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Jacket BCD vs. Backplate/Wing

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Doc Harry, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Doc Harry

    Doc Harry Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Appalachia
    In PADI's 2011 Gear Buyer's Guide, there is an article on page 15 "Buy Smart." This article recommends "10 simple strategies for making the best purchase possible."

    Recommendation #3 states that a backplate/wing (BP/W) is "not a great choice for a new diver. It's best to keep your kit simple..."

    So what do you think it simpler? A backplate/wing (left) or a jacket BCD (right)?

  2. Kevin Carlisle

    Kevin Carlisle Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wetumpka, Al
    It doesnt make one difference to the average vacation diver which they use.
    drdaddy, k ellis, Crush and 2 others like this.
  3. Ste Wart

    Ste Wart Master Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: England
    I'd say that a one-piece harness, BP & Wing is just about as simple as it gets!

    The great thing about diving with a modular system is that you can chop & change it as parts wear out, you cannot do this with a JBCD. When you work it out, it also works out cheaper to buy a BP & W! I've got a basic Apeks harness, cheap IST Ally BP and Apeks Rec Wing, the total cost to me was around £220, including tank bands (I forgot about them). Your average JBCD is going to cost you around £300 ($450) why bother? So BP's cheaper, easier to dive with and replaceable parts, what are you waiting for?
    mselenaous likes this.
  4. parzdiver

    parzdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lansdale, PA
    I am a Back Plate guy, but I have to agree with the PAID Buyers Guide. It is all in how you are calling it "simple."

    Take someone who has no experience with diving, give them these two pieces of equipment and tell them to put them on with no instructions. They will be able to put on and adjust the jacket style BC much more quickly than the Backplate and Wing.

    Now, if by simple you mean (and Doc Harry you probably do) more streamlined, simpler construction, minimalist, fewer failure points, etc. Then of course the BP/W wins hands down.

    Remember the audience of the PADI Divers Guide.
    Teamcasa and mselenaous like this.
  5. mselenaous

    mselenaous Island girl ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
    It's always about money. Were it not for the big manufacturers who have been traditional BCs since forever (some are now finally offering a BP/W in their "tech" section), the print magazines could not afford the paper and ink needed to get their "sponsored" message out.
    scubadoobah and Jim Lapenta like this.
  6. dkktsunami

    dkktsunami Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Georgia coast
    Jacket isn't going to win any beauty contests either.........
  7. GrumpyOldGuy

    GrumpyOldGuy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: West Texas/NH/CA
    It depends on the diver. If they want the best OOB (Out of Box) experience, instant gratification and don't want to ponder all the options, the jacket is a great way to go.

    On the other hand, for someone who is willing to invest some time and dives to get the best possible tool for the job, the BP/W is a good choice. The OOB is not great, but long term is has some really nice features and options not available to the jacket.

    For the record, I still dive both just fine. To some extent they are like sedans vs pickup trucks, the pickup is macho but for most driving it does not really matter what you have.
  8. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    Doc Harry,

    If you put up a picture of the SP Classic, there will be no contest, Classic wins for being "intuitive and simple."
  9. ambertiger

    ambertiger Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Taiwan
    I will throw my 2 cents into this. As an instructor I train all my Open Water divers in the use of a jacket style BCD and weight belt and I wear them myself when training OW students. I do this for several reasons. I think a jacket gives better floatation at the surface, face up and is more stable and to some degree more comfortable to wear for novice divers and they have pockets to put additional gear into. Also a cheap decent quality jacket BCD is half the price of a cheap back plate set up from a company like for example IST Sports, I am looking at an IST catalogue right now. In addition many students do not wish to buy gear right away and will go off on vacation and rent gear for months or years before buying their own kit. Hardly any dive shop I know in Asia rents wings and backplates. If you walk into a shop to rent gear for a days diving you will be offered a jacket BCD. If you buy a jacket style BCD it comes ready assembled and you can dive it more or less (with minor adjustments) right out of the box, if you buy a wing and a back plate you have to assemble it yourself, well at least in Taiwan you do, unless your dealer is kind enough to assemble it for you. Assembling a back plate and wing takes time, especially the first time you do this. Based on the above criteria I would say a jacket style BCD is far simpler and user friendly for novice divers. Having said that I use a backplate and wing for all my fun diving and dive trips. However if you find yourself out at sea in a heavy chop or a big swell, a jacket style BCD has advantages over a back plate as you do not have to adjust the straps to float face up and clear of the water.
    oncor23, Steve_C, SubMariner and 4 others like this.
  10. robbcayman

    robbcayman Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Temecula, CA
    This should be good.

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