Cressi Travelight vs Oceanic Biolite: Travel BCD Comparison Review 2017
TLP’s pick for the best travel BCD is the Oceanic Biolite mostly for the back inflation style and durability! Cressi’s Travel Light went up against the Biolite as it is the best jacket style travel BCD that has enough functionality to be used as a primary scuba BCD as well! Read on for an in depth comparison of the two best travel BCDs.
If you are in the market for a travel BCD and aren’t really sure what to look for in a scuba BCD specifically made for dive travel, you aren’t alone. Gone are the days of free baggage check on most airlines. This has left divers in need of light equipment capable of folding down to a compact form. You can certainly travel with a standard BCD if you choose to pay the additional travel cost or can spare the room but with all the gear divers travel with it is very difficult. You can view that list of top Scuba BCDs and guide here!
Scuba BCDs designed for dive travel will usually have most or all of the same useful features of a regular scuba BCD but they may not have as many and may be constructed of light material. You will find travel BCDs in both jacket style and back inflation style which is great as you won’t be limited to limited in your choices.”
After years of trying out many different travel BCDs, along with my scuba diving peers, we chose both the CRESSI TRAVELIGHT TRAVEL BCD and the OCEANIC BIOLITE TRAVEL BCD as our top picks! Why did we choose two? Basically, some of us prefer a back inflation scuba BCD and others prefer the jacket style! Despite our preference for a particular style, we all agree that each of these were the best travel BCDs for each style.
Check out the reviews of the CRESSI TRAVELIGHT or OCEANIC BIOLITE below!
Cressi Travelight: The Best Jacket Style Travel BCD
It is no secret that the Cressi Travelight is well regarded and a very popular travel BCD. A few of my friends have used this BCD for many years and continue to enjoy it. This BCD is just like any of the traditional jacket style BCDs but Cressi has designed it for the traveling diver. Cressi has reduced the weight of the Travelight as well as enabling it to be folded down to a compact form.
By carefully selecting strong but light materials, you are able to fold down this BCD to be packed into a very small carry bag that Cressi includes with the purchase. The 210-Denier nylon bladder has been reinforced with urethane by laminating it to the interior providing extra strength. Cressi has also used alloy D-rings in place of stainless steel rings to further reduce the weight.
Amazingly, Cressi was still able to utilize a fully integrated weight system in the Travelight while still maintaining a light and compact form. It is also equipped with more traditional features like lower rear and right shoulder pull dumps, an inflator pull dump, and manual deflation from the inflator assembly. These feature combined with two pockets for storage, a fully adjustable harness system, and the padded back pad with twin cylinder cam bands makes the Travelight a fully capable scuba BCD.
Loading the Travelight with all of these features provides the diver the ability to use this as a primary BCD as well as a travel BCD. For someone who is a frequent travel diver and can’t really afford two BCD’s this is the perfect solution. Being halfway across the world and having the confidence that your scuba BCD is fully equipped definitely improves your dive experience.
Some of the great things I have noted about the Travelight is its incredible light weight (just around 5 lbs), extremely small when packed down, and of course the full array of features. It is also incredibly comfortable both on the spine where the tanks sits as well as how it hugs me and secures to my body with the adjustable cummerbund. It also dries out incredibly fast, so I have been able to dive in the morning and fly out the same evening with a dry packed BCD.
There is usually a bit of bad when you hear of something so great but I have only heard of a one or two instances and personally seen one instance of many. I know someone who had a seam come undone but Cressi provided great service to remedy the issue and offered a replacement if the BCD couldn’t be repaired. The other thing to consider may be a given to a few but considering this is travel BCD, the lift capacity is slightly less than that of a traditional jacket style BCD.
All in all, this is a great jacket style travel BCD and everyone I know who owns one has been consistently satisfied. If you prefer jacket style BCDs and need something for travel, the Travelight is one of the best options on the market and priced very affordable for such a well-rounded and feature rich travel BCD.
Oceanic Biolite: The Best Back Inflation Travel BCD
When it comes to back inflation, the Oceanic Biolite is a stellar travel BCD. It has the perfect balance of features and benefits of a travel BCD. Even as I tried many other outstanding models like the Zeagle Scout, the Oceanic Biolite is simply the best back inflation travel BCD currently on the market. Underwater this is an amazingly freeing setup. The majority of the BCD is neatly tucked behind you.
A simple, clean, and straight forward design is what I enjoy so much about the Biolite. It weighs a mere 5.5 lbs and packs down to an unbelievably small footprint. Oceanic was able to equip the Biolite with a very low profile bladder by utilizing a flexible material that stretches and conforms to your body. The material is able to stretch while remaining airtight allowing Oceanic to use a smaller air cell, creating less bulk and drag underwater. I am able to move freely and comfortably in any conditions I dive in.
The harness on the Biolite has several adjustment points allowing you to achieve a very good fit and improve you comfort while diving. My female dive partner is able to wear the same BCD and finds it very comfortable when adjusted for her. The straps are also contoured and never touch my neck and rest perfectly in the middle of the back. The padding on the back is very comfortable and have had no issues with discomfort.
It also has a very convenient integrated weight system that also feature a quick release system. Another thing I like about the this BCD is the two weighted tank band pockets as they definitely improve the stability in the water. It only takes a few dives to get the trim weights and the BCD position perfect before you are effortlessly maintaining a horizontal position with a pivot point level with the weight pockets. I could predictably glide from a horizontal to semi-vertical and back by just by bending my knees and adjusting my folded arm position. That was a great feeling!
When I first tried the Oceanic Biolite the first thing I noticed was the incredible lift capacity. I was expecting it to be on par with some of the other travel BCDs. I have been able to dive in cold water gear no problem as the Biolite has ample lift capacity to counter all of my gear. There aren’t any pockets which might bother some but fortunately there are accessory belts for the days you need them. On the other hand it has two poly D-Rings and a few other attachments points which carabiners can utilize and I am always able to attach every piece of gear I typically dive with.
With such durable construction you can be assured that the Biolite will last you many years. The incredible durable construction and 1000D denier Cordura fabric in crucial areas will give you the confidence to travel with this BCD and not experience any failures. I have been in and around caves and reefs and there are little to no abrasion marks on my BCD.
The Oceanic Biolite is such a great option for both warm and cold water dive travel. For the recreational diver, you can pack this BCD in luggage and be assured you are perfectly equipped for any dive you embark on. You will not be more thrilled with this BCD. If you need a minimal setup without compromising durability, or just want to travel more efficiently definitely check out the Biolite.