Jacket BCD versus Backplate Wing BCD

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

Postby DonMarcosdeJuan » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:12 am

Andy wrote:
plumb bob wrote:The BC jacket was invented.

The BP/W has evolved. 8)



Hmmmmmm. I would hazard a guess that the BP/W actually predates a BC jacket!!


Right on Andy,

the jacket came third after the toilet seat/horse collar, then the backplate and wings (called a backmount BCD back then) then finally the jacket style BCD

I'm glad that someone knows that BP/W is not a great leap forward, rather that it is a great leap back to simplicity and adaptablility.

Someone mentioned that their bcd packed down smaller than BP/W,

Sorry, but I can fit my SSBP, two sets of wings a reg and a five mm steamer, plus a change of clothes and large jetfins in one of those standard airline wheelie carry on bags.

So, if you want to go diving for a week in Fiji without checking your luggage, you can, and with that rig, I dont even need any additional weight even in the sea.
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Postby Hoppy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:34 am

powley wrote:
Hoppy wrote:
The first is that most dive shops are affiliated with manufacturer product lines. I dont know of any big name-brand that produces a bp/wing.


True, but Im pretty sure wholesalers dont just import 1 brand, correct me if Im wrong ( like anyone here would need a welcome mat to do that) but dont the same people who import aqualung, seaquest and suunto also important apeks??


Agreed. But:

a) what do the shops make the most margin on?? And whats going to give them the most kick-back in terms of HP's and suchlike? And whats more likely to carry on being re-purchased in the future as the diver's needs grow & change, or the market fashions change. And what is their primary market (hint, its not us tekkies)

b) wholesalers dont generally do training

On the other hand, I usually buy a whole 'setup' when I buy a new wing, as its not usually that much more to get the back-plate and harness. So I have 3 or 4 BP's kicking round here. Al v's SS, and different harness setups for light exposure suit (eg tropical) v's drysuit, plus one thats rigged for the other half.

As a sidenote, the other half has dived my Mares Dragonfly, several different shop BC's, as well as her own BC. By preference, she uses my single tank bp/wing (with her regs/computer) if Im not using it, or failing that, the Dragonfly. As a side note, she finds the jacket bcd's often make her feel seasick as they squeeze more at the surface.

Please dont take the above comments as derogatory towards the shops. They are there to make a living. Plus, with-in the recreational ecosystem (PADI, SSI et al), they are generally selling good product and giving reasonable advice.

However, I DO feel that the retailers are going to have to become more dynamic in terms of their product sets, and less myopic in their view of the world. I also feel that the wholesalers are either going to have to negotiate better deals with the manufacturers, and/or take cut their margins. The world is changing and unless they keep up, the wholesalers and shops are going to start to get bit. And we will all be worse off if shops start shutting their doors.
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Postby DonMarcosdeJuan » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:58 am

Hoppy wrote: The world is changing and unless they keep up, the wholesalers and shops are going to start to get bit. And we will all be worse off if shops start shutting their doors.


No we wont.

Cut out the wholesalers and we save about 50% of retail.
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Postby Hoppy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:04 am

Andy wrote:
Hoppy wrote:On the otherhand, it wouldnt be hard to have 3 different 'standard' sized harnesses set up, just like they do now with different sized BC's. These would also be easier to repurpose at a pinch than BCD's, for example, if they had a class full of rugby-players.

Or even have some BP/Ws with adjustable harnesses? Just because it's a BP/W doesn't mean it has to have a hogarthian harness...

Oh the bubbles of it all...
Wash your mouth out... :roll:

Nah :wink:

It did actually cross my mind when I was posting, but going down the path of QR's and suchlike on a harness is a bit on the dark side for me :lol:
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Postby Hoppy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:06 am

DonMarcosdeJuan wrote:
Hoppy wrote: The world is changing and unless they keep up, the wholesalers and shops are going to start to get bit. And we will all be worse off if shops start shutting their doors.


No we wont.

Cut out the wholesalers and we save about 50% of retail.


Note that I specifically left the blood-sucking leeches out of the 'shutting the doors bit'... :wink:


PS. Just in case this gets anyones tail in a twist, this was a joke. Having had to deal with shipping broken stuff backwards and forwards overseas, I can tell you firsthand that a GOOD local presence is invaluable.

One of my hobbies involves a lot of overseas internet purchasing (the stuff just isnt available locally), and you are never 100% sure if you are actually going to get what you thought you were going to get. Actually getting into a shop and getting your mitts on something is quite often worth it, if feasible.
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Postby Azza » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:43 am

Hoppy I just love how reasoned and calm you are when posting.
From all the staff here, Thanks

:D
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Postby Andy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:22 am

powley wrote:True, but Im pretty sure wholesalers dont just import 1 brand, correct me if Im wrong ( like anyone here would need a welcome mat to do that) but dont the same people who import aqualung, seaquest and suunto also important apeks??


Yes, but the wholesalers lock in a shop to their range.... so whilst Aquanaut import the above, they won't sell to certain shops for example. Other shops buy from Multisports who import Scubapro and Mares. There are exceptions, with independant shops that will buy from any whoelsaler - but not many.

The segmentation of a small market is one of the reasons prices are high. Given that you can buy from overseas cheaper than the wholesale price, it's certainly not the shops making the big $$$s. It's the chain of wholesalers that are making the bucks.


Hoppy wrote:It did actually cross my mind when I was posting, but going down the path of QR's and suchlike on a harness is a bit on the dark side for me :lol:


But convenient from a training point of view.... it's more the grey side than the true sark side! :lol:

If it got people into diving with a BP/W, they could then be counseled about the relative merits of a hog harness and get it adjusted properly. If they didn't like it, they could bin it.... (I mean how much does 2m of webbing cost!?) and stick with the QR etc etc.

It seems to me, at least, that in the whole BC vs. BP/W that these little variations away from a concept might actually work for some people. Just my $0.02 worth! :lol:


Hoppy wrote:However, I DO feel that the retailers are going to have to become more dynamic in terms of their product sets, and less myopic in their view of the world. I also feel that the wholesalers are either going to have to negotiate better deals with the manufacturers, and/or take cut their margins. The world is changing and unless they keep up, the wholesalers and shops are going to start to get bit. And we will all be worse off if shops start shutting their doors.


Hear, hear! I'd say that's summed up the whole NZ dive industry and it's future in a couple of sentences....
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Postby Azza » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:26 am

Andy wrote:
powley wrote:True, but Im pretty sure wholesalers dont just import(I mean how much does 2m of webbing cost!?)

Well poor nitrox just paid $189 for his harness...
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Postby Andy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:35 am

Azza wrote:Well poor nitrox just paid $189 for his harness...


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


Presumably including D rings and tri glides?

You could probably buy a 50m reel of webbing for that?!
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Postby Azza » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:50 am

I hope so..while I am all for people making money there is a phrase called "Taking the Piss"
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Postby DonMarcosdeJuan » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:42 pm

I used to work for a company making BCD's

Production cost was $69 including labour and materials
Sold to wholesaler for $185
Wholesaler Price $350
Retail price $699.

If only there was a way to get them for $185....

Oh Yeah, wait, there is... Buy form the manufacturers, Like Tobinn from DSS.
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Postby wibbleman » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:36 pm

One question.

(note: I am quite interested in BP/W and envisage I will end up with one and a single tank wing within a year)

If BP/W are the next best thing, and so adjustable, and so easy to use. Why don't they have a greater penetration of the recreational market. Why arn't the big companies making them, as much as everyone likes to rag on Aqualung etc, they would be remiss to their shareholders to not be investigating/making this. ( I do think there is a bp/w in their tech product range, the apex WTX)

Once again not trying to have a dig, but some of the messages on this forum all seem to be of the viewpoint (I might be putting posts on peoples usernames here) that as all serious divers end up with a bp/w, everyone might as well start with one. Well thats the impression I seem to get, but I am not reading every post and only vaguly paying attention to it, as I have seen it enough on scubaboard.
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Postby Packhorse » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:25 pm

First of all they are tnot the next best thing.
They have been the best thing for a long time as many"tech" divers have always known.
Unfortunatly because so many "tech" divers use them they have become faulsly known as tech equipment and since most LDS are rec orenitated they dont sell them.
I asked why my LDS didnt stock them. They have 3 DR transpac systems on display but no plates. The very competent shop assistant/diver said because they were too tech (im paraphrasing here). I asked the owner (explaining how many of my buddies preffer them) and he just said that he could get them in if someone wanted one.
Now I own a transpac and its great. But I have never used it since I brought my first plate.
They also have a reputation of being expencieve. But you can buy them for less than a comparable quality BC.
They also look uncomftable. They are not
They also look quite bare compared to a bling bling BC. But less is more.
I shall say that again less is more.
I truely believe that if that they wre used along side BCs in training and sold along BC's in shops they would out sell BC's.

Times will change and more shops will sell them. The smart ones will use them in training. And all will be good in diving. :lol:
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Postby Azza » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:15 pm

Hey wibbleman

The BP and wing system isn't the next big thing. They always have been and probably always will be, a tool used by a minority in the dive industry. Not all experienced divers dive them either. I can think of a few on here that don't, and fair enough.

However I do like them and here are my reasons why

The plate weighs 3 kg. This sits right over the lungs which are your natural BCD which helps the diver attain good trim, and gets weight off the weight belt.
If a diver is diving in cold water and needs a fair bit of weight, the plate is able to take weight such as these weight plates or a P weight or even a Heavy plate.
Straight away you can see you have more options for weight distribution.

I also like the fact that the plate is hard and unbreakable and that they generally come with a single piece of webbing threaded through, with no breakable plastic buckles, meaning you drop all the tanks you want on it and its pretty hard to break.

The single piece of threaded webbing also means that the front of the diver is less cluttered and more streamlined and the inflation on the back cradles the tank which offers more stability in the water (Think hot air balloon).

The buoyancy cell (wing) is interchangeable meaning you can use a small 18lb wing for the tropics, or a heavy duty 30lb for cold water such as here. you can also put on a doubles wing with 45lb of lift for diving the big heavy doubles without actually having to buy a new BCD to handle that if you decide to expand your diving to encompass Tec later on.
If you spring a leak in your buoyancy cell most have a zip at the top to allow access to the internal bladder, which can be pulled mostly out of the outer shell, and placed in water to see actually where the leak is. Then a bicycle tire repair patch is adhered and the leak fixed.

As you can see they are rather versatile but unfortunately they don't really spin a lot of money for the shops, who need to sell big ticket, high margin fancy pieces of kit to pay the overheads. Mind you in saying that, Apeks have come out with one and both Dive Centre and Global dive sell them. Most dive shops don't sell them because they don't know about them. Certainly every shop I have worked in hasn't known about them until I started working for them but still find it hard to conceptualize.

When I first got mine i was diving a Seaquest Pro QD that I rather liked, but as it couldn't handle doubles a guy sold me a Halcyon plate and wing (My shop tried to sell me some armchair softpak thing for $3000) and away I went. For probably 6 months I dived my plate with doubles and Jacket with singles until one day I clicked that I enjoyed my doubles diving more. I borrowed a single tank wing and next thing I was buying one. I havnt looked back since. (And I didn't hear about them on Scubaboard :lol: )

If you want to try one I am sure we can arrange that. I would recommend you try first as you may very well decide you don't like it. Some people do like the feeling of a BCD snuggly wrapping them some dont. It really is personal preference.
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Postby powley » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:54 pm

wibbleman wrote:One question.

(note: I am quite interested in BP/W and envisage I will end up with one and a single tank wing within a year)Well thats the impression I seem to get, but I am not reading every post and only vaguly paying attention to it, as I have seen it enough on scubaboard.


having had about 500 dives, 6 of which have been with backplate and twins, I do have to say I have found they take a bit of getting used to ( then again a beer gut of same weight would take some adjusting as well). I am starting to feel comfortable in them, but 1st couple of dives in them for me were stress city. Im not trying to put anyone off here, just pointing out that the 1st time you jump into a bp/wing setup, especially in doubles format, you might not find it the ideal answer. Give it a go and be prepared to give it a few more goes because I believe in the long run it is a more comfortable and versatile setup
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