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Jacket BCD vs. Backplate/Wing

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

  1. Teamcasa

    Teamcasa Sr. Moderator ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Near Pasadena, CA
    I agree that most students will rise to the standard set by their instruction but I don't agree that to achieve a high standard of diving a BP/W is required nor does it make it any harder or easier. It's just different.

    I too like a BP/W (for me) but I'm perfectly capable of diving with a jacket BC. I just don't see it as easier or harder, just different.

    The reality is that to become a technical diver, BP/W are the standard fare. The fact that they also function quite well in open, non technical diving is a big plus. But for someone who never plans to become a technical diver it just becomes a gear configuration choice. Not better or worse.
    oncor23 and Rascally Rabbit like this.
  2. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    One of the things I always find amusing in this type of thread is how the initial photos of the two BC's are done. Many times you will usually have a stripped down BP/W vs a weight intergrated jacket. So with the jacket you already have a place for your weights, a few pockets for maybe an extra mask, and a few O/D rings to clip things off to. With the BP/W, it doesn't appear to have any of those. I don't dive a BP/W but I assume you need to add to the picture maybe weight pouches or at least wear a weight belt if there's not enough weight in the backplate, add some type of pockets or maybe pouches for that spare mask or whatever, and then add the O/D rings as well.

    Just how many time does the BP/W user actually dive with just what's shown in the picture? To me, the initial photos never really do a comparison justice.
  3. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Solo Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    A slide stop is less than one inch wide. Lets call it half an inch. You can put one D ring per slide stop. The typical BP/W uses what...10 feet of webbing? Lets say half a foot is taken up behind the backplage. That leaves 9.5 feet for attaching D rings. At 24 D rings per foot, that is over 200 D rings. If you can't attach all you need with 200 D rings, then you have problems :wink:

    You can put weight integration on a BP/W if you desire, or if you like to keep things simple, you can use a weight belt. Not all BC's are weight integrated, so I'm not sure this should be brought into the debate.

    You do realize that some of the most advanced dives in the world were done in your 1984 equipment? Quite a bit of caves in Florida were explored using Clorox jugs as a wing.

    Once again, I did not mean to say that you have to have a backplate and wing to attain a high standard of diving. I could have written my original sentence better, but you know what I meant, and I've already clarified once. I don't want you, or anyone else, to come away with the idea that I think you have to dive in a backplate and wing to be a good diver, but merely that I feel the "diving in XXX configuration is too hard for students to learn now" is silly. All that says is the quality of scuba education has dropped dramatically from the days when students dove with no wing and had to learn to properly weight themselves.

    On the issue of harder or easier, that is always an opinion. It is my opinion that a BP/W is easier, your opinion that it is not easier. Simple enough, I think we each agree on this. I think any rational person would agree with us on this. Even though I love backplate and wings, and feel they make diving easier, I know many people disagree and that's fine with me. I don't care how they dive, unless they want to go on a technical dive with me. Then, I'll insist on a few basics, such as no yokes in soft or hard overhead :wink: Otherwise, if someone can explain to me why they dive liike they do then, that's great, I'm glad to dive with them.*

    *disclaimer: there are some people who can give great explanations for their gear but are unsafe divers, and I will not dive with them.
    Teamcasa likes this.
  4. CT Sean

    CT Sean Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Central Connecticut
    Not sure at which post this was directed, but in case it was at mine, I am in no way saying a BP/W is hard to assemble (I rather enjoy assembling things). What I'm saying the average person isn't interested in assembling it, nor are they interested in sourcing individual parts and assembling their own PC or bike or camera or kitchen knife set or whatever other hobby might involve an "off the shelf" vs. DIY discussion.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2011
    Rascally Rabbit likes this.
  5. TC

    TC Miscreant Moderator Staff Member


    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    A couple of posts & quotes have been removed- inappropriate for the basic scuba area.
  6. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    So what does this have to do with I am saying or what the OP is discussing? I never argued that what people can do with techie BC's can't be done with other gizmos, doodads or workarounds. People achieved so much more with less but that was then not now. What BC's can do today (in their various flavors) serve several purposes that BC's in the past weren't meant to do.
  7. vinegarbiscuit

    vinegarbiscuit Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Akumal, Mexico
    On a completely unrelated note...I LOVE the idea of Discover Scuba and Scuba Birthday parties for kids 10-years and over. I'm trying to think about everything that goes into planning and actually conducting one of those parties, but so far, all I'm ending up with is a headache! That just makes what you're doing all the more remarkable, though.
  8. kanonfodr

    kanonfodr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, Wa
    I dived with just that for several dozen dives, save for I added a pair of lights to my chest straps. Eventually I added a pair of X-Shorts to keep my spare mask, SMB/Spool and wetnotes in, but for most of my diving (and I do the ultimate vacation-diver thing: clear, warm waters, shallow reefs, single tank and a wetsuit) I don't need those things, they are just nice to have. As for weight belts: I hate them and when I did wear them, I was using so little weight I could wrap the belt around the tank between the cambands.

    Oh...wow...what would we ever do without ditchable weight pockets?? And most times I see someone diving a jacket BCD with lots of accessories they have stuff hanging off every which way, dangling back and forth, trashing reef, scaring fish, and raising my heart rate! Those pockets that are "useful"?? Buy a BP/W, take the money you saved on a top-end Jacket BC and buy a pair of X-Shorts: way more storage space and WAY easier to get into when they are jam-packed.

    I really don't care what people dive, but it is encumbent on the diver to pick equipment that is functional in a full spectrum of uses and 90% of things I see in the average dive shop are not designed with that in mind. Giant lanterns that take up a whole hand to use, you can't really stow them well, and the light output for their size SUCKS?? Freakishly huge consoles that are hard to read and use effectively?

    And yes, it would be difficult for divers to accomplish the dives they are doing today on the technology of 30 years. But needs were identified and, luckily, products were designed that met those needs, as well as being constantly improved on. But some things can't be improved upon much (a backplate will always be a backplate, you're not going to revolutionize them much IMO) whereas there is tons of improvement to make on other products (I would love a 50w HID light with a 20-hour runtime that is no bigger than a penlight, but thats a LONG LONG way off) and some products have simply, IMO, stagnated.


    CAPTAIN SINBAD Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge VA
    I dive a BP/Wing and I have grown to love it. It takes less space in the luggage and is the most simple and basic set up you can have. BUT ... there was a learning curve to it.

    1. After being converted to the dark side by the BP Wing lobby on scubaboard, I purchased the a BP wing and realized that flotation experience at the surface was totally different. A fully inflated wing kept pushing my face closer to water surface. If I was given my very first scuba lesson in that set up, I would have a hard time even listening to the instruction. Then I started to roll over and lay flat on my back at the surface while looking at the sky. It became fun from there on!

    2. BCD comes with all the contraptions needed to secure dangling items like octo, computer and inflator hose etc. My wing had nothing! Every time I dived, the inflator hose was dangling behind my back and I had to reach behind to grab a hold of it. There was nothing in the harness that would secure the hose up front. I was shown much later that you have to buy a clip and then clip the d ring in the front.

    3. When the inflator hose was clipped to the d ring in the front there was once when I was unable to unclip it during a cold water dive because of 5 mm gloves. The clip button would not press because the damn gloved were so thick! I had to remove my gloves to unclip the hose from the d-ring. Finally I got rid of press-release clips and started using elastic cord to connect the inflator hose to the d ring.

    4. I wanted to change the harness webbing and took my wing to LDS. I asked them if they could put a new webbing into the BP/Wing. The guy who worked there for years said he could never rig a BP wing! He said I can sell you the webbing but you would have to go on youtube and look at the videos. After many attempts you will be able to get the d rings where you would actually want them. This guy was a dive professional and he was telling me he could not put the basic webbing into a back plate. I told him I don't have time for you tube and all that and I have a dive the next morning. He then called a scuba instructor in his shop who was also a tech diver. She fitted the webbing but did it wrong!

    5. Next day when I was doing my drysuit checkout dives, the webbing had to be re-adjusted. This caused the d rings to move an inch from where they were before. Not a big issue but gave additional things to fiddle around with moments before an instructional dive.

    After all this hassle, I have figured out my set up and am comfortable with it. It enables me to sink with less lead, results in better trim and does not cause the tank to ride up. It gives awesome tank stability and above all, it is smaller and easy to transport to places. I dont think I would go back to a jacket. Yet there was a learning / adjusting curve to it.

    What may look "simple" in a picture may not be "simple to dive with" the first time.

    Cheers -

    oncor23, Texanguy, bigdutch and 2 others like this.
  10. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    Well said Bro.!!! Thank you for your objective feedback.

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