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Product Review Scubapro Geo Travel BCD

By Nigel Barker PADI Dive Master

Having just returned from the Philippines where I was stung for excess baggage charges on the Nigel in Scubapro Geo BCD at Rottointernal flight from Manila to Busuanga, both ways (Yes they only allow 15kg on internal flights) I started thinking seriously about how I was going to cut down on my excess without going the hole hog and hiring everything.

You see like many divers, I have my gear set up just the way I like it. The thought of donning weight belts and more hoses than the fire brigade just doesn’t do it for me. Not to mention all the germs that other people leave in the hire gear. Yes, I watched the National Geographic special on the flight which used an electron microscope to reveal hideous nasties lurking everywhere which are too small to see with the naked eye. But I digress.

Bemoaning my experiences to Lee at Perth Scuba, he generously offered me a trial of the new Scubapro Geo, a lightweight BCD designed specifically for travellers. Maybe of course it was just to shut me up.

This is an amazing BCD. It folds ‘origami like’ into a small bag which in theory would allow you to carry it as cabin baggage! It has a special GO/Dive buckle for keeping it folded and packed flat in your suitcase. As far as I can see the buckle’s a bit of a gimmick but who knows? It may be one of 2010’s must have accessories!

The Scubapro Geo is an adjustable single-air cell BC with a new ergonomic cut that provides exceptionally high levels of comfort and weight savings. It’s made of 210 denier Nylon covered in polyurethane and radio frequency welded. Apparently it has a shelf life of 7 years if you look after it properly.

The absence of a back plate made me wonder just how comfortable this BCD would be but surprisingly, you don’t notice it at all.

Scubapro Geo snatch strapI really like the double tank strap system. The upper tank strap is just a straight forward Velcro strap whilst the lower strap is a classic cam belt. It has a good solid clunk to it as you snap it shut and I have no doubt that the tank will stay put. The upper strap gives the tank reassuring stability when diving and helps reduce back strain. What I don’t like is the fact that the position of the cam buckle is not adjustable, so that if like me, you dive with a strap mounted canister torch you have no choice other than to mount the battery pack on the left hand side of the tank or on the upper strap. OK this is no big thing but I don’t like it. There is an additional safety loop (SL) designed to slide over the tag end of the strap (T) for additional safety. It’s the first time I have come across this and I really felt it was more cosmetic than a safety feature but it made the BCD look a million dollars.

There are 4 angled D rings which are made from aluminium, again keeping the weight down and well placed to attach most of your gear. I love these rings and will look for angled D rings in my future BCDs.

The Scubapro Geo isn’t weight integrated. I was a little concerned about this as I really don’t likeJack models the Scubapro Geo BCD weight belts but it is a compromise after all. Weighing in at just 1.96 Kg (M size) it’s half the weight of my regular integrated BCD at 3.96kg. That’s almost a 4Kg saving and for my wife and I that adds up.

In the water it was great, a pleasure to wear, stable and comfortable. The pockets are huge and the zippers large enough to fit a gloved hand in easily. Unlike some BCDs the zippers follow a gentle curve and avoid sharp beds so they are easy to undo and do up again when the jacket is donned. The pockets are free draining meaning you’re not pulling 4Kg of water up the ladder.

I added a bit of lead for my first dive out at Rotto and just didn’t need it. So on my second dive with the Geo I dive with my regular 13lbs and it felt good.

It’s lift capacity at 31.5lbs was plenty once I got used to it but clearly this isn’t a tech BCD so you shouldn’t need it. Having said that it will accommodate a 15L bottle – enough for the greediest of air hogs.

LIKES

DISLIKES

  • Light Weight
  • No weight integration
  • Size
  • Fixed cam strap buckle position
  • Cut
  • Pockets
  • Double strap
  • Wide comfortable cummerbund
  • Good dumps

Overall the Scubapro Geo offers a great compromise for the travelling Diver, lightweight and functional. The build quality typically for Scubapro is very good and it’s a delight to wear in the water. All the hideous nasties are mine.

Score: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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