A buoyancy control device is an essential piece of scuba diving gear. It helps divers regulate their buoyancy in the water and carry their equipment on the dive. With a vest like design, divers can strap everything they need to the BCD and optimize the air of the inflatable bladder. But the most common problem for female divers is finding scuba gear that fits their bodies, and a BCD can be especially tricky to find. BCDs that are designed for men or are a one size fits all often don’t meet the needs of smaller women, which can threaten dive safety.
Imagine the struggle of not being able to adjust or manage your vest when you’ve already begun the dive. A fun dive can quickly turn into a terrifying experience if you aren’t in control of your dive gear. A BCD should always correctly fit, and the diver should be able to easily adjust their device at the surface or under the water. But dive gear companies are finally catching on, and now many brands offer women’s dive gear and ladies BCDs. For all the female divers, a better fitting BCD means a more comfortable, relaxed, and safe dive.
How To Choose A BCD For Women – Buying Guide
Below we have highlighted features that can help you find the best women’s BCD that will have a design catered to fit the female form.
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 suit your needs following your measurements.
It is crucial that you choose a BCD that is the correct size because it will make it easier to manage and adjust. And since you’re already diving with heavy gear, minimizing the bulk of your BCD can make a huge difference in your dive comfort.
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, which reduces the amount of gear you have to carry. However, it is best to be cautious and be sure that you can easily access and remove any diving weights from your BCD when necessary.
A BCD should produce lift in an air cell, which will counteract the integrated dive weights. 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 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, but better suited for experienced and trained divers. 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 smaller bodies in mind. Most female BCDs will have higher chest and waist straps, an angled shoulder harness, short backplate, and additional padding to make it form fitting.
A BCD should fit snuggly, but not squeeze or pinch your body. Before you pack your gear, 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 have packed on 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 it, 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 store 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.
A modular design ladies BCD will allow you to easily change and replace specific parts of the device, which can allow women to find a custom fit. Most modular BCDs are the back-flotation style, and one significant advantage is the longevity of the design. The modular design allows you for easy service and repairs on your BCD.
Q: What is the difference between men’s and women’s BCDs?
A: The difference between men’s and women’s BCDs is the fit. Men have larger bodies, and most BCD designs have always catered to their needs. But men aren’t the only divers anymore, and scuba diving history has changed.
Many women enjoy scuba diving, and that means that women’s dive gear is gaining in popularity because it is designed for smaller bodies. A BCD for small 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: How do I clean and care for my BCD?
A: Scuba diving equipment is expensive, and a top rated women’s BCD is no exception. You won’t want to have to keep buying a BCD every year, and you shouldn’t have to. If you properly maintain and care for your BCD, it will last longer and remain damage free.
The best way to care for your BCD is to rinse it with fresh water after every dive trip. The salt is a corrosive material, and if it sits for a long time on your BCD, it can cause damage. A rinse will clean the material of any salt and leave it corrosion free. The BCD, hose, and inside bladder should all get rinsed with fresh water. It is also important to work and check the buttons to ensure they function. Once you have finished cleaning, you can inflate and dry your BCD.
If you are struggling to clean and care for your BCD, consider professional servicing to keep it maintained. Or you may find additional cleaning tips in the BCDs for women reviews on how to manage your BCD.
Q: What are the parts of a BCD?
A: A BCD will be strapped to the diver’s body and may have a bulkier or minimalistic design, depending on the style. The BCD consists of one main jacket that you can then attach and strap your gear to. Different BCDs have a variety of features, but mainly, they will all be able to hold your essential equipment. The BCD should have valves, pockets, grommets, and a backplate 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.
Globo Surf Overview
A BCD is essential for all divers. A BCD for small women is like striking gold because finding the correct fit can be so tricky. A ladies BCD will be catered to their petite 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.
More Scuba Reviews:
- Spearfishing Wetsuit
- Scuba Gear For Kids
- Travel BCD
- Freediving Mask
- Dive Gloves
- Spearfishing Mask
- Underwater Signaling Device
- Pole Spear
- Dive Slate
- SMB Diving
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.
Globo Surf BCDs For Women Reviews