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WING BCD VS REGULAR BCD


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#1 Turbo

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:30 AM

hi guys. looking to buy a new bcd. never dived with a wing design before and am thinking about purchasing one.

what bcd are you using?
how would you rate its durability?
is it a wing design?
how do you like it?
how could it be better?

thanks

#2 Timmoranuk

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:23 AM

I havn't used a jacket type BCD for 15 years so advances in that design are pretty unknown to me. But I like a wing for the following reasons.

Uncluttered giving me a clean 'front'
Light weight (if without a steel backplate) so ideal for travelling
Better 'C of G'
Easily customisable

I use four wings. Three from AP Valves (Buddy) and one from Custom Diver. My Travel 16 is ideal for single 12s and 15's and I've even paired a couple of independent 12s on it. The Tekwing Lite has 17kgs of lift and is my 'stay at home' wing for singles. The Redwing has about 23 kgs of lift and I use that for travelling when I know I'm going to use a couple of 12's and slung deco gas. And the Custon Divers TDB has a tonne of lift and is teamed with manifolded 12's and 15's and deco gas.

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#3 acroporas

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:25 AM

I am using a very old vest style BCD by aqualung. I don't know how to rate durability but it is 15 years old and still going strong. What I like about it is that it is small, simple, and unobtrusive. But it could be better.

My ideal BCD would be:

A very simple/compact vest - No integrated weights, or fancy pockets (simple pockets are fine if they do not noticeably increase bulk, but it would also be fine if it had no pockets at all) with only a minimal amount of lift. A tank is only ~4lbs lighter empty than it was when it was full - 10lbs of lift is really more than enough to control buoyancy though out the dive, though more is fine if it does not increase bulk.
- Enough padding that it is comfortable on bare skin.
- Metal backplate, latches, clips, ect. Metal for both durability and added weight (weight on the bcd = less weight on the belt).
- Dump valves on both the lower left and right.
- Bottom left and right corners of the bladder are connected at the bottom so that either dump valve can completely empty the bladder when oriented head-down.
- Top dump valve(that is positions so that when oriented vertically it can completely empty the bladder) activated by tugging on the manual inflater.
- The end of the manual inflator's clips onto the vest to keep it in position and out of the way.
- Big easy to use buttons on the inflator.
- D rings all over the place.
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#4 jcclink

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 11:59 AM

You're unconscious on the surface. Do you want to be floating face up or face down? Wings - face down, jacket style - face up. Just something to consider.
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#5 acroporas

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:39 PM

You're unconscious on the surface. Do you want to be floating face up or face down? Wings - face down, jacket style - face up. Just something to consider.


I don't know about you, but when I loose consciousness while diving I very rarely remember to inflate my BCD. Unless the BCD also has magical feature(that would be really cool) that detects when I loose consciousness and can inflate my BCD for me, it will not matter which way I would float unconscious.
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#6 Drew

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 04:07 PM

I don't know about you, but when I loose consciousness while diving I very rarely remember to inflate my BCD. Unless the BCD also has magical feature(that would be really cool) that detects when I loose consciousness and can inflate my BCD for me, it will not matter which way I would float unconscious.


LOL however if you are already at the surface but lose consciousness for whatever reason, it will throw your face forward, hence drowning you unless you had your automatic snorkel on. :blink:
The problem with equipment recommendations are that it's all biased to the user recommending it. I know people who carry EPIRB, 10ft sausage, spare mask etc etc. All of these recommendations are valid but then you get down to it, know what kind of person you are and your preferences.
Wing BCs have advantages in modularity for adding things like D rings and pockets, cd underwater, and fit as the harness is usually more snug than jackets. Hence its popularity with divers with big tummies as there's no squeeze when inflated at the surface.
Some people I know won't go back to jackets after discovering wings. I like the reduced drag and snugness, so I don't have to fight the bc while I twist and turn shooting. Then again many shooters much better than me (that's pretty much everyone) can do the same in a jacket. It's a preference, fashion and bling (titanium backplates :lol:).

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#7 eyu

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:53 PM

I have just changed over from rear inflation to a jacket BCD. Was just getting tired of being pitched forward on the surface not being able to get my head high enough out of the water in the chop when others with jacket BCDs could. Also it is nice to have some decent pockets, but do miss the multiple D rings.

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#8 jcclink

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:02 PM

So maybe your buddy inflated your BC for you & saved your camera. My point was a different floating position with the 2 systems, face up being preferable in an emergency. As pointed out - personal preference, like most things we use. I'm very comfortable in a jacket BC & see no reason to experiment with gear at this point in my diving career.

Edited by jcclink, 03 November 2009 - 07:18 PM.

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#9 Deep6

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:44 PM

So maybe your buddy inflated your BC for you & saved your camera. My point was a different floating position with the 2 systems, face up being preferable in an emergency. As pointed out - personal preference, like most things we use. I'm very comfortable in a jacket BC & see no reason to experiment with gear at this point in my diving career.

Yes, some of my dive buddies wouldn't use a back floation BC on a bet. I have used 2 different models over the last 19 years. By adjusting the trim (tank ht. & trim wts.), I can maintain a near hoz. position u/w and fairly vert. position on the surface. Experiment.
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#10 diver dave1

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:45 PM

You're unconscious on the surface. Do you want to be floating face up or face down? Wings - face down, jacket style - face up. Just something to consider.

Reminds me of a quote...
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#11 diver dave1

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:58 PM

I use a hybrid back inflation BC, the Tortuga by Sherwood. Pitching forward not as bad but still present on the surface. Not had trouble getting on my back for surface swims when needed. Packs smaller than most jackets but not as good as plate/wings. Love wt integration, would not do without it.
If starting over, might get plate and wings.
If the tortuga packed smaller, would be perfect for me. I like everything about it but the packing size. Its not massive, smaller than my previous jacket.
Once I am in the water, it does everything I want/like.

I bought the Sherwood air2 equivalent. DO NOT like it. It loves to NOT re-seat after adding tiny amounts of air to the BC, leaking air into the jacket and lifting me. Once started, its hard to make it quite leaking. Replaced o-rings, taken it back numerous times. Keep happening. If the window opened on planes returning home, would have launched it already.

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#12 rtrski

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 07:26 AM

One thing I noticed at DEMA this year, wandering the show floor to help someone who was looking to buy their first rig (experienced diver, but all with rental gear and finally wanted to own), was how few true "Jacket" BCDs there were. Granted it looked like a lot of the manufacturers were only bringing samples of newer or refreshed items vs. the whole line for display, but the vast majority of the newer vest style BCDs really appeared to be going to back inflate bladders, somewhat removing the whole "BCD vs. backplate" difference.

For the record, I still wear a 'jacket' style BCD myself (worse yet, it has "Airtrim" :) )...but I've become partial to at least the back-inflate style BCD from trying others over the last year or so. (Haven't had the opportunity to give a true plate/wing arrangement a whirl.) I just can't justify new gear at my current 25ish dives a year pace when my existing equipment, although no longer my 'ideal', is in fine condition and works well enough.

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#13 tri4funnow

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:10 AM

I have just changed over from rear inflation to a jacket BCD. Was just getting tired of being pitched forward on the surface not being able to get my head high enough out of the water in the chop when others with jacket BCDs could. Also it is nice to have some decent pockets, but do miss the multiple D rings.

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I went with the Oceanic Probe LX because it had 7 SS D-rings and kept my chest area free of the bladder so I could move and position better.

#14 adamhanlon

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:53 PM

In my experience, the issue of pitching forward with a wing is more to do with the inherent buoyancy in near empty alu tanks at the end of the dive than the design of the flotation itself.

It can be simply solved by adding a 1kg (2lb) weight low down on the cylinder itself. If you have twin cambands try and thread it on to the lower one, if not, simply use an additional camband around the cylinder.

I use various Halcyon wings and backplates for diving in everything from twin 20's with multiple stages and scooters, to 3mm shorties and a single tank, and don't get thrown forward! In truth, humans tend to float pretty much face down when they are unconscious, regardless of flotation!

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#15 ErolE

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:49 AM

I second a backplate and wing for the following reasons.

1) Modularity. Can use the same base system for anything from cave diving to single tank reef diving
2) Durability. An ali/stainless steel backplate plus one continuous harness has few failure points and will keep going for many years
3) Stability. Backplate keeps your tank lock to a wide and stable platform, this prevents it from flopping about
4) Comfort. Harness can be rigged to accommodate any body shape
5) Streamlined. A backplate keeps the diver profile to a min easing progress through the water.
6) Trim. A backplate systems allows for horizontal trim to be maintained throughout the dive. This allows use of positional kicks such as backward kick and helicopter turns. Which in turn allow you to maneuver close to your subject without touching or damaging it. Very important

Personally I use a Halycon backplate and a number of wings depending on the type of diving I am doing. The aliminium backplate travels well, keeps weight down and has kept me in the water for 12 years.

As other have noted the argument that is often used against backplates is the theory that they push you face down in the water. To be honest I never noticed a difference in surface stability/position from backplates to jacket styles. I think this is an unsubstantiated rumour that has become gospel through repetition.
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#16 Timmoranuk

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:58 AM

[quote name='eefella' date='Dec 9 2009, 09:49 AM' post='233966'
As other have noted the argument that is often used against backplates is the theory that they push you face down in the water. To be honest I never noticed a difference in surface stability/position from backplates to jacket styles. I think this is an unsubstantiated rumour that has become gospel through repetition.
[/quote]

I agree. Neither my 16 kg wing, 17 kg wing, 23 kg wing or 66lb wing pushes me forward on the surface. So too my 12 year old son who dives a 13 kg wing on singles and a 16 kg wing on manifolded twin 7s.
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#17 Drew

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:04 AM

I think this is an unsubstantiated rumour that has become gospel through repetition.


Sometimes, rumors begin from truths too. It's plain physics. If you have no rear weight balance, and all the weight is on your waist and inflation is behind you, you will tip forward. That's why quite a few people use them, to stay more horizontal, face forward. That's why there are trim weight pockets to fine tune the balance.

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#18 eyu

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:58 AM

I have just changed over from a rear inflation to a jacket BCD. I totally agree that you can trim yourself with rear inflation so that you are vertical on the surface, but I have found that if you need to get your head and shoulders high out of the water in rough seas the rear inflation will pitch you forward where a regular jacket BCD will not. This pitching forward is further compounded by the fact that I am carrying a big photo rig. This year I have been fortunate enough to do a live-a-board in the Galapagos and in Bali-Komodo that subjected me to some significant wave action. With my rear inflation BCD I got pitched forward in the 3+ foot waves if I tried to get my head and shoulders out of the water while I observed other divers with regular BCDs remaining vertical.

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#19 acuevas

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:29 AM

I have just changed over from a rear inflation to a jacket BCD. I totally agree that you can trim yourself with rear inflation so that you are vertical on the surface, but I have found that if you need to get your head and shoulders high out of the water in rough seas the rear inflation will pitch you forward where a regular jacket BCD will not. This pitching forward is further compounded by the fact that I am carrying a big photo rig. This year I have been fortunate enough to do a live-a-board in the Galapagos and in Bali-Komodo that subjected me to some significant wave action. With my rear inflation BCD I got pitched forward in the 3+ foot waves if I tried to get my head and shoulders out of the water while I observed other divers with regular BCDs remaining vertical.

Elmer


This is my personal opinion, but when I'm in the surface and there is some significant waves I think that it's best not to inflate the wing too much. Your first reaction will be to inflate the wing as much as possible in order to have your head out of the water, if you don't have the wing with too much air you will not be moving up and down with the waves and if you have your face mask on it is not so terrible some water in your face. BTW I use a 85 lbs wing.

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#20 eyu

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:57 PM

This is my personal opinion, but when I'm in the surface and there is some significant waves I think that it's best not to inflate the wing too much. Your first reaction will be to inflate the wing as much as possible in order to have your head out of the water, if you don't have the wing with too much air you will not be moving up and down with the waves and if you have your face mask on it is not so terrible some water in your face. BTW I use a 85 lbs wing.

Andres.


In the chop, I want my head high enough out of the water to see the panga and be seen by the panga driver. I feel a regular vest BCD promotes this vs a back inflation BCD.

Elmer

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