BC AP Valves Redwing
Regular readers of these pages will know that although I am not a great fan of most BCs from AP Valves, one of my favourite of all time is the Buddy Trident (formerly Tri-mix), a wing design with a couple of side-pockets and a single, very accessible front pouch with two pockets.
You might also know my predilection for Buddy Twinning Bands (and Blocks) which enable me to twin up any pair of independent cylinders, wherever I am. The twinning bands work with any BC with the required four slots for cambands, but work especially well with the Trident or any other Buddy BC.
The Trident wing provides 22kg of lift, ample when used with aluminium cylinders. However, my visit to Bikini atoll found me using much heavier twin steel cylinders.
Aluminium cylinders are heavy out of the water but light in it, so you need to add more weights with a twinset than with a single cylinder.
Steel cylinders weigh a lot even when immersed, so you can do without a weightbelt with steel twins.
As I would be using a wetsuit rather than a drysuit, the matter of redundant buoyancy raised its head. What would I do if the Tridents internal bag failed It has been known to happen, even with robust Buddy products. With no weightbelt to drop, trying to decide whether it would be better to keep breathing or dump my tanks while plunging downwards is not a choice I want to have to make. So I got on to AP Valves and the company sent me a Buddy Redwing to add to the Trident.
The Redwing has a buoyancy bag exactly the same as that fitted to the harness of the Trident. Like all Buddy BCs, it is of a tough double-bag construction. The Redwing simply threads through with the same cambands and is sandwiched between the BC and the tank. The only difference is that the corrugated hose has a pull-dump and is mounted on the opposite side, the right. This makes it easy to connect its direct-feed hose to a second regulator first stage, thereby providing total redundancy.
It provides identical lift to the Trident but you should need to use it only if you encounter a catastrophic failure of the main BC, or if for some reason your primary regulator fails during the dive and you need to switch to your second (ask my friend Jim about that!). What you do not do is use the two to provide 44kg of lift as a routine procedure.
The combination of Redwing and primary BC looks a little bulky when compared to those technical BCs which have two buoyancy bags contained within a single outer cover, but it does offer the typical Buddy construction values that some call unbustability.
The Redwing costs£160 and cannot be used alone.
  • AP Valves 01326 561040, www.apvalves.com
  • Divernet
    + Perfect for adding redundancy to any Buddy BC
    + Strong construction

    - Only works with a limited number of other makes
    - Should not be used alone