BCD Recommendation

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Gvonada
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BCD Recommendation

Post by Gvonada »

I am looking to upgrade my 14 year-old daughter's BCD to a weight-integrated model. She currently uses 37 pounds of weight to go with her 50 cubic-foot aluminum tank.

My issue is that most of the weight-integrated BCD's that I'm seeing are limited to 20 pounds. Does anyone have a good recommendation for a BCD that can fit 36-40 pounds of weight? Being able to adjust the size of the BCD as she grows would be a plus as well.

Thanks!
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YellowEye
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by YellowEye »

Hi
I'd think most dive shops could help you find something. Weight integrated systems typically don't need to be augmented. If anything, get a steel tank to help. Also, that seems like a lot of weight, she may be overweighted.
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Gvonada
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by Gvonada »

It's possible that she's overweighted, but not by much. I think I could probably drop her down to about 35 pounds now that she has adjusted to her drysuit. Originally she wasn't able to get under with 35. Regardless, a 20-pound BC won't be nearly enough.

I purchased my BCD and drysuit at a local dive shop. They were very helpful, but it felt like I was limited by the brands that they carried. I've later discovered a drysuit that I like so much more, and wasn't even aware it existed during my original purchase. I'm hoping to come up with some good options so that I know what I'm looking for.

Any recommendations would be most appreciated!


Greg
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60south
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by 60south »

Many of us have gone to steel tanks (~ +5lbs) and steel backplate/wing BCDs (+5lbs) rather than vests, which takes weight off the belt or BCD. Beyond that, a weight harness system works well too.
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YellowEye
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by YellowEye »

If you're more serious about diving I would recommend looking at a backplate plus harness as well... It allows you to get much more horizontal in the water and put on things like bail out bottles to the side. But they're a little less beginner-friendly and less travel friendly.

I suspect that she'd be able to drop more weight... you can't really judge by the first 25 dives.

I don't think that I've seen too many bc's that are limited to just 20 lb of weight unless it's extremely small or tropical only BC in which case you would definitely not need 35 lb of weight to get down.

Shop around! Not even every shop carries backplates.
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Nwbrewer
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by Nwbrewer »

+ 1 for a backplate and wing. You gain 6lbs of weight for free on the plate, and lose all the excess buoyancy that a lot of vest BC's tend to have. A steel 80 is going to be about the same size as the al50, and allow her to shave off 5lbs or so of lead. (plus more air!)

I'll also add that the weight integrated pouches with that much lead kind of scare me. I've seen way too many of those pouches at come loose, (thankful most of the time in the parking lot). If you have a lot of weight in one place, and it comes loose during a dive, you're taking an express elevator to the surface. Ditchable weight is good, but you don't want to lose that much all at once.

If you want to stick with the BC she has (or you need more weight than the weight integration allows) you could add some XS scuba weight pockets to the cam bands, this works especially well when you have 2 tanks straps, as it allows you to adjust your trim a bit.

Jake
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Gvonada
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by Gvonada »

Thanks everyone! All the input helps; I wasn't aware that the backplate/wing was a separate class of BCD. I'm still using the old Sherwood Black Diamond I purchased 15+ years ago now... I was drooling over the Zeagle Ranger, but hadn't looked into backplates at all. I'll give them a look.
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mpenders
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by mpenders »

Nwbrewer wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 4:31 pm + 1 for a backplate and wing. You gain 6lbs of weight for free on the plate, and lose all the excess buoyancy that a lot of vest BC's tend to have. A steel 80 is going to be about the same size as the al50, and allow her to shave off 5lbs or so of lead. (plus more air!)

I'll also add that the weight integrated pouches with that much lead kind of scare me. I've seen way too many of those pouches at come loose, (thankful most of the time in the parking lot). If you have a lot of weight in one place, and it comes loose during a dive, you're taking an express elevator to the surface. Ditchable weight is good, but you don't want to lose that much all at once.

If you want to stick with the BC she has (or you need more weight than the weight integration allows) you could add some XS scuba weight pockets to the cam bands, this works especially well when you have 2 tanks straps, as it allows you to adjust your trim a bit.

Jake
Great information here. I agree with placing weight in multiple locations - backplate, cam band pockets, weight belt/harness and/or integrated weight allows you the ability to fine tune her trim by placing weight where it will be most beneficial. Not all of it needs to be ditch-able, just enough to make sure she's positively buoyant if she needs to be.

I'll add that "weight integrated" BCD's with only ~20lbs lead capacity may not have the air bladder/buoyancy rating to comfortably support large amounts of weight. I'd recommend a BCD with at least 35-40lbs of lift if she's planning to use it predominantly in our cold PNW waters

The backplate/harness setup will have the adjustability to account for growth of your teen. Just adjust the webbing when necessary. If needed, the webbing can be completely replaced very cheaply compared to finding her a new BCD.
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sabrisi
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Re: BCD Recommendation

Post by sabrisi »

Agree with what others have said re: having weight that is ditchable in increments.
I also agree with steel vs aluminum tank - WAY less floaty at the end of a dive too.
Have you done a weight check with her with a ~500-700 psi tank?
My suit is compressed neoprene and if it's bone dry I usually have a slower descent than if it's still damp/wet from a previous dive. I usually dump air from BCD, dump from suit, wiggle a bit and ensure I'm oriented totally vertical to make sure all air is coming up and out of both and then vent more if I'm still not down, and ensure she's not kicking/finning until descent is going.

I have a Mares Bolt but will eventually be switching to BP/W as well, for a lot of the reasons others have posted!
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