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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.

Cressi Aquaride Scuba BCD Review

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

Updated June 15, 2012

In the Aquaride, the Italians at Cressi have created a BCD that occupies a niche between a travel BCD and a general-purpose BCD. With a dry weight of 8 lbs, it is light enough to help stay below the 50 lbs checked bag limit, but it is by no means the sort of thing you could roll up into a duffel bag and carry onto the plane as part of a compact travel package. At the same time, it has some features not normally seen on a travel BCD. It’s a logical choice for a diver who spends most of his time diving in temperate waters, but looks forward to his annual trip to a tropical island.

The BCD is of the jacket-style and has between 18 and 43 lbs of lift (8.2 to 19.4 kg), depending on the size. The Aquaride carries plenty of cargo (something typically lacking in a stripped-down travel BCD) through its two cargo pockets and its four D-rings (two on the harness straps, two on the bottom rim of the waist). The pockets are big enough that using the integrated weight system doesn’t fill them to the point of uselessness, a flaw typical in many BCDs where with both weight integration and zippered side pockets. Those weights are secured with Cressi’s Lock Aid system, which uses buckles to hold the weights down, so the handles are mostly for easing the installation and removal of the weight pockets. The system can store 20 lbs ( kg) in the pockets and an additions 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in trim pockets on the back.

Another aspect of the Aquaride is the comfy fit, with its thick back pad and full rig of shoulder straps, chest strap and cummerbund. The tank is secured by a single conventional strap.

Scuba Diving gave the Cressi Aquaride Elite version a rave review, calling it the “undisputed favorite” in its 2012 review, and awarding it both a Best Buy and Tester’s Choice for the year. Owner feedback on the BCD has been very strong, with most owners describing it as a solid, bang-for-the-buck winner.

Average Price: $430