Lets Talk Wing Construction

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Dubious

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Greetings All,

Before I started diving, I came across scubaboard and ended up buying a used halcyon infinity setup from a scubaboard member. Now that I working on getting my wife into a bp/w and looking ahead to doubles, I have been eyeing the different wings available.

So let's talk about wing construction and by extension value. I have seen a few of @tbone1004 post who is a textile engineer, but it is still hard for me to understand the differences in wings especially as their cost expands hundreds of dollars. It seems to me that inflator and dump valves seem a dime a dozen, but please correct me if I am wrong. The main difference seems to be fabric.

Halcyon wings: $540
  • 1000 count Cordura outer shell allows the superior abrasion resistance
  • Urethane coated, 400-denier nylon inner bladder for puncture resistance without stiffness
  • Halcyon inner bladders are RF welded
Dive Rite Exp Wing $239 - $329 (single)
  • 1680 denier ballistic nylon
  • 210 denier nylon laminated bladder
Dive Rite XT wings $284 - $389 (Single)
  • Dive Rite's XT Armored wings have the durability of SuperFabric (some sort of abrasion-resistant material using "guard plates"?) outer side with a 1000 denier Cordura® inner side
  • 210 denier nylon laminated bladder
OMS Mono Wing $289
  • 1000 denier nylon outer bag
  • Interior urethane backing
  • Inner bladder polyurethane material ultrasonically welded fittings and seams
Mares XR $259
  • Fabric outer shell (1200 Denier ballistic nylon on diver's side and 600 Denier polyester on the exterior)
  • Heavy-duty polyurethane inner bladder
DGX S1 $199
  • 1000 Denier nylon outer shell
  • urethane coated 200 Denier laminated bladder
Apeks WTX single Wing $395
  • Exterior: 1000D Armorshield Cordura
  • Inner air cell: 22mil (.022) thick black urethane
DRIS Mirage $299
  • 1600 denier Cordura cover
  • 15mil Urethane inner bladder
HOG 32# 360 $191.96
  • 840 denier Black w/Red trim Cordura Nylon protective outer covering
  • Replaceable 420 Hi-tenacity denier TPU coated inner air bladder
I think I can somewhat wrap my head around the outer shell but I am unsure how much the fabric plays into reliability and durability. From what I have read Cordura is said to be more "abrasion resistance" than ballistic nylon. The most expensive wing is Halycon but some say you are paying for the H and seems to be the outlier when it comes to cost. Halcyon, Apeks, and DRIS outer shells are made up of Cordura with over 1000 denier thread. HOG is at 840. When it comes to the bladder I am even more confused. Is there a difference between coated and laminated fabric?
 

Marie13

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You’re thinking about this too much. Just go with the Dive Rite and be done with it. Don’t break the bank (too much) and the customer service is top notch. Plus wings made in US.
 

BoltSnap

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One of the most durable wings out there:

Finnsub - FLY Wing

The outer layer of material is Cordura 2000. Its rough weaving is almost indestructible and durable. Inner layer made of TPU coated Nylon 420 is sufficiently robust material that records outstanding attributes in terms of strength and durability. It is also sufficiently resistant to temperature changes and any diving conditions in general.


Safety first
FLY BCD comply with qualifications of European Standards and possess all important CE Certificates.
 
OP
Dubious

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You’re thinking about this too much. Just go with the Dive Rite and be done with it. Don’t break the bank (too much) and the customer service is top notch. Plus wings made in US.

It is my nature to "think too much". Customer service is great but there are still differences in the dive rite wings that I think make my initial question valid. Dive Rite has the XT and EXP wings which have the same blader but a different shell. Is the XT super fabric worth the upgrade or will the ballistic nylon suffice? Are there instances where the abrasion-resistant fabric warrants the extra cost (eg: wreck or caves)?
 

Manatee Diver

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I have both a XT and EXP Dive Rite wings. The XT is covered with a plastic like coating. To be honest outside of a wreck environment (which is what I bought the Classic XT for) I can't see that much benefit.

That being said unless you are planning to use the Transpac, I would get the DGX S1 Wing. It is more streamlined, I've seen it on AL80s it is only a tad wider than the tank itself. And unless you plan to do single tank wreck exploration, it is strong enough to handle all the diving you are doing to throw at it. I personally use the VDH 35lbs wing which is by all appearances the same wing with a different label.
 

runsongas

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the regular nylon dive rite is plenty tough for most diving. the usage for extra armor is passing restrictions where the wing may be rubbing against the sides of the restriction (or top as may be the case of sidemount). for single tank, that isn't as much of a problem as most divers are wider than the width of the wing, especially for the skinny oxycheq style that is getting popular.
 

lowviz

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Now that I working on getting my wife into a bp/w and looking ahead to doubles, I have been eyeing the different wings available.

So let's talk about wing construction ...//...
Wings are one of the more reliable pieces of dive gear. I don't care too much about material for a recreational wing. IMHO, if you help her end up with a comfortable and balanced rig she will be better off. Diving a balanced rig gives you a way out even with a total wing failure. Search on 'balanced rig' -everywhere on SB.

I hope that this is not off-topic, but I would spend more time finding a wing that 'feels right' to her. I love to test things, did wings about 5 years ago. If you watch the vid below (password is wings ) You will see the weight slider on the pool bottom that allows me to compare wings from 'Stable' to 'Hot'. Too bad the manufacturers don't provide 'off-center weight vs tilt angle' data for their wings...


You will have to go to Vimeo with the password to watch. I'll leave the vid up for a while and then lock it again...
 

tbone1004

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Quite busy right now, but I'll get more in depth later. If you have any specific questions, please ask

Denier- a unit used in textiles that is an imperial unit derived from the silk industry. 1 denier is roughly one silk strand and is defined as 1 gram per 9000m. The larger the denier, the larger the fiber or yarn used.
Ballistic nylon- a generic nylon fabric that is laminated with a membrane that is used to protect Kevlar from the elements as it degrades quite rapidly when exposed to UV, chlorine, water, basically everything. It sounds sexy, so people call it ballistic nylon. Originally it was intended to be used as ballistic protection prior to the advent of the para-aramids for proper ballistic protection, but it is now still used as a protective fabric, just for the ballistic layers themselves.
Cordura- a brand name created by DuPont, but now owned by Invista that describe nylon fabrics designed specifically for abrasion resistance.
Superfabric-trademarked lamination process that is a righteous PITA to deal with, but is incredibly abrasion resistant. A significant amount of the cost increase is due to how irritating it is to cut and sew that fabric, but it does what it says it does.

Couple clarifications
Ballistic Nylon and Cordura are basically the same thing, but Cordura can only be made by Invista, think Kleenex, Q-Tips, Kevlar, etc.
Laminated and coated fabrics are the same thing, just marketing terms chosen by mostly ignorant marketing people on what they think sounds good and can find in a quick google search/what the people they buy the fabric from use.
Thread is yarn, but thread is only used for sewing. None of the discussion points are about the thread used to sew these fabrics together as they are not usually published and certainly not marketed. The 840d 1000d, etc. is the yarn used in the woven construction of these fabrics.
"Replaceable 420 Hi-tenacity denier TPU coated inner air bladder" quotes like this show how ignorant most of these marketing people are as they think "denier" actually means something. That is similar to saying my knife is made of "95 316 Stainless Steel Rockwell". Well sure, but the problem is the 95 and Rockwell go together, and in this case they forgot to tell you what the "hi-tenacity" was. They told you how heavy it was, and hi-tenacity usually means the polymer has been crystallized more than normal so it is higher tenacity than its normal form, but they forgot to tell you what it actually was. Cue people that don't know what they're talking about.

Couple points
Lower denier fabrics are going to be lighter and more flexible, the heavier fabrics are going to be stiffer and more puncture resistant. If you travel a lot, then it may be a buying decision, but for normal use it doesn't really matter practically speaking.
I think that urethane bladders are less prone to pinhole leaks, seams coming apart, etc. vs a laminated fabric. Yes the laminated fabrics are going to be more puncture resistant, but to puncture the inner bladder, you have to get through the outer bladder first, which unless your wing is fully inflated to capacity and you just straight up punch a hole in it, it doesn't matter. If you punch a hole in the outer bladder, the inner bladder is coming too. Good marketing, but the urethane bladders are perfectly fine.

TLDR. They're all good enough, buy what works size/shape wise, from a dealer that you want to support, and/or whatever you get a good deal on.
 

halocline

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I have bought wings based more on their size and shape (and price) than on the fabric used for them. Many are far tougher than they actually need to be. It's too bad Tobin isn't still in business, his stuff was very well designed and built, not bad price-wise, and he really knows what he's talking about.

For single tanks, I use the oxycheq machV 18 lb wing; the 30 lb is very similar. I'd recommend either one. For doubles I use a dive rite rec wing (one of the older ones) and I tolerate it....it works fine but it's a little on the big side. Right around the time I was thinking about getting a better doubles wing, I decided to switch to sidemount, so no new wing.
 
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Dubious

Dubious

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I have both a XT and EXP Dive Rite wings. The XT is covered with a plastic like coating. To be honest outside of a wreck environment (which is what I bought the Classic XT for) I can't see that much benefit.

Exactly what I was looking for. We were planning to get into lake Michigan wreck diving this year, but so far our diving has been halted. That said, I hope we can transition to doubles next year.

he regular nylon dive rite is plenty tough for most diving.

Thank you.

I love to test things, did wings about 5 years ago.

That is quite the test. What made you decided to do that test?

Quite busy right now, but I'll get more in-depth later. If you have any specific questions, please ask

You posted exactly what I was curious about. I had wondered if this was all about marketing. I am understanding you correctly that Urethane based bladder may be slightly more durable than polyurethane?

I have bought wings based more on their size and shape (and price) than on the fabric used for them

Price is what had me more concerned, but I didn't want to skimp if there was a significant reliability issue. I thought we were done buying gear last year, but here we go again. In addition to the new wing, I just bought two more used regulator sets for the two used al40 we bought for wreck/deep diving. The guy I bought the apeks regulators and al40 from is trying to sell me his double 104's.

IMHO, if you help her end up with a comfortable and balanced rig she will be better off.

I have read a lot about the balanced rig. Part of the justification I am using of why we need to buy her a BP/W setup is because her current Ladyhawk won't fit over her new drysuit.
 

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