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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.

Tilos Armada Scuba BCD Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Tilos Armada Scuba BCD Review Posted in: BCDs, Between $251-$500

The Armada is Tilos’s back-inflating travel BCD. It sports a compact design weighing in at 8.25 lbs, which is a bit heavy for a travel BCD, but the Armada incorporates many features that are rarely seen in stripped-down, travel-ready pieces of dive gear.

Tilos made the Armada from 840 denier nylon for starters, and there are many non-travel BCDs on the market made from skimpier fabric. The pockets, which see a lot of wear and tear between the integrated weights and storage use, are made of 1000 denier nylon. That makes the Armada a tough customer by any standard, let alone travel standards. The BCD’s air bladder is detachable as well, greatly simplifying replacement. The Armada has 23 to 42 lbs (10.4 to 19 kg) of lift, depending on the size.

The integrated weight system carries 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in each of the front pockets, plus a pair of 5 lbs (2.2 kg) trim pockets in the back. The BCD has a stiff, padded backplate and an internal carrying handle,  and offers the wearer a comfortable, snug fit with its padded collar, harness and cummerbund. In addition to the pockets, the BCD has 7 D-rings and a knife sheath grommet.

The Armada is not without its flaws, however. There is no quick-dump valve over the right shoulder, and Scuba Diving’s testers thought the inflator was slow to deflate the air bladder. This is the kind of thing that might prove a problem if you need to dump buoyancy in a hurry. Dive Gear Reviews also thinks it is a tad misleading to call the Armada a “travel BCD.” It is more accurate to call it a BCD with travel-friendly aspects, like its low profile. Where the Tilos Armada really scores is in its durability and ease of repair, supplemented by its hefty capacity for carrying gear. Scuba Diving gave it a Best Buy award for 2011.

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