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Heavy Weight Packs on a BCD


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#1 pointy

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:09 AM

20 years ago I dove with a drysuit and weight belt. I have just recently gotten back into diving, but now I have a BCD with integrated weight packs. In order to stay neutral with my new drysuit, I have about 7 kilos of weight in each of the two packs. From a comfort perspective, this is certainly a big improvement over a weight belt, but the plastic clips that keep the packs in place look kind of flimsy to me.

If I hear a reassuring click when the pack is stowed, can I assume it is secure? Does this kind of system have an excellent history of reliability? Are there any measures that would mitigate the risk of a pack inadvertently falling out during a dive? Have any of you deliberately ditched a heavy weight pack during a dive to see how well you could handle the sudden increase in buoyancy? If so, how did that go for you?

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#2 Bent C

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:05 AM

I never use that much ditchable weight under any circumstances. I have weightpockets on my tank straps and put some of the weight in those if I need a lot of weight. I have seen to many divers go to the surface after loosing a pocket or a weight belt to want to risk that. A sudden loss of 7 kilos would highly likely be a major problem. I keep around three to four kilos ditchable and the rest fixed. Loosing four kilos at depth will be manageable.
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#3 pointy

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 11:03 AM

I never use that much ditchable weight under any circumstances. I have weightpockets on my tank straps and put some of the weight in those if I need a lot of weight. I have seen to many divers go to the surface after loosing a pocket or a weight belt to want to risk that. A sudden loss of 7 kilos would highly likely be a major problem. I keep around three to four kilos ditchable and the rest fixed. Loosing four kilos at depth will be manageable.


Hello Bent,

Yours is obviously a good practice. Maybe it is even taught as a rule in the better dive schools, but it was not the practice where I was diving 20 - 25 years ago. We all had huge weights belts back then. I never heard of any accidents from losing a belt at depth, but I would agree that the possibility should have concerned us. Sturdy belt buckles seemed safe, but those little plastic clips on weight packs have convinced me that I should do things your way. It's too bad because my trim is really good with all the weight in the packs.

John

#4 johnjvv

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:56 PM

I have just recently started using a dry suit and would like to believe that if i lost one weight pocket with 4 Pounds in it, that i would be alright by dumping all the air in my bc and drysuit.. However when talking to tech divers they dont seem to buy into dumpable weight at all as it equals suicide if they are 50 meters deep or on deco....

I agree with Bent C, putting all your eggs in one weight pocket is prob not the best. Mine is spread between a steel tank, backplate, weightbelt, cam belt pockets and bc dumpable....a balanced portfolio!!!

I have just recently started using a dry suit and would like to believe that if i lost one weight pocket with 4 Pounds in it, that i would be alright by dumping all the air in my bc and drysuit.. However when talking to tech divers they dont seem to buy into dumpable weight at all as it equals suicide if they are 50 meters deep or on deco....

I agree with Bent C, putting all your eggs in one weight pocket is prob not the best. Mine is spread between a steel tank, backplate, weightbelt, cam belt pockets and bc dumpable....a balanced portfolio!!!

#5 bvanant

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:24 PM

You can easily do the experiment. Put your 7kg in and see how hard it is to pull the pocket from the BC. I use integrated weights plus some non-ditchable on my tank) and have never seen a pocket that has been put in properly fall out. My guess is that the plastic clip is a whole lot more reliable than you think. On the other hand if you are routinely going to 50 meters or more and are worried put more weight on the tank. If the weight is on the center line of the tank, trim should not be an issue.
BIll

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#6 Alastair

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 08:53 PM

i am going with Johnvv. I have never been a fan of all my weight in one place. When i did my tech courses the emphasis initially was on ensuring that at your lightest (empty tank) you still had enough weight to remain neutral in the water and so after the excersise you trim accordingly. So for me the idea of losing such a large amount of weight could be significant. You should try a quick excersise at the end of a dive (easier if you are shore diving) and in shallow water bleed you tank to 20bar or less. Pull out one pocket and see if you can maintain your bouyancy. if not then you should spread the weight. I use a harness with SS backplate and i only ever add weight to the harness with thick suits.

If i ever go for dry suit dive - i would use pockets that i could dump. but still retain that weight of my centre trim weight and my backplate. i also find that the central weighting keeps me nice and horizonal and easier to peer through my view finder as well as go upside down and other strange positions for photgraphing under ledges etc..
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#7 Bent C

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

You can easily do the experiment. Put your 7kg in and see how hard it is to pull the pocket from the BC. I use integrated weights plus some non-ditchable on my tank) and have never seen a pocket that has been put in properly fall out. My guess is that the plastic clip is a whole lot more reliable than you think. On the other hand if you are routinely going to 50 meters or more and are worried put more weight on the tank. If the weight is on the center line of the tank, trim should not be an issue.
BIll


It is probably correct that if everything is done according to manuals, done properly and checked before diving, there should be no problems. I have, however, once seen a diver with integrated pockets being held down by a dive guide after loosing a pocket, once my self caught a guy corking to the surface after loosing his belt at 27 meters (that could potentially have been serious, the dive profile prior to belt loss was nowhere near a safe direct trip up) and have a friend doing the trip from 18 to the surface after loosing his belt (no major issues, early in the dive). I have also seen weight pockets fall out on the dive deck prior to divers jumping in, so it does happen. I have never seen anyone needing to actually ditch weights for safety reasons. Thus, now I would rather dive without ditchable weights than have everything in a single ditchable system. But then again, lots of my dive buddies would never consider diving with that configuration. Still, not trusting a removable option to much seems to me to be the safest choice.

Edited by Bent C, 11 September 2012 - 09:19 AM.

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#8 tdpriest

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:15 PM

John?

It's fine!

7kg is probably a bit much, but most integrated systems are happy with 5kg a side.

I use about 12kg with a drysuit, mostly in an OMS integrated weight system on my wing, but with a couple of kilos fastened to twin cylinders as trim.

Weights fall out when they haven't been clipped in properly, and it is true that many integrated systems are difficult to fasten when they are too full.

#9 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:44 PM

During my work as dive operation owner and dive instructor i see a lot of divers loosing
their weight pockets due to
a) user error
b) highly developed weight pocket locking systems, but still not working ..

I would recommend the combination of
- steel backplate on a wing
- weight pockets
- ditchable weight pockets on the tank band
- Giberna: http://www.divesyste...emart&Itemid=34

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#10 MortenHansen

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:46 PM

Dont overload your pockets, if they don't fall out they will most likely wear out quickly.

Spread your weights out as much as possible.

Having guided thousands of divers over the last few years I have never seen someone drop their weight-belt underwater.
I have seen dozens of people drop their weight pockets, mostly because they load too much into them and therefore they are very hard to "click-in".

I dive with a belt, have done so for all my +2500 dives, never lost it.

What you can do it that you can put some in the pockets, some in the trim-pockets on the back, some on a weight belt and some on your tank-band. The more you spread them the less stress you put on yourself and your gear.

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#11 Scubysnaps

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 12:29 AM

I dive with 3kg in each of my integrated pockets and 5kg in my belt, this enables me to still have some neutral buoyancy should I ever need to take my wing/BCD off during the dive.
Cheers
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#12 tdpriest

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:06 PM

... I have never seen someone drop their weight-belt underwater...


... and I've seen it severale times. It's a particular problem with a cold-water wetsuit, a snug, but not tight, fabric (webbing) weightbelt and a worn plastic cam buckle.

I've seen a couple of weight pockets fall out, too, in fairness.

#13 bvanant

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:37 PM

Here in California new divers, typically on their first or second ocean dive often lose weight belts. Most of our day boats have giant stride heights of 8-9 feet and most new divers don't tighten their belts enough. They do the giant stride, their BC stops them at the surface and their weightbelts go to the bottom. It is often the job of a new dive master to sit at the bottom and bring weight belts back to the unfortunate students. I have seen a few weight pockets fall out; always from users error (too much weight so they don't latch or simply not putting them in correctly).
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#14 MortenHansen

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:26 PM

I have also seen plenty of people drop their belts while getting into a zodiac or while jumping in the water, my point is that I've never seen it while actually diving- of course when you're wearing a double 7mm in cold water your suit compresses and the webbing, when wet, stretches a bit, then of course you have to tighten the belt a bit as you descend, but to me thats something you learn in your owdc.

Anyways, I think we can all agree that the best way to go with this is to spread the weights out nicely but still have a dump-able amount large enough to make a buoyant emergency ascent.

-Morten.

#15 Aussiebyron

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:29 PM

Some BCD's intergrated pockets wear if you stuff them with alot of weight. I recommend that you spread you weight around a bit, but also depends on the BCD you bought. You can spread some of the weight by simply going back to a soft belt with most of your weight and only a small amount of weight in your intergrated pockets. Adding a couple of weights to your tank bands also spreads the load.

Another thing to consider if your on a dive trip what will you do if you loose a weight pocket or both? Packing a belt with a good metal buckle doesnt take much room (without weight of course). Dont know if you dive steel or Aluminium tanks but going to a steel tank also reduces the amount of weight required compared with Aluminium.

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#16 John Bantin

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 01:21 AM

Provided the amount of total weight you wear is all you actually need, you could stow 6kg (12lb) in the BC integrated weight pouches and the rest elsewhere. In the event of needing to drop weights, dropping 6Kg will give you enough lift for an emergency.
Of course, many divers wear too much lead because 1) they don't exclude all the air from their drysuit before they go in the water and 2) they take a deep breath before submerging when they should actually exhale instead.

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#17 E_viking

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 08:55 AM

Hi,

My suggestion is to spread the weight around as much as possible.
It makes it overall more comfy in both Water, donning it and carrying it.
I am personally doing a lot of my drysuit diving/teaching in freezing alpine Lakes. Imagine a Thermocline at approx 0-10m ( depending on lake and season) and below it +4°C
So I carry a lot of "warmth" weights. The more extra weight I carry, the more air I can use and the longer it takes until the shivers start :-) So, I use somewhere between 8-15kg, depending on Water Temperature.
Use Trim Weights, backplates, weight pockets and weight belts.

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#18 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Aussiebyron made a good point too,
with steel tanks you could get approx 2 Kilos off the belt.
Add a stainless steel backplate on your wing and you get another 3 kilos on your back and of the belt.
1-2 Kilos in the trim pockets on the bcd and 2x2/3 kilos in the weight pockets or on the belt and maybe 1 kilo ankle weight per leg and you should be good.
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#19 mantababe

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

i use a harness have no weight pockets on my buddy jacket, so all weight goes into the harness, there have been couple of times that one of the pockets fell out [user error] so other than putting a couple of weights on my cylinder, which i have done before but felt unsteady, kinda made me feel lopsided, i have all my weigths in one place, read this thread with interest as what has been said makes total sense, anyone got any suggestion on how i can get around this situ of putting all my weights in one basket?