These new BCDs offer convenience and comfort for divers with some unique features, like vertically mounted weight pockets and a lever inflator system.
Weighing just over 5 pounds, this comfortable, lightweight back-inflation BC offers divers up to 42 pounds of buoyant life in size medium. This travel-friendly BC features a soft pack plate for easy packing. Two zippered cargo pockets and four aluminum D-rings offer plenty of options for stowage and clipping accessories, octos and gauges. The air cell is compressed by bungees to help control volume for a stable orientation and to ensure quick deflation. Three pull dumps help with maintaining buoyancy. Vertically mounted weight pockets make it easy to ditch weights, and feature simple web loops to help load lead against the pull of gravity.
SCUBAPRO SEAHAWK II
This makeover of the Scubapro Seahawk is very comfortable and stable in the water. It packs more than 50 pounds of buoyant lift in size large and the integrated weights hold 24 pounds, not including the trim pockets. There are plenty of options for stowage including a pair of roomy zippered cargo pockets and eight stainless D-rings. The BC can be outfitted with Scubapro’s Air2 power inflator and features a rear exhaust for buoyancy control. Despite generous padding throughout, this BC still folds up as small as most travel-oriented BCs. This BC is capable of everything from tropical diving to drysuit duty.
The Magellan is a ready-and-willing traveler that cuts out unnecessary bulk for a light-weight, high-performance BC. The thin, barely-there harness is designed with ergonomically curved shoulder straps keep everything in place without restricting movement. Padding in the soft back, waistband and collar are located right where they’re needed. There isn’t an abundance of stowage, just two metal D-rings and a roll-up cargo pocket. But there is a lot of buoyant lift, about 49 pounds of it in size medium to be exact. This back-inflate is very stable in the water with good trim and attitude control. Pinch-to-release integrated weights are secure and easy to operate.
AQUA LUNG AXIOM I3 WITH F.A.S.T LOCK SYSTEM
This capable and comfortable BC packs a couple of really cool features. The first is the F.A.S.T Lock System, which places the tank buckle on the front of the BC with a ratcheting lock, making it possible to switch tanks without lifting them off the dive bench. The i3 inflator, a lever system mounted by the left weight pocket used to inflate and deflate the air cell instead of a typical power inflator, is surprisingly intuitive (up for up, down for down). Like an automatic transmission, it requires the diver to give up some control, but provides convenience and functionality.