Lightweight BCDs Designed For Travelling

Having your own scuba diving equipment can give you peace of mind when diving abroad. Although the majority of dive centers keep their equipment in good condition, you can never guarantee that your BCD (buoyancy control device) isn’t faulty or will fit properly. Therefore buying your own BCD is worthwhile for a diver who dives overseas or away from their local diving area often.

BCDs have developed rapidly and now many lightweight, stripped down BCDs are available on the market. Some travel BCDs weigh as little at 2.2kg, and can fold down into a compact size. Below we look at the top travel BCDs currently available.

If you are not sure what to look for in a BCD, check out our How to choose a BCD article.

1) Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD

Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD

BCD Features
Partially flexible back plate
Integrated weights
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 3kg
Optional trim weight pockets
BCD weight – 2.4kg

Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD Review

The minimalist Scubapro Litehawk is a highly popular travel BCD. Stripped to just the padded harnesses and air bladder results in a BCD which packs down to a small size, making it perfect for travelling.

The elastic bungee bladder improves trim when the BCD is deflated and increases streamline through the water of the BCD. The majority of air is stored in the back, which increases freedom of movement when worn.  The Scubapro Litehawk is made of 420 denier nylon which is lightweight, but durable to cope with normal use. Three dump valves make releasing air from the BCD extremely easy, and the hinged release button on the inflator means you can control exactly how much air you release.

Pros

Light weight
Packs down to a small size
Air positioned in the back
Integrated weights compatible
Padded shoulder straps

Cons

No side pockets

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2) Cressi Travelight Travel BCD

Cressi Travelight Travel BCD

BCD Features
Fully flexible back plate
Integrated weights (SureLock II)
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 4kg
BCD weight – 2.2kg

Cressi Travelight Travel BCD Review

The Cressi Travelight combines the look of a more traditional BCD with the flexibility and weight of a travel BCD. The BCD can fold down to a size of 36cm x 25cm x 15cm due to its bendable structure and weighs just 2.5kg. This flexibility does not cause any compromise its hydrodynamics, while the air bladder is designed for natural distribution of air inside the large wings.

The Cressi Travelight features two useful side pockets and plenty of D-Rings to attach all of your accessories. The waist strap is independent of the bladder which prevents constriction when the BCD is full. A recent recalibration of the inflator means speed of inflation is now 50% faster than before, while the anti sand design helps to prolong the life of the inflator.

Pros

Light weight
Integrated weights compatible
Side pockets
Fast inflation
Anti-sand filtering system

Cons

Non padded shoulder straps

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3) Aqua Lung Zuma Travel BCD

Aqua Lung Zuma BCD

BCD Features
Partially flexible back plate
Integrated weights
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 3kg
Optional trim weight pockets
BCD weight – 2.2kg

Aqua Lung Zuma Travel BCD Review

An extremely light BCD at just 2.2.kg, the Aqua Lung Zuma is the lightest BCD on our list. Aqua Lung have been making dive equipment since 1943 so know what it takes to make to good BCD. Like many travel BCDs, it is designed to be minimalist. The backplate is fully flexible meaning the Aqua Lung Zuma can be folded or rolled into a small size, while padding on the backplate ensures it is comfortable at the same time. The lowered cylinder strap means the majority of the cylinder weight is on your hips, rather than spine which reduces the risk of injury and improves comfort. Padded shoulder straps further improve comfort, especially if diving in a rash vest.

The Zuma features Aqua Lungs patented SureLock II integrated weight pockets with a utility pocket on the right side, enabling you to store dive accessories on your BCD. With 4 D-rings to clip on further accessories and a sleek black design, the Aqua Lung Zuma is an attractive option for travelling divers.

Pros

Extremely light weight
Packs down to a small size
Integrated weights compatible (SureLock II)
Side pockets
Padded shoulder straps

Cons

None

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Hollis LTS BCD

BCD Features
Fully flexible back plate
Integrated weights
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 3kg
BCD weight – 2.27kg

Hollis LTS Light Travel BCD Review

Another super light BCD at only 2.27kg, the Hollis Light Travel System is a hybrid BCD designed for the more advanced travelling diver. The backplate is fully flexible allowing it to fit easily in a suitcase, while the wing is made out of 1000D nylon which contains an internal 420 denier nylon air bladder. The striking red and black colour will make you stand out underwater.  Padded shoulder straps and backplate make it comfortable to wear underwater, while integrated makes will make it more comfortable around the hips due to not having to wear a weightbelt.

Pros

Extremely light weight
Padded shoulder straps and backplate
Integrated weights compatible
Attractive design

Cons

No side pockets
No shoulder dump valve
Non padded shoulder straps

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5) Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD

Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD

BCD Features
Partially flexible back plate
Integrated weights
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 3.2kg
BCD weight – 2.5kg

Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD Review

Stripped down to the bare essentials, the Oceanic Biolite has a straightforward design focusing on comfort and convenience. Although not the lightest BCD on the list at 2.5kg, the Oceanic Biolite is still incredibly light for a BCD. A partially flexible back plate allows the BCD to fold in half to fit in a suitcase. The air bladders are situated on the back, and made out of Oceanics patented Bioflex material. This allows the Biolite to provide as much lift as a regular BCD using a smaller air bladder, making you more streamlined underwater.

The Oceanic Biolite features a handy carabiner on the right shoulder strap and two integrated weight pockets able to carry up to 3.2kg each. There is a dump valve on the lower left hand side, but lacks a shoulder dump valve.

Pros

Light weight
Packs down to a small size
Air positioned in the back
Integrated weights compatible

Cons

No side pockets
No shoulder dump valve
Non padded shoulder straps

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6) Oceanic Jetpack Travel BCD

Oceanic Jetpack Travel BCD

BCD Features
Functions as a BCD and backpack
Integrated weights
42 liter semi dry bag for travelling
BCD and backpack weight 3.5kg
BCD only weight – 2.8kg

Oceanic Jetpack Travel BCD Review

The striking Oceanic Jetpack is a cleverly thought out design functions both as a BCD and backpack. A 42 liter semi dry bag can be clipped onto the back of the BCD which allows you to fit your whole dive set, regulator, wetsuit, fins and mask inside. The integrated weight pocket and inflator hose can also be removed to fit inside the BCD. This frees up alot of space in your hold luggage which would have otherwise been taken up by your dive gear. Once at your destination, simply reassemble the BCD and you are good to go.

The Oceanic Jetpack comes in one standard size, but can be adjusted to fit any user. This may be a slight problem from smaller divers which could result in a lot of excess straps dangling about.

Pros

Functions as a BCD and backpack
Can fit a full set of dive equipment inside
Air positioned in the back
Integrated weights compatible

Cons

One size fits all
No side pockets
Potential to get damaged while travelling

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ScubaPro Equalizer Travel BCD

BCD Features
Rigid padded backplate
Integrated weights
Single pouch integrated weight capacity – 4kg
Octo pockets
BCD weight – 3.3kg

Scubapro Equalizer Travel BCD Review

For those who prefer a jacket style BCD or are less experienced the Scubapro Equalizer might be the travel BCD for you. Although not as light (3.3kg) and flexible as many of the travel BCDs mentioned previously, it is still significantly lighter than a standard BCD. Therefore it could work well for someone who wants to use it a home, as well as when abroad. The Scubapro Equalizer is packed with features, including integrated weights, Octo Pockets to hold your spare regulator and knife grommets to hold your dive knife.

Apart from the weight of the BCD, the main draw backs are the rigid backplate, which means it will not fold down as small as other BCDs in your luggage. The lack of padding on the shoulder straps may be uncomfortable for rash vest divers.

Pros

All round air inflation which is advantageous for beginners
Octo pockets to neatly store you spare regulator hose
Side pockets
Integrated weights compatible
Knife grommet

Cons

Heavier than other models
Non flexible back plate
Non padded shoulder straps

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