With airline regulations on baggage weight restrictions getting more and more stringent, the need for lightweight and easy-to-carry scuba diving equipment becomes the need of the hour. And for those who don’t like to rent their scuba gear, perhaps the bulkiest piece of scuba diving equipment you’d have to bring is your buoyancy compensator or BCD, which can sometimes take up half your luggage space as well as half your weight limit.
Fortunately, manufacturers have been made aware of the demand for travel-friendly BCDs and have started offering a number of lightweight, compact, and streamlined options for traveling divers.
What is the Best BCD for Traveling Scuba Divers?
A lightweight travel BCD should weigh less than 7.7 to 8 lbs (3.5 to 4 kg) and should be easy to fold or pack in a suitcase without being bulky. Here are our top five picks for travel-friendly BCDs:
LeisurePro Price: $330.95
The Scout is Zeagle’s best lightweight BCD and is an ideal basic travel system that offers minimum weight and bulk. Weighing in at just 6.7 lbs (2.9 kg), the Scout is reasonably lightweight and can be stowed easily inside a suitcase. Other features include four stainless steel D-rings for sturdy accessory attachment, two zippered pockets for keeping your important compact devices handy, and an integrated rear mount integrated weight system with a touch fastener release.
Available in various sizes, from Small to X-Large, the Zeagle Scout is a top pick for anyone looking for a travel-friendly BCD.
- 6.7lbs (3kg) in Dry Weight / 16lbs (7.26kg) Capacity
- 1000D Nylon with Internal Urethane Laminate
- Single, Low-Profile Bladder with Elastic Retractor
- Adjustable Torso Waist and Sternum Straps
- Elastic Waist Closure with Cummerbund
- Dual Zippered Utility Pockets
- Rear-Mounted Weight Pockets with Touch Fastener Release
- 4 Stainless Steel D-Rings (2 Vest and 2 Shoulder)
LeisurePro Price: $560
As the name suggests, the Scubapro GO is designed specifically for divers on-the-go. This travel BCD is made from lightweight 210-denier nylon but with polyurethane coating to make it extra tough. It’s also easy to pack and extremely comfortable to wear, thanks to its Airnet padding. Despite the reduction in weight, it has many features that make it one of the best and highly reliable BCDs from Scubapro.
The GO also boasts of its lack of inherent buoyancy, which means you won’t need to attach as much ballast to achieve stability and you can feel more comfortable underwater.
- 6 lbs (2.7 kg) in Dry Weight
- 210D Nylon With Polyurethane Coating
- Quick-Release Waist Strap with Cummerbund
- Adjustable Sternum Strap and Double Tank Straps
- Dual Zippered Easy Access Mesh Pockets
- 6 Large Aluminum D-Rings or Accessory Attachment
- Side Grommets for Attachment of Scubapro Knife
LeisurePro Price: $629.95
While the Stiletto may not be the lightest BCD in Zeagle’s product line, it is ideal for the diver who wants a lightweight but rugged system that doesn’t compromise on features for both travel and local diving. The Stiletto weighs just 7.4 lbs (3.3 kg) but has a 35 lbs (16 kg) lift capacity thanks to its heavy-duty, low-profile retracting bladder. Other features include two zippered utility pockets and five stainless steel D-rings, providing you with various attachment points to clip all sorts of scuba accessories.
If you’re looking for a lightweight travel BCD that offers comfortable wear, the Zeagle Stilletto has been raved about by customers for being one of the top BCs that allow great freedom of movement.
- 7.4 lbs (3.36 kg) in Dry Weight
- 24 lbs (10.9 kg) Releasable Weight Capacity
- 16 lbs (7.26 kg) Non-Releasable Weight Capacity
- 1000D Cordura Nylon with Urethane Bladder Material
- Radio Frequency (RF) Welded Seams
- Adjustable Sternum and Shoulder Straps
- Waist Strap with Adjustable Elastic Cummerbund
- Dual Zippered Utility Pockets
- 5 Stainless Steel D-Rings (Three Vest, Two Shoulder)
LeisurePro Price: $449
The Aqua Lung Zuma has everything you need without exceeding baggage limits. You’ll notice it the first time you pick it up—not only is it packable for easy storage but it’s also noticeably lightweight at less than 4.75 lbs (size ML/LG), even with the airway and weight pockets included. To ensure the wearer’s comfort, it has a valve strap that pulls in the top of the cylinder, reducing drag and transferring weight from the shoulders to the hips.
Overall, if you want a BCD that offers a premium combination of quality and portability—and comes from one of the most reputable brands of diving equipment—this is for you.
- 5.65-6.35 lbs (2.56-2.88 kg) in Dry Weight
- 20 lbs (9 kg) Releasable Weight Capacity
- 10 lbs (4.54 kg) Non-Releasable Weight Capacity
- Patented SureLock II Mechanical Weight Release System
- Adjustable Chest Strap with Shoulder Strap Rails
- Integrated Hose Clips for LP Hose Attachment
- 4 Plastic D-Rings and Versatile Fold Down Pocket
LeisurePro Price: $309.95
The Cressi Travelight is jacket-style BCD that is designed to reduce bulk and weight for air travelers. The Travelight can be folded up in just a few seconds and fastened with a special retractable strap so that it can be stowed easily in its own carrying bag with a shoulder strap. Weighing just 5.7 lbs (2.6 kg), the Travelight features two front pockets and two weight pockets in the rear, as well as four lightweight alloy d-rings for accessory attachment.
With the ability to bundle up this BCD into a compact mass, the Cressi Travelight is a perfect travelers’ BCD that doesn’t compromise on features.
- 5-6.2 lbs (2.3-2.8 kg) in Dry Weight
- 20 lbs (9 kg) Releasable Weight
- 10 lbs (4.5 kg) Non-Releasable Weight
- 210D Nylon with Urethane Laminated Interior Bladder
- Integrated Lock Aid Quick-Release Weight System
- Adjustable Sternum and Torso Shoulder Straps with Side Release Buckle
- Adjustable Waist Strap with Cummerbund Pad
- Dual Large Zippered Utility Pockets
- 4 Light Alloy D-Rings