Pack Light: The best travel BCDs

Solve your packing woes with these nine travel-friendly BCDs that are compact and, most importantly, lightweight

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Pack light with a travel BCD like TUSA's Voyager (Photo: TUSA)

Packing truly is the bane of every scuba diver’s existence. Fins, regulators, wetsuits, even photo equipment for some of us – all of these things add up. Before you know it, you’re getting that look from the airport staff when checking in. Seeing as how BCDs are notorious for taking up the most space in a dive bag, if you’re looking for a new one, consider getting a travel BCD instead. Weighing no more than three kilograms, these options are a lot lighter than regular BCDs and are perfect for frequent flyers who are tired of paying excess baggage fees.

#1 Cressi Ultralight

A back-inflation style travel BCD, the Ultralight weighs only two kilograms and comes with anatomical shoulder straps that promise comfort. It uses a lock-aid integrated weight system and has two optional back weight pockets that you can use to adjust your buoyancy and help you stay in trim.

MSRP: From USD399

#2 Dive Rite TravelPac

Minimalists would appreciate the TravelPac (2.6kg). Suitable for recreational divers and designed for warm water conditions, this compact BCD boasts a 360-degree donut-style wing that gives you full control over your buoyancy.

MSRP: From USD440

#3 Mares F-Light

An oldie but a goodie, the affordable Mares F-Light (2.3kg) is a favourite because of great features like its many D-rings (five to be exact) and extra large air cells that give it a higher-than-usual lift capacity (compared to other travel BCDs, that is). It works fine even in cold waters.

MSRP: From USD300

#4 Aqua Lung Zuma

The Zuma is a weight-integrated, rear inflation travel BCD that weighs less than 2.2 kilograms and, whether flat or rolled, fits snugly into any dive bag. The flat exhaust valves and bladder retraction system help reduce drag, plus, there’s a pull dump on the lower right side of the BCD, making it easy to descend head first and stay horizontal during dives.

MSRP: From USD439

#5 Scubapro GO

It’s clear that weight and comfort are king when it comes to the travel-friendly GO. The front-adjustable BCD weighs under three kilograms and with features such as quick-release rotating shoulder buckles and double tank bands to ensure the tank is strapped in firmly, you’re guaranteed both security and an excellent fit.

MSRP: From USD470

#6 Sherwood Ventura

One of the best things about the Ventura is that its aircell is mostly made from double coated thermoplastic urethane (TPU) material, which means this is one robust, fast-drying piece of gear that doesn’t absorb much water. Weighing in at just over two kilograms, the BCD also has a special integrated weight release system that allows up to seven kilograms of removable weight.

MSRP: From USD470

#7 TUSA Voyager

Well padded and ideal for warm waters, the Voyager weighs around two kilograms and works on several unique systems such as the integrated Weight Loading System (WLS), which allows easy loading and release, the Ultimate Stabilising Harness to prevent the air tank from rolling around and slipping during dives, as well as the OPEV quick inflate and deflate system.

MSRP: From USD390

#8 Zeagle Covert

One of the lightest BCDs ever made, the Covert barely weighs anything for a back inflation device at just 1.7 kilograms, which is quite surprising considering the fact that it’s made with super durable 1,000-Denier Cordura nylon. Its wide shoulder straps and adjustable waist panels make this one comfortable travel BCD, and drag is eliminated thanks to the close fit to your torso.

MSRP: From USD440

#9 Oceanic Jetpack

The Jetpack really stands out with its winning combination of a travel BCD and a detachable semi-dry backpack that’s designed to withstand all sorts of conditions. With a one-size-fits-all BCD (it has a 13 kilogram lift capacity, mind you) and a spacious carry-on that can hold other gear like your regulator and wetsuit, it’s a complete no muss, no fuss system that weighs a mere 3.75 kilograms when empty.

MSRP: From USD599

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Co-founder and editor of GoodVis, Sam has been obsessed with scuba diving since 2011. When she’s not doing research on lesser-known dive destinations, ogling at new scuba gear, or taking pictures of fish underwater, she’s either writing or stuffing her face with awesome food (or doing both simultaneously).