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What brand BP/w


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#1 LChan

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:23 PM

So I have been diving a Seaquest Balance for the last two years. It is a great BCD for the tropics. But for cold water diving here in Monterey, I feel like I have outgrown my Balance. I am at the limits of the weight pockets. I want more D-rings, etc...

So I'm now looking at getting a back plate and wing. The most tech I'm going to get is some very simple wreck penetrations and caverns. My setup will be with a stainless plate for cold water and an aluminum plate for warm water. I like the quick releases (like the OMS).

What are you guys using. What do you like/dislike? I figured I would ask this forum since we have the same concerns with the extra camera equipment. Also, anybody using the quick release weight pockets (compared with a traditional weight belt?)

Most of the LDS around me sell Halcyon. I don't mind putting it together from different manufactorers. I am open to any suggestions.

thanks.
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#2 james

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:36 PM

Hi Larry,

A lot of people here are using either the OMS IQ-Pac or the Oxycheck harness and plate w/ either OMS or Oxycheck wings.

I'm using the OMS IQ-Pac with an Al plate and I really love it. I use it w/ two weight pockets on the hipbelt when I need them. The IQ pack is not barebones, but it does have a removable backplate pad if you want a slimmer rig.

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#3 fdog

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:28 PM

Larry, I have been using FredT plates for years, with doubles and singles, and been very pleased.

However, I have switched completely to Tobin's stuff at Deep Sea Supply. It's good enough that all my prior plates and wings (except one) are in the closet.

The workmanship is beyond impeccable...work of art is more like it. Also, if you use singles, the flatter profile and built-in STA are fantastic.

For your application (tropical/ lots of adjustments) I use the ProFit harness. This adjusts in a flash, but is non-DIR because of the quick releases. All I care about is whether it works or not, so, I love it. And if you do go this way, I reccomend the Torus wing. Both the big one for doubles and the smaller ones for singles are robust and balance well; the singles attachment is easy, places the cylinder about 3" closer to your back, and has never slipped.

I haven't used the Kydex plate yet, but am picking one up for travel, and a diver I trust uses his for doubles while traveling.

As a point of reference, I just sold a used DSS Long pattern plate for $90US. Wow!

All the best, James

#4 fdog

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:38 PM

Oops, just saw the question about weights.

I use a weight belt under the scooter strap. This has been comfortable for me (padded velcro belt), and I can adjust distribution of weights for trim according to the dive. Everything in front for macro, at the hips and back for wide angle.

Also, for cold water, the DSS weight plates are very nice. My drysuit weight belt is 20 lbs.

All the best, James

#5 frogfish

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:27 PM

I have the Halycon stainless steel and aluminum backplates, an Eclipse (30 lb.) wing (which takes the Halcyon single-tank adaptor) and an older "Pioneer" (27 lb.) wing which can be used without the STA, simple webbing (DIR-style) harnesses on both. On both harnesses, I have two small square pockets on waist band which I have made by someone here in Bali (they are much smaller than the Halcyon pocket) - one carries a spare mask, the other an emergency strobe, dye pack, rolled up hat with neck flap and a reef hook.

I prefer the stainless steel BP and also like the Eclipse with STA better than the the STA-less Pioneer. Without the STA, the tank sits too close to the BP (and the back of my head), my hose routing doesn't work as well, etc.

The stainless BP is mainly for local diving here in Bali and/or trips originating here. If I have to fly with dive gear, then I take the aluminum backplate. For doubles diving, which I do very rarely, I borrow or rent a double-tank wing and use it with either backplate, usually the SS.

In practice, the aluminum BP, the STA and the Eclipse wing spend a lot of time on boats or in transit without me. Since I've done two trips on the Seven Seas this year and will do a couple more over October/November, it has made sense this year to leave a full set of dive gear (BP and wing, fins, reg set, etc.) on board, minimizing the amount of gear I have to shlep via small planes.

Living in Indonesia, it isn't really practical for me to source dive gear from small independent manufacturers in the US like Oxycheq or FredT, so I'm not in any position to compare their products iwth Halycon. I basically like Halcyon equipment, but the critical factor for me is that there is a good Halcyon wholesale distributor nearby in Singapore, my friend Avandy at BIDP is a dealer so I can get some stuff here in Bali (though I usually have to bring anything in myself from Singapore), and Halycon gear is also available from dealers in Hong Kong and the Philippines. (Once, when I had a minor problem with a Halcyon wing, Halycon airshipped a new wing to me within a few days.) However, I had to pay duty on that.) If I lived in CA or FL, it might be different.

(The last conventional BC I owned was a Seaquest Balance too.)

Frogfish

P.S. Weights. In warm water, with the stainless BP and a 3-mil wetsuit, I only need a couple of kg on a belt under the harness. With a 5 mil, I add two more kg in trim pockets on the lower tank camband. With the AL BP and a 3 mil, I will have 2 kg in trim pockets on the tank cambands and 2 or 3 kg on a belt. With a 5 mil, I carry 4 kg on the belt. Diving doubles, it depends on the size and weight of the tanks, of course, but if they're steel, then I won't need any extra weight.
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#6 Drew

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 12:52 AM

Check out the SeacSub iCaro Tech. At 6.6lbs, it's super lightweight (for a travel BC), well balanced, plenty of Drings made of lightweight alloy and best of all, italian sexy looking.
I dived it for 20+ dives in Cocos and it's an amazingly balanced BC. I will buy it once one of my 4 BCs die (do BCs die?). My travel rig is at 8.5lbs right now so the savings of 1.9lbs in weight is a welcome thing for me.

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#7 frogfish

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 02:28 AM

A clumsy attempt to revive this thread, as there were some interesting things that had been said in this thread before the hack took everything down, but I can't remember what they were.

Failing anybody else remembering, does anyone have suggestions for a longer-than-standard (i.e., longer than Halcyon) back plate?

Frogfish
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#8 Drew

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 03:56 AM

I can recommend 2 custom backplate makers:
Fred Tagge : ftagge@goldinc.com]
Gary Hoadley : gary.hoadley@sympatico.ca
Oxycheq also make 16" BP.

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#9 Aquatic

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:00 AM

Check out the SeacSub iCaro Tech. At 6.6lbs, it's super lightweight (for a travel BC), well balanced, plenty of Drings made of lightweight alloy and best of all, italian sexy looking.
I dived it for 20+ dives in Cocos and it's an amazingly balanced BC. I will buy it once one of my 4 BCs die (do BCs die?). My travel rig is at 8.5lbs right now so the savings of 1.9lbs in weight is a welcome thing for me.




Where can you get the iCaro Tech, is there anyone that carries it in the US?



Dan

Edited by Aquatic, 06 September 2006 - 07:01 AM.

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#10 fdog

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 09:11 AM

<snip>Failing anybody else remembering, does anyone have suggestions for a longer-than-standard (i.e., longer than Halcyon) back plate?

Frogfish

Here's Tobin's collection of stainless steel plate sizes at Deep Sea Supply. Works of art, and a much nicer profile than the "classic" backplate.

If you are really set on a FredT plate, I have two extra-long FredT plates that I don't use anymore, one in stainless, almost new (5.6 lbs) and one, (new and unused) aluminum, 2.0 lbs. The length on these makes them the equivalent to Tobin's Long Pattern backplate at 17.5 inches. I love the Deep Sea plates enough that I have no use for the FredT plates now, and all they're doing is sitting in the closet, so I'll sell them for $40 US each plus postage.

All the best, James