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Travel BCD


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#1 wetpixel

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 10:04 PM

hello, all.

I was wondering if any of you might have suggestions for a small BCD with one or more D-rings suitable for travel...? A bonus would be if the inflater had a second-stage on it.

My BCD is wonderful, but it's huge. I need to start finding ways to make my bags smaller and lighter. :unsure:

The second item I'm wondering about is a 7 or 8mm wetsuit with integrated hood. any suggestions?

thanks!
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#2 JackConnick

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 10:16 PM

I like my Seaquest balance for tropical diving. It's a good, fairly light BC, but is robust in capability.

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#3 Andi Voeltz

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 01:04 PM

Have you seen the brand new MARES MORPHOS ?
Check http://www.mares.com > BC VESTS.

I liked the Idea very much. It looks like a parachute
when you fold it and features the Air trim system.
Many people are sceptic about the Air trim system,
but my ex-girlfriend had the Dragonfly and loved it!

I know that you are always after neat stuff like this, Eric...
By the way: can you solve the mistery about your devil-hood?
Is it self-made or can you order it somewhere? :ph34r:
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#4 NitroLiq

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 01:37 PM

Eric,

Rodales recently reviewed a bunch of stripped down bcs. You can check the article out here:

http://scubadiving.com/gear/200305bcs/

#5 james

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 01:46 PM

Good post Eric!

I don't like schlepping my Ranger around much either. It's good for California diving and winter out here in the Gulf, but totally un-necessary for warm water service.

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#6 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:33 PM

It's ok to start looking for what has been called a travel BCD but be warned, most of the so called tropical bags are designed primarily for swimming pool conditions. These bags barely lift your head above water and if you are carrying considerable kit maybe you can just get your chin above water with it fully inflated.

99% of my dives per year are spent in the tropics and I can assure you the conditions are rarely swimming pool-like, in fact often 1+m swells or chop can rise up from nowhere and these BCD's do not allow the user to stay on top of the waves, making them very uncomfortable.
In washing machine scenarios above and below the water they are all but useless!

I personally use a Scubapro harness with a rectec wing. Heavy, but it has gotten me safely through many scenarios during long surface hang-arounds in tough conditions.

I would not compromise my safety for that of weight: I would sooner leave something less useful like the flashlite at home if trying to cut down on luggage weight. These are normally supplied by the operator anyway... Less posey than a $500 one but they do the same job. I sold mine 3 years ago.

The Morphos looks interesting but I saw no useful lift numbers on the web page.

My advise would be to stick with the one you know, and think Stahlsac canvas system instead of Pelikan or the like.

#7 craig

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:43 PM

If you are adventurous. check out www.oxycheq.com. They offer a cutaway travel backplate with a very small single tank adapter. Their single tank wings aren't available yet but will be soon and look very nice. The halcyon 27 lb wings are nice also. One of these backplates with the 27 lb wings would be quite compact and would create less drag in the water than anything you're used to.

I use a backplate system because of my big video batteries. They're more comfortable underwater but not convenient on the boat.
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#8 craig

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:46 PM

Bob, you use a backplate, too? I've converted a few to backplates in my day.

Stahlsac makes an excellent bag and quite lightweight for its size.
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#9 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:22 PM

I was getting through four or five bags per year until I got a Stahlsac - Expensive, but lifetime guarantee!

#10 wetpixel

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:28 PM

I love Stahlsac. It's what I use as well.

I like the backplate and wing idea, and have long wanted to try it.

So, how do I go about assembling one? I guess I'll find a local dealer and pay attention to the backplates this time. :unsure:
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#11 james

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:10 PM

Heh, next thing we know Eric will be carrying around 3 delrin rod flashlights and a 15' regulator hose... :-)

Cheers
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#12 craig

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:15 PM

There are several manufacturers. For the US the big ones are Dive Rite, Halcyon and OMS. The stainless ones are heavy, like 7 pounds, so they don't travel too well. I use an OMS aluminum one that weighs 2 pounds. Harnesses are largely the same. Some will have a quick release on one or both shoulders. Some will have 2" crotch straps and other will be 1". You can choose to use one or not, of course. You'll have to look at the various harnesses to see what you like. Some webbing is stiffer than others, too.

Dive Rite makes a cumberbund and Halcyon offers a backplate pad with a pocket for a raft or lift bag. You can look at those things if you like. Halcyon makes nice single tank wings in 27, 36, and 45 pound variants. Oxycheq has new single tank wings in 30 and 45 pounds that look good. They also have a stainless travel plate that is cut away and weighs 2.2 pounds. It may not be quite as comfy as the real thing. I'll be trying the Oxycheq travel plate and wings shortly. Many other wings are made wider to work with doubles. That may be fine, but I like the compactness of the single wings.

With the Halcyon wings you have a choice of using a single tank adapter or not. I personally don't like using the rig without the adapter and Oxycheq's adapter looks the best and lightest to me.

Putting together a backplate takes some time and setting one up can be a little fussy, but they are very confortable in the water. You can't actually feel the tank at all. I'm not certain whether the Oxycheq travel plate will be that good, but it's probably more comfortable than a soft or hard pack BC.

I personally use an aluminum OMS plate with a their deluxe harness, a Halcyon tank adapter (switching soon), Halcyon 27# wings (switching also), and a Halcyon backplate pad. I mount my weight when necessary on the tank straps and bolt my video battery holders directly to the plate. If I were you, though, I'd check out the Oxycheq travel plate.
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#13 craig

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:23 PM

Heh, next thing we know Eric will be carrying around 3 delrin rod flashlights and a 15' regulator hose... :-)

Cheers
James

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#14 rstark

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 09:29 PM

One warning Eric, once you try a well setup backplate you will be selling your other bc.. They are compact, simple and very comfortable. The key is to make sure it is well setup. Here is a few sites:
Webbing a Harness
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BTW, If you don't like the travel plate from Oxycheq, then try the ABS plate from Diverite

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#15 davephdv

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 10:16 PM

Dive Rite BC with the travel wings. I have my set up with an Air II and it is exactly what you described as what you are looking for. I usually check out all the BCs when I'm on a dive boat and I've never seen a more compact BC. As it is designed as a tech BC you can add much larger bladders, ect. if you need more capacity. Has lots of metal D rings though I took about half of mine off.

As far as the wetsuit I recently got a Henderson hyperstrech semi dry. Very comfortable suit with an attached hood. The hood, torso, and outer arms are gold glideskin and very warm. It is a 7/5mm suit. I got a 3 mm henderson glideskin sleeveless vest to wear under it and it was warm in 58 degree water. I noticed that Bare now makes a suit of identical design that is listed as an 8/6 suit. Mine is very light weight and would be easy to pack for travel. I wouldn't hesitate to rely on it for temperature down to the high 50s and I'm one who normally won't dive without his drysuit.
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#16 yahsemtough

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 05:41 AM

In terms of wetsuits, Bare makes a great suit! I believe they warrenty their seams for life. If I am not mistaken I think I saw the Halls in one at the IMAX also.

As for BCD's you can get your alternate on the inflator with most. Backplates is something I have not ventured into yet but do have a tech diver friend who is extremely knowledgeable in the area if you look to go that route.
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#17 tshepherd

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 06:49 AM

I'm with Craig on the OMS backplate. I've got one with an aluminum backplate, deluxe harness (quick release), and currently their larger wing setup since I use it primarily with doubles. I've also got an OMS single tank adapter, which is a bit large for travel, and am looking at getting a smaller set of wings for travel / singles. You can't beat it for comfort, and it's extremely streamlined as compared to a normal BC. The one thing some people miss is the pockets, which you can add as an option, but frankly I find myself not using them on my Oceanic Chute 2, I'd rather have stuff clipped in accessible places.

There was an article in Scuba Diving a while back, or on the website, that listed a set of backplates, adapters, harnesses, etc, that a guy was custom making that was pretty impressive (and cheap). I got some info from him a while back, which is attached. Might be worth looking at...

Tom

#18 tshepherd

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 06:50 AM

Ok, this time with the attachment...

#19 craig

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:40 AM

I'm with Craig on the OMS backplate. I've got one with an aluminum backplate, deluxe harness (quick release), and currently their larger wing setup since I use it primarily with doubles. I've also got an OMS single tank adapter, which is a bit large for travel, and am looking at getting a smaller set of wings for travel / singles. You can't beat it for comfort, and it's extremely streamlined as compared to a normal BC. The one thing some people miss is the pockets, which you can add as an option, but frankly I find myself not using them on my Oceanic Chute 2, I'd rather have stuff clipped in accessible places.

There was an article in Scuba Diving a while back, or on the website, that listed a set of backplates, adapters, harnesses, etc, that a guy was custom making that was pretty impressive (and cheap). I got some info from him a while back, which is attached. Might be worth looking at...

Tom

Look at the Oxycheq single tank adapter and single tank wings. Their wings are new and begin shipping next week.
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#20 chrism

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 04:18 PM

Another vote for a backplate.

FredT Aluminum, 27# wing. some webbing, and you can fit it in your carryon
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