I TOOK A SUMMER HOLIDAY WITH MY WIFE and young daughters. We went to Taba in the Gulf of Aqaba, and it seemed a shame not to spend a little time diving together.
The problem was that we had only 80kg of checked baggage between us, and as anyone who has travelled with women knows, they feel obliged to take their whole wardrobe with them. This meant that I had only 20kg to play with when it came to dive gear for both me and the missus.
Apeks Flight regulators with braided hoses and Suunto gas-integrated computer watches used little of this allowance, but suddenly most of the BCs we had to hand seemed to weigh a lot.
Seac-subs new Air One BC is another lightweight BC aimed at the travelling diver, and as I had just been sent one for DIVER Tests, it seemed daft not to take it.

Comfort
The AirOne didnt seem to fit me as snugly as some of the other conventional BCs I have been using recently. The penalty that comes with using such lightweight material is that things tend to sag - the pockets, for example.
These were capacious and closed with zips, but I felt that any heavy item placed within either of them would have resulted in an uncomfortably mobile bulge.
I put a couple of kilos in the trim-weight pockets at the rear. These are held securely closed by pinch-clips, but there is no integrated-weight system proper. I am not sure that the material of the BC would be robust enough to take one.
The tank is held with twin cambands. Without any form of stiffening in a backpack, it needs it.
A conventional cummerbund with webbing waistband is closed with a pinch-clip over, and theres a sternum strap too, but all the structural support is provided by the tank and the diver wearing it.

Efficacy
Seac-sub has distinguished itself by making some exceedingly good BCs but, alas, this is not one of them. I felt that I was swimming inside it; it never felt to be part of me.
The tank always seemed to be on the move, and I constantly felt like checking that the cambands were not coming loose.

Control of Ascent
The flimsiness of the material meant that pulling on any toggled cord or, indeed, the corrugated hose, distorted the material before it opened any valve.
Dumping air therefore became a process that called for more than an instinctive reaction.
I nearly resorted to raising the corrugated hose and dumping air back out through the opened oral-inflation valve!

Surface Support
When fully inflated, the AirOne expands fully low down, giving the surface support akin to most conventional BCs.
This was the only time I felt that this BC measured up to my expectations.

Ease of Removal
Unclipping a shoulder buckle after releasing the sternum strap and waist-strap clip enables the BC, with tank attached, to be swung easily off the shoulder. It was a pity that it then became as formless as it did, and this made it harder to handle once out of the water.
When heaped in the bottom of a pick-up boat with everyone elses kit, I was concerned that it might get damaged. It seemed so flimsy.

COMPARABLE BCS TO CONSIDER:
Cressi Flex, £235
Cressi Travel Lite, £268
Scubapro Equator, £399

SPECS
PRICE £285
STYLE Conventional waistcoat
DRY WEIGHT 2.5kg
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS Trim weights only
POCKETS 2
D-RINGS 4 plastic
MAX LIFT IN SIZE M 19.5kg
SIZES XS to XL
CONTACT www.blandfordsubaqua.co.uk
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%