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SeaDog
06-04-2007, 12:40 PM
One of the things I noticed at the LB Scuba show was the abundance of Back Inflate BCD's. I started with a Back Inflate when I was first getting certified when i was living/working in Hong Kong, and later when I was training in Southern California I switched to a vest,( because that's what the shop rented out). I remember having some trouble staying up right on the surface with the Back Inflate but the fact that I was a "newbie" kicking all over like a duck may have had something to do with it too. I always planned on buying Vest style, because that's what I was used to the most. But after hearing a gazillion opinions. Key word "Opinions", It seemed the divers with the most experience, Tech and Recreational, preferred the Back Inflate.
Needless to say I haven't been able to come to any decision. I tried both on at the show and have to admit I found the Back Inflate BCD's very comfortable, and easy to move in, granted I was standing in the convention center with no tank, wetsuit or anything else I attach to myself before hitting the deep blue.
That said, I'm still looking for a few opinions from my peers who aren't trying to sell me their latest product. Any and all info is welcome and appreciated. I realize it's "All Opinion" but I would like yours anyway
Thanks in advance
SeaDog

Zero
06-04-2007, 03:21 PM
Back inflates will almost always put you face down in the water when you start out and if you are unconscious. Something to consider but thats the way i dive and i love it. No clutter at the front or squeezes if you over inflate.

Matt

seasnake
06-04-2007, 03:44 PM
I switch back and forth between both regularly and like them both. If I had to pick one to stick with it would be the back inflation though. I find the stuff in front of me with the vest on a little annoying. I found back inflation a little harder to get used to than the vest. I have also found that they only tend to push you face down on the surface if they are completely inflated. Since most have more than enough lift you don't have to inflate it all the way on the surface and then you get a more upright floating position. Going with a backplate and back inflation wing is very comfortable and allows lots of freedom of movement, and you have the option of moving to more advanced diving with the same set up.

BamaCaveDiver
06-04-2007, 08:15 PM
I think that most divers have started transitioning back to a BP/W set up because of their versatility. With a jacket you are limited to single cylinders, while the back plate can be configured for singles, doubles, or whatever floats your boat. Do know that there is a difference between the traditional backplate and wing setup and the newer back inflate BC's that have recently flooded the market. While most of these tech wannabe (my cavern instructors term) designs work nicely with average cylinders, they do not compare with the stability offered by a solid backplate with a simple webbing harness. The BP setup is also a lot easier to make fit different sizes as opposed to the convoluted rigs you see being sold today. The best advice I can offer is to try as many different setups as you can, focusing on how they trim at depth, the stability they offer for the cylinders you are using, and how they float you at the surface, then pick the one that is right for the type of diving that you are most interested in.

hbh2oguard
06-05-2007, 05:38 AM
Going back to what zero said about face down in the water. First off any diver is very difficult to rescue with gear on. If they are unconscious, it very possible they are still breathing and you don't want to be face down because you will drown, and inhale water. So I dive with a vest bc and have grown to like it.

amtrosie
06-05-2007, 03:22 PM
Going back to what zero said about face down in the water. First off any diver is very difficult to rescue with gear on. If they are unconscious, it very possible they are still breathing and you don't want to be face down because you will drown, and inhale water. So I dive with a vest bc and have grown to like it.



If you are looking for a vest to maintain your head above the water after the dive, you will have to get a Personal Flotation Device found in most marine supply stores. There is not a BC, wing or vest, that is approved as a PFD. So the question should be, "what device will provide the most efficient diving?" A packplate with wings (bp/w) provides for the most efficient trim in the water, while the vest will usually place the diver in the head down position. With your head down you will be constantly working to maintain trim, using more gas, and an over-all negative dive experience (more work, less enjoyment). The bp/w will allow for horizontal trim, which directly translates to less work to maintain trim, which also leads to less gas consumed, less fatigue after a dive. Basically a more controlled dive, which is always safer. The benefits are endless. Rule number 1 in my diving for success is this: 1. The diver (me) MUST HAVE FUN, and less work, means more fun! Rule number 2? 2. Repeat rule number 1

seasnake
06-05-2007, 05:20 PM
A packplate with wings (bp/w) provides for the most efficient trim in the water, while the vest will usually place the diver in the head down position.

Well, I don't know about that. I am very comfortable and trimmed in my jacket or vest style BC. If anything I would say it tends to position my slightly heads up/feet down (weight integrated Mares Frontier). My BP/W DEF. positions my head down, wayyy down, and I like to add some trim weights near the bottom of the tanks to flatten me out without having to fight with it all the time.

amtrosie
06-05-2007, 06:01 PM
If anything I would say it tends to position my slightly heads up/feet down (weight integrated Mares Frontier). My BP/W DEF. positions my head down, wayyy down, and I like to add some trim weights near the bottom of the tanks to flatten me out without having to fight with it all the time.



We may be arguing apples and oranges. I will say that putting weights in a BC is proving the arguement. You are affecting trim by positioning weights within the framework of the vest. As to the bp/w, repositioning the backplate or the bands on the tanks will affect the trim one way or the other. Note: Just adding weights to the tank may do more to adversely affect your trim in the water, not to mention the additional work required to move in the water column.

Of course body composition is the determining factor in all this.

hbh2oguard
06-06-2007, 12:14 AM
Sure any and all bc aren't USCG approved as a pfd but a vest will keep your face out of the water, especially when compared to rear/back inflation. By any chance can you tell me how to wear a pfd with a bc?:) :)

amtrosie
06-06-2007, 12:58 AM
By any chance can you tell me how to wear a pfd with a bc?:) :)



VERRRRRRRRY CARFULLLLLLLY!!!!!!!

scott_uknl
06-09-2007, 09:20 PM
Just a quick post, to say I had similar surface issues with my new Seaquest Balance BCD last August, but stuck 2 lbs in the non dump pouches at the back (1lb in each)..and it seemed to fix the problem.

And as said elsewhere here, you dont need to fully inflate either.

Hope this helps.

Finless
06-09-2007, 11:18 PM
From my own perspective I had a jacket style (I'll call it a BCD for simplicity) before moving to a wing. I really liked my BCD with its pockets and I never found it to be an issue with being cluttered ......... now I have a wing but I have a pocket pouch on the waist band!

In the UK I wear a dry suit all year round and that is what I use for buoyancy during the dive so the BCD/wing is to hold the cylinder(s), give me lift on the surface and to provide backup under water.

When I moved to twin 12 ltr cylinders my BCD didn't have enough lift to support me at the surface so I bought a wing.

In short, IMO, if you are single cylinder diving then a BCD is fine. There are some really good designs out their that don't squeeze you when fully inflated and keep the gas where it should be to support you at the surface.

Over inflating a wing can push you forward with a single cylinder and moving your weight about can help ease the issue.

If you don't have lift issues then stick with what you've got ....... unless you want to buy some new dive kit. :) :)

Also, people say wings give you better under water trim but I've never really found that to be an issue whatever I've used ........

Certainly, from a UK perspective, BCD's were for singles (plus ponies) and wings for more weight/cylinders. I have noticed more wing style BCD's in the mags but whether than is fashion led or there is any need for it .......... ?

[EDIT]I misread the opening post so most of the above is not relavant but I'll add - if suffering "tipping forward" on the surface put some lead at the back of your cylinder (unless you get into tight spaces) or in relevant trim pockets .....

SeaDog
06-17-2007, 03:10 PM
After going back and forth I decided on the Back Inflate (Sherwood Axis) I appreciate all the input. Trip to Catalina on the 24th to try it out. This should be interesting. :cool:

Finless
06-17-2007, 11:27 PM
After going back and forth I decided on the Back Inflate (Sherwood Axis) I appreciate all the input. Trip to Catalina on the 24th to try it out. This should be interesting. :cool:

Apologies if I am "teaching Granny to suck eggs" ut I would recommend a session in the pool, shallow water somewhere to get your trim and weighting correct for the new gear - no point spoiling a 'proper dive' by swimming around nose down in the silt ot having to walk along the sea bed! :)

Lorenzo
08-09-2008, 11:10 PM
I tried that PFD/BC combo this weekend, but I ran out of places to put the 50 pounds of lead I needed to get under...

LANCE
09-04-2010, 09:18 PM
I am a vest guy

The Publisher
09-04-2010, 09:49 PM
Whatever you are most comfortable with is usually the best.

acelockco
09-05-2010, 01:25 AM
I am a vest guy

Really? I wouldn't have thought so. I find that rear inflation is becoming much more common in the U.S. but don't know about elsewhere in the world. I also find rear inflation to be more common with males then females. These are just my observations from being on the dive boat pretty often.

I guess it just depends on what you are used to using.

cherylfoster
01-04-2011, 07:18 PM
Back inflate almost always put you in the water when you start and if you are unconscious. Something to consider, but thats the way I dived and I love it. No mess on the forehead, or press, if you breathe.

acelockco
01-04-2011, 11:45 PM
what if you don't breathe?

KWS
03-21-2011, 06:58 AM
I LIKE MOST STARTED WITH A JACKET BCD. WHY THAT IS WHAT THEY HAD TO OFFER AT THE LDS. OOPS. then attempts to do something productive reveiled tht the inflation negated the pockets usage in the vest. I then went to a trans pac and found that i did not have the binding that was there in the vest. good feeling. except for the face in the water thing . a bit of adjustment and that problem became history. my bouyancy becamme pretty good considering the weight was still on my waist. i now have gone to a bp/w and have the needed weightin the center of my torso instead of at the bottom of it. . i think any type will work. however you have to look at what you are giong to do now and what you may do with it in the future. 500.00 plus for a change of mind is expensive. i would recommend you look into some of the dir areas as well as the bouyancy areas. the latter is most important. i am not dir one way fits all extreemist. but the basic comcepts of dir is sound. just not everyones cup of tea i guess one could say. the more you move to the bp/w the more virsitility you find you have. also look into hogarthian diving. perhaps some reaserch into the gue/ fundimentals and skills developemnet stuff.

when you look into some of this , look for the reasons things are done the way they are and decide what you need to achieve your needs. not only is this a vest or bp question but it is more an issue of what will serve you the best. sizing for instance is important. with a vest you have s/m/l 30-40-50 lb lift. you put on a few lbs and the lift is not right or the vest does not position the lift correctly and then you are the michileen man. wet suit or dry suit has different lift requirements. unless you put all these things into the equation it will be hard to arrive at the right answer for you. for me i have a bp/w i have 2 wings, one for doubles and another for singles i have additonal bp weights for the bp for dry suit diving. now fresh water salt water and wet dry suit single or doubles have 8 different combinations possible. with out the bp/w i may need 3 or more jacket bc's and a ton of weight to accomplish the variations that the single bp/w can provide. of course this is all moot if you are always going to dive in 30 ft of 80 degree fresh water.

acelockco
03-23-2011, 04:53 AM
What a great response! Really great info there.

Papa Bear
12-20-2012, 01:22 AM
Always remember a Vest will squeeze you and for some people they feel like they can't get a breath if the Vest is too tight! I have had every type of BCD and prefer a back inflater as they are more versatile for me!