BCD's - jumping in the deep end

What do you have and why? Looking to buy some equipment but got some question? Post here.

Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby justsimon » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:40 am

I'm up for a new BCD this year (in truth, probably 2 years ago) anyway, I'm thinking a back inflation jacket so far...


Same here. I'm turned off a backplate and wing because of people calling jackets 'poodle jackets'. I'm not a big fan of elitism.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Andy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:30 pm

To be fair, a lot of the vehemence in the term "poodle jacket" isn't present the few times it has been used on the forum, which is rarely! It seems to have been much more used in jest.

Pete, these are interesting questions - and no right answer. I think what is more important to focus on is weighting - I;m a firm beleiver that you can get good buoyancy control in a horse collar BCD with practice, provided you get the weighting right. When there is too much weight, it means you're putting more air into the BCD - so for any given change in depth there is more of a change in volume of the air in the BCD than if you have less weight,

If you get the weighting right, everything else just boils down to fit, comfort and features.

I am, of course, an advocate of a BP/W setup - the stability you've noticed is fantastic, particularly when diving with a twinset. Not that everyone should, but this is just an indication that the system is modular and can change and grow with you.

A good rear inflate BCD - I dived a Scubapro Knighthawk for many years - is well worth looking at, Nost rear inflate BCDs, which includes BP/Ws, tend to not have big pockets if any at all. If this is a feature that you think is important, then you might be better off staying with a jacket style. There are always different ways for storing kit, but if it is a significant change for you then you have to offset the benefit of rear inflate against the disadvantage of learning new muscle memory for where you store stuff.

I have access to a range of BP/Ws and next time I am down/you are up then we can get one properly set up for you and see if that gives you more movement around the shoulders. But don't take that as meaning that I think you should go that route - buy whatever works for you (it's just that a BP/W is probably $500 less than a comparable rear inflate BCD).
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Xman » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:27 pm

There are a few things which I believe to be benefits of the BP/W system over a standard rear inflation BCD besides the potential trim benefits.
1- Weighting: the ability to remove some (or in some cases all) of the weight from the weight belt and have it as part of a carefully balanced setup. (with the option of fixing trim weights or weighted STAs to the plate).
2- Less clutter: even with a good quality back inflate BCD there is more clutter around the front of your body than with a BP/W. Once you get used to diving with no clutter up front it feels much better (IMO).
3- Cost: A high quality BP/W setup is generally less expensive than a high quality rear inflate BCD. There are many more options for harness setup, including my preferred option, the Hogarthian webbing harness. Simple = reliable.
4- Flexibility of use: a BP/W system can change with your diving. You can change out wings and use it for doubles.. you can use a plastic plate and you normal wing for travel diving...etc.
5- Selection of Lift Capacity: with a BP/W system you can select a wing with the appropriate amount of lift (and shape) for your particular diving needs and matched with the buoyancy characteristics of your particular exposure protection.
6. Precise fit: With the correct advise, and time taken to set things up, a BP/W setup can be fitted exactly to the user.

Having said that, there are a number of things which can be a benefit of the Back inflate BCD over the BP/W, especially when shore diving.
1- Comfort whilst carrying on land: Back inflate BCDs will often feel more comfortable during shore entries and exits due to their greater padding and the design of the harness system. (This is when compared to a webbing harness. Using a padded harness setup on a BP/W negates this somewhat).
2- All in one setup: there are no bolts to lose, and there is nothing to take apart. This is not really an issue with a BP/W setup where an STA is kept permanently attached though.

I still use both setups depending on circumstances, but find the BP/W system far preferable over all.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby NEMES1S » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:03 pm

Halcoyn

Yet another tool that allows you to get weight off your weight belt, the Halcyon Weighted Single Tank Adapter provides six pounds of non-releasable ballast between you and your single cylinder rig. The Weighted STA works with all Halcyon backplate designs. The Weighted STA is pictured above on the left, in comparison to a standard STA

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Theres one way..

Its funny I have just finished reading the thread that I posted on BCDs and the evolutions that I have been through in BCDs,sadly when i got back into diving the AQUALUNG PRO QD that I was recommended to by was WAY too big,the unit now I see down the track wasnt to blame it was the guy that sold it to me,first half decent boat dive to 37m and it almost floated off me!!! (as you can imagine that didnt impress me much).

Next dive was in a small Black Diamond on a Nightdive...and that as you can imagine didnt fair well either..ha ha...
It really has taken a lot of work to get myself reasonably comfortable with my trim and bouyancy,and in all seriousness I can thank Pete,ScubaSam,Sfish,and Andy who have all "made me think" about what was wrong...in regards to gas consumption and basically all elements of my diving.

Andy allways questioned my weightbelt and how much was on it ~16kgs!! now I dive with ~8kgs and can still stay down and inreasonable trim in ~1m of water.
ScubaSam also suggested dropping weight and pehaps my gas consumption would improve,Sfish told me at the Poor Knights to clasp my hands and do anything than use them for anything to also slow gas consumption and let my legs do the work,Andy also concreted that on the SRD course,Andy also hauled me in on hose lengths and hose management and how they would streamline,how to actually dive in trim and frog kick the works.

Its taken me over a year to get to where I am now,and I practise both in the pool and every dive I do...and only now do I feel I am reaping the benefits,I really enjoy the bouyancy and trim and propulsion....still a long way off achieving my goals but definately on the way.

So its no easy transfer to a B/P W set up...possibly if you just went out and bought a nice HALCYON rig first out then that would avoid a lot of the trial and error that I have been through.
First dive on Andys at White Island/Volkner Rocks I knew the difference immediately...and I had to get one!!

Most sensible people wouldnt test gear on a Nightdive or at the Volkner Rocks....but in the 99 crew thats just the way we do it... :D
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Andy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:53 pm

Pete, with regards weight - you'll probably find the total weight you'd need in a BP/W is less than in a jacket style BCD. A jacket style BCD tends to be made from "floaty materials", that displace lots of water that don't weigh much. One day, let all of the air out of your BCD and see how many kgs it takes to sink it.

A weighted STA works well, there are plenty of options. You could then slide a 1kg weight on to the harness webbing and hold it in place with a trifglide or something similar. This would give you a total of 8kgs, which would be more than enough for you I think. None of it is ditchable, mind you - it's personal choice whether you see that as being a true requirement.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby tara » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:58 pm

Pete wrote:However it would be good to note nice tight configurations for extras like torches, SMB's etc... the reason I say tight is I see many that are just clipped on and drag because they are easy to retrieve that way. How does anyone store their own extras in a fashion that makes it easy to retrieve, but not float off into the gloom...


theres a few ways to do things.
my BCD has rings so my smb is tucked in via bungees under my butt. finger spool is clipped on to a ring behind my weight pocket.
torch is clipped on to a ring near my shoulder and then tucked under my arm and held to the strap by some old bicycle inner tube.
you can get mask pockets which slide on and off the waist belt to fill with spare masks, cave line, etc etc etc

takes a few dives to work out what item works best in which position but in my opinion, its lazy dont care people that drag heaps of kit.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Xman » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:06 pm

I find a sleeve on the backpad is perfect for SMBs until you have to deploy them. It is not ideal for storing them away again during the dive though. I have not found a solution I like for storing an SMB when diving with a back inflate BCD (rather than a wing). I store my backup torch the standard way, clipped to a shoulder and with some bungee to hold it in against the shoulder straps. Cannister light gets attached to the right waist.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby tara » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:10 pm

do you have a couple of rings at the bottom of the plate/harness?

i've found it quite easy to reach around and grab the bungee to slide the SMB back into
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Xman » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:16 pm

tara wrote:do you have a couple of rings at the bottom of the plate/harness?

i've found it quite easy to reach around and grab the bungee to slide the SMB back into


Yeah, there are other ways (like yours) that I use to restow the SMB but none that end up with it in as slick a position as in the backplate sleeve IMO.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby tara » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:19 pm

in the backplate sleeve - sorry X, i'm a bit blonde and i cant quite picture that.

where is this sleeve? the flap that covers your tankbands between them and your back?
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Andy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:25 pm

It's a bit like mine, Tara.... so the SMB slides up between your back and the plate.

Pete & X, both of you guys just need a drysuit with pockets!!!! :lol: :lol:
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Xman » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:29 pm

Mine is a custom made version similar to the Halcyon MC storage pack. It bolts to the backplate and works as padding on the steel packplate, and as a storage space for an SMB.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby tara » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:31 pm

thanks Andy - thats kind of what i was thinking .... but i didnt want to seem like a total muppet - you know? :roll:

drysuit pockets. good suggesting batman. reminds me that i need to get mine ordered.

now, is there any difference to having them on the front of your thigh as opposed to the side?
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Xman » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:31 pm

Andy wrote:Pete & X, both of you guys just need a drysuit with pockets!!!! :lol: :lol:


Nah...you just need to harden up. I do have a thigh pocket on my wetsuit, but could definately see some X shorts being a bonus, storage wise.
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Re: BCD's - jumping in the deep end

Postby Andy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:25 pm

tara wrote:now, is there any difference to having them on the front of your thigh as opposed to the side?


For me, side all the way. I've only ever seen them on the front on the Otter suits - it's purely personal preference, but to me it looks like that when full there would be 2-3" of drop below your thigh, easy to catch the bottom without feeling it.


X - I am soft, I admit it. If I lived somewhere warm enough to dive in a wetsuit, I'd have to have pockets on my wetsuit as I couldn't live with them. X shorts are good for travel/occasional use....



Pete, in response to your "clippy dangly" question, I can explain what I do - it's pretty much the same whether doing a big dive, a shallow pootle, a night dive or teacing....

One of the real benefits of a goodman handle on a torch is that you can carry it 99% of the time and it's not in the way. The only timw my lighthead isn't in my hand is if I'm deploying an SMB, or it's failed and I've switched to a backup light. It's doesn't have to be a canister light, some LED lights have a "soft" goodman handle.

So, light battery is threaded on to the waist strap of my harness and held in place with a spare weight belt buckle. Light head is in the left hand - this leaves the right hand free for donating the reg if needed. SMB is between my back and the plate, it is clipped to my tail D-ring to keep it secure. It's not pre-threaded on to the spool.

Gauges and compass are wrist mounted, so no big console to dangle. SPG is on a short hose, clipped off the the left hip D ring. On a normal dive, I maybe look at it three times - it should never be a surprise what it says, anyway. Knife is on the waist strap. Back up torches are clipped to the shoulder D-rings and held along the harness straps under the arms with inner tube. Nothing else is clipped off on the harness, it's all in drysuit pockets - unless I am carrying a primary reel, which also gets clipped to the tail D-ring.

Convention is left pocket is "utility" and right poclet is "emergency" - this is intended to not prevent you donating the reg out of the mouth whilst doing routine tasks. Both pockets have a large loop of bungee stitched into them, everything is clipped off to that so it's not lost when you open the pocket.

What is defined as "utility" and "emergency" depends on the dive. If I'm doing a big dive, and expecting to deploy an SMB then the primary SMB is in the pocket pre-rigged (the one on the plate becomes the spare, with a second "emergency" spool in the right pocket), my notebook is normally emergency so in the right pocket - unless I'm teaching, in which case I'm probably planning to use it so it goes left. Normal contents of the pockets could include: whistle, notebook, second knife, spare mask, teaching slates, SMB, spare spool(s), survival blanket, snorkel, line markers etc. Exactly what and where just depends.

It's pretty tidy, and uncluttered.
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