Editor's Pick - July 2008
Deep Outdoors D2
In this case, first looks can be deceiving, because the D2's obvious rear-mount air cell has a hidden counterpart up front, making it something of a hybrid jacket-style BC. Or, as we like to think of it, a jacket BC for techies.
The dual air-cell design connects a main rear-mount bladder with a front-mount bladder. Use the rear air cell while diving for streamlined swimming, and then float effortlessly while on the surface by inflating the front bladder. All it takes is pulling a cord to connect the two air cells and then adding a little more air. Weight-integrated pockets and a pair of trim pockets handle the necessary ballast. Heavy-duty hardware in the form of stainless-steel D-rings, zippered cargo pockets and a small utility pocket on the cummerbund offers lots of storage. The backpack is a soft-pack design, but it is well-padded and includes a rigid base that helps stabilize tank weight.
The D2 makes good on its "best of both worlds" approach to air-cell design. Divers who love the freedom of movement of rear inflation yet tire of face-planting at the surface should give this BC a serious look. The integrated weight pockets are positioned farther back on the hips than on most jacket-style BCs, which was noticeable while swimming, but not too much on the surface.