A buoyancy control device is an essential piece of scuba diving gear. It helps divers regulate buoyancy in the water and carry equipment on the dive therefore a proper fit is essential. Many of the BCDs on the market are shown as being uni-sex, and these include BCDx used for dive center rentals and training. Many women will find that they fit reasonably well. However, reasonably well should not be the goal. A proper fit is the goal. Women divers often find the uni-sex offering ill-fitted under the arms, too tight across the chest, and in the wrong position around the waist.
Diving started as an almost exclusionary male activity. However, while males are still the majority of divers, there is a large percentage of female divers. They deserve gear designed for them.
Many brands are now offering women’s dive gear and ladies BCDs. Here are the Best 5 BCDs For Women In 2021.
Travis is a digital nomad currently living and working as a divemaster in the south of Thailand
- While having an integrated weight system is beneficial for fun diving, most dive professionals must wear a standard weight belt while teaching. Be sure that the integrated weight pockets don’t interfere with the placement of a normal weight belt.
- Buying a BCD with plenty of room in the chest area assures the most comfortable fit without sacrificing functionality.
- You can minimize the pockets needed on your BCD by wearing hybrid dive shorts/pants with pockets. Fewer pockets help conserve space when storing and traveling with your gear.
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How To Choose A BCD For Women – Buying Guide
Just like regular clothing, female BCD designs will often come in a variety of sizes. These sizes can range from extra small to extra-large to allow female divers to find the best fit for their body. Many companies will include a size chart on their website. The size chart can help you determine which size would best BCD your needs following your measurements.
You must choose a BCD that is the correct size because it will make it easier to manage and adjust. Do not be too concerned, if different measurements fall into different sizes, straps will allow you to fine-tune the fit.
Many modern ladies’ BCD designs have an integrated weight system. A BCD with a weight system can eliminate the need for an additional dive belt. An integrated weight system will have trim weights in the back and pouches in the front. The trim weights will help you maintain a good profile underwater. The pouches are also referred to as your ditch-able weights. These are the weights that you need to drop in case of an emergency.
Lift is a measurement of the amount of negative buoyancy a device can overcome. Weight and negative buoyancy are different. An empty scuba tank may weigh 20 pounds but be neutrally buoyant. The lift will likely correspond to the size of the BCD. The most common lift starts at 25 pounds.
The best BCD for women will have valves placed throughout different locations on the vest and a primary valve close to the shoulder. These valves will allow you to control your ascent, so if you’re going up too rapidly, you can slow yourself down by bleeding air through the valve.
The two most common styles of BCDs for small women are the jacket and back flotation.
Jacket-style BCDs are similar to a vest and are easy to take on or off. They slide over your shoulders like a jacket, before being fastened and closed. This style of BCD is often the first choice for beginning and training divers because it is the most stable and comfortable. On the surface, they can push the diver’s head higher above the water, which can be comforting for beginners.
A back-flotation BCD is also a popular design. The back-flotation design is the most compact style with a roll-up bladder, which makes it travel-friendly. Many divers also report that this style feels freer than the bulkier jacket designs. For divers who like to explore tight spaces, like caves, this style is the better choice.
The fit is an essential feature for women’s dive gear. The fit of a BCD is tricky to determine. But as we have mentioned, the female BCD has been designed with female bodies in mind. Most female BCDs will have higher chest and waist straps, an angled shoulder harness, a short backplate, and additional padding to make it form-fitting.
A BCD should fit snugly, but not squeeze or pinch your body. The BCD should not slide around your shoulders or waist while you wear it. With all the straps, you can adjust your BCD to have the perfect fit after you attached your gear, even if you are using wetsuits or drysuits.
Pockets are great for adding additional storage space to your BCD. If you like to bring along dive knives, a pocket is a safe place to carry them, so it would be best to find a BCD with a few included in the design.
If you like quick access to your dive safety gear, then mounting grommets can be a great feature for your BCD to have. You can use them to hang your equipment on the outside, instead of storing it in a pocket.
A flexible backplate is the most comfortable BCD design for women. This is because the backplate will curve and move with your body. The flexibility will eliminate the backplate from digging into your spine and sides.
Q: What is the difference between men’s and women’s BCDs?
The difference between men’s and women’s BCDs is the cut. Men and women have different body shapes, and most BCD designs center on the men’s shape.
Many women enjoy scuba diving, and that means that women’s dive gear is gaining in popularity because it is designed for females. A BCD for women will have a different design that places the straps and buckles in better places to make them secure for a woman’s shoulders and waist. The BCD may even be form-fitting to allow it to flex with the diver’s movements.
Q: What are the parts of a BCD?
The two main parts of a BCD are the backplate and the air bladders. The BCD will also have valves, pockets, grommets, and straps to make it comfortable for diving. The straps and buckles will help you secure and adjust all your diving gear to the BCD and optimize the fit for a comfortable dive.
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A BCD is essential for all divers. A BCD for women is like striking gold because finding the correct fit can be so tricky. A lady’s BCD will be catered to their form, which allows female divers to feel in control of their gear and dive. Plus, a top-rated women’s BCD would make an excellent gift for scuba divers who are looking to dive safely.
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Do you use one of the women’s BCDs that made it onto our list? Has it improved your dive trips? Let us know how it has enhanced your dives in the comments section below.