Appeared in DIVER September 2007

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


The US-made Deep Outdoors Unity II is related to the Deep Outdoors wing I tried last summer with great success, but is simply the basic wing without any extras.
It fits to the tank with double cambands, has a simple inverted-U buoyancy cell with a single dump-valve at the top operated by pulling on the corrugated hose, and another at the lower back with a simple short cord and toggle.

I was able to slip into the Unity II easily enough, thanks to its parachute-style harness. A cushion in the shape of an inverted T gave comfort to my back and hips, and I was able to tighten the whole thing to provide a snug fit by pulling on the waistband. This fastened with a conventional stainless-steel weightbelt-style buckle.
A strap across the lower chest rather than a sternum strap discouraged the harness from slipping off my shoulders. Of course, without pockets there was nowhere to stow accessories. Anything else I wanted to take had to be dangled from D-rings. Alas, I found that the soft neoprene-edged collar rubbed on my unprotected neck, which became irritating after a few dives.

This wing would suit a drysuit-wearer better than a wetsuit diver. In a wetsuit, I found that the air used for buoyancy control too often made its way to one side of the buoyancy cell, and the aluminium tank I was using tended to roll one way or the other on my back, because there was no hard backpack.
The Unity II seems to have been developed from a wing suited to twin tanks, and the uninflated part of the small wing is left to flap a little when less restricted by a single.

Control of ascent
Pulling on the sleeved corrugated hose activated the solitary top shoulder dump.
There were times when I found it more convenient to go bum-up and pull open the right-hand bottom dump so that I released air that way. That was OK during early parts of the ascent, but to be sure of getting all the air to this side of the U-shaped buoyancy cell, I first had to turn right-side up.

Surface support
I had no weight pockets, and needing 10kg of lead with the 15-litre aluminium cylinder Emperor Tranquility had supplied, I decided to thread two 2kg blocks onto the top camband so that they sat snugly each side of the tank.
This gave me enough surface support when the wing was fully inflated, without it tending to push me face-forwards.
Having said that, I didnt think it raised me high enough out of the water, so might not suit inexperienced divers in sea conditions other than calm. It would be better with a steel tank.

Ease of removal
This may look at first glance like a one-piece harness favoured by the DIR boys, but it isnt. The two large pinch-clips located beside my ribs meant that I was able to unclip one side and slip out of the BC in a moment after the dive.

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