How to Choose the Right Scuba BCD for Your Needs
You are going to find buoyance control devices that come in three styles: back inflation, jacket, or hybrid. The most well-known is the jacket style where the BCD is inflated in the back, front, and sides. It tends to be the best option for those new to scuba diving as they are simple to control at the surface and make a user more streamlined.
As you might expect, back inflation models inflate only on the back and tend to be more lightweight. They are comfortable and allow you to move in a freer manner. This is typically the option used by dive travelers. The hybrid model combines the two styles. Choosing which is right for you is a good start to choosing the right BCD, but other things come into play, as well.
A large number of BCDs have separate versions for men and women. Women’s models bit differently through the shape of the shoulder straps, the position of the chest straps, and the length of the back.
Where male or female, you want your BCD to be snug when it is inflated. If your BCD is too large, it can drag in the water and cause problems. Since you need to close your buckles and straps while inflated on shore, you want to make sure there is plenty of room to breathe.
Those who plan to travel to partake in diving will want to consider the size and weight of your BCD as a compact, lightweight option is the best choice. This will take up less room in your luggage and won’t have all the extra harness points and straps. Back inflation BCDs are the most common choice for those who do a large amount of traveling to scuba dive.
Another important thing to consider is the lift capacity of the BCD. This refers to how much the BCD can hold when inflated fully while at the surface. Calculating how much lift capacity you need will depend upon a few factors, including whether you’re in cold water and wearing a thicker wetsuit. The thicker suit requires a higher capacity than a thin suit. For those in tropical waters, you may need less lift capacity due to wearing a thin wetsuit.
Putting it All Together
When you consider all the factors above, you’ll have a good idea of what sort of BCD will work best for your needs. Think about the weight, lift capacity, style, and fit of BCD that fits what type of diving you want to do. All of the eight BCDs above are exceptional quality and you can likely find one that fits your needs. And once you’ve managed to find the right one, you’re that much closer to enjoying your time under the water.