If you are a scuba diver, then you know the importance of having a good BCD. Not only does it make diving more comfortable, but it also keeps you safe underwater. With so many different brands and models available on the market today, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you.
In this article, we will discuss the different features of the best travel BCD options on the market and help you decide which one is right for you. We will also provide a buying guide to make your decision even easier.
What Is A BCD?
A BCD, or buoyancy control device, is a piece of scuba diving equipment that helps to regulate your buoyancy underwater. It does this by using a combination of air and weight to keep you at the desired depth.
When a diver wears it, it provides both positive and negative buoyancy and allows the diver to control their descent and ascent in the water. BCDs are also called BCs, stabilizers, or adjustable buoyancy life jackets.
BCDs come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different body types and diving styles. They can also provide more or less buoyancy, depending on the situation.
Most BCDs have a series of pockets to store small items like dive weights, tools, and other supplies such as dive knives or flashlights. Some also have an integrated weight system that allows you to add or remove weights without having to use a separate weight belt.
Most BCDs come from durable materials such as neoprene or PVC. They have a backplate and an inflation device, which inflate the BCD. This works manually or with a CO₂ cartridge. The BCD also has extra straps that attach it to the diver’s body.
BCDs are an essential piece of dive equipment for both recreational and professional divers. They provide safety and extra comfort underwater.
The 5 Best BCD Options
Here are some of the best BCDs on the market:
1. Cressi Light Travel Scuba Diving BCD
This scuba B.C.D. is one of the best back-inflation scuba B.C.D. you can use it for traveling. It can pack into a carry-on bag owing to its ultra-light structure and soft backrest. The item is very light and well-accessorized which makes it a popular choice for divers.
The design improves the lateral distribution of air for a natural dry weight alignment. It combines the traditional framework with noteworthy buoyancy. It is particularly hydrodynamic because of its larger wings and waist-length shape. It includes the Cressi Inflator Flat.
The double air filtration system restricts particulates from infiltrating and clogging. There are two dump valves, each with a front control. Even with the jacket on, the Weight Lock-Aid System allows for automatic instinctive pocket insertion and removal.
Each has a capacity of 4.5 kg. 2 large, lateral deep zippered pockets that feature zipper closures, as well as side and bottom gusset. This provides ample carrying capacity. For added weight, there are two rear trim pockets. There are 8 D-rings in total for accessories. The BCD travel accessory is practical for transporting items with limited space and weight.
It has a storage volume of135 cm3 owing to its bendable structure. It also features padded shoulder strap options that you can adjust. It also has a cummerbund that is wide and comfortable. The shoulder buckles have a 50mm quick-release mechanism, and the lifting capacity is excellent.
- Item Package Dimensions: 16.54 x 12.99 x 6.69 inches
- Package Weight: 2.98 Kilograms
- Item Dimensions: 12.6 x 6 x 6.7 inches
- Item Weight: 5.2 Pounds
- Brand Name: Cressi
- Model Name: Cressi Travelight, Black/Blue, XS
- Color: Black/Blue
- Material: 210 Denier Nylon
- Suggested Users: Unisex
- Part Number: IC740600
- ASIN: B00AR7P68M
- Sport Type: Outdoor Lifestyle
- Several pockets for accessories
- It has a fast-folding system for easy portability
- It has a padded back for convenient and comfortable carrying
- Made of quality materials
- The BCD does not have an integrated weight system
2. Oceanic Biol Travel Scuba Diving BCDite
This is a lightweight BCD that is the best travel BCD. It has a nice balance of advantages and functions that make Scuba Diving adventures a pure pleasure. It has a clean, simplistic minimalist design that emphasizes convenience and comfort. The Biolite keeps things simple.
This is the BCD for you if your travel arrangements need light luggage. A right shoulder carabiner with a positioning system that is adjustable comes with the BCD. BCD offers a low-profile backpack that can fold in half for travel.
It comes from high-quality patented Bioflex material. This flexes, stretches, and adjusts according to your body. This results in a low-profile internal bladder. Oceanic is capable of making a small air cell. The material can stretch while staying airtight. This results in much less drag underwater and reaching a high volume of lift.
The Biolite has shoulder straps that are adjustable on the torso. There is also a self-adjustable sternum strap that features a safety whistle. The Integrated Weight System has dual 3.2 kg front integrated weight pockets that can hold up to 6.4 kg. It is simple to load and use the Quick Drop weight release mechanism.
There are dual tank band pockets (Non-Drop Weight) that provide extra stability in the water. Its low profile makes it convenient to transport since it can fold in half for travel.
- Product Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 8 inches
- Product Weight: 5.5 Pounds
- Item Model Number: 08.2207
- Department: Men’s
- Manufacturer: Oceanic
- ASIN: B004LPMSSM
- It is a lightweight BCD which makes it great for travel
- It has a clean, simplistic design that emphasizes convenience and comfort
- The backpack can fold in half for portability
- It comes from high-quality patented Bioflex material that stretches and adjusts according to your body
- It has a single tank strap which may not work for some divers
3. Aqua Lung Zuma Travel BCD
In the Aqua Lung lineup, the Zuma is by far the most travel-friendly BCD. Divers who are sick of paying extra luggage fees will appreciate the Zuma.
This back-inflation BCD is very lightweight, weight-integrated, and has all you need without the bulk and weight. With the weight pockets and airway, a size ML/LG has a weight distribution of below 2 kg.
This BCD also features flat e valves for lesser bulk, as well as a chest strap that you can adjust. The pockets are accessible and they can fold down. It is padded to provide more support for the spine and lumbar region.
- Item Package Dimensions: 22.2 x 16.2 x 4.9 inches
- Package Weight: 2.7 Kilograms
- Brand Name: Aqua Lung
- Color: Midnight Black
- Manufacturer: Aqua Lung
- Part Number: 314130
- ASIN: B01N55RTGJ
- Size: Small/Medium
- This BCD is lightweight which makes it easy to carry
- The weight integration offers convenience and efficiency
- The pockets are easy to access when putting or removing items
- It has e valves that decrease bulk
- The harness straps are too thin in weight and width.
- The D-Ring can slide around if it attaches to a heavy item
4. Mares Journey 3.0 Back-Inflation Scuba BCD
This diving system is like the Mares Journey Elite 2.0 BCD. It also has a Mares Slide Locking System (SLS). This allows you to snap your dive weights into position.
The Mares BCD has a one-of-a-kind ergonomic design. It includes an indicator on the pouch exterior to let you recognize when your diving weights are locked in. When the locking mechanism is tightly fastened, it changes its color to green, and whenever it is disengaged, it goes red.
This comprehensive BCD jacket has 5 aluminum D-Rings, a specialized tool attachment, and 1 Roll-up pocket. The height of the quick-release chest strap can be adjusted to provide a very comfortable fit. This feature, in conjunction with the extra padding, makes this BCD scuba jacket extremely comfortable to wear.
The adjustable waist strap is extremely versatile and can be adjusted with a hook-and-loop closure. This buoyancy controller has a carrying handle for easy transportation. It also has bungees to maintain the streamline of the rear air bladder. With the extra second tank strap, you can enhance the security of the tank.
- Brand Name: Mares
- Color: Black
- Manufacturer: Mares
- Size: X-Small
- ASIN: B07DR1RLP5
- The waistband is adjustable with a hook-and-loop closure, and the height is also adjustable for convenience.
- The bladder is restrained by the bungee, resulting in a streamlined profile on and around the waves.
- Waist and chest straps have quick-release buckles for easy fastening.
- Adding a second tank strap is an option that offers versatility.
- The weight clips are a little inconvenient.
5. Dive Rite Hydro Lite BC Lightweight Traveling BCD
This is an ultra-light, tech-inspired BCD for single tank divers. It comes equipped with a wing modular design and a technical soft backplate. These provide all-in-one accessibility without compromising on sophisticated features.
The Hydro Lite works for seamless, warm water diving. It is suitable for travel, weighing only 2.8 kg. An integrated 30-pound lift Aircell offers the perfect buoyant lift force for a tank, diver, and weights.
The Hydro Lite Aircell has an outer bag and an inner bladder. The outer bag has 600 denier polyester and the inner bag has 210 denier nylon laminated, making it extremely durable. The Hydro Lite has dual tank straps and also a tank height.
Extra comfort is provided by hip pads, an integrated lumbar pad, and shoulder pads. There are five different harness sizes to choose from, each with fast adjustability for in-between sizes.
- Item Package Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 5.7 inches
- Package Weight: 1 pound
- Item Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 2 inches
- Item Weight: 5.85 Pounds
- Brand Name: Dive Rite
- Model Name: HL1000
- Color: Black/Blue
- Material: Other
- Suggested Users: Unisex
- Part Number: HL1000-SM
- ASIN: B082312YJM
- Size: Small
- The Hydro Lite has dual tank straps and a tank height adjustment strap.
- Allows for quick adjustments to fit a variety of sizes.
- Extra comfort is provided by an integrated lumbar pad, shoulder pads, and hip pads.
- The 2nd tank strap might be inconveniently short for some divers
What Are The Features Of Travel BCDs?
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver, having the right travel BCD can make all the difference in your diving experience. Here are some features to look for when shopping for a travel BCD:
- Weight Integration: A good travel BCD should have weight integration, which means that the weights are built into the BCD. This feature is important because it helps to keep the BCD compact and lightweight, making it easy to travel with. It also comes in handy if you are diving in a place where there are no weight belts available.
- Harness System: The harness system on a BCD is what keeps the tank attached to the BCD. A good travel BCD will have a strong and durable harness system that can withstand being jostled around in luggage. The harness should also be adjustable so that you can get a comfortable fit.
- Inflator Mechanism: Travel BCDs are also inflatable, which means that they can be packed down when not in use. This is a great feature for divers who want to save a bit of storage space when packing their gear.
The inflator mechanism is what you use to inflate your BCD. A good travel BCD will have an accessible inflator mechanism that can be operated with one hand.
- D-Rings and Attachment Points: D-rings are metal rings that are used to attach accessories to your BCD, such as a dive light or a knife.
A good travel BCD will have several D-rings and accessory attachment points so that you can add accessories. The attachment points should also be durable so that they can stand up to being banged around in luggage.
- Foldable: A foldable BCD is another great feature to look for when shopping for a travel BCD. This feature allows you to fold the BCD up into a small, compact size, making it even easier to travel with. Most foldable BCDs also come with storage bags.
- Pockets: Pockets are also a great feature to look for in a travel BCD and scuba gear. Pockets provide a place to store small items such as your dive mask, fins, and snorkel. Some pockets even have drainage holes so that water can escape.
Things To Consider When Buying A Travel BCD
When you are looking at travel BCs there are a few key things to keep in mind. These include:
- The type of traveler you are: If you plan on doing a lot of diving, then you will want to invest in a higher-quality BCD that can withstand more wear and tear.
You will also want to make sure that the BCD you choose can accommodate all your gear. If you only plan on diving occasionally, then you can opt for a cheaper model.
- The climate you will be diving in: If you plan on diving in warm waters, then you will not need a BCD with as much insulation. If you are traveling in a hot climate, you will want to make sure that your BCD has plenty of ventilation to keep you cool.
- Your budget: Your budget is going to play a big role in what type of BCD you can buy. If you have a limited budget, then you may have to sacrifice some features to stay within your price range. BCDs range in price from around $100 to $1000, so there is a wide range to choose from.
- Your experience level: If you are a beginner diver, then you will want to look for a BCD that is easy to use and has all the features that you need. If you are an experienced diver, then you may want to look for a BCD that has a custom fit and more advanced features.
- The type of diving you will be doing: If you plan on wreck diving or cave diving, then you will want a BCD for those activities.
These types of BCDs have more storage pockets and steel D-rings so that you can attach all your gear. If you plan on doing a lot of freediving or spearfishing, you should also look for a BCD that is designed for those activities.
- The brand: There are a lot of different brands of BCDs on the market, and each one has pros and cons. Do some research to find out which brand is right for you. Go for a brand that has a good reputation and that you know you can trust.
- Size: Make sure to try on a few different BCDs before you make your purchase. You want to make sure that the BCD fits you well and is comfortable to wear. BCDs come in different sizes, so you will want to make sure to get one that is the right size for you.
Have a look at the following questions which are commonly asked by scuba diving enthusiasts before they buy their Best Travel BCD.
Do I need to buy a special travel BCD?
While you can use your regular dive BCD while traveling, many divers opt to buy a travel BCD for the following reasons:
– Travel BCs are often lighter weight and more compact than a full-size BCD, making them ideal for travel.
– Some models of lightweight travel BCDs have built-in storage pockets. This can be handy for carrying small items like your dive computer or camera.
– A travel BCD may be an optimal choice if you plan on doing a lot of diving while on vacation, as it can be more comfortable to wear than a heavier full-size BCD.
How do I choose the right size travel BCD?
Travel BCs are available in a variety of sizes, so it is important to choose the right one to fit your body type. If you are not sure what size to get, consult a sizing chart or ask a salesperson for help.
You must find the right size BCD, as a too-small or too-large BCD can be uncomfortable to wear and may cause problems while diving.
What kind of materials are travel BCs made from?
Most travel BCs come from durable polyurethane-coated nylon or polyester fabrics. Some models may also feature PVC or neoprene durable construction. It is important to choose a BCD from materials that can withstand repeated use and exposure to salt water. The material needs to not only be tough but also breathable to avoid uncomfortable chafing while diving.
What are the different types of travel BCs?
There are several different types of travel BCDs available on the market:
– Back inflate BCs: These BCs have an air bladder that is located at the back of the diver. Back inflate BCs are more comfortable to wear than other types of BCs, as they provide better support for the spine and lower back.
– Jacket-style BCDs: Jacket-style BCs have an air bladder that wraps around the chest and sides of the diver. These BCs tend to be less expensive than back inflate BCs, but they may not be as comfortable to wear.
– Hybrid BCs: Hybrid BCs combine the best key features of back inflate and jacket style BCs. These BCs have an air bladder that is located at the back of the diver, but they also feature side panels for added comfort and support.
What is BCD diving?
BCD diving is a type of scuba diving where the diver uses a buoyancy control device (BCD) to help them control their descent and ascent. BCDs are inflated with air from the scuba tank and can be deflated when necessary.
BCD diving is a popular type of diving because it allows divers to descend and ascend at a slow, controlled rate. This type of diving is also safe, as the BCD will help to keep the diver buoyant if they lose control of their descent.
What are the benefits of BCD diving?
There are several benefits of BCD diving:
– BC diving is a safe and controlled way to descend and ascend in the water.
– BCDs provide buoyancy, which can help to keep the diver afloat if they lose control of their descent.
– BC diving allows divers to explore deeper depths than they would be able to without a BCD.
What are the drawbacks of BCD diving?
There are a few drawbacks to BCD diving:
– BCDs can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear.
– BCDs can limit the diver’s mobility.
– BCDs can be expensive.
How do I care for my travel BC?
It is important to care for your travel BC to ensure that it lasts for many years. Be sure to rinse your BC in fresh water after each dive, and allow it to dry before storing. It is also a good idea to inspect your BC often for any signs of wear or tear.
How much do travel BCs cost?
Travel BCs range in price from around $100 to $500, depending on the features and materials. In general, you can expect to pay more for a travel BCD from higher-quality materials and more features.
When should I replace my travel BC?
You should replace your travel BC every few years, or sooner if it starts to show signs of wear and tear, which happens in about two to three years. Be sure to inspect your BC often for any rips, holes, or other damage. If you take good care of your BC, it should last for many years.
So what is the best travel BCD for you? It depends on your diving needs and preferences. If you are looking for something comfortable, versatile, and easy to use, any of the BCDs we have listed would be a great choice.
All these BCDs offer features that will make your diving experience safer and more comfortable, so do not hesitate to invest in one of them. We hope our buying guide has helped you narrow down your options and make the best decision possible when purchasing a new dive BC. Happy diving!