She had liked the way it had wrapped around her, cocoon-like, when fully inflated, and the fact that much of its lift was low down at the front as she waited to be picked up at the surface.
She liked the way it expanded outwards so that it didn't hold her in an uncomfortable bear hug. The harness being separate facilitated this effect. She liked its soft inner lining, and the fact that it left her front uncluttered. It's cluttered enough already!
It went back, and to replace it she got a Mares Kaila AT instead.

Comfort
Thats the whole point of the Kaila, to be as comfortable as possible for womanly contours.
The harness is positioned like that of a rucksack. It's designed to avoid pressing on the chest. The BCs inner surface avoids chafing the skin of women who dive in warm water without a diving suit.
And theres a soft backpack cushion, with the option to use its beaver-tail if required.

Efficacy
Mrs Bs original criticism of the position of the trim-weight pockets has been answered,
because these are now far easier to access, even though they are very low down around the waist area.
She found that she was more comfortable and better balanced when using a 12-litre aluminium tank with a 2kg weight attached higher up to the camband.
The Kaila AT still has the little wings that position either side of the tank.
When wearing a wetsuit, this was where most of the air for buoyancy control ended up, just where it was needed. It worked faultlessly under water as a BC.

Control of Ascent
There is no conventional corrugated hose to flap around. The pneumatically operated Air Trim (AT) system works like a dream.
You simply use your left hand to press the smaller of two buttons to add air, and the larger to release air.
The buttons are at 90° to each other and finished with a large stipple effect, rather like two large pieces of Lego, to afford easy identification by feel alone.
The AT system releases air in exactly the right amounts when you need it to do so.
The release valves are diametrically opposed, one at the top right and one at the lower left at the back. This means that whatever angle your body may happen to be at while diving, you never experience any difficulty with air getting trapped.
If you are worried about being unable to cope with a sudden loss of buoyancy control and a rapid ascent, a conventional pull-dump is operated by a cord and toggle at the right shoulder, and for those who wish to ascend while horizontal at this time, another manual pull-dump is positioned at the back. Neither was needed on this test.

Surface Support
So what happens if you reach the surface with no air left in your tank, and need to inflate the BC
You simply pull the long oral-inflation hose out from where it is permanently positioned, and make use of it.
The hose takes up most of the space in the left-side pocket.
Surface support is very comfortable. By pulling the Kaila ATs lower-back dump, which is located down by the kidneys, while fully inflating the BC at the surface, you can displace any water that might have made its way inside during the dive.
This occupies time during long waits and provides an amusing display of bubbles from low down in the water!

Ease of Removal
The main integrated-weight releases do seem to be as tough as ever for a woman with manicured hands to release from where they are securely stowed.
Big red toggles help, but Mrs B did seem to make it look harder than it should have been.
The weight pouches are quite small and I guess would not take much more than 4kg each, though that is enough for anyone not using a drysuit. They are certainly easier to re-stow afterwards than was the case with earlier versions of the Mares MRS system.

COMPARABLE BCS TO CONSIDER:
SeaQuest Pearl i3, £370
Oceanic Hera, £346
Scubapro Ladyhawk, £439

SPECS
PRICE £485
STYLE Wraparound
DRY WEIGHT 4.3kg (size S)
POCKETS 2
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS Yes, with trim-weights
D-RINGS 5
MAX LIFT 14kg (size S)
SIZES XXS, XS, S, M, L
CONTACT www.mares.com
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