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How to assemble your backplate and wing

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backplate and wing
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With the rise in popularity of backplate and wing BCDs in recreational scuba diving, understanding how to properly assemble your backplate and harness is essential. While some sets come fully assembled, they often require adjustments for your size and customization preferences, such as adding integrated weight pouches or shoulder padding. This guide will walk you through assembling a basic setup from scratch, ensuring a perfect fit for your diving needs.

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Required Tools and Parts

Tools

  • Cutting shears: For trimming excess webbing.
  • Lighter: To seal the edges of the cut webbing and prevent fraying.
  • Book screw/nut and bolt (optional): To temporarily hold webbing in place during assembly.
  • Chalk/crayon: For marking the webbing when making adjustments.

Parts

  • Wing and backplate: One of each.
  • 2” wide nylon webbing: 4 meters is usually sufficient.
  • Crotch strap: Best bought premade with a D-ring stitched in the front.
  • Quick-release buckle: Similar to a weight belt buckle.
  • D-rings: Two bent 2” D-rings and two straight 2” D-rings.
  • Trigliders: Six to hold the webbing in place.
  • Stretchy inner tubing: To keep excess strap neat and tidy.
backplate and wing
Quick-release buckle, similar to a weightbelt buckle

Step-by-step assembly

Step 1: Positioning the Webbing

Start at the top of your backplate. Identify the holes and slits at the top. If your webbing has a grommet, align it with one of the holes on the backplate. Use a book screw to keep the webbing in place temporarily if needed.

Step 2: Threading the Webbing

Thread the webbing through the diagonal slot in the backplate and then back up through the horizontal slot. This forms the beginning of your shoulder straps.

backplate and wing
Threading the webbing through the backplate

Step 3: Adding Shoulder Padding

If your setup includes shoulder padding, add it now. Position your shoulder D-rings by threading a triglider onto the webbing, followed by the bent D-ring, ensuring it faces the correct direction. Adjust the placement using a stretched hand as a guide.

Step 4: Attaching the Waist Straps

Thread the right shoulder strap through the parallel slots around the hip zone, securing it with a triglider. For the left side, follow the same process but add a flat D-ring at the center line of your body and a rubber ring for added convenience.

Step 5: Securing the Quick-Release Buckle

Thread the left strap through the quick-release buckle, ensuring the excess webbing ends up on the inside. Adjust the webbing to fit snugly without being too tight.

Step 6: Adding the Crotch Strap

Thread the crotch strap through the horizontal slot at the bottom of the backplate. Adjust the D-ring above your butt and secure the excess webbing with a triglider. Ensure the strap is snug but comfortable.

backplate and wing
Adjusting the crotch strap

Adjusting for Size

Try on your harness with your thickest wetsuit to ensure a proper fit. You should be able to fit a fist under each shoulder strap. Adjust the D-ring placement by instinctively touching where you would naturally find them and marking the locations.

Fine-Tuning the Fit

  • Shoulder Straps: Adjust to ensure a comfortable fit with enough slack for mobility.
  • Waist Buckle Placement: Position it for easy access, either centered or off to one side.
  • Crotch Strap: Ensure it’s snug but not too tight to avoid discomfort.

Wing Placement

For single wing diving, ensure the vertical slots on the wing align with those on the backplate. Thread your cam bands from the back through the wing and backplate. Ensure the inflator hose routes over the left shoulder for correct orientation.

backplate and wing
Ensure the vertical slots on the wing align with those on the backplate

Conclusion

Once assembled, try on your setup multiple times to ensure comfort and functionality. Remember, your BCD should be customized to fit your diving style and preferences. For more diving equipment and accessories, visit scuba.com, your one-stop shop for top scuba brands and gear.

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Picture of Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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