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<font color='#0000FF'>I'm looking into replacing my 7 yr old Beauchat Masterlift BCD. In the last four weeks I'm having a few problems all at once -broken buckle, broken straps and leaking inflator. Although I'm having it looked at I don't think I'll feel to confortable on a deeper dive.
I need a BCD with large pockets sealed by zipper rather than velcro. I saw a Mares Vector which seems OK. When I tried it though it was quite high up, i,e the bottom of the BCD reached my kidneys (whilst the masterlift is down to my hips). I see the advantage of the weight belt being exposed but wondered if this means the weight being higher up could be a pain in the back?
Any other suggestions? I'm not keen on intergrated weight belts but need some D-rings for the odd accesories. Also what is the big deal with the flight control system? It seems to be the latest gadget (expensive) to have. I can't see what the big deal is.
 

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Hi Chris

If you really want a jacket BCD then I can recommend the Seamann Sub BlacJac.  It has worn well in comparison to Caroline's Mares, it is tough, has 2 tank bands and zipped pockets.  It also has nice heavy duty D-rings which I have found to be an advantage in kitting up ith gloves on and carrying a side-slung pony.

Have a look at one if you can.

HTH

Lou
 

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Hi Chris,
Have you considered DiveRite's Transpac II and Recwing? It has plenty of buoyancy, where you need it, leaves your chest uncluttered, floats you high out of the water when swimming on your back and has more than enough  SS D-rings. As an extra accessory, there is a nice pouch with 2 zipped pockets that fits onto the waist-belt and takes all your small items (back-up torch, compass, a small knife etc etc). Have a look at it! I recommend paying the few pounds extra for the crotch-strap, by the way.
 

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If you do go down the path suggested by John (which isn't a bad idea IMHO) why not have a look at the Halcyon Pioneer Wing and harness?
Although they're not to everyone's liking they are extremely comfortable and close fitting , only thing I'm not sure about is the zip pockets, but I'm sure pockets by another make (ie the DiveRite ones) would work just as well, but don't quote me on that, I'm not an expert!

But, if you're really after the jacket-style then you'll have to give me a while to remember the name of the one I use quite regularly. Can't for the life of me remember what they're called now but I found them to be very good (although I still prefer the Halcyon!).

TD
 

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- In the last four weeks I'm having a few problems all at once -broken buckle, broken straps and leaking inflator.

You could consider the wing & harness approach - this eliminates all the clips & all but one buckle, and I must say gives me a great sense of security when kitting up..

- I need a BCD with large pockets sealed by zipper rather than velcro.

Have you considered having thigh pockets added to your dive suit? I went from a Buddy Commando to a wing with thigh-mounted pockets, and I keep MASSES more kit in the suit pockets than I ever did in the jacket. And the pockets are zippered, and a lot easier to reach.

- Any other suggestions? I'm not keen on intergrated weight belts but need some D-rings for the odd accesories.

You could always use a standard 2" webbing weight belt with D-rings added (One D-ring + weight retainer = all the D-rings you want) A wing + harness also can have as many D-rings as you like, since the whole thing is made of 2" webbing
And of course, the ever-more-popular weight harness can have a bunch of D-rings on it as well..

- Also what is the big deal with the flight control system? It seems to be the latest gadget (expensive) to have. I can't see what the big deal is.

There isn't one. It's a gadget, and not a good idea if you don't have a regular buddy - non-standard kit in an emergency situation is a recipe for disaster. I wouldn't want to try a CBL on someone who didn't have the standard corrugated hose until I'd had at least a few practice runs...
 

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Hi Chris,

here's my humble thoughts on replacement BCD.

First consider the diving you do.  How much lift do you need?  Do you dive with aly or steel, singles, twins etc.  Do you want BC or wing style?  Do you want lightweight for travelling?  Will you be changing your diving style in the next year or two?

If I recall correctly, you are based in Portugal.  What brands can you get locally, and what spares/servicing are available?  I live abroad (Saudi) and a lot of my kit is UK sourced (limited choice locally).  It is a real pain to get spares and servicing done.

See if you can try the BC in a pool or on a dive - some shops will have hire kit of the same type so you could have a good try before you buy.

Make sure that it has enough adjustment to cover all your needs - skin suit -wetsuit -drysuit?

In the shop, fit with a cylinder and reg to see how it "hangs"

[b said:
Quote[/b] ] I need a BCD with large pockets sealed by zipper rather than velcro. I saw a Mares Vector which seems OK.
I have a Mares (2-3yrs, 160+ dives) and it's been fine. Zip pockets are roomy (even with integrated weights) - space for 2 x DSMB, 2x reel, backup torch, other odds and ends as required.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]When I tried it though it was quite high up, i,e the bottom of the BCD reached my kidneys (whilst the masterlift is down to my hips). I see the advantage of the weight belt being exposed but wondered if this means the weight being higher up could be a pain in the back?
Hadn't really noticed height as a problem but mine is comfortable- ABS "plate" and padding help.  It did move around a little when in warm water (no wetsuit just a lycra skin) so I fitted a crotch strap and it's been fine since then (don't have this too tight!!!!).  There are a couple of slots so you can adjust the height of the cylinder.  Sitting high on the back shouldn't cause any problems (it's actually better when on land) - if weight distribution in water is a problem, you could always use trim weights.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]I'm not keen on intergrated weights
I like these but this is for comfort - I had a spinal injury some years ago and a weight belt sits on exactly the wrong spot.  What I tend to do is have the BCD weights for skin / shortie and add a small amount of lead on a belt when in a thicker suit so that the total weight is well distributed.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Also what is the big deal with the flight control system? It seems to be the latest gadget (expensive) to have. I can't see what the big deal is.
I'm in agreement with others here.  It is a gadget.  A friend of mine has a BC with this and I do not like it.  As a buddy I found it awkward to use, it is also more complex (than a standard inflator / dump) and therefore (possibly) more to go wrong.

Someone mentioned suit leg pouches - these are great, but if you don't want to attach these to your suit there are several companies in UK who make loose pouches.  The top of the pouch clips to the lower-side D ring on the BCD and the bottom of the pouch has a thigh strap - just remember to unclip before you take off the BC.

Hope this helps,

John

PS if you're like my daughter you ignore all of the above and go for the one that colour co-ordinates with the wetsuit!
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Chris Guimaraens @ June 15 2003,16:07)]I see the advantage of the weight belt being exposed but wondered if this means the weight being higher up could be a pain in the back?
Any other suggestions? I'm not keen on intergrated weight belts but need some D-rings for the odd accesories.
<font color='#0000FF'>Chris

About your weight belt try and position your weights either side of your cylinder and away from your back that way the cylinder will not be resting on the weights.

I use a Bowstone shot belt the one you pour the loose shot into not the ones you put the shot pouches in, very cumphy although more so for women it also has two large D rings one on either side to hang things off. It also has two extra little pockets again one either side for extra weights so you can use it in either fresh water on its own or add the extra 4lb for the sea.


Fiona
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (JohnR @ June 16 2003,11:29)]Someone mentioned suit leg pouches - these are great, but if you don't want to attach these to your suit there are several companies in UK who make loose pouches.  The top of the pouch clips to the lower-side D ring on the BCD and the bottom of the pouch has a thigh strap - just remember to unclip before you take off the BC.
I bought one of the loose pouches of the kind you describe (Bowstone) at LIDS, used it for the first time on my recent Red Sea liveaboard trip but found it most irritating. It swings about all over the place. I stopped using it after a couple of dives.
 

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Have you tried a harness weightbelt Chris? I have Hydrotech's and love it. They make two models, one for shot and one for block-weights or pouches. I bought the latter as I want to be able to use it on trips abroad. It is very comfortable and takes a lot of the weight off your back and hips. Last but not least, there is no risk of your losing it and rocketing to the surface.
 

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John,

thanks for the heads up on the Bowstone pouches "swinging" about.  I was thinking of getting one of these.

If I'm right, it only has one leg strap, positioned at the bottom of the pouch.  If it was to have a 2nd thigh strap at the top as do you think this would help?

Cheers, John
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>JohnR

I have a bowstone leg pocket not the large pouch (they do a couple of different sizes) it's big enough to get small spare torch and large dsmb in and I don't find it moves at all.  


Fiona
 

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<font color='#000080'>I also use a thigh mounted pocket.  One clip at the top to attach to the bottom of my harness and a strap around the leg.  Virtually identical to the bowstone ones.  

Can't say I have noticed a problem with it swinging around.

Daz
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>I bought a Bowstone thigh pocket, had two leg straps and a loop for the waist strap, think it's about 6"Wx8"tall, got fed up with it on the thigh and modified it to be like the OMS "No-Sag" pockets, much better, not bad for under £20 compared to th OMS £40+ version
Chee-az
Steve
 

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Would you care to elaborate, Steve? I'm not familiar with the OMS no-sag pocket.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>
Many thanks for your help, a couple of comments:

Most of my diving is relatively simple diving, my standard tank is a 12l Nemrod (steel)and doubt will be going to twins. I wouldn't mind doing deeper dives 30m + but its rare unless on holiday. Until the Prestige Oil is fully cleaned our dive sites are still limited  
 I reckon a good reliable BCD will keep me happy for another couple of years, after that I may think in moving on to twins / wings.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]If I recall correctly, you are based in Portugal.  What brands can you get locally, and what spares/servicing are available?  I live abroad (Saudi) and a lot of my kit is UK sourced (limited choice locally).  It is a real pain to get spares and servicing done
This is a really really good point. Locally the most popular makes are scubapro and Cressi, everything else is harder to get and service. I was able to find a big store that sells Mares but wouldn't use them for servicing, at least I can try it on. As for servicing my local shop can do with a limited range of products. I get  some bits n pieces from the UK but servicing there is a pain and expensive on the shipping, but it is probaly the best way. I am not so happy buying a BCD without trying it, this is probaly the one item I wouldn't buy on-line unless I was absolutely sure of the fit.
As for the weights I have a shot belt but went back to traditional lead bricks. I found the loose shot belts bulkier in volume and wasn't as comfortable. I've played about and yes, by moving the weights to my hips it helped a lot in reducing any pain in the back. I'm probaly a traditionalist but I'm OK with the lead bricks although will a give  weight harness a try one day.

Never heard of the leg pouches, I will look into this as I can see this being usefull.
Will also look into the other makes suggested, some i havn't heard before. Unfortunately I did accounts this morning so I may have more time to decide!
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Chris Guimaraens @ June 16 2003,18:24)]
I'd still recommend the Halcyon Pioneer. Added to the points mentioned earlier the Stainless Steel backplate is 6lbs non-ditchable weight, which helps cut down the amount of weight you need on the belt. For example, in fresh water I don't need any extra weight on witha 12 litre cylinder. Effectively I can get down on the 6lbs weight. But I'm a skinny little thing so maybe not applicable, but it gives you an idea of having that weight there. Plus you can get a weighted single tank adapter, again from Halcyon, which I think adds around another 6lbs non-ditchable weight, cutting down weight belt weighting significantly.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Most of my diving is relatively simple diving, my standard tank is a 12l Nemrod (steel)and doubt will be going to twins.
I can confidently say that diving with the Pioneer is the simplest method I have found. Without trying to sound too much like a DIR salesman, it is all very logical. I personally dive it in the Hogarthian (DIR) configuration (necklaced backup, long primary etc), but I have seen people dive it 'conventional' method and it seems to work just as well at both jobs.

Also, the harness will last a long time. I think a replacement webbing kit is about a tenner if you find you need to chnage the webbing after you've cut it back (if you decide to do so) and then if you decide to go onto twins in the future, you can purchase the Explorer or another wing to suit your twin-needs and the harness is already setup to your sizing.

TD
 

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<font color='#000080'>Chris,

Have a look at the Cressi jackets.  Either the S111 or the S110.  I have always found them to be extremely comfortable and hardwearing (I used a S109 for some time before switching to a wing).

Especially important if the servicing and spares are easy to get locally.

I would not bother with the new airtrim/flight control system on the other Cressi jackets.  Like others have said just a gadget.

Daz
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>If longgevity is needed
buddy range are pretty unbeatable, my comando is 7 years old in exesse of 200 dives and garanteed for life to the original purchaser.
The after sales are also second to none!
You wont be disapointed

wacker
 
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