BC Scubapro Glide Tek
I RECENTLY USED A BC THAT WAS SO LOADED down with value-added features that I was seen on the dive boat as something of an object of ridicule. The Scubapro Glide Tek is not like that. Its quite basic, a simple wing design with or without the option of an integrated-weight system, according to the harness with which it is supplied.
     I used it with a typical aluminium tank and was disappointed to find that there was no provision for any trim-weights at the back.
     This would have countered the tendency for the tank to become floaty at the end of the dive and would also have served to reduce the amount of weight I had to install in the front quick-release system.
     As it was, I had to squeeze 9kg into them (there is room for more) and the effect, though comfortable from the point of view of needing no restricting weightbelt, was a little like swimming with heavily loaded saddle-bags.
     The good side was that the weights were securely retained in their pouches by several overlapping layers of Velcro, and the pouches themselves securely retained in their pockets by large Fastex buckles, so there was no danger of dropping them by accident. You must undo the buckles to release the weights.
     I cant think why manufacturers have not come up with this simple solution before. However, I suppose the diving world has been so transfixed by the idea that weights must be easily jettisoned, that it has only just woken up to the fact that inadvertently dropped weights actually cause more accidents - to those who suddenly find themselves unrestrainedly buoyant, and to those on whom the weights are dropped.
     So goodbye to Velcro alone for securing weight-pouches, and good riddance.
     The Glide Tek has a big 840 denier material buoyancy bag that is prevented from flapping by four adjustable elasticated straps threaded through the backpack. There are no obvious cords to worry those concerned with snagging.
     There is a slim cushion for comfort and the cummerbund can be adjusted for fit at the backpack, too.
     The positioning of the shoulder straps is quite narrow either side of the chest but rotating buckle connections allow them to divert to quite a wide cut at the lower part of the chest.
     The whole effect gives a very snug fit. As usual there is a sternum strap and a strap and pinch-clip over the cummerbund.
     Air is supplied through a conventional direct-feed and corrugated hose and can be dumped by pulling either on the hose to operate a shoulder dump or on a toggle at the opposite shoulder-strap facing to operate a quick dump there. A dump is also supplied at the lower back of the buoyancy bag.
     Wing manufacturers have taken to calling their products back flotation jackets, presumably to avoid any legal confrontation with the Sopwith family, but you read it right when I tell you that this is a wing.
     I liked the way the direct-feed hose clipped securely to the corrugated hose and I liked the fact that the Glide Tek has just the right number of stainless-steel D-rings - four. Two are at the shoulders and two at the lower edge of the harness. If you buy the version without the integrated-weight system, you get only the two upper ones.
     One enormous improvement over previous Scubapro BCs that I have tried is the camband. Scubapro cambands with their patented metal locking lever were always great to use when swapping between identically sized tanks but a complete pain in the neck when you need to readjust to differing sizes.
     This new one has retained all the advantages of the metal locking lever but is much easier to readjust between tanks. My congratulations to Scubapro for implementing this long-awaited solution.
     One disappointment was the virtual absence of pockets on the BC. Yes, there are zipped sections, but these were so small that I was unable to store anything useful in them. I would have loved to have stuffed away my pressure gauge, or even the long hose to my octopus rig, but that was not to be. Otherwise, the Scubapro Glide Tek is the sort of kit you can use without giving it a second thought.
The Scubapro Glide Tek with optional Integrated Weight system is available in sizes S, M and L and costs £349.
  • Scubapro UK 01256 812636, www.scubapro.co.uk

  • Divernet Divernet
    No danger of dropping the weights by accident, with Velcro and buckle double security.
    Swivelling buckles provide flexibility in fastening the shoulder straps, and give a snug fit
    + Simply effective
    + Sensible solution to weight retention
    + Adaptable camband design

    - Integrated-weight system cannot be simply added later
    - Limited weight capacity
    - Lack of pockets