Wing BCs will be familiar to technical divers, but they can be something of a mystery and seen as purely ‘tekkie’ gear by others. But they can be ideal for regular sports divers who want more from their BC?
So why choose a wing? Well, they often have a greater lifting capacity, there’s less clutter around the chest area, better horizontal positioning and are more streamlined. This gives the diver the ability to carry more weight (or more cylinders), means there is less chance of getting snagged and provides clearer access to equipment, easier neutral buoyancy and less drag respectively.
Now, if wings have all these advantages, why don’t all sports divers use them? If we dismiss the myth that they are harder to use, then there is no reason – except maybe one. When on the surface, they are not as proficient as a BC at keeping you vertical. This can be overcome with practice and correct weighting, but for the untrained it can be a little unnerving.
As there are so many wings suitable for sports divers, or specifically designed for single sets, on the market, we have split our test into two parts. This month, we feature BC-type or waistcoat-style wings. These are BCs that have wing bladders at the rear of the jacket instead of conventional all-round ones but retain many of the features of a standard BC. Next month, we will look at purpose-designed wings with separate harnesses but still aimed at the sport market or single-set diver.
Full results are listed below: