Today we’re breaking down ten of my favourite Scuba diving BCDs in 2022.
I’ve put them in ten categories, and I’m going to explain a little about each of them, but if you want to learn more and get your hands on any of these, there’s a link to your online dive store up here in the corner of the screen, and the link will be down in the description below also. Now, I’ve stuck to recreational BCDs in this video.
I’ll make another video on backplates and wings, and I don’t want to see anybody complaining in the comments that there aren’t any backplates and harnesses on this list, so let's dive straight in.
Best BCD For Travel – AquaLung Rogue BCD
The AquaLung Rogue BCD. The Rogue is a stripped-down wing-style BCD made so that you won’t notice it on your back in the water or weighing your bags at the airport.
A flexible back pad instead of a solid backplate saves weight and makes the Rogue easier to pack in a smaller bag. The pivoting ModLock quick-release points on the shoulder and waist strap let you remove them and disassemble the BCD for easier packing.
Weighing in at just 2.2kg the Rogue is perfect for the travelling diver, and it can be customised and upgraded to your needs.
You can fit specialised pouches for dSMBs and integrated weights. Each of the shoulder straps, waistbands and back pad are interchangeable so if you’re not a conventional Small, Medium, or large, you can get the right-sized straps for your body shape.
Comfort – AquaLung Axiom BCD
The AquaLung Axiom BCD. The Axiom is a jacket-style BCD that has AquaLung’s Wrapture Harness System, which, unlike other BCDs, combines swivelling shoulder buckles, a thinner backplate and a clever harness system to hold the weight of your cylinder closer to your body and put the weight more on your hips instead of bearing down on your back so you can walk around easier.
The Axiom also features a host of AquaLung’s premium features to make your diving easier, from GripLock tank bands that are easier to swap and have a finger-saver system so that you don’t pinch your fingers clamping your tank in place.
An internal bladder retraction system keeps the BCD streamlined when deflated.
Hard Wearing – Apeks Exotec BCD
The Apeks Exotec BCD. Exotec is dipping your feet into backplates and wings with a solid aluminium metal backplate and tough donut shape wing. The outer layer of the wing is made from a tough, water-resistant material called Armoguard.
This slick material has stronger abrasion resistance, and you see it on Public Service Diving BCDs because it’s both tough and contaminants can’t penetrate the material
Bioreact is another great system on the Exotec, which allows the waist section to pivot with your hips so that the BCD bends and flexes with you.
The dual-retention system around the bladder tucks in any excess material closer to your body during the dive to minimise chances of damage and abrasions.
Best Budget BCD – Cressi Start BCD
For a very simple BCD with a small price tag, the Cressi Start BCD has everything that you need to get started. The Start is a jacket-style BCD which is probably similar to the BCD you learnt to dive in, and the Velcro cummerbund holds you in the BCD and wraps the BCD around you. Tough 1000 dernier material is abrasion resistant, so the BCD will last.
Octo and Gauge holders on either side of the BCD mean that you don’t need octo or SPG clips, you just tuck the hose out of the way and the Octo is still quick release. The Cressi inflator has a double air filtration system, and it can be disassembled for thorough cleaning.
The Zeagle Covert XT BCD is a tough wing-style BCD with a unique waist MOLLE section so that you can attach extra storage or tools as you need them. Dual cam bands on the back ensure that your tank stays in place and moves with you and the shape of the wing holds you in a nice position in the water while being close to your body for streamlining.
Lightweight for travel but still tough, the Covert XT is a strong all-rounder with a good amount of lift and elastic retention system to tuck the wing in when it’s deflated.
Gravity weight pockets are quick and easy to ditch lead and mean that you don’t need to replace dropped pouches because the lead just falls out of the bottom without the need for pouches.
High-End – Premium BCD
The Atomic Aquatics BC1 is probably the most premium BCD available today. Each and every part and the attention to detail is as high quality as possible. All you need to look at is the cam band which has a one-way ratchet strap more like a snowboard binding that is far better than a traditional cam band.
Polyurethane-coated material throughout is both strong and long-lasting so the BC1 will continue to look good for years to come. You even get your choice of inflator and even the most basic of the AI inflators is engineered better than some regulators out there and the universal easy release means that you can easily remove the inflator for easier cleaning.
Best Wing Style BCD
The Mares Magellan is a modern take on a wing-style BCD. Thin, ergonomic shoulder straps wrap around your body better than a traditional straight strap.
That combined with the soft padded backpad make the Magellan mould around your body and the minimal harness feels like you’re not even wearing a BCD in the water, even when the wing is fully inflated.
Integrated weight pockets on both sides with decent-sized pouches and knife grommets to attach a dive knife to your left hip. On your right side, the Magellan has a roll-down pocket for storage, but if you don’t need it, you can roll it up and out of the way. The solid backplate also folds in the middle for easier packing and travel.
Most Stylish BCD – Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD
The Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD. It’s undeniable that the Hydros Pro is a very different BCD to others available, and the custom colour kits let you personalise to your colour scheme. While the Hydros Pro does have a fair few Scubapro logos on it, the minimal wing-style harness holds you in place and dries instantly out of the water.
The harness and backplate of the Hydros Pro are made using the same Monoprene material as their SeaWing Fins that is both strong and gripped onto you so that the BCD moves with you during the dive.
The modular design means that sections can be removed and swapped over, and those colour kits let you pick and choose what colour accents you want on your BCD.
Best BCD For Women – AquaLung Pro HD Women’s BCD
The AquaLung Pro HD Women’s BCD is specifically made to be more comfortable for female divers. The Women’s Pro HD BCD has a shorter backplate compared to the unisex version, and the lobes sit at the correct height so that they won’t push into your waist or hips.
And the Pro HD has a great feature-to-cost ratio. For the price you pay, the Pro HD has integrated weights, ResisteK Material that holds its colour for longer, trim weight pockets on the cam band, knife grommets, and double zipper pockets, and it comes in a few feminine but not too girly colours.
Best BCD For Kids – Scubapro Rebel BCD
The Scubapro Rebel BCD. Specifically made for young divers who are just starting out, the Rebel is scaled down but also features clever hidden buckles that let the BCD grow as they grow. Both shoulder straps have two buckles so you can clip the shoulder straps higher up if they’re tiny and then lower down as they grow.
The chest strap and waistband are extendable as they grow, and the Rebel also features integrated weight pockets, so they don’t need to wear a weight belt. Lightweight but strong enough to last, the Rebel teaches kids how to dive in a proper BCD that fits and gets them used to full-sized BCDs for when they grow up.
And that’s it for this list. Did your BCD make the cut? Or did I miss out on anything special? Let me know down in the comments. Remember to check out your online dive store by clicking the link below if you want to take a closer look at any of these BCDs.