The diving jacket has several main features, so it is crucial to make the right choice.
It is necessary to know the objective criteria of quality with which a vest must count for taking the desired one. But at the same time, it is important to choose the type of jacket most suitable to the kind and level of practice.
THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE DIVING JACKET (OR BCD):
Fix the bottle to the back of the diver thanks to a "back-pack" fitted with straps and integrated into the vest.
- Regulate the dynamism of the diver on the surface and underwater by blowing air from the bottle (thanks to the trachea) or by expelling it through the different valves present.
- Compensate the negative or positive dynamism of the suit generated by the hydrostatic pressure and float on the surface before and after the dive or for safety reasons.
- Fastening or holding objects using carabiners or pockets
THE OBJECTIVE CRITERIA FOR THE ELECTION OF THE JACKET:
Inhale the vest to test it and measure the effectiveness. It is important that access to the instruments is as easy as possible, particularly with respect to the trachea, valves, and rings.
Backpacks are rigid. But quilted versions offer greater comfort. It is important to choose a jacket appropriate to the physiognomy itself, which should not be moved once the diver has put it on.
The adjustable abdominal girdle is the most important element to choose the size; Adjustable straps and padded shoulders make the vest more comfortable to wear.
There are models of diving jackets particular to women who do not compress the chest as well as other models more suitable for children.
The need for fastenings in a jacket increases proportionately concerning the autonomy of the diver. The greater the number of rings on a vest, the greater the number of fastenings will be. However, this factor influences weight gain. To avoid this problem, some vests feature removable ballast pockets.
SOLIDITY AND RESISTANCE:
Jackets are subject to high pressure and wear on both surface and water. The strength of the material varies depending on the model.
To measure the degree of resistance to abrasion, there is the sanity index.
The higher the sanity index, the greater the strength and technical life of the jacket will be.
CHOOSE THE JACKET ACCORDING TO YOUR USE:
There are three different types of diving and, therefore, there is a jacket that adapts to each of them. Make sure its appropriate for your body before reading the buying guide.
1. RECREATIONAL DIVING:
The "classic" jacket is the one that adapts more to this type of diving. The swelling occurs in the back and sides and features a backpack that allows the bottle to attach to the diver's trunk, ensuring maximum comfort.
2. DIVING TRIPS:
For this type of dive, it is preferable to choose a "travel" vest which is a "classic" jacket without a backpack. It is light and easy to bear, but it does imply some loss of comfort. Nowadays, to offer a compact and comfortable design, some classic BCDs are equipped with a folding backpack.
3. TECHNICAL DIVING:
Technical dive practitioners should wear a "technical" type jacket. It is a harness that has a back bag to release the space on the sides. This type of configuration favors the horizontal position of the underwater diver. However, on the surface, this position can be complicated. The diver must move parallel to the water on the trunk or on the belly as opposed to the classic vest that allows being upright on the surface.