We often get customer questions regarding what the best travel BCD is. While on the surface, it seems like a simple question…but what constitutes a “travel bcd”? While many have differing definitions, simply put it’s a BCD that’s easy to travel with. What’s that mean? Well, there are three generally accepted criteria that make a BCD a “travel” style. These three criteria are:
- Lower Lift Capacity-In general, most destinations are warm water where aluminum cylinders are the rule. With this travel BCD’s usually carry less than 30lbs of lift.
- Low Inherent Buoyancy-To make a BCD more compact and packable they are a bit more stripped down than a normal “full sized” BCD. Generally, travel BCD’s require 2-3 lbs less weight to sink due to the lack of padding and other features that would make a full sized BCD more buoyant.
- Low Weight Out Of Water-Travel BCD’s generally have a dry weight of less than 8.5 lbs, making them more friendly to airline baggage weight restrictions. Many of the later model travel BCD’s are in the 5-6 lb range and can easily fit into a carry on bag.
So what BCD’s out there meet this criteria? Which ones are good? Well, let’s take a quick look at a couple of our best selling models and see what makes them tick…shall we?
Dive Rite Travelpac Travel BCD
Developed by our good friends in Lake City, FL, the Travelpac is a compact and streamlined BCD that features 25 lbs of lift. It is designed for use with a single Aluminum 80 cylinder with no more than 10 lbs of weight. as described by Dive Rite themselves:
“The TravelPac is a highly streamlined, back inflate BCD that has the advantages of putting buoyancy where it is most needed for horizontal trim –throughout the torso supporting the weight of the tank. No squeezes or uncomfortable restrictions that can happen with a jacket style BC. The 360-degree, donut wing provides even inflation and won’t tip divers while floating at the surface.”
Weighing in at just under 6 lbs it’s a lightweight contender that’s sure to make your carry on bag happy.
Hollis L.T.S.(Light Travel System)
The L.T.S. travel BCD system is the latest solution from the good folks at Hollis for those divers who travel, or dive warm water exclusively. Featuring 30 lbs of lift and an integrated weight system that can hold up to 10 pounds of weight, the L.T.S. weighs in at a slim 5 lbs. With that, this travel BCD is friendly to just about every carry on bag out there.
Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD
Weighing at just 5.5 pounds! The new Biolite BC looks to establish itself as a complete solution with the introduction of a new color design and streamlined, integrated weight system. This is the ultimate travel BC with a perfect balance of features and benefits that makes diving a pure joy.
Just remember that the crew here at DRIS has got you covered when you need to choose the best travel BCD for you!