Normally dive 6lbs lead - Stainless vs Aluminum BP?

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waxyourboard

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Background: I’m a rec diver and I have been certified for 10 years but not a ton of dives over the period (probably around 50-60). I’m not looking to get into tech diving, just looking to maximize my enjoyment of the sport. I have only ever rented jacket style BCs and I don’t own a reg. I only dive warm water, generally Keys or Caribbean. I do not plan on ever diving cold water. In a full 3/2 wetsuit and a rental jacket-style BC breathing from AL80s, I use 6lbs of lead in saltwater. With the generic setup I am very leg-heavy.

Reason for post: I have rented some poor equipment in the Caribbean recently and it ruins the diving experience. I want to buy my own gear so I don’t have to rely on others.

I decided I want a BP/W setup, but I don’t know if a stainless BP will be too much weight since it is very close to my normal lead load. I will be traveling often with it but generally not flying often, so a couple pounds in my pack doesn’t matter.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I Don’t mind being a pound or two overweighted, but I’d rather not if I can avoid it.
 

Rol diy

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SS plate will probably be in the 5-6lb range, which is the amount on your belt, and will be spread evenly over your back, instead around your waist, which will solve your foot heavy problem,
but it will be heavier for travel,

An aluminum plate probably will work better in some ways, but a few weight pockets on your cam strap solves the extra weight you'll probably need to add
 

elan

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If you use 6mb with a jacket style bcd you might actually drop a bit of weight going bp/w because it will not have all the fluff of jacket style. Going with AL is safer as you will still have some room for other negative items like having SS buckles, getting a light etc. And still having a balanced rig. You can always add a couple lbs of lead if needed.
 
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waxyourboard

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Thanks for the feedback! Originally I though the SS BP would be perfect but I have heard that you drop weight requirements going away from a jacket style. I’ll start with an aluminum plate - upgrading to stainless won’t cost much if I ever decide to in the future
 

Shabaday

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Look any the XDeep Ghost...great for warm water diving but not upgradable to SS...that would be the Xdeep NX series
 

lexvil

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A light weight stainless would distribute the weight better and may help a lot with the heavy leg thing, light fins like scubapro GOSport will also help. I happen to know of someone that may let go of a light stainless freedom plate…
 

Hoag

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Speaking from my own experience, I used to own a high quality brand name light-weight (back inflate) travel BCD. When I got it, I suddenly needed to add more weight. I thought that maybe I had put on a few pounds, but it turns out that my BCD was 4LB Positive. I had to add an extra 4LB just to offset the buoyancy of the BCD.

I switched to an aluminum BP/W a couple years ago and IMMEDIATELY was able to get rid of 4LB.

I too would recommend an aluminum BP. With a stainless steel one, you have to bring more weight with you when you travel (50LB airline baggage limits can creep up quite easily) but an aluminum BP/W will tend to be very close to neutrally buoyant so once you get your weight dialed in, they shouldn't change much.
 

boulderjohn

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Speaking from my own experience, I used to own a high quality brand name light-weight (back inflate) travel BCD. When I got it, I suddenly needed to add more weight. I thought that maybe I had put on a few pounds, but it turns out that my BCD was 4LB Positive. I had to add an extra 4LB just to offset the buoyancy of the BCD.
I just got back from a dive trip to a tropical locale (where I froze). When I arrived, I discovered I had left my single tank adapter home by mistake, and there was no way to use my BP/W on the trip. I had to rent jacket BCDs both weeks. With both BCDs, I had the same experience described by Hoag, and the reason for it was obvious.

You could see the difference with my friends diving their BP/Ws and me with my jacket BCDs. Their wings barely showed past the cylinders. With my jacket BCD, it looked like I had an inner tube around my waist. The combination of bladder, huge weight pockets, and other pockets created significant volume, and adding volume to your total package adds a need for additional weight.

The unusable BP in my luggage was aluminum. I always take the aluminum BP while travelling because of the luggage weight. I winter in Florida and bring both my BPs, travelling there by car. Since luggage weight does not matter there, I use the SS BP for NDL dives.
 
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