In this Guide
Whether you are a serious diver or a hobbyist, it’s important that you choose your gear well. This is true particularly for diving gears like BCDs or Buoyancy Control Devices. Most tourist spots that offer diving as an activity will have this for rent but there are benefits to having your own. You will be able to choose the best BCDs that fit your size and pick those brands and products incorporated with the complete features that suit your diving needs.
One of the downsides of having your own BCD, on the other hand, is that you will have to pack it and lug it around for travels. This is why it’s important to choose a lightweight BCD for travels. You would want something that is easy to stash in your bag and easy to carry with you.
We checked out what the market has to offer, read reviews of people who bought lightweight BCDs and narrowed down your choices to the ones that are not just light in weight but are also reliable, durable and packed with features.
The Best Lightweight BCD for Travel 2019 Reviews
1. Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving BC
This is an all-in-one BCD product that includes everything you might need in a BCD including an integrated weight system. It fits divers looking for a mid-range, accessible and affordable BCD. Total weight of the buoyancy control is 5.5 pounds, which makes this so easy to bring with you for travels.
We love how feature-packed this BCD is even though it’s a mid-range kind of BCD. It comes with a carabiner at the right shoulder that allows users to effortlessly adjust the position of the BCD. If you are looking for a BCD that already comes with an integrated weight system, this is a good choice.
This streamlined BCD can accommodate a weight of up to 14 pounds. The weight pockets are easy to release when needed, thanks to its quick drop system.
The back system is straightforward and isn’t complicated. That means you can easily fold it to fit in your luggage.
Many customers commented on how comfortably it fits. It doesn’t feel constricting even while adjusting it while it is worn.
The quality is also top-notch. The materials don’t succumb to wear and tear even when this BCD is worn a lot.
Customers also commented on the customer services provided by Oceanic. Even when there were missing parts during delivery, the customer service team was quick to respond and send the missing parts.
If you are a new diver, it might take time getting used to removing air after usage. It tends to happen to back inflate BCDs but eventually, you will get the hang of it.
2. Cressi R1 Weight with Integrated BCD
Cressi always delivers quality BCDs for a lower price. People on a tight budget will want to get this lightweight BCD as it is one of the cheapest ones out there. We also recommend this for recreational divers or those who only go diving a few times a year. It’s also perfect for novice divers as it won’t bust the bank and still has a good enough quality to last for many dives.
Despite its price, the materials are durable and are able to withstand some level of abuse. According to Cressi, they combined the materials used for their Aquaride, which is more on the higher end of the market and their Aquapro 5, which is known for being one of the most durable BCDs they have.
All the other parts also seem to have a good build. The weights are sturdy and locked in place firmly. There’s also a lot of room in the pockets. Cressi added hooks as well so you can secure more diving paraphernalia.
You can easily find the perfect fit because the waistband is completely adjustable. It also comes with a power inflator that you can easily use.
This BCD also comes with a weight integrated system so if you are looking for one in the BCD you are buying, this one won’t disappoint.
The size seems to run large. It’s best to ask for proper sizing or order your BCD one size smaller. Some people said they got their usual size, but it turned out a little big for them.
3. Zeagle Stiletto BCD with Ripcord Weight System
If you have more money to spare for a BCD, get this. It’s a great investment for more experienced scuba divers. It doesn’t compromise on weight and quality so it’s the perfect travel companion for avid scuba divers.
It truly is light in weight. You can easily fold it and stash it in your luggage. Customers can just roll it to save luggage space. Bring it with you to all your scuba diving trips and you will never have a problem with it.
Want to do both temperate or warm scuba diving? This is the perfect choice for you as it allows both styles of diving. It dispenses with the need for twin tanks and doesn’t require a BCD with a higher lift. This one does it for you without the need for add-ons or without switching to another BCD.
It will last you for a long time. The 1000 denier nylon bladder material ensures that you will get a lot of wear from this BCD. Even when you abuse it by not handling it well, it can still withstand the abuse.
Unlike other BCDs, this comes with a Personal Fit System. That means you can adjust it to fit your frame comfortably no matter what size you are. It also has lumbar pad sewn on so you can wear it for a long time without feeling fatigued.
A lot of customers are generally happy with the Zeagle brand. They said they have yet to try a Zeagle BCD that disappoints so they are confident this will really last them a long time.
Some users think it should have come with a 2-cylinder configuration. The price is also a little steep for those who are on a tight budget.
4. Scubapro Litehawk BCD
Like what its name suggests, this is a lightweight BCD that is easy to fit in your luggage and carry with you on your travels. At just 5.2 pounds, it’s one of the lightest BCDs out there. It has a mid-range price, suitable for those divers who are looking for a more affordable BCD.
As mentioned above, it’s very light in weight, even lighter than its competitors. You can easily fold it and find a space for it in your luggage. If you are an avid traveler and you dive frequently, you would want to give this a try.
Its durability is also noteworthy. Like the other BCDs, this one has been constructed from 1000 Denier Nylon. You can inflict a lot of damage to it and it will be able to withstand those damages.
Customers like how it comes with elastic cords. This feature allows users to control how big or small the BCD will get. It also allows the air cells to be streamlined even when not inflated to full capacity. It also has a low-drag profile.
The lift capacity is good. At 29.2 pounds of lift capacity, it’s one of the most reliable BCDs out there. The release weight system is also commendable. You can get an additional 24-pound release system if you want.
Customers also like how easy it is to inflate and deflate. Some back-inflating BCDs might be difficult to deflate but this one works just fine.
Some customers didn’t like the weight distribution of this BCD. Novice divers who have a habit of rolling underwater might have difficulty finding a good proper weight distribution.
Here are the best ones out there:
- Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving BC
- Cressi R1 Weight with Integrated BCD
- Zeagle Stiletto BCD
- Scubapro Litehawk BCD
So, which of these BCDs should you ultimately go for? It really depends on your needs.
For recreational, new or occasional divers, a less expensive BCD like the Cressi R1 Weight with Integrated BCD is a great buy. It’s not that expensive so you can still test what kind of BCD you really want before committing to a more expensive model. You might even be able to use this as a long-term BCD even if you have advanced diving skills because the features are great and can compete with more expensive models. It’s also durable and comfortable.
The Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving BC is a bit more expensive but still good for those looking to save some money. The features are great, it has a rugged look and can work for different skills of divers.
The same is true for the Scubapro Litehawk BCD. This mid-range BCD is ideal for both novice and advanced divers alike. It works well, has a good streamlined profile and can withstand some level of abuse.
We recommend getting the Zeagle Stiletto BCD with Ripcord Weight System if you have more money to spare. It’s more expensive than the others but has amazing quality and features that all kinds of divers will love. It comes with a lot of features and stands out when it comes to fit and quality.
Finding the best travel BCD isn’t always easy, but overall, we’d suggest you opt for the Scubapro Litehawk BCD thanks to its sturdy construction and streamlined profile.
Be more discerning when buying a BCD. Since it doesn’t come cheap, you would want to look for a BCD that can last you for a long time. Here are some factors to consider when buying:
We don’t recommend spending too little on your BCD. Quality is often compromised when a product is too cheap. Set aside a reasonable budget so you can get more use out of your BCD.
What is it made of? Some BCDs have lower denier count than others. The higher the denier count, the more durable it is. Also, find out what other materials were used to create the BCD. Make sure the materials are not prone to erosion. If there are metal parts like the buckles or the rings, check to see if they are not prone to the formation of rust. Open the zippers. Find out if the zippers on the pockets are sturdy. You don’t want them to get damaged easily.
Compare weight. When it comes to lightweight BCDs, they truly deliver on their promise. They are easy to fold or roll and fit in your bags. However, you would still want to compare to check which ones are bulkier than others and which ones tend to be heavier. Also, check how easy they are to inflate or deflate. If the BCD is difficult to deflate, you will have difficulty compacting it and getting it to fit in your bag.
Fit and Comfort
Are the straps padded? Does the waistband hurt when you tighten it? Can you adjust it to fit your comfort preferences? You would also want to find the right size for you. BCDs come in different sizes and some might run a bit larger than others. Do your research to know if the customers are happy with the sizes they bought, or you need to size down or size up.
If you want to learn more about the quality of the BCD you are buying, you would want to check its make. If the brand has a good reputation when it comes to making BCDs, you can be assured that what you are buying is good, even if it’s an entry-level BCD from their line-up of BCDs. Knowing more about the manufacturer will also let you know if you are dealing with a good company. In case you receive a bad product and you want to have it replaced, the company will help you out with your concerns.
Now you can plan your next scuba diving session. With these BCD suggestions, you won’t have to keep looking around for the best one to buy. Decide on which one to buy and click on the product link of your choice. Get our expert reviews of all the best BCDs here!