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To those who have both SS and Al backplates.

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) & Weight Systems' started by John Wong, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. John Wong

    John Wong New

    I travel a lot so minimum weight in my checked luggage is very important to me. I want to switch over to a BP/W to have better trim. My feet tend to sink with my jacket BC even with my tank up high and half my weight on my tank band, if that matters when switching to a BP/W.

    Would a AL backplate with weight added to it be that much different than a SS backplate in terms of trim?

  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    stainless plate will trim better than aluminum due to having the weight up higher on your body. The extra weight isn't a huge concern in travel if you pack appropriately in my experience.
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  3. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    I will let the instructor types and more experienced divers chime in, but I suspect you are going to hear that proper trim can be achieved in a jacket BC.

    As far as Al versus steel, I travel a lot, too, and I prefer a steel plate because it provides almost all the ballast I need to be perfectly weighted for diving in a thin wetsuit and Al 80 tank. The four pounds or so of luggage weight over an aluminum plate is something I will have to tolerate.
  4. JBRES1

    JBRES1 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Naperville, Il. (Chicago area)
    I dive with a Stainless Stel plate at home and with an aluminum on vacation.
    I have a hard time keeping my bags under the 50# airline limit, so the 4 # is the deal maker for me.
    Jim Breslin
  5. divad

    divad ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    Yes, you'd be able to put the weight where you thought you'd need it.
  6. cool_hardware52

    cool_hardware52 Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    Most people move to a BP&W because they want a better performing, easier to use, simple, streamlined BC.

    Most likely the SS plate will provide you *In water* benefits beyond that of a Aluminum plate.

    Do you want to buy a BP&W and then defeat one of the key advantages (ballast up over your buoyant lungs and along a buoyant al 80 cylinder in order to save ~3 lbs of dry travel weight?

    Keep in mind that if you are switching from a "full featured" BC a BP&W, even with a SS plate may already be a little lighter.

    Lorenzoid and gfaith like this.
  7. divad

    divad ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor


    In my case this is backwards.
  8. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    I've got the standard 5.5 lb and lightweight 2.5 lb DiveRite backplates, both stainless steel, and bought the lightweight one for warm water travel, so the difference is only about 3 lbs. With most backplate there will be a couple of holes where you can line up with your wing, so you have a little bit of room to fine tune trim. You can always place trim weight pockets on the upper and lower tank cam band and adjust weight however you need to

    When I switched from a jacket BC to a backplate, I couldn't believe what a difference it made. I immediately noticed the difference and actually looked like I knew what I was doing underwater. You will be happy with whatever you get

    Keep in mind aluminum is a bit less dense than stainless steel, so saving 3 lbs with an aluminum plate means you might need to add an extra pound of lead to match, figuring the dimensions (and water displaced) are the same
  9. John Wong

    John Wong New

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Jim, you are exactly the person I wanted info from. What difference do you find when diving the Al backplate versus the SS?

    And Evan and Tobin have different opinions but I was thinking more in line with Evan in that if I have a weird issue with my feet sinking, having an Al backplate may be an advantage in that I could place the weight higher on the backplate to counteract the problem.
  10. doctormike

    doctormike Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    Wait, what? A pound of lead compensates for dropping 3 pounds of ballast by switching to an aluminum backplate? I must have missed something...
    StefinSB likes this.

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