
    I appreciate your getting what you have to get. The only problem I have is finding out how much that is. I have been unable to ascertain a method of getting price and availability of the FP. I can't PM you.

    Cheers -
    scrane likes this.

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