6 Best Back Inflate BCDs Review

Back inflate BCDs are now taking the diving community by storm and for all the right reasons.

Unlike the gen z divers, most of us have learned diving using a jacket BCD. However, the back inflated model is now available for all divers to experiment with. In fact, some amount of expertise with diving will help you make the most out of it.

back-inflated bcd

But making the right choice in a market filled with hundreds of options can be a bit challenging. So, to help you, I have compiled this list of the top back-inflation BCDs that you can try.

Best Scuba Back Inflated BCD – Top 6 Picks

1. Hollis HD-200

For experienced divers who are looking to improve their skills, the Hollis HD-200 is the ideal bet. This BCD is highly adjustable, allowing the user to easily put it on and take it off. And it offers a great deal of storage space, too.

What I like about it

It might look a bit rugged, but in reality, it is super comfortable to use. On top of that, the weight is very light, making it easy to carry. And on the back, there is a pad and a contoured backplate that provides excellent support.

Moreover, I was highly impressed by the fact that it comes with a number of storage facilities. There are many D-rings, zippered pockets, and other mounting grommets that will make storing things pretty simple.

Plus, you can use this one both in warm and cold temperatures. There’s an additional crotch strap, too, which provides added support in all weather conditions. This strap prevents the kit from riding up to the surface when you are underwater.

What could be better?

There’s no doubt that this is one of the most sturdy BCDs that I have tried. However, dumping air quickly out of this can be pretty tricky. You need to get used to it in a few diving sessions to get the hang of it. Just keep it in mind before making a purchase.

PROS
  • Very durable
  • Comfortable to use
  • Great storage facility
CONS
  • Difficult to quickly dump air
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2. Zeagle Scout

Often termed as “the ultimate travel rig,” the Zeagle Scout BCD with Inflator has managed to win many hearts. This lightweight BCD is pretty simple to use and carry when underwater. Moreover, the style is such that it fits everyone.

What I like about it

This buoyancy compensator is suitable for a wide range of scuba diving activities. As such, it comes with a range of adjustments that enable you to easily accommodate multiple bladders, pockets, and other equipment.

Because it enables the users to customize the adjustments, you can consider using this device in all climatic conditions. As a diver, you can use it during your tropical travels and even for cold water diving.

What’s more, this single-cylinder BCD is great for all types of diving and makes for an excellent choice for entry-level divers who want to get in the Zeagle ecosystem. You can eventually upgrade to more advanced models that this brand has to offer.

What could be better?

As I have already mentioned, this back inflate BCD is best suited for beginners. I noticed that the pockets are not exactly heavyweight and spacious, and you cannot use them to store too many things. So, I believe that it could perform better with some additional or bigger pockets.

PROS
  • High-quality material
  • Provides great grip
  • Very versatile
CONS
  • More pockets needed
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3. Atomic Aquatics BC2

Like its forerunner BC1, the Atomic BC2 is tough, well-designed, and easy to use. However, this model goes a step ahead and moves beyond the conventional back-inflation BCDs. Its design is what gives it a unique touch!

What I like about it

Diving accessories are cost-intensive, and it is not feasible to change them frequently. Hence, divers love this product for the durability that it puts on the table. Notably, it is made of double-laminated polyurethane-coated material and corrosion-resistant metals.

Moreover, it comes with an incredibly well-designed Weight Release System. As there are integrated weights present, it becomes easy for the user to don and doff. Plus, there are two zippered pouches that can accommodate 10 lbs each.

Apart from that, the design requires a special mention. It is sleek and minimal, making it easy to glide through the water with minimum resistance. This also reduces wear and tear considerably.

What could be better?

Though the design is excellent, it does not offer much versatility to the users in terms of color options. When you put this on, it feels as a premium product, well the price certainly is premium (steep). And the pocket space isn’t that great either.

PROS
  • Extra padding
  • Simple to use
  • Highly durable
  • Well-designed
CONS
  • Little pocket space
  • Expensive
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4. Mares Journey 3.0

One of the most recent additions by the brand Mares is the Journey  3.0 back-inflation scuba BCD. This product brings together the best of the previous models coupled with a more efficient locking system. The ease of using this one is precisely what makes it stand out.

What I like about it

For beginners as well as professional divers, this is an excellent choice as it comes with a unique locking system. Without a proper locking, most scuba BCDs tend to ride up when you are underwater. However, this product comes with a Slide Locking System that tackles this problem.

Apart from that, it comes with a special indicator that enables you to know when the weights are correctly locked in. When the locking is safely done, the indicator turns green, and when the lock is not engaged, it turns red.

It is suitable for all types of divers and is very safe to use. There is a safety whistle that is attached to it, so you can easily blow it in case of emergencies.

What could be better?

The only thing it may do better with is an upgraded strap buckle, as it sometimes comes off. If the manufacturer replaced it with a stronger buckle, it would become more efficient.

PROS
  • Great locking system
  • Durable build
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with detailed user instructions
CONS
  • Buckle can be better
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5. Scubapro Hydros Pro

The Scubapro Back Inflate BCD for men has made quite a mark because of its unique modular design. Even without the help of any technician, you can easily assemble the piece.

What I like about it

What makes it stand out is the customization that it offers to users. All the attachments are customizable, and that makes the product pretty versatile. So, divers who experiment and venture into exceptional areas can make use of it.

Other than that, you would be happy to know that traveling with this BCD is super convenient. Unlike many other options that occupy a lot of space, this one comes with a flexible backplate that makes carrying it pretty simple.

Furthermore, the material it is made of is exceptional. Once you get out of the water, you will find that it dries up in no time. And this quick-dry material is quite resistant and does not face wear and tear easily.

What could be better?

What’s strange is that the rear dump is on the left. Not a big issue, but I’m just used to having it on the right.

This is also a bit costly variant. But with the versatility and customizing options it offers, there are no complaints. That said, the high price might act as a deterrent to first-time divers. Unless you are a seasoned diver, investing so much on a backplate BCD might not make sense.

PROS
  • Durable
  • Quick to dry
  • Quite versatile
  • Comes with carry-on bag
CONS
  • A bit pricey
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6. Oceanic Excursion

For outdoor enthusiasts who prefer a multi-purpose option, the Oceanic Excursion Back Inflation BCD is the ideal bet. It is suitable for use in all types of environments and makes for an ideal travel companion. Overall, this item scored high on simplicity of use.

What I like about it

You would be happy to know that this weight integrated BCD is a favorite of many divers because it comes with a bit of twist. With some simple modifications, it can be turned into a day bag, accompanied by zippered pockets. As such, there’s enough space to accommodate all your scuba gear.

And it is not just the versatility that makes it a great travel BCD. The item is pretty lightweight, making it very convenient to carry. It is completely ergonomic, and that enhances the functionality even further.

Moreover, it is equipped with an adjustable sternum and padded shoulder straps that make it easy for everyone to use. And owing to its great design, you can deflate it fast.

What could be better?

I was a bit disappointed not to find any D-rings in the package. They are significant for divers, and it would have been great if the package included some. You can, however, buy them separately and attach them to your BCD.    `

PROS
  • Affordable
  • Durable build
  • Exceptional design
  • Dries quickly
CONS
  • Does not include D-rings
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Difference Between Back Inflation, Hybrid and Wing BCD

Back-inflate BCDs come with inflatable air cells located on the backplate. They will generally have more storage options than their wing style counterparts.

On the other hand, for wing-style BCDs, the air cells or bladders are located on two sides (wings) of the scuba tank. Having the air on your back in a wing means you are held in a nice horizontal dive position. Hence, wing style is more suitable for people who engage in technical diving with multiple tanks and deeper dives. A wing BCD usually pretty basic and only consists of a bladder, backplate and a harness.

And as the name suggests, hybrid BCDs are a combination of jacket-style and back-inflated BCDs. You can inflate ¼ of the front and ¾ of the back for maximum comfort and better buoyancy. When using a hybrid model, it becomes easy for the diver to float both horizontally and vertically.

So, a hybrid BCD brings together the best features of jacket style and wing BCDs. In the last few years, this variant has gained quite some popularity in the diving community.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Back Inflate BCDs

  • Helps maintain better horizontal position underwater
  • Provide a level starting point
  • Reduces drag and helps streamline better
  • Comfortable to use
  • Tendency to push the diver to the surface

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Float at the Surface With Back Inflate BCD?

Floating with this kind of BCD is not too much of a task when you have some experience in diving. You can float face up easily by kicking continuously in a way that the bladder gets placed beneath you.

But make sure that you have something to hold on to. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you will soon roll face down. So, to get the most out of these products, it is essential that you keep training yourself.

Without the right set of expertise, floating can be a difficult job with any type of BCD that you try. So, enrolling yourself in a diving course is a good idea if you want to do it professionally. Unless you learn the techniques, making yourself float with any kind of BCD can be pretty challenging.

When you are starting out, look up some tutorial videos to see how experts do it. This will give you a good head start, and you will have some idea about how to begin.

How Should a Back Inflate BCD Fit?

Unless the fit is good, your diving experience won’t be enjoyable. Ideally, a BCD should snugly fit your body but leave enough room for you to move.

It should give you proper room to move your arms and torso. A BCD that is tight around the midsection is not the best pick for you. Due to this, additional straps are always useful as they help to keep it in place. However, make sure that they are not too tight and do not constrict your movement.

Ideally, the fit should be such that when you inflate it, there’s no way it will go above your head. You should go for an option that will work as an extension of yourself and will play no role in restricting the movements.

What is a Modular Designed Back Inflate BCD?

Modular simply means customizable. So, when you opt for a modular back inflated BCD, everything, including the bladder, harness, and backplate, is easy to replace. Depending on the requirements, one can make the adjustments and only keep those that suit their purpose.

Moreover, modular designed BCDs are mainly preferred by professional scuba divers who love to experiment. In general, these models are relatively easy to repair as well in case of damages. And because they are easy to service, they generally last longer than other models do.

Some companies even offer great customization for their modular BCDs. You can customize it and get a personalized product cut to your needs. There can be nothing better than a BCD that is tailored for you.

Can Beginners Use a Back Inflate BCD?

There are many scuba divers who still use old style jacket BCDs. However, the back inflation is becoming increasingly popular.

In case you are just starting out, don’t get deterred by anyone telling you that these variants are only suited for tech divers. It is mostly used by professional divers, but now more and more young divers are experimenting with it. And the results have been incredible so far.

A BCD with back inflation is superior to other variants, as it provides better trim and buoyancy. It also comes with excellent weight distribution without being too bulky for entry level divers. Then there are modular options, too, that you can customize according to your needs.

However, the price might be a dealbreaker for some. Not many beginners are willing to spend so much on a gear that they have minimal experience using. But, in case you are determined or have already signed up for a scuba certification, investing in such a BCD can be a good idea.

Conclusion

With that, I have now reached the end of this guide. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to make a more informed choice.

Some of the variants are gendered, which means they are specifically designed for use by women or men, so I recommend that you read the label properly before making a purchase.

When you pick the right BCD, your diving experience will be enhanced manifold. And now that you have a complete list of the top products to try, you can get the right one without much trouble.