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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. JBRES1

    JBRES1 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Naperville, Il. (Chicago area)
    I rather dive a SS plate all the time but like I said , that 4 lbs in my bag makes the aluminum plate the vacation plate.
    I don't know what your set up is like , but alot of factors come into play. Listen to what Tobin has to say, he builds this stuff for a living.
    At home I am in a dry suit and dive a steel 95 , on vacation I dive in a swim suit and either an al80 or steel 100.
    I can dive on vacation without any weight if I dive a steel tank, but need 5 to 6 lbs if I use an aluminum plate.

    As to heavy feet, I have used a 2# weight on the top cam band to put more weight up top.

    Thanks, Jim
  2. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    Besides adding the 3 pounds for the weight difference between an aluminum and steel backplate, you might have to add an extra pound of lead because aluminum is less dense than steel, even though the backplates would be the same dimensions including thickness.

    metal g/cm3
    water 1.00
    aluminum 2.70
    stainless steel 7.80
  3. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    That's exactly what I do, except with a steel backplate. I add a 1 lb. trim weight in each of two pockets attached to the upper camband and snugged up against the plate, so that the weight is as close to my back as possible.

    I suppose that if I were to instead use an aluminum or kydex plate I could just use something like a 4 lb. weight in each pocket (since 3 lb. weights are uncommon), but isn't that the whole beauty of the steel plate--inherently having the weight right there against your back? Again, 3-4 lbs. of airline baggage is pretty easily compensated for by removing that extra pair of shoes or whatever. On a week or two vacation to the tropics, you don't need more than a pair of sandals and some t-shirts anyway. If you really do have a lot of luggage weight--say, you have a huge photography rig or you're bringing gear for not just diving but some other activity like trekking in the mountains--then why not spring for the cost of an extra bag for your expedition rather than compromise on your dive gear? Dive trips are expensive. Cut costs and weight elsewhere and bring the gear that works best.
  4. redacted

    redacted Guest

    A SS plate would not work for me in warm water. With no neoprene and an HP 100, it left me 4 or 5 pounds over weighted.
  5. geoff w

    geoff w Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: malibu
    Stainless Steel XT Lite Backplate | Dive Rite - 2 1/2 lb steel plate, don't have to worry about scratching anodizing on aluminum plate, plus it looks so cool
  6. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I use an AL backplate when I travel because I am continually battling maximum weight limits. I also bring lighter weight fins for that reason.

    You can make up for the lost weight in a number of ways. I have weight pockets on my cam bands, and that does the trick nicely. I have put weights on cam bands using bungee loops. I have seen people use Zip ties to attach weights to the back plate.
  7. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I own several back plates, including SS, Al, Kydex, plastic and even a FredT incredibly heavy plate. When traveling, I prefer a soft plate like is found in the Dive Rite Hunter Pack and the Zeagle Express Tech. Back plates are essential for bondage doubles, but not for single tanks or even side mount diving.
  8. John Wong

    John Wong New

    John and NetDoc, how does diving with the Al backplate or the soft plate differ versus diving your SS backplate.
  9. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    if diving with no exposure protection, the soft rigs like the Transpac and it's offspring like the Hunterpac that Pete uses are much more comfortable. The downside is they aren't really significantly lighter and you still have to put the ballast somewhere on the rig. If I am doing a lot of diving with no neoprene, i.e. short/shallow diving in the keys in the summer, then I would choose to use my transpac and wear a weight belt with about 8lbs of lead on it *the padding floats, so need a bit more than just the 6lbs that my stainless plate is negative*. They also don't get quite so hot if they are in the sun, but I always throw a towel over my plates because of that. If I am able to wear even a 3mm top or shorty, then I will wear my stainless plate since it means I don't need any other lead. I only use my Kydex plate if I'm diving doubles and want to minimize how overweighted I am
  10. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I'm going to piggy back off of tbone's thoughts.
    Fit and comfort are the reasons to buy gear!
    Not only are they lighter, but they are easier to pack. I travel a lot. Last year I was out of the country on four or five trips and not having the rigidity was just as important as the pound or two I save over an al. That's even more when considering an SS plate.
    I am a cork. I have to dive with 18 pounds with an Al tank. I use pockets on the upper tank band as well as their integrated weight systems on the belt. I hate weight belts!!! It's what I teach my Trim, Buoyancy and Propulsion class in, and there's simply no issues with trimming out. In fact, all my students use the Zeagle Express tech and they come out of the class ready to start their cavern course.
    So, I don't use that. I pull all that stuff off.
    Ditto. It's the only BP I really need anymore. If anyone needs a BP, send me a message and I'll make you a deal. The FredT is super heavy and an amazing piece.

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