BC Sea Quest Passport
Today, many people see diving as intrinsically linked with travel. They realise the significance of those big blue areas on the map, and start their diving trip with an aeroplane journey. Air travel has never been cheaper, but baggage allowances have never been more tightly enforced. So the weight of dive kit has also become significant.
     Sea Quest has always made products with this in mind, and its Passport is the latest in a long line of BCs intended for the travelling diver. It folds flat and even has its own mesh carrying-bag, which stuffs away into a pocket at the back of it when not in use.
     This then acts as a cushion for the lumbar area. Slim though the BC is, it has quite a substantial hard backpack, complete with the Sea Quest patented traction-pad, which I found kept the cylinder securely in place with its single camband.
     The waistband is closed by a cummerbund with Velcro and there is a minimal-width strap and pinch-clip to keep it closed. The shoulder straps are also very lightweight, with quite flimsy-looking pinch-clips, and there are four lightweight plastic D-rings that are good for clipping off an alternative second stage but not much more.
     There is no sternum strap. There are two big-looking zipped pockets, but these tend to lose their use if you stuff the integrated-weight system with very much lead. Its rated to take a maximum of 4.5kg each side.
     No fancy clips here. The weight pouches are closed shut and held in place by slabs of Velcro. If your weights are being reinstalled by a local boat crew-member, you will want to be sure that they are secure before you dive again, or you might be in danger of dropping one. Naturally, you will need a little more lead than when using a similar but heavier-built BC.
     The direct-feed hose from the regulator integrates well with the small-diameter corrugated hose and this is pulled to operate the dump-valve at the shoulder.
     It worked impeccably, but then I was careful to make sure that I was not over-weighted. Too much weight can mean too much air and fraught moments during an ascent.
     There is one other dump-valve, and that is at the lower back, for use with a quick head-down descent - something that you might need to do in the fast-flowing currents of channels in atolls, such as you might find in the Maldives, for example.
     You might also find yourself using the lower dump-valve to empty water out of this BC if there are times when to dump air quickly enough entails raising that corrugated hose and operating the manual inflation valve. As any experienced diver knows, this lets water back in the other way.
     The maximum buoyancy of this BC is not a lot, at around 11kg in size medium. However, when its fully inflated a lot of that buoyancy is positioned low-down, which is where it counts when waiting at the surface.
     There is just enough up by the top of the back to allow air to settle there while under water, and give a diver a good horizontal posture.
     The Sea Quest Passport is very lightly built. It represents the antithesis of what British club diving is all about, but if you normally start your diving with a trip to 38,000 feet, this might be a useful BC for you.
Available in sizes XS, S, M, ML, L and XL, the Sea Quest Passport costs £239.95.
  • Aqua-lung UK 0116 212 4200, www.aqualung.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Lightweight in your baggage

    - Looks a little flimsy