Reviews

Dive-rite Travel Pac

I have been using this wing now for quite a time and have logged over 1000 dives, abroad and UK boat and shore, following that length of trial I think that this review will give you the good, the bad and the ugly!

So what do Dive-rite say about this piece of kit? Well it's a 'hybrid harness and wing which is a combination of the Travel EXP wing and the TransPac harness. This Travel Pac BCD is designed for travel use and scuba diving abroad and weighs in at only 2.62kg' Well I think that they are underselling it on this description!

I consider this BCD almost as an entry level wing, suitable for use both abroad and in uk waters, with the harness offering enough variation is size to accomodate me in both a T-shirt and dry-suit complete with heated under vest and thermals.

It does offer the benefits of a pukka wing system, that's to say removal of clutter for better streamlining and less chance of snagging and better distribution of buoyancy for a good posture in the water. However it isn't fully 'tech' with the webbing harness being fitted with quick release clips and various D rings fitted as standard (two bent rings on the chest area and two standard rings on the waist band) This 'tech-lite' approach may disgust and horrify various DIR type divers but for the general market it's perfect.

The lift capacity on the EXP wing is 12kg and I have found that it is more than adequate for UK diving with a 12l steel cylinder and the usual paraphenalia. On the surface when fully inflated it will comfortably keep you out of the water although possibly not pushed as far clear as a standard BCD, and with all air in a back mounted wing there isn't that squeezing sensation. Should you be really anal about lift I would say to use a WRECK wing which offers much more list as it was designed for use by twin-set divers  If you are a little concerned about visibility for boats I would simply say SMB, everyone should dive with one and use it!

Dive-rite offer a variety of add on bits and the weight pockets are a popular option although with a capacity of 8kg they may not be suitable for all. An additional problem that I found with the pockets was that with shot weight pouches fitted they had the horrible tendancy to slip out of the pocket. Fortunately the quick release clip is strong enough to retain the now dangling pockets but it is a bugger about fitting the pockets back into the pouch, twisting the webbing on the pouch before securing the clip does aid the situation, but as I wrote not ideal. Oh and I have now removed these weight pockets and quite happily use an old style harness.

Bad points, well there are some niggles and pains. When I purchased the set-up there were no fixings to secure the wing to the harness, these were an extra £20 or so from Dive-rite. This isn't a huge amount in the scale of things but it does mean that you can't simply buy the Travel Pac and go, you also need the two fixings. I also found that the stainless steel buckles were sharp and over time these have started cutting through the webbing, so please check that the buckles have been adequately de-burred if you are buying one. This brings me onto my last, general niggle, the webbing cannot be exchanged so if it is cut through you are left with a costly repair or even the need to buy a new harness, not ideal!

Picture 009
Costly when it cuts through too far, until then I will continue to use it!

Richies Ratings 8.5/10:  good quality with a couple of minor niggles.

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