Finding the best travel BCD ain’t easy! There’s many different makes of travel bcd on the market today – each with their own unique selling points as well as different features, pros and cons.
A travel bcd is like a normal diving bcd except more lightweight and easier to pack. Some can be folded down for easy packing and a few feature their own travel sacks. One can even turn into a daybag!
Sometimes though, due to being so light and compact, travel bcds can be less durable or lack in some other way.
That’s why we’ve scoured all seven of the seas plus a large loch in order to bring you eight brutally honest reviews of the very best lightweight travel bcds available in 2023!
Take a look at the Quick Answer table below to catch a fast glance of the 8 best travel bcds or scroll down further to read our Comprehensive Reviews of each one. <—- Click blue text to jump to section!
|BCD:||BEST FOR:||VIEW ON AMAZON:|
|Oceanic Jetpack||Best Travel BCD all round (converts into dry bag!)||Click Here|
|Scubapro LiteHawk||Most Comfortable||Click Here|
|Cressi Light Travel||Most Compact||Click Here|
|Scubapro Go||Good Choice for Beginners||Click Here|
|Aqua Lung Zuma||Lightest||Click Here|
|Oceanic Biolite||Cheapest||Click Here|
|Dive-Rite Travel Pac||Best for Kit Customisation||Click Here|
|Hollies LTS||Best Hybrid Travel BCD||Click Here|
The Oceanic Jetpack Travel bcd is unlike any other bc we’ve ever reviewed. That’s because it’s two things – a bcd and a semi-dry day backpack that clip together.
There’s no need to stuff your bcd into a bag, when you can carry it on your back whilst also using it to carry other scuba diving equipment at the same time!
When the bcd and dry bag are attached they weigh just 8.25 lbs / 3.75 kg, yet there’s an impressive 42 litres worth of packing space within the bag; which is divided into a laptop sleeve, main compartment and also two external pockets.
The Oceanic Jetpack is constructed from quick dry i00-denier double coated nylon which makes it durable, lightweight and quick to dry all at the same time.
This travel bc’s air cell has elastic bungee straps which keep the back inflation bladder low in profile to aid in rapid deflation. It also features an integrated weight system – pockets for adding integrated weights, eliminating the need for a die belt! The 2 stainless steel D rings are useful for accessory attachment.
Maintaining buoyancy control whilst scuba diving is easy, thanks to the oceanic’s versatile power inflator. This comes equipped with an internal pull dump cable attached to an overpressure/dump valve. Plus, you can adjust the position of the weight pockets.
The oceanic jetpack is a truly unique concept, one that will be extremely useful to on-the-go divers! Even with it’s unique ability to double up as a travel bag, this lightweight travel bcd is extremely comfortable to wear and high performing. No wander it’s currently the best selling travel bcd out there.
Despite the fact that it’s both lighter and less expensive than most other travel bcds, the Scubapro Litehawk gets the most positive feedback from customers on account of the exceptional comfort that it provides.
Unlike most other bcds, the Scubapro Litehawk’s air pockets are positioned mostly at the back which allows considerably greater freedom of movement and prevents it from riding up into wearers arm pits at the surface. To further reinforced this, the normally large cummerbund has been swapped for a much sleeker, mid-section clasp.
There is plenty of padding on the inside of the shoulder straps to provide a comfortable fit, plus the litehawk is available in several different sizes so you can choose the ideal fit!
Furthermore, the 3 dump deflation system and the clutter free harness (which features rotating quick release shoulder buckles), significantly reduces drag whens scuba diving.
All these freedom of movement enhancing features allow wearers to get into a range of normally difficult positions – which is great for photographers as well as cave and wreck diving.
The litehawk is made from 420 denier nylon which is tough yet weights close to nothing, making the bcd extremely light. At just 5.2 lbs, the scubapro litehawk is the second most lightweight travel bcd currently on the market.
The most mind blowing fact of all: this is one of the cheapest bcd’s for travel! Honestly we don’t know how scubapro do it, because the litehawk is far better and more enjoyable to use than a lot of more pricy bcd’s on the market right now.
The Cressi Travelight is unique in that it has a special FAST folding system, which means the entire bcd can be folded up within just a few seconds and then fastened with a special retractable strap before being stored in it’s own travel bag, which it comes with.
There are some other very cool features of this travel buoyancy compensator: The air cell inflates away from the body to avoid constricting the diver, whilst the overall bcd has a noticeably anatomical shape which makes it extra streamlined when underwater.
Also, the inflation system has been recently recalibrated making inflation speed 50% faster than it used to be. The inflation system also has an anti-sand design to prevent it getting blocked up by free floating sand particles.
The cressi travelight is a very good travel bcd; one that is very easy to stow away thanks to the FAST folding system. It offers excellent value for money and it’s jacket style makes it easy to use for beginners.
Cressi are an extremely popular brand among scuba divers and the consistently awesome quality of their bcds and other scuba diving equipment has earned them a lot of respect and trust in the scuba scene.
Lightweight and affordable, the Scubapro Go features a fully flexible backpack that allows it to be be fold into dimensions small enough to fit in cabin baggage for air travel. It also comes with it’s own handy travel sack!
This bc’s base material is made from 210 denier coated nylon which is coated with polyurethane to help reduce abrasion damage – despite this it still only weighs 2.5kg.
The Scubapro Go features a single bladder wraparound construction built for the comfortable of a standard bcd. Rotating quick release shoulder buckles ensure you can quickly and easily get the perfect fit, whilst the water draining airnet backpack provides just the right amount of cushion.
There are 6 alunium d rings and 2 large, easy access zippered pockets with knife attachment grommets making gear storage easy! An integrated weight system is added as a standard but there’s the option to remove this. Trim pockets are also available as an optional extra.
It’s nice to see a simple, yet comfortable and high performing bcd that is light and compact enough for travel, whilst also including it’s own travel sack – this may not be the absolute lightest or most affordable travel bc, but it’s a fantastic all rounder, especially for beginners.
Weighing just 1.9 kg (4.4 lbs) the Aqua Lung Zuma travel bcd is the most lightweight bcd in the world! Thanks to a fully flexible backplate, it can be rolled up – making it extremely travel friendly. Also, the integrated weight pockets can be removed for further weight saving.
This is an especially comfortable bcd thanks to the adjustable chest strap, the specially designed E valves for reducing bulk and the padded back and lumbar support for extra comfort.
The adjustable chest strap can be repositioned or removed according to the wearers preference. Tank-mounted trim weights are also available for a small extra charge. The Aqua Lung Zuma travel bcd also features reinforced areas for optimum durability as well as flat relief valves for streamlining.
Although there is only one storage pocket, four plastic d-rings and knife grommets make up as attachment points for accessories.
If your number one priority is having the lightest bcd possible, this is absolutely the model to go for! It’s highly affordable, yet still high quality as well as comfortable and has many attachment points for your other scuba diving equipment.
The Oceanic Biolite is as cheap as a travel buoyancy control device can get whilst being reliable, comfortable and travel friendly.
The stretchy bioflex material from which it is made along with it’s adjustable shoulder straps allow this bcd to effortlessly conform to any body shape.
This same flexible technology is used with the air bladders, allowing smaller compartments to be used. These less-bulky bladders stretch when inflated, reducing drag and improving buoyancy.
Moreover, the bladders are located at the back of the BCD, which allows for greater ease of movement underwater.
Keeping up with the latest technology, the oceanic biolite includes a 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs) integrated weight system. This comes with an instant quick release system, as well as a 2.3 kg trim weight pocket.
With a dry weight of just 5.5 lbs, it is relatively light and the low profile backplate means it can be easily folded up for travel.
Ultimately, the oceanic biolite offers superb value for money, being an extremely good travel bcd for the money you pay for it. We’re seriously impressed that a travel bcd this cheap can be so good!
In terms of design, the Dive-Rite travel bcd is a little more out there – but this will be a huge appeal to advanced divers who like customising their kit. It features a fully adjustable diving harness crafted from flexible webbing. So far, so awesome.
The straps adjust to your exact body size and are held in place by a crotch strap to stop it from riding up. Also, the 360 degree donut wing provides even inflation and won’t tip divers whilst floating at the surface – nice!
The dive-rite is an extremely streamlined bcd that puts buoyancy where it’s most needed for horizontal trim throughout the torso by perfectly and evenly supporting the weight of the tank. All this comes together to make it a superb bcd for diving in caverns, wrecks and other overhead environments.
In addition to being exceptionally lightweight (just 2.3kg when dry), the dive-rite is highly durable; with a 1680-denier nylon outer bag, plus a heavy duty 210 denier nylon urethane laminated bladder: it was made to stand the tests of travel.
If you’re an experienced diver and you’re looking for a lightweight but sturdy travel bcd that you can heavily adjust, the Dive Rite Travel Pac is the bcd for you!
A hybrid bc, the Hollis LTS is designed for the more advanced travelling scuba diver. If you’re familiar with and fond of a hybrid bcd system – and you’re looking for a compact and lightweight bc, this is the best option for you.
The bladder of the LTS provides 30lbs of lift in a 360 degree “donut wing” shape that allows air to travel freely around the wing for comfortable buoyancy on all parts of the dive. Buoyancy is controlled via a large and easy to find corrugated hose featuring large and easy to use inflate and deflate buttons.
The wing itself is tough, being made of 1000 denier nylon, which provides abrasion resistance whilst staying lightweight as well as a separate 420 denier cordura coated nylon internal bladder to greatly reduce the risk of puncture
As for the feel of the Hollis LTS – the padded shoulder straps and backplate provide excellent comfort underwater, whilst an integrated weight system removes the need for a weight belt further enhancing comfort around the waist.
Because the backplate is fully flexible, this bc can easily be fit in a suitcase. This is also an extremely attractive and stylish bcd – the red and black colour combo is sure to make you stand out as the most bodacious of divers!
For more experience divers who know how to get the best out of a hybrid bcd and who want something that will be easy to travel with and durable enough to last the tests of time, the Hollis LTS is an excellent choice.
Bcds come in a few styles: wing, jacket and hybrid are the most common. Back inflate bcds have air bladders solely at the back of the diver where they sit on either side of the tank.
You’ll notice that most travel bcds we’ve reviewed are of the “back inflate” style. That’s because back inflate bcds are significantly less bulky are subsequently lighter and easier to pack than other styles of bcd, making them ideal for travel.
Jacket style bcds fit over the shoulders and secure at the chest just like an actual jacket. The air bladders sit behind and on either side of the diver. They’re the most common models and considered to be the “traditional” bcd fit by divers.
There’s several advantages and disadvantages between jacket bcds and back inflate bcds. For example, back inflate bcds don’t constrict the chest too much, making them more comfortable and allowing for a better range of motion than jacket bcds. However, they may take longer to deflate.
By the nature of any travel related item, you want it to be as light as possible; both for ease of carriage and, if you’re taking it as carry on luggage for a flight, to keep the overall weight down in order to comply with airline regulations.
Of course, lighter isn’t always better – if a bcd is too light that might mean it’s made of flimsy, non-durable material. In the bcd reviews section above; we’ve taken this into account and presented you with the most lightweight bcds on the market which are still made to withstand the tests of time.
This is a vital consideration when shopping for dive gear. A bcd that fits you well should fit snugly around your body; without pinching or squeezing when filled with air.
When empty, it should not twist or rotate on your shoulders or waist. You also want to choose a model with plenty of room for adjustment in its clips and straps; just in case your weight fluctuates between dive trips / whilst travelling.
This describes how much weight a bcd can compensate for. If you’re diving in warm water destinations, lift may not be a major focus when it comes to choosing your bcd. However, if you are diving with a lot of lead or in cold water – you will need to offset the weight.
That’s because a bcd with too little lift will let your face and shoulders drop close to the water when you’re on the surface, which is a little annoying during long swims or when waiting for the boat.
Too little lift can cause issues under water because you become less buoyant at depth, something that’s particularly noticeable for divers using a large amount fo weight. If in doubt, chose a bcd with more lift than you need.
Most bcds are unisex, meaning they work well for both men and women. However, a bcds comfort is largely determined by its fit. Because a women’s cut is narrower at the shoulder and wider at the hips than a mans, some of you lady divers may prefer to opt for a women’s bcd.
Pockets and rings are vital in any travel orientated gear, in order to store and attach even more gear to it. Generally speaking, more equals merrier; but only a few is not necessarily a bad thing – it might just be a minimalist design!
Most modern bcds include an integrated weight system, which basically serves the same purpose of a weight belt – it helps to achieve neutral buoyancy. This means you don’t have to use a weight belt at all, which can be awkward to put on as well as uncomfortable around the waist.
An integrated weights system consists of a series of pockets around the bcd, within which to place integrated weights! These days, bcds with integrated weights are quick release, meaning you can drop all of those weights in a hurry if you need to.
Regardless of which weight system you choose, the most important thing to make sure of is that you can easily release your weights at depth. Some wing and hybrid bcds do not include weight integration. if that’s the case and you’re a beginner consider using a traditional diving belt.
These are pockets for trim weights, which are used to establish proper underwater positioning – this is known as trim. Ideally, a diver should always be horizontal in the water with knees slightly bent, so that they don’t kick up sand or disturb marine life on the sea bed.
However, due to the buoyancy characteristics of that pesky human body this isn’t always easy, especially for noob divers. Trim weights help to compensate for gear or buoyancy related issues.
D rings are for attaching light scuba diving gear to such as a torch or signalling device. Aluminium is the best choice of material as it’s rust free and looks slick, whilst also not shining underwater. –
This is the button attached to the air hose of the bcd, which you used to inflate and deflate your buoyancy controlled device.
Travelling with scuba gear may at first sound crazy, but with improved technology and designs as well as the ever swelling travel scene, it’s becoming an increasingly stress free and easy reality.
After having gone through literally dozens of travel bcds, we’ve presented you with the six very best models we consider to currently be on the market.
We are constantly scouring the latest tech and updating our posts, so you can rest assured that this article reflects the most recent and cutting edge travel bcd technology currently available. We hope you find this page useful and that you love your new travel bcd, whichever one you go. for! Diving Squad out.
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