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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Mares Hybrid Scuba BCD Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares Hybrid Scuba BCD Review Posted in: BCDs, Over $500

Mares touts the Hybrid as the apex of their BCD line. The BCD is based on a collapsible, folding frame, enabling the diver to pack the BCD up into a very compact unit for travel. If that sounds uncomfortable, Mares makes the Hybrid with a suspension system inspired by hiking backpacks for better weight distribution. Coupled with a little judicious padding, the suspension system gives the Mares Hybrid a snug, comfortable fit. Even so, the BCD is heavy for a travel BCD at 8.3 lbs (3.8 kg). It is made from Cordura 420 nylon, which isn’t the toughest stuff around, but still not bad.

The weight system allows for the storage of 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in the trim pockets on the back, plus 26 lbs (11.75 kg) in the MRS-Plus system weight pockets. The MRS-Plus system has an insecure reputation among divers. The most common complaint is that a diver in a horizontal, face-down position can release the weights simply by brushing against the control handle, due to the weight of the pocket pressing down on the mechanism. However, published review sources say nothing about this issue and this line of criticism is far from universal, but it is widespread enough that consumers should study the issue carefully before making up their mind about Mares BCDs, including the Hybrid.

Cargo-carrying capacity on the Hybrid is ample, especially for the travel BCD. D-rings and grommets are spread all around the waist and harness straps. Mares also makes a Hybrid She Dives version of this BCD, especially tailored for women divers.

The Mares Hybrid was a brand new BCD at the time of publication, but Sport Diver had already named the BCD as an Editor’s Pick for 2011.

Average Price: $520 for XL, $500 for most other sizes.