Log in

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 F-Light BCD Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares F-Light BCD Review Posted in: BCDs, Between $251-$500

A travel-friendly jacket-style BCD, the Mares F-Light is exactly what the name implies: a BCD meant for flying, possibly even in your carry-on bag. As checked baggage becomes ever more expensive, super-light travel BCDs like the F-Light are set to become more popular.

The BCD scores high in the travel-light category. It weighs only 5 lbs, 3 oz. dry (2.3 kg), making it very light indeed. Unlike some travel BCDs in the same low-weight category, the F-Light doesn’t feel flimsy. It is made from 420 Cordura, making it fairly durable for a BCD of its type.

In other pluses, the BCD has two zippered pockets with grommets, plus five D-rings. Most importantly, the air cells on this BCD are much bigger than those of the typical travel BCD, giving it very high lift capacity. The large size has 45 lbs of lift, and the XL has 53 lbs of lift. With buoyancy like that, the F-Light can serve as your travel BCD for even cold water destinations.

However, like most truly ultralight BCDs, the F-Light is somewhat lacking in frills. The rig has a pair of no-ditch trim pockets for weights, but no integrated weight system. Also, Scuba Diving found the tank strap unsteady, while Dive didn’t care for the positioning of the trim pockets very much.

Overall, the F-Light delivers in the departments that matter most for a true travel BCD – it has low volume and low weight. This piece of scuba gear won’t over-stuff your luggage. The important thing to keep in mind is that true travel BCDs always have a problem or a missing feature or two, and this one is no exception. A BCD with lots of features always weighs a few pounds more, and has a larger profile, making it almost a normal BCD in terms of packing it away for your dive vacation flight. Scuba Diving and Dive both gave the BCD good marks, despite the complaints, and the consumer commentary has been mostly positive.

Average Price: The Mares F-Light is listed at $390, but discounts are so generally available that the average price is only $315, and sometimes the BCD is available on sale for much less.