Best Travel BCD Reviews (2021 UPDATE)

LAST UPDATED:

April 1, 2021

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 2021!

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 green text to jump to section!

QUICK ANSWER: Best Travel BCDs:

Travel BCD perched on dive deck of boat in the gulf of thailand.
"I sure do love my travel bc"!

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 TravelMost CompactClick Here
Scubapro GoGood Choice for BeginnersClick Here
Aqua Lung ZumaLightestClick Here
Oceanic BioliteCheapestClick Here
Dive-Rite Travel PacBest for Kit CustomisationClick Here
Hollies LTSBest Hybrid Travel BCDClick Here

REVIEWS: Best Travel BCDs:

#1) TOP PICK: Travel BC that coverts into Backpack!

Oceanic Jetpack

5/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: / 30 lbs / 13.6 kg
  • STYLE: Back Inflate
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.84 kg / 6.25 lbs

     

  • Converts into Travel Backpack!

  • Lightweight & Durable.

  • Pockets for Integrated Weights.

  • 2 stainless steel D rings.

  • Adjustable Harness, Cummerbund and Lumbar Support.

  • Quick Drying.

  • One Size Fits All.

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.

PROS

  • Serves as bcd and ergonomic day bag for scuba gear + several days worth of travel amenities.

  • Can be carried like backpack

  • Durable and rapid drying

  • Rapid deflation

  • Ergonomic design and features aid buoyancy and trim

CONS

  • Does not have aluminium D-rings

  • When fully packed with dive gear (regulators, fins, snorkel mask, dive computer); highly unlikely to fit in overhead carriage on flights. 

  • A little heavier than some other travel bcds

#2) MOST COMFORTABLE Travel BCD

Scubapro LiteHawk

4.8/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: 13.2 kg / 29.2 lbs.
  • STYLE: Back Inflate BC
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.36 kg / 5.2 lbs.
  • Extra padding around the shoulder blades for added comfort.

     

  • 420 denier nylon = tough but ultra light.

  • Clutter free harness eliminates underwater drag.

  • 4 Aluminum D rings.

  • Second most lightweight travel bcd.

  • One of the cheapest travel bcds!

     

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.

PROS

  • Ergonomic design and features for freedom of movement underwater.

     

     

  • Extra padding on shoulder straps for enhanced comfort.
      
  • Clutter free harness reduces underwater drag.

  • 2nd most lightweight bcd.

  • 2nd cheapest travel bcd. 

CONS

  • Comes in blue and grey only

#3) MOST COMPACT Travel Bcd

Cressi Travelight
4.8/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: 6kg / 13.5 lbs (smallest size) – 16.3kg / 36lbs (largest size).
  • STYLE: Jacket style bcd.
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.7kg / 6 lbs.

     

  • FAST folding system – rapidly folds down. Very compact.

  • Pockets for Integrated Weights.

  • 8 D rings to attach scuba gear to.

  • 2 zippered accessory pockets for plenty of storage.

  • Fully flexible backplate with extra padding.

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. 

 

PROS of Cressi Travelight

  • FAST fold system = rapidly folds down.

  • Anti-sand filtering system.

  • Air cell inflates away from body.

  • Anatomical shape makes this bcd highly streamlined.

  • Rapid inflation and deflation system.

  • Integrated weights system.

  • More d rings than other bc’s!

CONS of Cressi Travelight

  • Cressi product tag can pop out

#4) BEGINNERS bc with TRAVEL SACK

Scubapro Go
4.7/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: 22.5 pounds (10.2 kg). 
  • STYLE: Jacket style bcd. 
  • DRY WEIGHT: 5.8 pounds (2.6 kg).

     

  • Made from 210 nylon with polyurethane coating.

  • Rotating quick release shoulder buckles.

  • Fully flexible backpack for easy folding down and packing.

  • Includes travel sack / carrying bag for bc!

  • Water draining airnet backpack provides right amount of cushion.

  • Wraparound air bladder delivers decent lift.

  • Double tank band hold tank firmly in place.

  • 6 aluminum D rings and 2 large, easy access zippered pockets.

  • Comes with power inflator.

  • Integrated weights system.

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. 

PROS

  • Easy to fold down.

  • Can fit in cabin baggage.

  • Includes travel sack.

  • Integrated weights system. 

  • Comfortable, one size fits all.

  • D rings and pockets for storage.

  • Light.

  • Affordable. 

CONS

  • Not as light as the Scubapro LiteHawk or Aqua Lung Zuma Travel bcd – but only by a small amount!

#5) MOST LIGHTWEIGHT Travel BCD

Aqua Lung Zuma Travel

3.7/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: 10kg /22 lbs in sizes XXS – MD & 15.42kg / 34 lbs in sizes LG – X LG
  • STYLE: Back Inflate
  • DRY WEIGHT: 1.9kg /4.4 lbs

  • Lightest travel bcd.

  • Removable integrated weight pockets.

  • Can be rolled up, making it easy to pack. 

  • 4 d rings and knife grommets.

  • Affordable. 

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. 

PROS

  • Lightest bcd in the world.

  • Pockets for integrated weights can be removed.

  • Removable integrated weight pockets.

  • Flat relief valves for streamlining.

  • Travel friendly: Can be rolled up so it’s easy to pack. 

CONS

  • D-rings are plastic not aluminium.

  • Only one storage pocket.

#6) CHEAPEST Travel BCD:

Oceanic Biolite

3.6/5
  • LIFT CAPACITY: 14.5 kg / 32 lb – 17.2 kg / 38 lb
  • STYLE: Back Inflate
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.5kg / 5.5 lbs

  • Cheapest travel bcd.

  • 2 plastic d rings.

  • Made of bioflex material for extra comfortable and secure fit.

  • Integrated weight system with instant quick release system.

  • Low profile back pack = easy foldability for travel.

     

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!

PROS

  • Made from  bioflex material which provides a snug & comfortable fit around any body type.

  • Lightweight and can be folded for travel.

  • Integrated weights system with quick releases.

  • High lift capacity & minimum drag.

CONS

  • Integrated weight system can’t hold much weight (6.5 kg).

  • Only 2 d rings and they are both plastic. 

#7) Best Travel BCD for Customisation

Dive Rite Travel Pac

4.7/5
  • LIFT / WEIGHT CAPACITY: 11.3 kg / 25 lbs.
  • STYLE: Back Inflation
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.3 kg / 5.5 lbs

 

  • Highly Customisable.

  • 4 D rings.

  • Adjustable height (waist strap and chest straps slide up and down).

  • Lightweight and durable.

  • Easy clean bladder.

     

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!

PROS

  • Unique & heavily customisable design.

  • Highly durable.

  • Second lightest travel bcd.

  • Includes camera strap.

CONS

  • A little more expensive than the other best travel bcds.

#8) Best Hybrid Travel BCD

Hollis LTS Lite Travel

4.6/5
  • LIFT / WEIGHT CAPACITY: 30 lbs / 13.6kg
  • STYLE: Hybrid Buoyancy Control Device. 
  • DRY WEIGHT: 5lbs / 2.2 kg

     

  • Comfortable backpad.

  • 4 Chest and hip d rings for accessories or sling bottle.

  • Rugged 1000D nylon outer cover with 420D internal bladder.

  • Simple, non-modular design for easy stowing away.

  • Pull dump on inflator hose.

  • Tank valve safety stop. 

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. 

PROS

  • Hybrid / Donut Wing shape.

  • Comfortable buoyancy on all parts of dive.

  • Made from denier cordura nylon = highly durable.

  • Exceptionally light.

  • Padded shoulder straps and backplate for comfort.

  • Integrated weight pockets.

  • Flexible for easy storage. 

CONS

  • No side pockets.

  • No shoulder dump valves.

  • No integrated weights system. 

Specs to consider when Choosing a Travel BCD

Perky women at a dive store, holding her chosen travel bcd.

Style

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.

Dry Weight

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. 

Fit

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. 

Lift Capacity

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. 

Male or Female

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 & Rings

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!

Bcd features explained

Integrated Weights

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.

Trim Pockets

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

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. –

Power Inflator

This is the button attached to the air hose of the bcd, which you used to inflate and deflate your buoyancy controlled device. 

Diving Squad Debriefing

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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Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba fanatic. Travel ecstatic. Erratic. The name's Alex.

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