It can be a bit overwhelming looking at all the categories (Travel, Back Inflate, Jacket, Women’s, etc.) and trying to determine what’s right for you. And when looking at the categories, you notice that some of the Scuba BCDs are in more than one category. What’s up with that? Here’s your roadmap for navigating the differences.
Travel BCDs -
These are our lightest weight Scuba BCs intended to make dive travel less cumbersome. With airline weight restrictions, you’ll quickly appreciate the streamlined design and lighter weight of these models. Because you know the benefits of diving gear you know whether you’re close to home or halfway across the world, when you invest in a Travel Scuba BCD you up your game in diving skills and safety. Lighter weight and easy to pack, a Travel BCD can be used everyday or specifically for travel. Either way, you’ll be thankful for the streamlined design, lighter weight, and less space necessary for your gear. These also usually fall into either Back inflate or Jacket Style BCDs.
Back Inflate BCDs -
This style Scuba BCD has a bladder in the back that inflates when you press the inflation button on your BC. All of the air is in the back of this BC which makes staying horizontal in the water easier. Because of the design, this style of Scuba BCD can feel a little less restrictive, allowing you to move easier in the water. Note that this style usually has less pockets and D-rings than the Jacket Style, which makes this style more streamlined. Also referred to as the minimalist diver’s BC, some of the Back Inflate Scuba BCD might also fall into the Travel BCD category.
Jacket Style BCDs -
Designed more like a life jacket, this style has a bladder or bladder system that inflates around you - back, front, and sides. This style also tends to have more pockets and D-rings compared to other styles.
Hybrid BCDs -
Offer a blend of the Jacket Style and the Back Inflate Style.
Women’s BCDs -
Made to fit the curves of a woman’s body, these Scuba BCDs are designed with narrower shoulder straps and adjustment points lower on the torso for the shoulder straps. The chest strap is also usually located a little higher and some models even have a chest strap that can be adjusted up or down horizontally for added comfort. Finally, most of these are made to fit the curves of a woman’s body in the waist area. All of these details combine to make for a more comfortable fit. Some of these might fall into the Travel BCD category and most of them will fall into either Back Inflate or Jacket Style BCDs as well.
BCD Integrated Octo/Inflator -
Some manufacturers make the BC inflator hose so you can add an integrated Octo to your BCD at the end of your inflator hose. This allows you to be more streamlined and you always know right where your Octo is in an emergency. If your regulator gets pulled from your mouth for any reason, you’ve always got your safe second close at hand. This setup also makes it easier to breathe off your BC if the need arises.
BCD Accessories -
This is where you find replacement weight pouches, tank bands, customization color kits, pockets, and replacement hoses. We’ve even got hangers specifically designed for your Scuba BC so that caring for your gear is as easy as possible.
As with all things Scuba, consider first what types of dives you’ll be doing. That alone will go a long way to helping determine which Scuba BCD is right for you. From there, it’s all about style and what’s most comfortable.
If you’d like a little help digging deeper and finding the perfect BCD for you, pop over to our BCD Buyer’s Guide
and let Hal walk you through the details.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just getting started, we have a BCD for you.