HEAD TO HEAD
width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% Mares Pegasus bottom dump width=100% inflator and weight release width=100% shoulder dump
width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% Halcyon Eclipse bottom dump (no toggles) width=100% Inflator width=100% Waist strap buckle
THE ITALIAN-MADE PEGASUS is a new lightweight wing from Mares that uses a single-bag-construction buoyancy cell and the Mares integrated-weight system (MRS). It employs a conventional harness and double crotch-straps that clip at the sides, but which I found superfluous to requirements when using the Pegasus with a single (albeit 15-litre) tank.
The Pegasus has a broad waist strap secured by an over-sized pinch clip, and this is supplemented by a sternum strap beneath which I found I could neatly tuck my corrugated hose. Hidden elastic straps restrain the wing, and there are lightweight techno-polymer D-rings. The whole effect is of a lightweight yet sturdy item.
The American Halcyon Eclipse combines old-fashioned standards of simplicity and robustness with what is popularly called over-engineering, a style finding favour with a new generation of divers. It has lots of shiny bits to attract the magpies among us.
The buoyancy cell or wing is of double-bag construction, with a urethane-coated bladder inside a ballistic nylon outer shell. Twin cambands are attached to a metal backplate and single-tank adaptor also made of metal.
As with all Halcyon BCs, the harness is a single continuous piece of webbing without breaks for the buckles that have to be adjusted for the individual diver before entering the water.
There is a heavyweight stainless-steel buckle at the waist, where the slack is taken up. In addition there is a broad webbing jock-strap with a large stainless steel D-ring for attaching a DPV lanyard.
With Mares using modern techno-polymers for fittings, while Halcyon sticks with solid stainless steel, the most glaring difference between the two products is in terms of weight.
I doubt whether you will see many divers checking in at Gatwick with an Eclipse, unless theyre wearing it!

Comfort
Both BCs are equally comfortable to wear. Although there is nothing in the way of a cushion between wearer and backplate, I was snug as a bug in a rug with the Eclipse once the harness was properly adjusted and D-rings positioned correctly. There was, however, a nagging suspicion that I would have trouble getting out of it.
The Mares Pegasus offered no surprises, with its conventional harness-and-buckle plus back-cushion arrangement.

Efficacy
The Pegasus integrated-weight system is capable of taking up to 6kg on each side without fear of losing anything. The pouches snap into place in a satisfying manner.
You can attach weight pouches to the waist-strap of the Eclipse and add trim-weight pockets to the cambands, but this is an extra cost option.
Another novel feature of the Eclipse is the option to fit a specially shaped weight within the two parts of the stainless-steel single-tank adaptor.
This is not something that an air-travelling diver would find convenient, and of course it should not be included in calculations for buoyancy that take into consideration ballast that can be jettisoned.
In the water, air for buoyancy control rises to the highest part of a BC, and both of these worked just as they should, although I was left groping for the rather short and wayward hose of the direct-feed control of the Eclipse from time to time.
The integrated-weight system of the Pegasus was sublime, even though I need 12kg in the Red Sea in midwinter, whereas I had all that weight on a separate belt with the Eclipse.
Overall, I felt much neater in the water with the Pegasus, even though streamlining is
meant to be the unique selling proposition of the Eclipse.
I felt that I needed more than the zipped roll-down pocket of the Pegasus. The Eclipse offers only stainless-steel D-rings for dangling extra items.

Control of Ascent
The Pegasus offers three ways in which to dump air. You can pull on the hose to operate its top dump, or tug at the toggle at the opposite shoulder to operate a valve that tends to be slightly more down the back than on top of the right shoulder.
The other way is to lie slightly bottom-up and release air through the bottom dump, also located by its large toggle. The buoyancy cell is cleverly shaped so that air always tends to migrate to the top, so getting rid of it all is very efficient.
The manufacturers of the Eclipse expect you to ascend while horizontal in the water, and provide only the lower dump valve at the back for that purpose.
As it is a simple oval shape without any restraints, you do have to be circumspect about getting that last bit of air out, or youll find yourself needing to dive over-weighted.
Both wings leave the bottom dump valve facing downwards, unless you are horizontal but lying face up.
The Halcyon has no toggle at the end of its dump-valve cord, in line with the doctrines of DIR. Of course, you can always dump air with both of them through the corrugated hose and the oral inflation valve, but this does tend to fill the wing with water.

Surface Support
Both BCs seemed to be very effective once fully inflated and with me waiting at the surface.
Both have one-size buoyancy, even though the Pegasus is available with different harness sizes.
The Pegasus wins the battle when it comes to maximum buoyancy available (20.5kg), although it seemed a little puny at first.
What there was seemed very effective, however, because this BC expands as it inflates but is also positioned low in the water, and so contributes more to lift.
The Eclipse has a big doughnut-shaped buoyancy cell (18kg) but it is curiously shaped, bigger at the top than at the bottom.
It looks as if it should be a lot more effective than the Pegasus cell, but it isnt. Once you
break the surface, a lot of it rises clear of the water and then applies a downforce because of its weight, instead of an up-force because of the water it displaces. There is the option of a 13.6kg buoyancy cell for the Eclipse, but I wouldnt suggest it as an alternative.

Ease of Removal
The Pegasus has conventional pinch-clip buckles at the shoulders, so it was easy to unfasten the waist-strap (not forgetting the double crotch-straps too, if you use them) and one shoulder-strap so that I could swing it off the opposite shoulder.
The Eclipse has a one-piece continuous webbing harness that is quite difficult to get out of while in the water. Once I had undone the waist-strap buckle (being sure not to confuse it with my similarly equipped weightbelt) I found that I needed to drop beneath the surface and somehow duck out of it.
A bulky computer on the wrist could make it quite difficult, and I felt I was expending an unnecessary amount of adrenalin each time.

SPECS
Mares Pegasus
BRAND
Halcyon Eclipse
£250
PRICE
£399
Wing
STYLE
Wing
3.3kg
DRY WEIGHT
5.4kg
rolled-up with zipper
POCKETS
none
MRS
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS
optional extra
technopolymer
D-RINGS
four stainless-steel
20.5kg
MAX LIFT
18kg
XS, S, M, L, XL
SIZES
one size fits all
www.mares.com
CONTACT
www.silentplanet.info
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STAR RATING
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