5 Best Back Inflated BCDs (PADI Divemaster Tested)

Written and Reviewed By

back-inflate

A back inflated buoyancy control device is a type of BCD that aims to help divers maintain a horizontal position underwater.

For divers that struggle staying streamlined, back inflated BCDs can make a great choice compared to jacket BCDs or backplate and wing BCDs.

Not all rental fleets include back inflate BCDs, and there’s certainly some savings in getting your own BCD after enough dives.

With all of the scuba brands and BCD models available on the market, it can be tough to stay afloat when trying to buy the perfect one for you. 

I’ve spent a while working as a PADI Divemaster, assisting divers on boats in South Florida, so I’ve gained invaluable insights into what to look for in a back inflated BCD.

Drawing from my expertise, I’ve carefully curated a list of top-tier back inflated BCDs, narrowing down the options to a select few.

During the selection process, I considered the following essential factors:

  • Buoyancy control and adjustability
  • Comfort and fit
  • Durable construction and materials
  • Weight integration options
  • Ergonomics and ease of use
  • Manufacturer reputation and customer feedback
  • Additional features
  • Customization possibilities
  • # of D-rings
  • And much more!

After reviewing all the BCDs I picked, , I will provide you with a detailed back inflate BCD buying guide and address frequently asked questions to assist you in making an informed decision.

Table of Contents

Best Back Inflate BCDs

Luxury Option

Scubapro Hydros Pro

4.6
$1,182.00
Pros:
  • Instant dry material
  • Body grip gel
  • Auto adjust Torso Flex Zone
  • TPE Gel conforms to shape of body
Cons:
  • Expensive
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03/08/2024 09:58 pm GMT

Highly durable, lightweight and stylish, the ScubaPro Hydros Pro is a seriously impressive piece of scuba diving gear.

And without a doubt, it’s one of the best BCDs you can buy.

A unique manufacturing process has created an innovative and highly ergonomic design that perfectly conforms around the body without any pressure points. The efficient load distribution provides excellent maneuverability, superior buoyancy control, and unbeatable comfort.

scubapro hydros pro

And if that’s not enough almost every piece of this modular designed BCD can be removed or replaced without the help of a service technician. Making it fully customizable, super easy to repair and incredibly long-lasting.

In addition to coming in a variety of colors, the ScubaPro Hydros Pro is also available in a men’s or women’s cut to further ensure the best possible fit.

If you’ve got the budget, there really is no better back-inflate BCD out there than the ScubaPro Hydros Pro.

Product Specs:

  • Style of BCD: Hybrid
  • Pocket #: None
  • D Rings: 4
  • Weight: 11.4lbs
  • Weight System: Integrated
  • Lift: 36lbs
Best for Travel

Aqua Lung Rogue

4.5
$649.00
Pros:
  • Lightweight & easily disassembled for travel
  • Extra padding on backplate and harness
  • Optional accessories available
  • Highly customizable fit
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • Small weight pockets
  • Fragile line to dump valves
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03/09/2024 08:57 am GMT

If you’re looking for a minimal and lightweight design that still features everything you need, then look no further than the AquaLung Rogue.

This back inflate BCD features Integrated weights, 2 folding pockets and 4 stainless steel D-rings as standard. You also have the option to add a waistband extender, trim pockets or SMB pocket.

Despite its sleek design, the AquaLung Rogue is surprisingly comfortable. Extra padding on the back and harness make sure that you don’t feel anything digging in, even when moving around on land.

The unique ‘ModLock’ connectors allow all sections of the AquaLung Rogue, and it’s various accessories, to be interchanged. This creates an impressive 27 different sizes. So you’re sure to find the perfect fit.

What’s more, is that the AquaLung Rogue is super lightweight. Weighing just over 2kg when dry, this BCD is ideal for a traveling diver.

Product Specs:

  • Style of BCD: Back Inflate
  • Pocket #: 2
  • D Rings: 4
  • Weight: 7.3lb
  • Weight System: Integrated
  • Lift:  35lbs
Best BPW

xDeep NX Ghost Deluxe

4.5
$929.00
Pros:
  • Lightweight for travel
  • Doesn’t push you forward on the surface
  • High-quality materials
  • Perfectly streamlined
Cons:
  • Only 3 D-rings
  • Integrated weight system is extra
  • No pockets
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02/19/2024 02:31 am GMT

Robust, streamlined, and very stable underwater, the X Deep Ghost is easily our favorite backplate and wing BCD.

Not only does the minimal design look awesome, but it also makes maintaining horizontal trim underwater effortless.

The X Deep Ghost is perfectly streamlined to optimize your diving experience.

example of a wing bcd next to a dive pool

Normally recreational BPW BCDs have an annoying habit of pushing you facedown when on the surface. But not the X Deep Ghost. The upper section of the bladder is intentionally smaller which makes it surprisingly easy to sit upright.

At less than 2.5kg, the X Deep Ghost is one of the lightest backplate and wing BCDs on the market. Thanks to the aerospace-grade alloy backplate with large cut-outs to further reduce weight.

If you’re a traveling diver who’s serious about optimizing your time and performance underwater then the X Deep Ghost is the ideal back inflate BCD for you.

Product Specs:

  • Style of BCD: Wing
  • Pocket #: None
  • D Rings: 3
  • Weight: 7.3lb
  • Weight System: Integrated
  • Lift:  37lbs
Best Back-Inflate BCD

Hollis LTS

4.5
$499.95
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03/09/2024 02:01 am GMT

Hollis is one of our favorite brands for tech diving and advanced recreational gear. These guys focus on that and are king.

The Hollis L.T.S (Lite Travel System) is a weight-integrated back inflation design that’s awesome for travel as it only weighs 5 lbs (2.27 kg) and with 30 lbs (13.6 kg) of lift capacity, this is the BCD you want to travel with.

Some other things to note are that it uses bungee cords to hold the bladder to a low profile, this allows helps to speed up deflation if need be. It has a back pad that is comfortable but you cannot attach a back plate.

Austin Tuwiner In Scuba Gear - Otteraquatics Home

It is great for all single-tank recreational situations and the design is well thought out. While it will accommodate extra gear well while keeping a very low profile in the water is that the weight pockets are not designed to accommodate any more than about 6 lbs (2.4 kg) on each side.

So if you are diving in warmer water this is fine but if you may be larger and/ or diving in cold water you will need to wear a weight belt as well

  • Style of BCD: Back Inflate
  • Pocket #: None
  • D Rings: 6
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • Weight System: Integrated
  • Lift: 30lbs
Best for Comfort

Apeks Black Ice

4.5
Pros:
  • Large pockets
  • Extra padding
  • Very stable
  • Great for cold water diving
Cons:
  • A little bulky
  • Heavier than most hybrid BCDs
  • Only 1 color available
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The Apeks Black Ice is a rugged and heavy-duty back inflate BCD that’ll look after you in every dive environment. This BCD offers the perfect balance between function, design, and comfort.

The wraparound design of the Wrapture harness system provides unbeatable fit and stability.

With straightforward straps, this BCD is easy to put on and take off, even when wearing thick dive gloves. And the extra padding provides much-appreciated comfort both in and out of the water.

Featuring AquaLung’s innovative Sure Lock II integrated weight system, 2 large pockets, and 5 stainless steel D-rings, the Apeks Black Ice has everything you need from a hybrid BCD. Plus its modular design and 3 different size options ensure you’ll find the right fit.

Product Specs:

  • Style of BCD: Back Inflate
  • Pocket #: 2
  • D Rings: 5
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Weight System: Integrated
  • Lift: 52lbs

What Is A Back Inflate BCD?

A back inflate BCD is a buoyancy control device with an air bladder that sits only at the back of a diver, rather than around the torso like those found in a traditional jacket style BCD.

There are 2 main styles of back inflate BCDs: hybrid and wing.

What Is A Hybrid BCD?

Example of a hybrid back inflated BCD next to a dive pool

A hybrid BCD fits like a traditional jacket BCD but only inflates behind you. Most hybrid BCDs feature integrated weight systems and pockets.

The hybrid, sometimes referred to as a semi-wing, is the most popular back inflation BCD. They’re stable on the surface, provide storage for accessories, and are easy to put on and take off.

What Is A Wing BCD?

example of a wing bcd next to a dive pool

A wing-style BCD, also known as backplate and wing (BPW), combines a doughnut-shaped bladder, a backplate, and a harness to create a much more minimal and agile buoyancy control device.

A wing provides perfectly horizontal trim underwater and a huge range of motion. But it can be a bit uncomfortable to stay upright on the surface. A wing BCD is easy to travel with and super streamlined but it doesn’t offer integrated weights or storage for accessories.

What Is A Modular Designed Back Inflate BCD?

A back inflation BCD with a modular design means that all of the individual parts (the bladder, harness, backplate etc) are interchangeable and replaceable. These models are easy to service, repair and will last you much longer than a traditional BCD.

What’s more is that a modular design BCD can be fully personalised for a perfect, custom fit.

Why Buy A Back Inflate BCD?

Although most people learn to scuba dive with a traditional jacket style, most divers with some experience prefer a back inflate BCD.

And here’s why…

Because the air bladder sits behind you, a back inflation BCD automatically positions you in a super streamlined, horizontal position. This makes swimming easier and as a result, improves your air consumption.

What’s more, is that back inflate BCDs are extremely comfortable to wear. With minimal equipment around your torso, you have a much better range of motion than in a jacket-style BCD. Plus there’s absolutely no constriction around your chest when fully inflated.

Trust us, once you try a back inflate BCD you’ll never go back!

A person wearing a back inflate bcd

Frequently Asked Questions

Back inflate BCDs aren’t usually recommended for complete beginners as they make it difficult to stay upright on the surface and require a higher awareness of your body position underwater.

However, with a little practice, it’s easy to avoid face planting the water. And it’s a great way to improve your trim underwater.

Other than making it a little trickier to maintain your position on the surface, the main con of a back inflate BCD is that most models lack pockets.

But accessories, such as flashlights and SMBs, can be easily relocated to grommets and D-rings. Or you can easily add attachable pockets to a back inflate BCD.

So there are not really any downsides to a back-inflate BCD!

The style of back inflate BCD you buy comes down to personal choice. Both the wing and hybrids are good options for a buoyancy control device.

One of the great things about a wing-style BCD is that all the components are individually replaceable. So if the harness needs replacing, for example, you can simply buy a new harness instead of a whole new BCD. Which is much more cost-effective in the long run.

And if you’re considering tech diving in the future a wing is much more versatile.

But if you really want to have integrated weights and space to store accessories then a hybrid is a better choice for you. Plus a hybrid BCD has adjustable shoulder straps so they’re much easier to get in and out of than a wing.

For more info about getting your weight right, check out our weight buoyancy calculator.

However, you don’t always have the option to replace separate parts if something breaks. Plus there’s no way to use a hybrid BCD for technical diving.

When fully inflated, a back inflate BCD should feel snug around your shoulders and waist, without pinching. And it shouldn’t slide around your shoulders when empty.

For a hybrid back inflate BCD you want a tighter fit than with a traditional jacket BCD to prevent it riding up. When it comes to a wing and harness style BCD, the webbing and straps are fully customizable so it’s easy to adjust for the perfect fit.

Remember to consider whether you’ll be using this BCD with a dry suit. If you’re unsure of your size or the environment you’ll be diving in, make sure there’s plenty of room to adjust the straps and buckles as needed.

Still not sure which style of BCD is for you?

Check out this video for a more detailed comparison:

With a back inflation BCD, you’ll be more streamlined, more comfortable and improve your air consumption.

Seriously, what’s there not to like about this style of BCD?

And you’ve now got the full low down on the best back inflate BCDs on the market, so it’s time to make your choice.

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