How to Choose a BCD? (Buoyancy Control Device)
We all had pass through a variety of rental BCDs during our Divers life, and as long as they do their work everything is ok, but, when it comes to own it, you might like to have something that really adapts to your needings and that you can really enjoy and take the most out of. The BCD is the among the most important gear on Diving. It can ease your dive a lot or make it a hell. Said this, All the BCDs that you can get regardless the type of it are desirable to have the following characteristics.
Streamlined: You will improve your air consumption, get less tired and take care of the environment better by not hitting things accidentally with your gear when your BCD is really your size and it match your style of diving and the volume of it.
Confort: When you choose a BCD you will like to be comfortable with it and make your diving more enjoyable
Lift: Any BCD must be able to lift you on full equipment comfortably. This apply even more importantly to technical divers
There are several kind of BCD right now in the market so mostly sure there is a BCD that is perfect or almost perfect for you; lets take a look on them
Jacket kind of bcds have a sigle air bladder that distributes around the waist and back of the diver, it provides a stable all around buoyancy when inflated, this kind of bladder is the choice for most of the divers for its versatility and ease of use. Is perfect for most uses.
WING STYLE BCD:
A wing style BCD only has inflation on the back, usually looking like a roll surrounding your tank or twins, this mean that at the surface the flotation tend to push your head underwater, underwater flotation is at the back, something that is desirable . A lot of divers go for wing style BCD’s seduced by the the look, but the proper operation and handling is more complicated and most of the time it doesn´t make a plus, unless of course you are technical diver and you know how to use it, then this pretty much the only choice unless you go sidemount
Reasons for choosing a wing are if you want to keep your front area free from clutter, if you are an experienced travelling diver or if you need to use multiple cylinders.
Sidemount is getting highly popular, like nitrox was considered tech diving and now is recreational, Sidemount was once considered technical, but not anymore. Sidemount configuration is compatible with some wing configurations, however the way the tanks are linked to your body differs very much from the other configurations and it shows up in the sidemount harnesses. There are infinite configurations, you can even make one harness yourself. For technical sidemount consider buttplate as a very useful addon and the lift must be much higher, since you will have to weight yourself much more to counter the empty tanks at the end of the dives. Most have as well a double bladder. If you consider Sidemount go to your divecentre, they will assist you, or write a comment
Sidemount is a great alternative to the backmount, you can consider it if you have back pain. Most dive centres offer it nowadays