Appeared in DIVER November 2006

BC Deep Outdoors D2
OCCASIONALLY I GET TO USE AN ITEM of equipment long before it appears in Europe. The Deep Outdoors D2 BC is US-designed, Mexican-made and has yet to receive a CE-mark. However, the manufacturer sent me an example, so I gave it a weeks hard diving.
At first glance you miss the fact that this is a wing-style BC. The U-shaped back-flotation cell is integrated into the harness rather like a conventional BC.
The backpack is a combination of soft removable cushion and a hard shaped section that sits in the small of the back above the hips. It also has the holes needed to use it in combination with a twin-set and steel backplate if required.
The waist-strap has a large range of adjustment to accommodate doughnut-eaters as well as sushi-lovers.
Theres a double camband for holding a single tank. The harness wraps around the torso, affording two large, well-drained zipped pockets, with a cummerbund and webbing strap and buckle, just like a BC.
The zips open the right way for easy access. Dont confuse the large zipped pocket over the cummerbund with the more commonly employed key pocket - this one is large enough to carry a standby torch or a current hook and line.
The shoulder straps are fully adjustable, with breaks for quick-release buckles, and arranged to work like those of a rucksack, keeping the chest area clear. They have four large stainless-steel D-rings, two movable.
Four more big D-rings dangle along the forward lower edges of the harness, while two small ones near the open end of the pockets proved ideal for attaching the line of the current hook stowed within, or the lanyard of any other item. There is also a fitting for a crotch-strap, though I never used it.
I found it convenient to tuck the corrugated hose out of the way under the sternum strap. The hose is in a fabric sleeve that gives a good grip when you need to dump air by pulling on it to operate the upper shoulder dump during an ascent. The direct-feed hose from the regulator neatly feeds through this, and the inflator-control is standard- issue.
A lower dump on the right at the back provides for quick head-down descents. Another dump valve is positioned halfway along the wing, operated by a cord and toggle threaded through to the front of the harness. I never found a use for this, because when I was horizontal it was always facing downwards, so precious little air could escape.

After doing 16 dives with the D2, I discovered yet another dump-valve, fitted to the harness at the back, between it and the buoyancy cell. When the wing was fully inflated it filled out like a cushion, but I could never get any air into the area served by this valve without the over-inflation valve blowing off.
If I had, it could have been released by another cord and toggle that drops below the line of the harness at the back on the left. So there seem to be two dump-valves surplus to requirements. No doubt the manufacturer will be firing off a letter of explanation as you read this! Remember, some things are for marketing and others for using.
I enjoyed using the Deep Outdoors D2, and was able to adjust my buoyancy while horizontal by pulling on the right-hand rear dump. The harness gave me an uncluttered chest and I was able to tuck away all my hoses neatly.
The D2 has a slightly unusual integrated-weights system. Two pouches are stashed away in pockets and held by quick-release buckles operated by large loops of tough fabric that make firm yet soft handles to pull on. Velcro assists their safe installation.

I managed to stow 3kg of lead in each side and think 4kg would be the maximum. However, above these weight-pockets are two simple pockets closed by Velcro that will each hold an additional 2kg of non-ditching lead block. It does mean that after dragging out your weights, the set would still have a built-in 4kg of lead to be lifted into the boat.
The lead is set far round the back, over your kidneys - ideal positioning while diving, but should you need to reinstall a weight-pouch while wearing the BC, youll find it almost impossible to do yourself.
So make sure they are reinstalled securely once pulled free, before the next dive. I learned the hard way!
Dump valves apart, this is a well-designed, nice-to-use item that is strongly made. It gives effective back-flotation without leaving you with a flapping wing-type buoyancy cell under water. I never had trouble dumping air on ascent.
It gives sufficient surface support to allow you to feel secure while waiting in big seas, because all the buoyancy is where you need it, instead of forming a big whoopee-cushion above and behind your head.
We must see if the importer decides to bring this BC into the UK before we know the price, but it looks expensive.
  • CPS Partnership, 01424 442663

  • Divernet
    Large zipped pocket
    ample D-ring choice
    two weight pockets on each side
    + An effective back flotation-style BC

    - Why so many dump valves