Best Back Inflate BCD - 2024 Reviews

(For more info on other types of BCD check out our main page: Best BCD Reviews).

Back Inflate BCDs are taking the recreational diving community by storm, but it wasn’t always this way. 

In fact, virtually everyone learns to dive using a jacket bcd, which is the more traditional make of buoyancy control device. 

That’s because back inflate bcds require a little more experience to use as they can give one less stability at the water’s surface. 

However, when actually diving, back inflate bcd’s improve your buoyancy and trim resulting in a better range of underwater motion and greater air efficiency. 

There’s actually a lot of different makes of back inflate bcd to choose from. 

That’s why we’ve hand selected the best 6 to save you a sh*t ton of time scouring the internet! So, without further ado let’s dive the fu*k in!

Range of colours for the best back inflate bcd
diver friends

REVIEWS of the Best Back Inflate BCDs

1) AquaLung Dimension i3 BC

Aqua Lung Dimension i3
  • Integrated wrapture harness for awesome comfort

  • One touch i3 inflation/deflation system

  • Swivel shoulder buckles = easy fit
  • Bladder retraction system to reduce drag

  • Sure-Lock II Mechanical Weight Release System

  • Made from durable, fade-resistant materials

The Aqua Lung Dimension i3 is a special back inflation bcd for several reasons. First, let’s talk about the wrapture harness system. This bc uses patented swivel shoulder buckles as well as a proprietary, uber-thin backplate in order to achieve next level comfort and stability.

Furthermore, the design of this rapture system limits how much the BC rides up when you’re on the surface – a well known downside of back inflation bcds. Honestly, we did find it to still ride up a little on the water’s surface – but considerably less than most other back inflate bcds.

Out of the water, the rapture keeps the air cylinder close to one’s centre of gravity, transferring the weight to your hips. This makes the cylinder perfectly vertical, meaning it’s easy to stand upright!

Next, the patented i3 control system means you can inflate and deflate the BC with just one touch. This eliminates the need for the traditional inflator that dangles, sometimes annoyingly, at the end of a corrugated hose. It’s simple and easy to use – just lift up on the lever to inflate and push down to dump air.

Third, the patented Surelock II Mechanical Weight Release System, provides a single pull release for maximum safety. Inserting weights is easy and then they are secure – only being released, when you pull the handle.

There’s also a bladder retraction system that’s used to pull in the sides of the bladder during deflation, keeping the unit streamlined and reducing drag considerably.

With 4 stainless steel D-rings, a security pocket attached to a larger drop down pocket and various knife attachment points, it’s easy to keep your additional gear safe, secure and organised whilst diving with this bcd.

All these features come together to form a truly awesome buoyancy control device which is why the Aqua Lung Dimension i3 is, in our opinion, the very best back inflation bcd trending the market right now.


  • Many superb patented features (meaning they’re only available on Aqua Lung brand bcds)

  • Excellent comfort

  • Light enough for easy travel

  • Wrapture design minimises how much this BC rides up at surface


  • Quite expensive

  • Limited colour range

2) Apeks Black Ice

Apeks Exotec BCD
  • Weight-integrated, back inflation hybrid bcd

  • Wrapture Harness for excellent fit and stability

  • Modular design for custom fit
  • Environmentally sealed line inflator = minimal maintenance

  • Sure-Lock II mechanical weight release system

The Apeks Black ice, besides having the world’s coolest name, is a weight-integrated, back inflation hybrid bcd. Rugged and heavy duty, it “blends technical, military and public safety applications” according to Apeks. And we agree.

Despite being a fairly bulky bcd – which may not appeal to some divers from an aesthetic perspective, it provides stellar comfort, fit and stability all thanks to it’s Wrapture Harness System.

Yes, it’s a little on the heavy side but you won’t mind this when diving in cold water for which the Apeks Black ice is well designed. That’s because it’s exceptionally well padded, having been designed for wear over a thick wetsuit. 

We found tis extra padding really comfortable and were pleased to find that no metal or plastic pieces dug into our sides even slightly, as can happen with more minimalist bc’s. 

Due to it’s modular nature, a custom can fit can be. achieved through any of the three sizes. This customisability is only offset by the fact that the Apeks Black comes in just one colour. But it’s the coolest  (and least surprising) colour of them all: black. 

It features the Sure-Lock II mechanical weight release system for easy weight loading and release, plus it’s power line inflator is environmentally sealed for less maintenance. There’s also 2 large pockets, knife attachment points and 5 stainless steel D-rings.  The Apeks Black Ice is our Second Top Pick for certain!


  • Great for cold water diving

  • Favoured among experienced divers

  • Large pockets capable of storing extra mask

  • Extra padding = extra comfort


  • A little bulky

  • Only 1 colour

  • Quite expensive

  • Heavier than most bc’s

3) Oceanic Jetpack

Oceanic Jetpack
  • Weight integrated travel BCD

  • Converts into day bag

  • Adjustable harness
  • Cummerbund and lumbar support

  • Tough material that is quick to dry

The Oceanic Jetpack is a weight integrated bcd with a twist – it transforms into a day bag, complete with waterproof zippered pockets – perfect for carrying the rest of your scuba gear.

That’s because it’s a travel bcd; lightweight yet durable buoyancy control devices designed especially for taking with you on your world excavations. 

There’s more to the Oceanic Jetpack than it’s ergonomic, travel friendly functionality though. It’s air cell has elastic bungee straps which keep the back inflation bladder low in profile and also assists with rapid deflation.

It’s a one size fits all with a custom fit for everyone: it features adjustable sternum, waist and padded shoulder straps. Furthermore, adjustable position weight pockets allow optimum balance in the water.

Thanks to the Oceanics versatile power inflator, which comes equipped with an internal pull dump cable attached to a dump valve, buoyancy control and trim are outstanding.

This is a great weight integrated bcd with a twist – and also one of our absolute favourite travel bcds. You can check out our main article about Travel bcds here. Many of them are back-inflation models.


  • 2 in 1: BCD and day bag!

  • Lightweight

  • Durable

  • Exceptional buoyancy control

  • Cheap!


  • No D-rings, only daisy chain loop for accessories.

  • Heavier than other travel bcds

  • Minimal pocket system on bcd

4) ScubaPro Hydros Pro

Scubapro Hydros Pro
  • Available in female and male cuts

  • ULTRA durable & fast drying

  • Modular design = highly customisable
  • Many colour options

  • Innovative and cutting edge creation process for extremely high quality product

This may be one of the most expensive BCDs out there but wow, do you get your moneys worth. Much of this comes down to the unique manufacturing process that the Scubapro Hydros Pro undergoes. 

Whereas most BCDs are created using a cut, trim and make process, Scubapro use an all new fluid-form 3d gel system, whereby the harness components are moulded in soft, resilient thermoplastic elastomer and then assembled using a modular process.

The result? A bcd that conforms around the body of it’s wearer in an ergonomic fit with highly efficient load distribution, totally free of any pressure points whatsoever. Excellent buoyancy control, manoeuvrability and comfort are achieved this way.

Plus, the monoprene harness retains virtually no water whatsoever meaning it dries almost instantly after each dive. The fabric free construction also provides superb resistance to UV and chemicals – and because this bcd is modular in design, it is both easy to repair and highly customisable. 

In addition to coming in a wide colour range, the Scubapro Hydros Pro is available in a woman’s cut or a man’s. That’s because women and men have different torso proportions and whilst traditioanlly BCDs have been “unisex”,  such cuts are more suited to men than women. 

For maximum ease of fit, women should invest in a women’s cut bcd, which the Scubapro Hydros BCD offers (as well as offering a male cut for men). You can read about more Womens BCDs here

We wanted to make the Scubapro Hydros Pro bcd our favourite but due to it’s price being a couple hundred dollars more expensive than any other back inflated bcd, it assumes third place from us.

However, if money is no option for you, this is a truly superb piece of kit and if you purchase it you will undoubtedly appreciate the massive benefits of such a well made model. 


  • Achieve maximum fit thanks to modular design and male/female cuts

  • Highly durable and fast drying

  • Excellent comfort, stability and manoeuvrability

  • Lasts for life


  • Considerably expensive

5) Zeagle Ranger

Zeagle Ranger BCD
  • Personal fit system for maximum comfort

  • Integrated weight system
  • Most replicated bcd in history.

  • Modular construction

The Zeagle Ranger can be used in an enormous range of scuba diving activities, due to being compatible with a variety of additional bladders, pockets and other accessories.

This allows divers to switch between tropical travel diving, cold water diving in wet or dry suits, single or twin cylinders and easily mounted back plates technical diving.

Other features include grommets for mounting twin cylinders, twin zippered utility pockets, 4 stainless steel D-rings on the shoulders and a further two D rings on the vest for accessory attachment.

It comes with the Zeagle Personal fit system, allowing heavy customisation of this bcd. Yet more adjustable features are the dual position adjustable sternum strap, torso adjustable shoulder straps and waist straps with an adjustable cummerbund. All of these are equipped with squeeze style side release buckles for quick and easy donning and doffing. 

Made from highly durable 1050 denier ballistic nylon, the Zeagle Ranger was the very first bcd to combine heavy duty construction, weight integration and rear flotation. It is without a doubt the most imitated bcd in the world and widely used by dive schools everywhere due to it’s versatility, toughness and highly customisable comfort!

The only real annoyance we found with this bcd was that it’s a little heavier than most at 3.8kg (8.4lbs) dry weight which can make it a little cumbersome for some travellers.

However, this aside the Zeagle Ranger is without a doubt one of the most versatile back inflate bcds out there. It’s therefore little surprise that it’s been “the top of the charts” for years now. 


  • Insanely versatile

  • Highly durable

  • Can be used for wide range of diving environments and scenarios


  • Heavy

  • Some features not patented

Hollis HD 200

Hollis HD 200
  • Adjustable height

  • Metal D-rings and mounting grommets
  • Crotch strap

  • Weight integrated

In addition to being the lowest cost of our best rated back inflation bcds, the Hollis HD 200 is also one of the sturdiest, being made from 1000-denier cordura with a polyurethane lamination outer shell and a 15mm urethane internal bladder.

Despite it’s rugged build, the Hollis HD 200 is surprisingly comfortable; with it’s contoured and lightweight moulded backplate & backpad, lumbar support and rolled neoprene neck. The crotch strap promotes good trim underwater as well as preventing it from riding up at the surface. 

It’s easy to ensure a custom fit thanks to the fact that the chest, sternum, shoulder, crotch and torso straps are all adjustable. There’s also plenty of space for attachment of accessories thanks to 8 stainless steel D-rings, 2 mounted grommets and 2 large zippered pockets.

One problem we did find with this bcd is the placement of the upper dump/release valves – both are located on the shoulders, away from the bladder section of the wing. The inflator hose is on the left shoulder, whilst the emergency pull dump valve is on the right shoulder strap.

This makes them lower than the wing when a diver is in horizontal position. It does mean that when a diver is in optimal trim position and yet there’s not much air in the bcd, air release can be a tad juddering unless the diver raises upright to a slightly more vertical position. 

We did find that carrying a little more weight than you normally would with this bcd or getting use to assuming an upright position to dump air when low: to be a sufficient compromise. So it’s no massive dealbreaker but still a slight annoyance. 

However, considering it’s formidably low price as well as other great features like comfort, adjustability and durability, the HD 200 is a fantastic option for advanced divers looking to purchase a decent back inflation bcd but without breaking the bank. 


  • Comparatively cheap

  • Lots of D rings (8)

  • Many adjustable straps for optimum fit


  • Air dumping can be a little difficult at times

  • Heavy (4.3 kg / 9.4lbs) 

Buyer's Guide to Choosing a Back Inflate BCD

Look, we reckon if you’ve survived this far into our best back-inflate bcd reviews, you already have a pretty good idea about what kind of model you wish to purchase. So we’ll make this brief. But here are some final specs to consider when choosing the right back inflate bcd for you:

  1. Weight – Some bcds are much heavier and also more bulky than others. Simply put, the lighter and more easily compacted a bcd is, the easier it’ll be to travel with. 

  2. Fit – A bcd should feel snug around your waist and chest, without squeezing or pinching when full. Whilst empty, it should not slide around on your shoulders or back.

    If you aren’t certain of your size, consider what kinds of environments you’ll be diving in and make sure you will have plenty of room to adjust the buckles and straps. Also take note of whether you will be wearing a dry suit with this bcd or not.

  3. Type of Diving – Back-inflate bcds are highly versatile and built to withstand the extra challenges of diving in cold water or rough surface conditions. That said, they’re also great for tropical warm-water diving. Finally, the improved trim and aqua-dynamics that they afford, makes them perfect for wreck dives. Handy to know right?

  4. Cost – Traditional back-inflate bcds do tend to be a little more expensive than jacket bcds and travel bcds (although many travel bcds are also back-inflate, they’re more minimalist). However, back inflate bcds are normally more durable, meaning you’ll be making a longer term investment with one. 

  5. Level of diving experience you have – Typically, the back inflate bcd is seen as an advanced divers piece of gear, a view strengthened by the fact that most dive schools teach beginners to dive with jacket bcds. 

One of the main reasons for this is because back inflate bcds can push a novice divers face down at the surface – which takes a little practice to avoid. Also, because back inflate bcds have many adjustable straps, you’ll want to know what you’re doing before playing around with makng adjustments.

But do realise, you don’t have to be a grizzled diving veteran to enjoy a back -inflate bcd. So long as your familiar with your kit and avoiding face plants at the surface, you’re good to go!

What the Hell is a Back Inflate BCD anyway?

A back-inflate bcd is similar to a jacket bcd, but has its air bladders located on the back rather than around a divers torso. By relocating the air bladder, the chest area is less cluttered, allowing a more minimalist setup. This means divers are more stable with this type of bcd underwater, which improves their aqua-dynamics and air. consumption. 

If you’re also wandering what a jacket bcd is, this is a sleeveless jacket with a built in air bladder that wraps around the diver. This bladder also inflates in front, behind and besides divers. Jacket bcds are less complicated to use, making them the best bcds for beginners. But for divers with experience, back inflate bcds are a better option. Find out why below.

PROS & CONS of a Back Inflate BCD


Pro 1:

The main advantage of a back inflate bcd over a traditional jacket bcd is it’s ability to maintain better horizontal positioning / trim under water. Because the bladder is to the rear of the diver, air distribution is much more even than it is with a jacket style bcd.

It should still be noted however, that this design does not guarantee optimal trim. Uneven weight distribution and/or overweighting can pull a diver out of position irrespective of the style of bcd they are wearing. That said, back inflation bcds provide a much more level starting point. 

Pro 2:

Back-inflate bcds have less bulk around the chest area and sides, which serves several functions. Anything that reduces a diver’s profile in the water reduces drag and improves streamlining. This makes swimming easier which in turn equals improved air consumption.

Pro 3:

Most divers feel that the harness is more comfortable to wear. Jacket bcds can feel very tight when fully inflated at the surface, meaning divers often adjust the buckles to reduces comfort – but this results in a harness that is too loose once the bcd is deflated.

This of course makes buoyancy control more difficult unless the harness is tightened – making it uncomfortable again. This never happens with a back inflated bcd. 

Con 1:

Without a doubt, the most frustrating downside to back inflated bcds is their tendency to push a diver face forward at the surface. However, face-planting such as this is easy to avoid – it just take s a little practice and can be a tad frustrating for novice divers.

Con 2:

Some models of back inflate bcds are lacking in pockets but gear such as torches and reels can easily be relocated and mounted on D-rings and grommets. Plus, attachable accessory pockets are widely available. 

Diving Squad Debriefing

Bada-bing, bada-splash. That’s the end of our epic guide on the very best back inflate bcds currently trending the market.

You can rest assured that we are constantly scourging the market for new and improved scuba gear, meaning that every review you’ve read today showcases the very latest and most cutting edge bcd diving technology.

Don’t forget this article is just one of a whole series of content we’ve written about bcds. We’ve also got separate pieces on travel bcds, womens bcds, bcds for beginners and more. You can check out our master article here. 

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Written by:

Picture of Alex


Scuba fanatic, travel ecstatic and loveable rogue. A rootless divemaster and perpetual adrenaline-junky, Alex holds the esteemed rank of Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad; a title he most nobly awarded to himself. A scuba-junky since 2014, he's dived much of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Red Sea, Ireland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It's hard to say where he'll pop up next for he never settles; forever a leaf on the wind... or perhaps a lone bubble blasted along on the current.