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First BP&W setup £3-500 budget? (or XDeep Ghost)

Discussion in 'Dive Equipment' started by Gaz, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    Hi everyone.

    After a few years of diving, I eventually bought my first full kit, I had some great advice from the forum (2nd hand BCD, good regs and simple computer, etc).

    Another year or so later and, with loads more dives under my belt (and plans to massively increase this number in the coming year), I'm ready to upgrade a couple of bits of kit - starting with the BCD.

    The one I have been using is a back-inflate travel-type BCD. I absolutely love how compact and light it is - all my diving is abroad, usually long-haul followed by backpacking from hostel-to-hostel - so all my gear is lightweight. But it has never really fit me all that well and the bladder is enormous when inflated and quite cumbersome in the water.

    Here it is:
    [​IMG]

    So I've sold it on and been looking for a replacement. Looking for something:
    • super-lightweight but tough (bit of a contradiction)
    • with a wing-type bladder (I find it more comfortable in staying horizontal)
    • with crotch straps (I'm pear-shaped and the belly-strap on many BCDs means the jacket rides up)
    • that is sleek in the water.
    …and I found it at a Dive Show. I saw an XDeep Ghost Deluxe and absolutely fell in love with it - everything I wanted and incredibly light at 2.5kg:

    [​IMG]
    …but… it is very expensive. Prices are £4-500. So before I commit, I thought I'd ask here.

    As the Ghost is basically a BP&W setup - I realise that at that price I could just get a true BP&W. A little early in my diving, certainly, but I don't think it would do any harm and would meet my needs perfectly.

    The big appeal for me is the modular nature and the ability to replace a part when damaged or worn.

    But as the BP&W components are sold separately and assembled based on a diver's needs, I'm struggling to price one up.

    I wondered if the forum could help me to assemble a shopping list of parts that I can order? I'm going diving in Hawaii in 5 weeks and would like to get it in time to do a couple of dives to let me set it up before I go. I'm hoping for:

    • Single tank only
    • As light as possible
    • Crotch strap
    • Plenty of strap-space for add-ons (and ideally cam band space for trim weight to compensate for a lighter backplate - alloy/composite/etc)
    • Nice and compact when inflated.
    • Ideally space for a small pouch/pocket.
    I'm happy to mix and match new and used parts too if this is appropriate.

    Any links or advice would be very welcome - failing that I'm sure I would still be very happy with the Ghost.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    PS I only dive warm water with a wetsuit (no drysuit) if this makes any difference.
     
  3. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    PPS: from my limited understanding, the Apeks WTX series seems very appealing - and surprisingly cheaper than the ghost. A package seems to be something like:
    • APEKS WTX-D18 SINGLE CYLINDER WING
    • Apeks Ultralight Travel Plate
    • Apeks Deluxe One-Piece Web Harness
    • APEKS WTX SURELOCK WEIGHT SYSTEM

      I could get all of the above for <£360 by shopping around and it would come in at a total weight of 5.3kg. Not as light as the Ghost, but should last me a lifetime - am I on the right track?

     
  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Hawaii, nice one!

    Five things needed:
    • Aluminium backplate. Lightweight and strong. Buy second hand, cheap.
    • One piece harness inc. crotch strap. Cheap, simple, reliable. New circa £50, good chance of getting one with a backplate.
    • Single tank adapter, possibly aluminium.
    • Trim/weight pockets x4 for attaching to the two cam-bands, each side, should take 2kg blocks, zipped not Velcro.
    • Wing, doughnut style. Loads available but quite rare second hand. Need no more than 30lb/18kg lift. The Halcyon Eclipse is excellent but crazy expensive. There's loads that are just as good such as the Apeks.
    I normally dive a twinset with backplate and wing. On holiday I have a rig as per above (except for a stainless backplate). The great thing is they feel the same in use; the inflator and dump are in the same place and it has the same trim characteristics.
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    The one thing missing from the above is a pocket to stash suff, especially if your wet/drysuit doesn't have any. Can be resolved with some form of bag either attached to the waist band or even stealing an idea from the sidemounters: a bum bag (although this will need to be moved to a chest ring when putting the kit down).

    Clips and adjusters aren't really necessary as getting in and out of a one-piece harness is pretty easy, especially in thinner suits in warmer climates. The marketing chimps seem to love these and use it to drive up prices.
     
  6. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    Wibble - thats wonderful advice, thank you very much - i'll get googling!

    Love this forum, always get some really good tips: had it for my first bits of kit (mask, fins, etc), for my first computer, for my first complete kit and now this.
     
  7. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    I just wanted to comment on this.

    Some people learn in a BP&W system and I myself used one ever since passing my Open Water. There is nothing super special about them, they are not super techie kit, it's just another way to attach the bubble of gas on your back (wing) to you.
     
  8. Nick Ward

    Nick Ward Active Member

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    take a look at John Hewitts stuff over at Red Hat diving: http://www.johnhewitt.com/diving-equipment.htm he's got an ebay site, but thats often a smidge more expensive... the site is a bit "dated" in appearance, but the kits well a look
     
  9. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    Thanks very much - thats quite reassuring to know I'm not being silly moving away from jacket style BCD at this stage. I'm taking on board the comments from Wibble and Nick above to scope out the kit. Its already helping me massively in knowing what to look for.

    I'm certainly going for a BP&W 'stye' of setup - the debate is whether to go for a true modular setup or to buy an all in one kit.

    I'm using the above advice to start to assemble a few phantom rigs in my notebook, just looking at John Hewitt's page now. There doesn't seem to be anything in it cost wise, so it just (for my circumstances) comes down to weight - I'm just a couple of KG away from where I would like to be at the minute but I'll keep trying combinations of parts.

    For long-haul flights this isn't a problem, I'll just man-up and carry a bit more in my pack - but I go to malta quite regularly for long weekends (have the cheap trip down now, its barely more expensive than being in the UK) and I've realised that if I can keep the BCD under 3kg then I can actually go with hand luggage which seems insane, but is very doable (my existing Aqualung mikron regs 1.02kg, Scubapro Go fins 1.2kg, Osprey Farpoint 30 bag 1.44kg, Neoprene socks, few clothes, etc) - only thing I can't include is my line cutter due to cabin restrictions. I'll need access to a traditional BC when I get myself on the OWSDI course, but I'll just borrow one from the centre. In the meantime, I live near the airport and don't work Fridays so having the ability to do a no-fuss quick hop would be amazing.

    In that regard, the off-the shelf BCDs are currently in the lead:

    My dream is to find a true BP&W in the 3kg region but think I might struggle - I've found an interesting thread here where someone was in a similar path. I feel I need a spreadsheet to compare the combinations of components.

    My goodness I have turned into a geek!
     
  10. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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  11. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    Wow thanks - I hadn't seen the Halcyon one before.
     
  12. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    I don't think I'd go for the Halcyon one if I'm honest, I think I'd prefer something more 'standard'. Don't get me wrong, it does look like it'd be good for travel but it looks like it could only do travel. I would much prefer something that I can then reuse elsewhere. This may be a non-issue for you if you dive with mostly the same kit at home and on holiday but I don't I dive a single cylinder on holiday and a twinset at home.
     
  13. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    Good advice thank you. I'll bear it in mind.

    It will be my only kit - which is where it gets tricky as lightweight kit with naturally be a little less robust than normal equipment - I'm hoping to get a sensible compromise.

    For example, my Mikron regs work perfectly - I can't really tell any difference between them and standard ones - but they're much smaller and lighter. Similarly, my Zoop is being swapped for a D4i watch-sized computer - no difference in functionality, but I can keep it on my wrist the whole time, so no need to pack separately (and have it getting mixed up with the other 10 on he boat, as happened recently). Thats the kind of ethos I'm going for (rather than chasing every gram ).

    I know what you mean re: the Halcyon. At the minute I think I'm favouring the Mares red devil or Ghost as they just look like normal BP&W setups, albeit quite compact - the devil is not the lightest but doesn't seem to have much of a compromise - I suspect they've used more expensive material to get the weight down, rather than to have sacrificed on the quality. Just wish it wasn't red ha ha.
     
  14. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Ok slightly different and considerably cheaper slant.

    A travel BC is a cut down version of a standard BC mainly to save weight.
    They do that by reducing/removing some elements, cutting back on lift (smaller bladder)
    and reducing the thickness of the material. So while the travel BC is lighter that does't
    mean it's as good or rugged as a "standard" BC, after all it's designed for holidays so
    the rational is how many of those do you do :)

    The wing/BP scores because it's minimalist and the version you have there is still not
    as small as it could be. Small single tank wing, an alli backplate and a webbing harness
    that you can add just the d-rinsg you actually use with a single point break is way less
    involved than the XDeep.

    So the trick here in both system is to cut out what you don't need :)

    Ok so let's go back to the BC and cut off all the unnecessary crap. You don't need
    shedloads of D-rings just a couple is enough. The wing has no pockets, nor does it have
    integrated, weights so take those away and if you were happy with a travel BC then
    don't need a thick materiel. So what if there was a lightweight minimalist BC that
    was tough enough to take the knocks and cheap?

    Well there is, it's the most common BC you can get and it's everywhere :)
    The cheapo standard club/LDS style BC that most divers trained on.

    No internal bladder it's one piece, BP intergral and plastic (light). Single point break, has
    no pockets or often if they do it's velcro not zipped (easier to get into anyway) and usually
    has a 500 name etc. which refers to the thinner material. These can be as light as a
    travel BC, but without the compromise on lift and as they are designed for entry level
    students take abuse.

    Basic rig was cheap new and they come up s/hand all the time, easy to get these for
    £50. Makes? Well that's down to personal preference as every manufacturer has one,
    they don't make it anymore, but the best I found was a Poseidon clublift that fulfilled all
    the above criteria. Loads of other stuff around through :) .
     
  15. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Looking at this: http://www.johnhewitt.com/maximus.htm

    Gosh...!

    30lb wing = £145
    DIR harness + crotch strap + ali backplate = £73
    (or adjustable Sopras Sub adjustable with ali BP = £85)

    Could skip the single tank adapter as you could route the cam-bands through the slots in the BP & wing.

    Need to add some trim pouches (zipper!) - http://www.johnhewitt.com/pockets.htm

    And will need another D ring as the DIR harness only comes with two (L + R chest, LH waist)

    Wouldn't be surprised if that lot came in near 3kg.
     
  16. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    I feel like I'm always recommending the red hat stuff. I've got the wing sat at home in a cupboard and I'd be amazed if it was anymore than 2kg. An aluminium plate is just an aluminium plate. Usually a smidge under 1kg.

    Even with a lightweight single tank adapter you'd be under 3kg imo and it'll be a hell of a lot more robust than a travel BCD or some of the hybrid novelties that have been linked to.

    I wouldn't bother with trim pockets on the harness. Get yourself some of those stylish neoprene shorts with pockets. I had some scubapro ones that I could fit full size reels and bags in to. Once people stopped laughing at me, they realised they were a good idea.
     
    Nick Ward likes this.
  17. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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  18. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Hard to argue with spending a fiver. A tenner with shipping.
     
  19. timmyg

    timmyg Super Moderator
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    Any Ali BP & STA plus a single wing would be fine. Personally I prefer the trim pockets as I can get a couple of kilos up high & off my waist.

    The Tecline wings come with camband slots & 2 hard rubber groves to rest against the cylinders so an STA isn’t required saving more weight. See the screenshot (note it’s also available without the front weight pouches).
    [​IMG]
    This is around £500 (although there’s always a UKD discount).

    However if you really want lightweight look at the Tecline Peanut. It’s not cheap (although there’s always a UKD discount). The link to it on the UK importers site is http://www.shaw-tek.com/peanut-ultra-light-set-49-p.asp

    On DIRDirect the X-Deep setup is around £485. You can get an IST wing for £189, Ali BP for £66, harness for £55 & STA for £70 so call it £400.

    Lots of options around new. Cheaper second hand but probably not an option if time is an issue.



    TG

    Sent from my iPhone using timmytalk
     

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