The explosion of scuba diving and a tendency to travel overseas for diving makes the need to own the best travel BCDs increase dramatically.
These items require minimalist design, lighter materials, more flexible backplate but must include enough vital features to ensure divers safety. Therefore, purchasing an ideal travel BCD is considered one of the most headache problems for a novice diver.
That’s the reason why I wrote this article. It contains all of the most relevant information and considerations you should keep in mind while shopping.
Please keep reading to learn about my list of the top 10 best travel BCDs. They are the most popular and fashionable models on the market currently.
Table of Contents
- My Top Picks
- Comparison Chart
- The 10 Best Travel BCDs Reviews
- Finding the Right Travel BCD
- Travel BCD vs. Regular BCD
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Final Thoughts
My Top Picks
You can either reach out to a local store or an online website to get a travel BCD. However, in case you have not aimed for an optimal and suitable model in advance, it is easy for you to be confused by thousands of items on the market now.
Therefore, I have highlighted remarkable features of the top 10 best travel BCDs, helping you be conscious of which is your truly suitable equipment.
- Best Overall: Cressi Travelight
“Lock-Aid Integrated Weight System 2.0, FAST system, alloy D-rings, Cressi Inflator Flat, dual air filtration system.”
- Best Budget: Zeagle Covert
“Side release buckles, travel-friendly design, double bladder construction, Delrin D-ring mounting platform.”
- Best for Beginners: ScubaPro Go
“Single air bladder, foldable Airnet backpack, quick-release mechanism, power Inflator included.”
- Best for Women: Oceanic Biolite
“Low-profile backplate, four sizes, patented Bioflex material, a safety whistle, remove your movement restrictions.”
- Best With Integrated Weights: Oceanic Jetpack
“One size fits all, adjustable harness, cummerbund, and lumbar, ergonomic design, perfect for long-day trips.”
- Best Value for the Money: Zeagle Scout
“Inflator, hose, and RE valve included, two zippered utility pockets, lots of attachment points, use the first-rate material.”
- Best for Instructors: Hollis LTS Light Travel System
“Non-modular design, D-rings on the chest and hip belts, the best choice for tropical water divers, remove weight restriction problems when traveling.”
- Best Comfortable: Scubapro Litehawk
“3-dump deflation system, compression straps, Balanced Power Inflator, offers excellent buoyancy control.”
- Best Lightweight: Dive Rite TravelPac
“A chest, camera and crotch strap, narrower side plates, two bent chest D-rings, suitable for recreational divers.”
What’s the point if you waste a bunch of time and money on an ineffective model? That’s why you need a comprehensive comparison table of fundamental criteria to evaluate multiple items at once.
So, I have collected key functions that the best travel BCDs should have and introduce them here for your convenience.
|Lift Capacity (lbs)
|Dry Weight (lbs)
|Cressi Travelight - Best Overall
|210 Denier Nylon
|Zeagle Covert - Best Budget
|Ballistic nylon construction
|ScubaPro Go - Best for Beginners
|210 Denier Nylon
|Oceanic Biolite - Best for Women
|Bioflex bladder and 1000D Denier Cordura exterior
|Oceanic Jetpack - Best With Integrated Weights
|Zeagle Scout - Best Value for the Money
|1000 Denier Nylon
|Hollis LTS Light Travel System - Best for Instructors
|1000D nylon exterior and 420D nylon internal bladder
|Scubapro Litehawk - Best Comfortable
|1000 Denier Nylon
|Dive Rite TravelPac - Best Lightweight
The 10 Best Travel BCDs Reviews
Now you may have grabbed a few critical features of the best travel BCDs after reading the two sections above. But it is just a quick and brief glance, which cannot help you avoid buying your gear with the wrong intention.
Thus, I highly recommend you read this thorough review about the pros and cons of each model for understanding to the utmost extent.
1. Cressi Travelight
(Best Overall – Editor’s Choice)
Possessing all the cool features that a travel BCD can bring, the Cressi Travelight deserves its title best overall, without a doubt.
Being inspired by the Cressi Flex BCD, its design combines the traditional jacket style with considerable buoyancy, making it an ideal choice for beginners.
In addition, a built-in FAST system makes the Cressi Travelight structure bendable, allowing it to be folded down effortlessly. Thanks to that, the BCD looks more lightweight and compact to bring for your travel.
Travel BCDs are often thought to remove some pockets and D-rings for making them lighter and more suitable for dive traveling. However, this does not happen with the Cressi Travelight.
The BCD even offers divers up to eight D-rings for attaching personal accessories as well as two massive zippered pouches. Moreover, it provides you with various color options, enabling you to own a stylish item and reflect your personality.
- Lock-Aid Integrated Weight System 2.0
- FAST system
- Two zippered utility pockets
- Padded backplate
- Waist-length shape and larger wings
- Cressi Inflator Flat
- A dual air filtration system
- Alloy D-rings
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Ultra-light travel BCD
- Easy to pack and put in the suitcase
- The air filtration system helps to prevent the valve from being damaged by sand particles
- Comes with a huge carrying capacity thanks to plenty of pockets
- Simple to attach accessories with alloy D-rings
- The jacket style makes it comfortable to wear
- The quick-release mechanism provides you with extra safety
- Not being a perfect choice for advanced divers.
|12.6 x 6 x 6.7 inches
Watch this video of the Cressi Travelight BCD and see if it will be part of your dive gear on your next beach holiday.
2. Zeagle Covert
With this unbelievable price point, I make sure that the Zeagle Covert BCD will be a bargain for you because its fabulous functions and premium quality won’t let you down. Besides, it also can be your ideal companion during your dive expeditions due to the travel-friendly design.
The most remarkable feature of the Zeagle Covert is bringing you ultimate comfort. It includes fully padded shoulder straps to reduce your fatigue underwater.
Additionally, an adjustable waist is another great benefit. This function helps to create a perfect fit no matter your wetsuits.
Because of being designed exclusively for divers who love traveling, the Zeagle Covert is super lightweight with only 3.9 lbs.
However, you don’t need to worry whether the BCD is durable enough for prolonged use. The reason is that the ballistic nylon construction makes it resistant to wear and tear.
- Side release buckles
- Adjustable waist strap
- Travel-friendly design
- Double bladder construction
- Delrin D-ring mounting platform
- The BCD can resist abrasion
- The weight system is easy to unload under challenging conditions
- Effortless to use
- The straps are widened to make divers more comfortable
- An adjustable waist enables the BCD to fit with different sizes of dive suits.
- Comes in a compact size to be brought on the go
- Remove the problems related to travel weight restrictions
- Not includes a double air filtration system
- The BCD cannot be folded down
- No information about the number of D-rings and storage pockets
|21.00 x 21.00 x 5.00 inches
Here is a video of the Zeagle Covert BCD. Watch it and see its incredible performance in reality.
3. ScubaPro Go
(Best for Beginners)
It is obvious that the ScubaPro Go with a classic and intuitive design is always a safe choice for inexperienced divers.
The BCD is unique because its material is made from 210 denier nylon accompanied by a polyurethane coating. Thanks to that, the manufacturer can keep its weight always below 6.6 lbs, which means much more lightweight than most other models on this list.
Along with lighter materials, the ScubaPro Go features a compact size as well. That’s because of its soft, fully flexible, and foldable backplate.
Hence, it’s easy as a piece of cake to roll up the entire BCD within a few seconds. What’s more, the item also can be compactly stored in a travel sack that it comes with in the purchase.
More impressively, there is only a single air bladder in the ScubaPro Go construction. You may think that this will make the BCD create a low performance. Conversely, this feature even gives you excellent buoyancy and premium comfort.
- Ergonomic harness design
- Single air bladder
- Foldable Airnet backpack
- Made from 210 Denier Nylon with Polyurethane coating.
- Quick-release mechanism
- Power Inflator included
- Integrated with weight system
- Customizable straps enable you to get a better fit
- Simple to control
- Easy to pack
- Ideal for beginners and travelers
- Offers you high buoyancy
- Designed to maximize your comfort
- Uses rugged material
- A travel sack is included in the purchase
- It is heavier than the Scubapro LiteHawk.
|22.50 x 15.50 x 4.00 inches
Check out this video of the wonderful ScubaPro Go BCD and see how much you can do with it on your diving workouts.
4. Oceanic Biolite
(Best for Women)
The Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving is a certain combination of comfort and convenience. Besides coming with a pink appearance to make it look more feminine, the BCD is considered a terrific option for women.
The most remarkable advantage of the Oceanic Biolite is its Patented Bioflex material. This fabric type makes it stretchable, thereby flexibly and snugly wraps around your body. The air bladders benefit from this technology as well.
This way, the BCD can create smaller air cells, contributing to reducing drag and making it less bulky. Thus, you can dive and move underwater at ease.
Additionally, the Oceanic Biolite offers you four different sizes, from X-Small to Large. So you can freely choose an item with lift capacity suitable for your weight and need.
- Low-profile backplate
- Four sizes
- Patented Bioflex material
- Self-adjustable sternum belt
- Customizable shoulder straps
- A safety whistle
- Built-in Quick Drop weight release system
- Effortless to fold the BCD in half
- Provides you with a straightforward design
- Best choice for women
- The back inflate style remove your movement restrictions
- The weight system is easy to use
- Offers divers additional stability through fixed weight pockets
- The top-quality material gives you extra comfort even when you wear the BCD all days
- The number of D-rings is limited
- Not comes with tremendous storage space
|22.00 x 17.00 x 8.00 inches
Here is a video review of the Oceanic Biolite Travel Scuba Diving BCD. Check it out and see if it is a worthy investment.
5. Oceanic Jetpack
(Best With Integrated Weights)
The Oceanic Jetpack is a striking BCD coming from the reputable worldwide brand Oceanic. It is particularly designed to meet the various needs of carrying and storing essentials for a multi-day excursion.
That’s why the Oceanic Jetpack is constructed by combining a semi-dry backpack with a fully adjustable travel BC. This smart design lets you fill the bag’s ample storage space with a complete dive kit, including your scuba regulators, fins, and wetsuits.
Plus, the 42L main compartment is roomy enough to pack a few clothes you’ll need for a week of diving. Additionally, you can take advantage of D-rings mounting points to attach your tiny accessories without any worry of accidentally losing them.
Also, since most divers head to their diving destinations by plane, the Oceanic Jetpack should be lightweight as much as possible. Luckily, the BCD features a mid-range weight of 6.25 lbs, making it an optimal choice for transportation.
Nevertheless, the lift capacity of the Oceanic Jetpack is pretty limited, with 30 lbs. Besides, the back inflate style makes it less robust and stable compared to other models. Therefore, I highly recommend that you should only use the BCD for recreational diving.
- One size fits all
- Adjustable harness, cummerbund, and lumbar
- Customizable weight pockets
- It is the combination between a travel BCD and a day bag
- Ergonomic design
- Offers a custom fit
- Perfect for long-day trips
- Rugged construction
- Provides you with sizable storage space
- Simple to pack
- Comes with a carry-on size
- Only ideal for recreational divers
- The lift capacity is restricted
|23.00 x 16.00 x 7.00 inches
The video below will show you clearly the good-looking appearance of the Oceanic Jetpack BCD in action.
6. Zeagle Scout
(Best Value for the Money)
If you are looking for a sturdy and robust BCD to use for a long time, my recommendation would definitely go for the Zeagle Scout.
The model comes with a back inflate style, which is usually regarded as less stable than a jacket BCD. However, this Zeagle Scout is an exception due to its rugged construction.
The Zeagle Scout is made from 1000 denier nylon fabric, giving it excellent abrasion resistance regardless of dive environments.
Additionally, its D-rings use premium stainless steel instead of cheap plastic as a material. This helps the BCD to be exceptionally durable to dive in saltwater.
In addition to wonderful upsides, the Zeagle Scout still retains some limitations, especially in lift capacity. Its lifting standard is only 24 lbs, and thus, I hope this will be improved in the next versions.
- Low-profile air bladder
- Inflator, hose, and RE valve included
- Two zippered utility pockets
- Adjustable elastic waist panels
- Five stainless steel D-rings
- Customizable sternum belt
- Gives divers lots of attachment points
- Solid and tenacious construction
- Uses the first-rate material
- Fits with different body shapes thanks to adjustable straps
- Your accessories are always secure when stored in pockets with zipper closure
- Back inflate style BCD offers you a great ease of movement
- Limited lift capacity
- Not includes aluminum D-rings
- A little heavier than some other travel BCDs on the list
|32.5 x 22 x 4.5 inches
Check out this Youtube video of the Zeagle Scout BCD and learn how to attach the 8137 Zip Mount Adapter onto your item. Besides, the video also gives you information about suitable accessories that can be packed.
7. Hollis LTS Light Travel System
(Best for Instructors)
If you are a big fan of the well-known Hollis HD200, you surely should not skip the Hollis LTS Light.
This model owns fundamental features as the HD200 does but is much more lightweight and offers a more economical price tag. Hence, it is your finest selection as advanced divers.
Its design is simple, non-modular, accompanied by stiff wings made from 1000 denier nylon to equip you with high stability. Besides, the 420 denier Cordura air bladder makes it long-lasting and gives you excellent buoyancy.
To bring you ultimate comfort and serve for traveling purposes, the Hollis LTS Light comes with a flexible backplate, enabling it to be rollable and suits snugly on the bottom of a suitcase.
Few pockets are the main disadvantage of a travel BCD. Yet, you can solve this problem by using D-rings built-in in the chest and hip straps of the Hollis LTS Light.
- Non-modular design
- D-rings on the chest and hip belts
- Includes primary functions from Hollis HD200
- Padded back panel and straps
- Best choice for tropical water divers
- Remove weight restriction problem when traveling
- Easy to control
- The backplate can be folded up
- The weight system enables you to adjust weight pocket position and remove your waist fatigue
- Padded shoulders make it comfortable to use underwater
- The high-quality material offers a long lifespan
- No side pockets
- Not ideal for diving in icy water
|20 x 18 x 10 inches
Here is a video review of the Hollis LTS Light Travel System BCD. Check it out and see if it fills the gap of what you are looking for.
8. Scubapro Litehawk
Being one of the best-seller models among various items from a popular brand, the Scubapro Litehawk deserves high marks from divers thanks to its perfect quality. At a glance, the BCD impresses you with its back inflate style and streamlined air bladder technology.
This design helps to increase your movement freedom as well as create a bulk-free feel. Furthermore, unlike other back flotation BCDs, which take longer to deflate, the Scubapro Litehawk can release air from it within a few seconds thanks to three dump valves.
Thus, your buoyancy may be controlled with great ease. In addition, the BCD offers D-rings made from aluminum instead of stainless steel, which contributes to making it lighter.
Nevertheless, the most outstanding benefit which helps the Scubapro Litehawk surpass thousands of other leading opponents is its high stability when below the surface.
With the perfect combination of a tank bank, an upper strap, and an adjustable yoke belt, you can fix the scuba tank position during your movement without much effort.
This also allows you to connect to a console dive computer effortlessly and achieve higher performance at any depth.
- Low-profile design
- 3-dump deflation system
- Compression straps
- Elastic cords
- Low-drag air bladder
- Balanced Power Inflator
- The quick-release rotating shoulder buckles
- Four aluminum D-rings
- You can get the ease of movement
- Offers excellent buoyancy control
- Comes with durable construction for long use
- Perfect for travel
- Gives you a snug fit thanks to adjustable straps and buckles
- Offers high stability
- Boost your performance at numerous depth
- Limited color options
- No side pockets
|22.00 x 17.00 x 6.00 inches
Watch the following video for more features and usage details of the fantastic Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD.
9. Dive Rite TravelPac
The Dive Rite TravelPac is an all-rounder BCD whose design is blended between the Travel EXP wing and TransPac harness.
Also, it will be a huge appeal to seasoned divers because of its superior lightweight size and streamlined construction. Accordingly, with the abundant number of D-rings, the gear can offer them a highly customizable model.
Thanks to these mounting points, it is simple for divers to add tiny accessories and handy items. Moreover, this enables them to access attached supporting tools underwater more quickly.
Since the Dive Rite TravelPac is specially designed for diving in warm-water destinations, its lift capacity is restricted to only 27 lbs. Hence, even though the back inflate style is an ideal choice for technical divers, I suggest you use the BCD for recreational diving.
Plus, in case you want to dive deeper, you should equip yourself with a dive watch to control dive time. This guarantees your health safety and prevents the body from feeling fatigued when being submerged too long.
- A stainless steel belt buckle
- A chest, camera, and crotch strap
- Includes the Travel EXP wing and TransPac harness.
- Two bent chest D-rings
- Two waist D-rings
- Narrower side plates
- Easy to attach accessories
- Lots of straps give divers a better fit
- Suitable for recreational divers
- Enhance your performance thanks to a large wing and adjustable harness
- It can be connected to a 12L tank
- The back inflate style makes the BCD less cumbersome to move
- Only ideal for tropical diving
- No shoulder dump valves
Watch this video review of the Dive Rite TravelPac BCD and get more information on its fabulous features and functionality.
10. Mares Pure SLS
The Mares Pure SLS offers the largest lift capacity on this list, and thereby, you can completely feel secure to use it no matter whether you plan to dive in freshwater or saltwater.
Besides, the shoulder strap has swivel buckles, allowing you to adjust your position to get optimal comfort.
Additionally, the BCD is integrated with the SLS weight system as well. This helps to control and achieve neutral buoyancy at ease. The weight integration also uses a quick-release mechanism, giving you additional protection under emergencies.
The Mares Pure’s backplate is another bonus point. This design enables divers to dive with single or double tanks. However, since the BCD has a rigid back panel, folding it down is not as smooth as other items.
- Swivel shoulder buckles
- SLS weight system
- Rollable cargo pocket
- Rigid backplate
- Back-mounted air bladder
- Comes with a massive lift capacity
- Ideal for diving in warm and cold water conditions
- Integrated with modern weight system
- Comfortable to wear
- The robust construction gives you high stability
- Adjustable waist strap maximizes your fit
- The backplate is not flexible
- It is heavier than most travel BCDs on this list
|18.90 x 11.00 x 18.10 inches
|7.93 (S) – 8.37 lbs (XL)
Learn a few more ways of achieving higher performance with the awesome Mares Pure SLS BCD from this Youtube video.
Finding the Right Travel BCD
It is highly possible that only the top 10 finest travel BCDs here can also cause challenges for you to filter out the most suitable model. Hence, you need to remember particular basic standards to focus on during your buying process.
This plays a significant role in preventing you from making wrong decisions. Let’s read the informative buying guide below to have a clearer view of your ideal item.
You are more prone to notice that most travel BCDs reviewed in this article come with a jacket or back inflate style. On top of that, the latter pattern is more popular among dive travelers thanks to the compact and minimalist design.
What’s more, the back inflate BCDs with air bladders only at the back of a diver makes it less bulky compared to its counterpart – the jacket ones.
This style seems helpful when your scuba tank is connected to a regulator, and then, they look quite cumbersome to move easily underwater.
In addition, the back inflate models often use lighter materials which includes aluminum D-rings instead of steel.
Besides, its backplate is designed to be fully flexible, enabling it to be folded down for packing in a suitcase. Thereby, back flotation BCDs are perfect choices for dive traveling.
However, if you are a new diver, you will find a jacket BCD simpler to control due to its high stability feature. Additionally, because of the ability to float vertically, it is more suitable for diving in rough conditions.
Fit is one of the vital factors to consider before purchasing a travel BCD. Always keep in mind that this element has a major effect on your safety when diving. You can encounter problems in breathing or buoyancy in case the BCD is too tight or loose.
For bringing you an ultimate comfort sense when below the surface, your equipment needs to wrap around your body snugly.
Furthermore, it should not pinch, squeeze, or make you tightened when the air bladders are filled with air. In contrast, when empty, the BCD must not slide or rotate around your waist or shoulders.
Generally speaking, I highly advise you to choose a model with adjustable straps to get a perfect fit. Plus, this helps to add more weights during your dive trips effortlessly.
3. Lift Capacity
Lift capacity refers to how much weight a BCD can compensate for when the air bladder is full size, allowing you to get neutral buoyancy in different dive environments. If your destinations are tropical beaches, it may not be a problem worth considering.
However, in icy water conditions, especially saltwater, you will need more lift. If you are not sure about the amount of lift required, let’s choose an item with a large weight to avoid safety hazards.
4. Weight System
Nowadays, most BCDs sold on the market are integrated with a weight system. While some models apply to lock mechanisms, others use buckles and zippers with a quick-release switch.
Regardless of which type of weight integration you choose, please ensure that you can unload all weights anytime in challenging situations.
Nevertheless, one downside of built-in weight system BCDs is that they are often heavier and require higher price points. Therefore, if you travel frequently, the super lightweight models with weight belts sold solely are highly recommended options.
5. Dive Environment
The diving environment is another essential factor you need to spend much attention on. This means that you have to consider the type of water you will dive into and decide on a suitable lift capacity.
Besides, environmental conditions also affect which style of travel BCDs you should choose.
For example, as a technical diver, a back inflate model will be your best choice. At the same time, a jacket BCD will be perfect for rough conditions thanks to its versatility and maneuverability.
Travel BCD vs. Regular BCD
The travel BCD is famous for its portable size and super lightweight feature. However, to maintain this design, the manufacturer may have to sacrifice some unimportant capabilities while a regular BCD always offers full.
Therefore, a few divers think that travel BCDs are less durable and cannot help you achieve high performance. However, I believe this is an incorrect thought. To prove my opinion, I have created the following comparison table to clarify the benefits and drawbacks of each model.
|● Easy to clean.
● Offers cheaper price range.
● Not slide and rotate around your back when you move in the water.
● Comes with an enormous lift capacity.
● Helps to save a great amount of money.
● Effortless to fold down.
● Compact size for simple to pack in a suitcase.
● More lightweight.
|● Easy to control.
● Gives divers more protection.
● Integrated with weight system.
● Provides you with lots of pockets for storage.
● Effortless to attach accessories thanks to plentiful D-rings.
● Offers more advanced features.
|● There are few or even no zippered pockets for your accessories.
● Some models do not have weight integration.
● Novice divers can find it hard to use.
● Looks more cumbersome.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It’s so happy to see you reading and scrolling carefully down to this section. Here will equip you with answers to some frequently asked questions. In case any problems are wondering you now, I hope this part can clear your thoughts.
What Is a Travel BCD?
A travel BCD is much more lightweight and compact than normal scuba BCDs on the market today. That’s because when traveling, especially for airplane trips, the demand of taking with you requires its design to be rollable and easy to pack in your luggage.
How Much Lift Do I Need in a Travel BCD?
There is a common rule that the lift capacity of your travel BCD should be at least 10 pounds more than the total weight you are wearing.
How Long Will a Travel BCD Last?
The more basic design the travel BCD has, the more long-lasting it can be. What’s more, if being cared for properly and maintained annually, your gear can last up to eight years (corresponds to 4000 dives).
How Often Should I Get My Travel BCD Serviced?
My best advice is to service your travel BCD at least once a year, which is often after every 80 to 100 dives. In addition, you even need to do this more frequently if you use the BCD daily or dive in saltwater.
How Do You Release Air From Travel BCD?
You can take advantage of built-in dump valves or deflate buttons to vent the air from your travel BCD.
Along with helping you get neutral buoyancy as its primary function, a travel BCD is truly a streamlined solution in baggage weight restrictions when traveling by plane. I suppose that this type of item can bring you superb comfort not only in the water.
Without a doubt, the best overall travel BCD on my list is the Cressi Travelight. I am sure that its foldable construction, basic design, and spacious storage space can live up to your expectations.
Meanwhile, it is hard to deny that the Zeagle Covert provides you with the most affordable price tag. In addition to the travel-friendly design, adjustable straps and rugged construction are two other selling points of the BCD.
Other divers would feel delighted to know your personal opinions. And I would love to read further feedback to improve the quality of my research as well. Would you please drop them in the comment section?
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