Are you planning a trip and looking for the best travel BCD to take? A BCD, or buoyancy control device, is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment that helps divers control their buoyancy underwater. If you’re looking for the best travel BCD, lightweight and compact, we recommend the Scubapro Litehawk BCD with Air 2.
A travel BCD is a lighter, more compact version of a traditional BCD designed for divers who must pack light and travel frequently.
When shopping for a travel BCD, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to look for a BCD that is lightweight and easy to pack.
Many travel BCDs are made from lightweight materials like nylon or neoprene, which makes them easy to fold up and pack in your luggage. You’ll also want to consider the size and fit of the BCD, as well as the number and placement of pockets and D-rings.
After researching and testing several travel BCDs, we’ve identified the top options on the market. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting, our guide will help you find the best travel BCD for your needs.
Let’s get into it!
Our 5 Best Travel Buoyancy Control Devices
Table of Contents
The Best Travel BCDs Reviewed
Just like we did in our review for the best travel surfboard bag, we’ve compiled a list of the best travel BCDs on the market to make your decision easier. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, these BCDs will provide comfort, durability, and convenience for your travels.
Scubapro Litehawk BCD with Air 2
The Scubapro Litehawk BCD is a streamlined package that is well-suited for both tropical and temperate water diving. Its ultra-slimmed-down design and flexible backpack lay flat and compact for packing, making it a great choice for travel.
The Scubapro Litehawk BCD features quick-release rotating shoulder buckles that let you route the straps under your arms for a custom fit that’s also stable at depth.
The BCD carries no inherent buoyancy, so only minimal ballast weight is required. Optional quick-release weight pockets are available for those who need more weight.
The Scubapro Litehawk BCD is constructed in durable 1000 Denier Nylon for long-life wear and features streamlined air cell technology. Four aluminum D-rings provide convenient clip-on points for additional gear.
If you’re looking for a lightweight and compact travel BCD, the Scubapro Litehawk BCD with Air 2 Bpi Medium/Large is a great choice. It’s perfect for divers who want a streamlined package that is well-suited for both tropical and temperate water diving.
- The Scubapro Litehawk BCD has back flotation for mobility.
- The 3-dump system allows air dumping in any position.
- The Scubapro Litehawk BCD is lightweight and travel-friendly.
- The Scubapro Litehawk BCD has no buoyancy and low ballast.
- The belt-style waist strap may not suit everyone.
- The basic pockets may not have enough space.
Cressi Patrol Travel-Friendly Light Back Inflation BCD
This BCD is designed in Italy and has an anatomical design for maximum comfort and durability. The special air cell compression strap guarantees extra quick deflation and volume control. The ultralight, rigid back plate with its integrated carrying handle ensures optimal stability.
The Patrol also features Cressi’s Flat-Lock-Aid integrated weight system that makes it easy to release the pockets.
There are three pressure relief valves: one on the upper part of the hose, one valve on the right-hand side of the shoulder, and a third on the lower right-hand side of the air cell. The shoulder and waist harness are fully adjustable to one full size up or down from the stated size.
Overall, the Cressi Patrol Travel-Friendly Light Back Inflation BCD is a good option for those looking for a lightweight and comfortable travel BCD with good buoyancy. However, the plastic D-rings and potential snag hazard of the spring closure are worth considering.
- The pockets have zippers and bindings for security and access.
- The weight pockets are perfectly fitted and hold up to 4.5 kg each.
- The dorsal air chamber has maximum buoyancy.
- The spring closure is a snag risk.
- The plastic D-rings may not last long.
- Leaning back on the surface is hard.
Zeagle Covert BCD Medium
The Zeagle Covert BCD Medium is an ideal choice for divers who prioritize lightweight and compact gear for travel. The double bladder construction and abrasion-resistant material make it a durable option that can withstand the wear and tear of travel.
The adjustable waist and padded straps provide a comfortable and secure fit, making it easy to wear for extended periods. The compact design also means it’s easy to pack and won’t take up too much space in your luggage.
However, the lack of pockets and attachment points may be a downside for those who need to carry a lot of accessories.
Additionally, more than the 32 lb lift may be needed for some divers using larger tanks or wearing thicker wetsuits. Lastly, the absence of D-rings to tighten shoulder straps may be inconvenient for some users.
Overall, the Zeagle Covert BCD Medium is a great choice for divers looking for a lightweight and durable travel BCD.
- Easy to pack and travel with
- Durable and long-lasting
- Comfortable and secure fit
- No pockets or attachment points
- Low lift capacity
- No D-rings for shoulder straps
Mares Journey 3.0 BCD Pack
The Mares Journey 3.0 BCD Pack is a full-featured jacket-style BCD with 35lb of lift and two dump valves. The integrated weight pockets with a Slide Locking System (SLS) and a lock indicator make it easy to snap your dive weights into place securely.
The unique design of the weight pouch has an indicator on the outside, so you always know when your weights are locked in. The indicator turns green when the locking mechanism is securely fastened and red when disengaged.
The BCD also has 2 Trim Weight Pockets in the lower inside of the bladder to improve trim. The dedicated tool attachment, five aluminum D-rings, and 1 Roll-up pocket provide plenty of space for all your tools and gear.
The quick-release chest strap is height adjustable and, combined with neck padding, provides an ultra-comfortable fit. The quick-release hook-and-loop waist strap is fully adjustable.
The Mares Journey 3.0 BCD Pack also features bungees to keep the rear air bladder streamlined for a lower profile above and below the waves. You can also add a second tank strap for increased security.
The carrying handle makes it easy to transport, and the attached safety whistle provides added security in emergencies.
Overall, the Mares Journey 3.0 BCD Pack is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and comfortable travel BCD. With its Slide Locking System, dedicated tool attachment, and adjustable straps, you can rest assured that you’ll have everything you need for a successful dive.
- Secure SLS for dive weights
- Ample space for tools and gear
- Comfortable and adjustable straps
- Inaccessible trim weight pockets
- Oversized fit
- Tedious weight bouch clips
Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving
The Biolite is a great option for divers who value lightweight gear that’s easy to travel. The integrated weight system is easy to use and allows you to adjust your buoyancy quickly and easily. The low profile design also makes it easy to pack away in your luggage.
One potential downside of the Biolite is that it may not be suitable for divers who require a lot of lift capacity. The non-drop weight pocket can also be difficult to access for some divers, which may be a concern for those who need to adjust their weight frequently.
Overall, if you’re looking for a lightweight and travel-friendly BC/BCD, the Oceanic Biolite Ladies Travel BC/BCD Ultra Lightweight Weight Integrated Buoyancy Compensator Medium is worth considering.
- Lightweight and perfect for travel
- Adjustable with up to 6.3 kg weight system
- Foldable with a low-profile design
- Low lift capacity
- Hard-to-reach weight pocket
- One size only
How To Choose The Best Travel BCD
A travel BCD is a buoyancy control device designed to be lightweight and compact for easy packing and transportation. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best travel BCD for your needs, such as:
The style of the BCD
When it comes to diving, choosing the right BCD (buoyancy control device) is crucial for a safe and comfortable diving experience. There are two main styles of travel BCDs to choose from, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks.
Jacket BCDs are designed to wrap around your torso and have air bladders on both the front and back. This style of BCD offers excellent stability, making it a good choice for beginners or divers who prefer a more comfortable and supportive fit.
Jacket BCDs are also typically equipped with additional pockets and attachment points, providing more storage space for accessories and gear. However, a jacket BCD’s added bulk and weight can make it more cumbersome and less streamlined in the water.
On the other hand, back-inflated BCDs have air bladders only on the back, which makes them more streamlined and hydrodynamic than jacket BCDs. This style of BCD is a popular choice among experienced divers and those who prefer a minimalist design.
However, back-inflate BCDs can be less stable and harder to control than jacket BCDs, especially for newer divers or those still getting the hang of buoyancy control.
Related: The Best Snorkeling Fins For Travel.
The weight of the BCD
Regarding scuba diving, packing light is essential, and a travel BCD can help you do just that. These BCDs are designed to be lighter than regular BCDs, making a big difference when keeping your luggage within the weight limits.
However, it’s important to note that the weight of a travel BCD can still vary depending on several factors, such as the materials, features, and accessories.
To ensure you get the most out of your travel BCD, looking for one that strikes the right balance between weight, quality, and durability is best.
A good range to aim for is between 2 and 4 kg (4 to 9 lbs), which can give you the support and buoyancy you need without weighing you down while moving.
The lift capacity of the BCD
The BCD’s lift capacity determines the amount of air it can hold to keep you afloat on the surface or at depth. When choosing a travel BCD, it’s important to consider your body weight, the weight of your gear, and any additional weight you might need to add for different diving conditions.
A suitable lift capacity range for a travel BCD is between 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lbs). It’s important to note that if you plan on diving in cold water, you may require additional weight due to the thickness of your wetsuit and exposure protection.
On the contrary, if you are diving in warmer waters, you may need less weight to achieve neutral buoyancy.
The features and accessories of the BCD
A good travel BCD may include integrated weight systems, pockets for storing dive gear, D-rings for attaching accessories, trim pockets for improved buoyancy control, inflator hoses for easy inflation/deflation, and more.
It’s important to evaluate your preferences carefully and needs to find a travel BCD that suits you best. Whether you prioritize comfort, convenience, or functionality, there will surely be a travel BCD that meets your criteria.