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Wonder__Frog

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Location
Brighton
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
Hey guys!

Looking to get into a BP/W setup :). Currently using a jacket style BCD (currently an Aqualung Axiom I3 & Aqualung Legend LX Supreme regs (DIN)). I'm PADI AOW, and stopped logging dives at around 500, but currently sat somewhere around 800-1000.

In terms of the diving I currently do:

- 50% warm water diving off liveaboards / day boats. Generally using a 3mm full length wetsuit for protection and generally around 1-3kgs of lead
- 30% inland lakes / quarries (Vobster & NDAC being favourites)
- 20% coastal diving around the UK (Malin Head, Swanage, Lundy, Farnes etc). For this and quarries, I use a custom Hammond drysuit (HDS Pro-Elite in case it matters) with an O'Three PBB Plus base layer and usually around 10kg's of lead

Hopefully this is enough background to get started! So, I was originally looking to get either a SM or BP/W... Thanks to the excellent support from the people on this forum, I've narrowed down to BP/W! I'll start with a single tank wing

However! Which one should I go for?! I'm in the UK FYI. Money is essentially not an issue for the wing itself - I'm happy to pay what I need to for something that will keep me safe and work reliably for the next 10+ years. I'm happy to DIY for the harness & hardware, and realistically I gather that an SS backplate is an SS backplate (regardless of make). Looking at a Hollis S38 LX potentially?

Questions are...
- What's the 'best' brand of wing? In terms of reliability, features, trim, single tank fit etc.
- Ideally I'd love the wing to have some form of redundancy, but that's not a deal breaker.
- I'm considering a SS backplate as this will reduce the need for me to carry so much lead. Is this practical for travel? Wearing a 3mm wetsuit in warm (salt) water with AL80's I'm guessing I won't need much/any weight?
- I want to be able to sling a single off my BP/W at some point in the future using this wing. In terms of lift requirements, how much do I need?! My current jacket (the Axiom I3) has 36 pounds of lift, so I'm guessing the Hollis 38 I'm looking at should be sufficient? Especially as I'll always have a drysuit on when I'll be slinging a single off my BP/W
- Anyone got any recommendations of cheap SS backplates, 2" webbing or hardware (D-rings etc)

Thanks in advance!

Frog
 

Colliam7

Tech Instructor
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Questions are...
- What's the 'best' brand of wing? In terms of reliability, features, trim, single tank fit etc.
Wow, that is a 'Pandora's Box' question. You will probably get a wide variety of responses. My personal favorite single cylinder wing is my 30lb Halcyon Eclipse. A tad pricey, but a fine wing, from a company that backs its products very well. But, I also regularly dive an Apeks WTX-D30 that I really like. Very rugged wing, good company, etc. The Oxycheq Mark V is a great wing. OMS markets a very nice 32 lb wing. I honestly don't think there is a single 'best brand'.
- Ideally I'd love the wing to have some form of redundancy, but that's not a deal breaker.
For single cylinder diving, particularly with a drysuit, wing redundancy (i.e. dual bladder) should really not be a concern.
- I'm considering a SS backplate as this will reduce the need for me to carry so much lead. Is this practical for travel?
I think so, but others may have different views. I routinely travel (by air) with a SS backplate, without any problems. In fact, we - my wife and I - regularly travel with TWO SS backplates, without issue. I put mine in my backpack, so it is a carry on and doesn't affect weight limitations. Its a matter of choosing what you want to carry when you travel. I don't carry much in the way of clothes - I'd rather carry gear.
Wearing a 3mm wetsuit in warm (salt) water with AL80's I'm guessing I won't need much/any weight?
Depends on your buoyancy. I have enough bioprene to require a bit of weight - 2lb in salt water, with a SS plate, an AL80, and a 1mm suit. Your buoyancy may differ. I suspect you probably won't need MUCH weight, but maybe SOME.
- I want to be able to sling a single off my BP/W at some point in the future using this wing. In terms of lift requirements, how much do I need?! My current jacket (the Axiom I3) has 36 pounds of lift, so I'm guessing the Hollis 38 I'm looking at should be sufficient? Especially as I'll always have a drysuit on when I'll be slinging a single off my BP/W
A 38 is OK. Actually it is a bit on the large side - at least for me - but probably not so large to cause significant tacoing. I use 30 lb wings for single cylinder, wetsuit diving, and they are perfect for me.
- Anyone got any recommendations of cheap SS backplates, 2" webbing or hardware (D-rings etc)
I primarily use Pirahna (Piranha Dive Manufacturing, for all your diving needs.) for webbing and hardware. Dive Gear Express (Home | Dive Gear Express®) is also a good option.

From my perspective, a plate is a plate - for the most part. Unless you need something that is particularly long or short. I have a few Dive Rite plates, as well as OMS plates, and they work well for me. But, 10 other SB users might have 10 other suggestions, all of which are equally good.
 

Dredgy

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Queensland
I’m not going to be able to contribute much, but I got the Mares XR with single wing, mainly because it came preassembled and it also looks super cool in blue cameo :p

I have yet to dive it so I hope it goes well, and if it does I’ll be upgrading it to twins! ‍♀️
 
OP
W

Wonder__Frog

Registered
Messages
18
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2
Location
Brighton
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
Questions are...
- What's the 'best' brand of wing? In terms of reliability, features, trim, single tank fit etc.
Wow, that is a 'Pandora's Box' question. You will probably get a wide variety of responses. My personal favorite single cylinder wing is my 30lb Halcyon Eclipse. A tad pricey, but a fine wing, from a company that backs its products very well. But, I also regularly dive an Apeks WTX-D30 that I really like. Very rugged wing, good company, etc. The Oxycheq Mark V is a great wing. OMS markets a very nice 32 lb wing. I honestly don't think there is a single 'best brand'.
- Ideally I'd love the wing to have some form of redundancy, but that's not a deal breaker.
For single cylinder diving, particularly with a drysuit, wing redundancy (i.e. dual bladder) should really not be a concern.
- I'm considering a SS backplate as this will reduce the need for me to carry so much lead. Is this practical for travel?
I routinely travel (by air) with a SS backplate, without any problems. In fact, we - my wife and I - regularly travel with TWO SS backplates, without issue. I put mine in my backpack, so it is a carry on and doesn't affect weight limitations.
Wearing a 3mm wetsuit in warm (salt) water with AL80's I'm guessing I won't need much/any weight?
Depends on your buoyancy. I have enough bioprene to require a bit of weight - 2lb in salt water, with a SS plate, an AL80, and a 1mm suit. Your buoyancy may differ. I suspect you probably won't need MUCH weight, but maybe SOME.
- I want to be able to sling a single off my BP/W at some point in the future using this wing. In terms of lift requirements, how much do I need?! My current jacket (the Axiom I3) has 36 pounds of lift, so I'm guessing the Hollis 38 I'm looking at should be sufficient? Especially as I'll always have a drysuit on when I'll be slinging a single off my BP/W
A 38 is OK. Actually it is a bit on the large side - at least for me - but probably not so large to cause significant tacoing. I use 30 lb wings for single cylinder, wetsuit diving, and they are perfect for me.
- Anyone got any recommendations of cheap SS backplates, 2" webbing or hardware (D-rings etc)
I primarily use Pirahna (Piranha Dive Manufacturing, for all your diving needs.) for webbing and hardware. Dive Gear Express (Home | Dive Gear Express®) is also a good option. A plate is a plate - for the most part. Unless you need something that is particularly long or short. I have a few Dive Rite plates, as well as OMS plates, and they work well for me. But, 10 other SB users might have 10 other suggestions, all of which are equally good.


Thanks man - this is all excellent! I knew the 'best brand' question would shake some trees haha, it's really useful to hear everyones thoughts though :)!

Interesting re: the Halcyon wing - it's one I've been looking at. Seems to get great reviews! And obviously has it's heritage as a great and reliable brand.

Also great to hear re: SS, as this has been my thinking for a little while. I tend to be a shade above neutrally buoyant with my current jacket, an AL80 and a 3mm full wetsuit, so it sounds encouraging that I won't need much extra lead!

Thanks :D
 
OP
W

Wonder__Frog

Registered
Messages
18
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Location
Brighton
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
I’m not going to be able to contribute much, but I got the Mares XR with single wing, mainly because it came preassembled and it also looks super cool in blue cameo :p

I have yet to dive it so I hope it goes well, and if it does I’ll be upgrading it to twins! ‍♀️
Awesome! Good luck with it - it looks amazing (I particularly like the blue camo). Keep me posted :D
 

kelemvor

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Rather than look for a "best brand" of wing maybe look into specific features you want. For me, that means strong shell, removable bladder.

There are lots of "dual bladder" wings out there which provide redundancy. They have two internal bladders, two power inflator connections, and two dumps. I own one that I bought on sale but I've never taken it out of the packaging. I like my diverite wing and don't want to switch. 38 lbs of lift is probably about 15 lbs more than you'll need for a single tank. I also have an oversized wing, but it's supposed to do single or doubles. Maybe it does but it's not great for either. You probably want something much smaller.

Re: backplates. Chances are you'll end up with several. They're generally inexpensive (my cheapest was $20). However, I did buy a couple freedom plates that are pricey, but oh so nicey. I usually bring my diverite steel plate when traveling. I paid $90 to my LDS for it. At some point diverite updated their plates because mine looks different. I've also got an apeks aluminum, a plastic from divegearexpress, a plastic diverite, and both steel and aluminum freedom plates. It's just a piece of metal or plastic with a few holes. Find one that's inexpensive and made of your material of choice.

When I dive steel tanks with that steel plate, I don't need additional lead. When I dive aluminum tanks, I do. Depends on your personal buoyancy.
 

swimlikethefish

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Start there. As far as brand: it's mostly like comparing Nike to Adidas sneakers. They are all sneakers, it really comes down to preference. All wings hold air. Find the style and color of your choosing, just make sure what you buy has an appropriate amount of lift for your needs.
 

formernuke

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I love the cinch system on my halycon.
 

athigunk

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Thailand
If you really want a wing that will last your diving career and maybe your children’s, I would recommend going with the Dive Rite XT series. They use their “Super fabric” material on the outside of the wing which is stronger than normal cordura/ballistic/etc nylon. You literally can take your knife and try to cut it and it won’t be damaged. The wing also has a life-time warranty on it (at least in my country). They also have a regular nylon version which they call it EXP series, so make sure you get the right one for your needs.

For travel, Full SS Backplate could put you around 20KG if you also carry a full set of camera rig, otherwise I guess it could put you around 15KG. If you want to compromise, you could go with a dog bone style SS plate, or Dive Rite SS lite plate which is basically an SS plate with holes. Those will be about 1KG less weight but those still have more weight than AL plates.
 

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