The Best Travel BCD in 2024

The Best Travel BCD in 2024

Posted by Elma Kruger on June 23rd, 2024

by Elma Tarr

A BCD, Buoyancy Compensator, or Buoyancy Control Device all describe one of the most essential pieces of dive gear that you can carry with you on a dive trip. These wearable (often jacket or wing style) devices include an inflatable bladder which is then filled with compressed air from the diver's scuba tank. Filling the bladder in the BCD will increase the buoyancy of the diver - slowing down their decent. Whereas releasing air from a BCD will slow a diver's ascent as they approach the surface. Using a BCD to finetune your buoyancy will result in a safe and ideally, neutrally buoyant dive. Many BCDs have additional storage pockets or D-rings for clipping accessories that makes your dives easier.

So let's recap just how important the BCD is.  A good buoyancy compensating device will leave you neutrally buoyant throughout your dive. 

Therefor, a good BCD allows you to:

1. Conserve the underwater environment. It's not cool bumping into coral and damaging the reef.

2. Improve your air consumption. The less you have to move or adjust, the more time you will be able to spend underwater.

3. Take a winning photo. With good buoyancy you can be stable and take that winning shot.

While good buoyancy does come with time and practice, there is nothing worse than going on a dive with rented gear and having issues with a leaking bladder -excuse the pun- or a faulty LPI (Low pressure inflator). Just for this reason, speaking from experience, I like to travel with my own mask, fins, regulator and BCD. The rest I can happily rent from the dive operator.

But when you're traveling, packing a stainless steel backplate style BC might not be the wisest idea. Afterall, where am I going to put my camera and swimsuits? And paying for excess baggage fees can be more than a hassle. Thankfully, we've put together a list of the top 5 Travel BCDs!

All of these BCDs are available now in store and on our website. Not sure about your size? Take a look at our sizing guides on each product page. We have a 30 day return policy (as long as the BCD doesn't get wet)!

1. Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD

"The Minimalist"


Purchase Your Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD

Oceanic Biolite Travel BCD

Promoted by Oceanic as ‘minimalistic’, the open-harness, rear-inflation Biolite certainly meets that description. It weighs 5.5Lb (2.5kg) and has integrated weights. The bladder is constructed from Oceanic’s patented Bio flex material, which is claimed to be up to 30 per cent more flexible than other materials, therefore allowing the BCD to be built with a smaller air cell to minimize the amount of material used and reduce the overall dimensions of the jacket. The exterior is constructed of 1,000-denier Cordura. In keeping with the minimalist design, the integrated ‘quick drop’ weight system carries up to 6.4kg with two non-ditch able trim pockets attached to the tank strap fitted as standard. Plastic D-rings, an adjustable shoulder carabiner retainer and small, zippered side pockets provide enough storage space for small accessories. It is simple, clean, and straight forward. It comes in Male and Female types and sizes XS to 2XL. Lift capacity: SM, MD 32lb; LG, XL, XXL 38lb.

We recommend the Oceanic Biolite to those who are looking for a form fitting, flexible material that can easily pack into your luggage.

2. Cressi Travelight BCD

"The Most D-Rings"


Purchase Your Mare Rover 2S Here

cressi travelight bcd

Cressi’s most popular travel BCD. The Cressi Travelight BCD is light & packs small (8.25cu in) and weighs in at 2.7 kg (6lbs). It's very affordable and makes it a great introductory or 2 nd BCD. The weight pockets slide in easily and come with 4 alloy D rings, thoughtfully placed. The 210-denier nylon from which it is constructed means that it offers great durability. The fully flexible backplate comes with extra padding and two Cam bands for tank security. The rear dump valve control is mounted at the front of the jacket. The Travelight Lady has differently-routed shoulder straps and fastenings to cater for the female form.

We recommend the Cressi Travelight to those who are looking for the most versatile travel BCD with the best D-Ring layout for mounting accessories. 

3. Aqualung Rogue BCD

"Best For Flat Trim Underwater"


Purchase Your Aqualung Rogue BCD Here

Aqualung Rogue BCD

Weighing in at 4.9Lbs (2.2kg), Aqualung’s Rogue is a cut-down back-inflation-style BCD. The Rogue’s unique Mod-Lock system allows for a wide range of customization, so that divers whose personal dimensions don’t match the standard sixes might use – for example – a large waistband with smaller straps. Up to 27 customization options are available. This is a great feature that means we don’t have to go for second best when it comes to suitability. It’s a no fuss design and retains essential features such as pockets, stainless steel D-rings, an Octo holder and knife attachment point. It does not have a backplate as such, rather, a semi-rigid harness to which everything else attaches, making packing and storage a low-profile affair.

We recommend the Aqualung Rogue to anyone looking for great underwater trim or anyone who does not fit your typical sizing charts. 

4. Aqualung HD Pro Compact BCD

"The Lightest of the Light"


Purchase Your Aqualung HD Pro Compact BCD Here

Aqualung HD Pro Compact BCD

Don’t pay excess baggage fees. The ultra-light, Aqualung HD Pro contact weighs less than 4.75lb (2.2kg). It has everything that you need in a BCD so if you do not want to invest in a second or additional BCD for travel, this would be an excellent choice. The HD Pro features integrated weights, Octo Pocket, Backpack handle and comes in sizes XS to XL and in Blue or Black. The innovative tank support system eliminates the need for a hard pack. A valve strap pulls the top of the tank in towards the center of gravity transferring the load to the hips and relieving the shoulders. The patented Sure-Lock weight system ensures ease of weight dropping and is easy to secure. It offers great packability.

We recommend the Aqualung HD Pro to those who might be traveling to more remote destinations and need to pack as light as possible. It's also a great option for those who have a bad back due to the weight distribution of the BCD. 

5. Mares Magellan HD BCD

"The Most Lift"


mares magellan hd at bluewater

mares magellan hd

Although Mares might not be known for their travel BCDs, the Mares Magellan HD BCD is an excellent option if you don't mind a little more weight in exchange for a whopping 41 lbs (18.5 kg) of lift. The BCD itself weighs in at 3.25 kg (7.1 lbs), so it's not quite as light as the others on this list. But it does offer an enhanced cushion on your back, storage options, customizable weights, and a line cutter sleeve. 

We recommend the Mares Magellan HD for those who need a versatile BCD to travel with that can also withstand colder water conditions. Moreover, it's a great option for divers who need a little extra back support!

Still not sure what will work for you? Feel free to contact our dive gear specialists (i.e., IDC staff instructors) that would happily assist you and answer your questions.

All the above BCDs are available at our online store, or if you need personal assistance, just email!

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