GONE ARE THE DAYS when people packed a massive trunk that was manhandled aboard ocean liners for a journey overseas. Apart from the cruising market, sea travel as a means of getting to other countries has long been superseded by flights in aeroplanes. We all know that.
However, it’s only those who travel in the first-class section of an aircraft who can afford to take much baggage with them, and recently baggage restrictions have grown even more stringent, as airlines tighten their own belts.
This has precipitated a move among diving-equipment manufacturers to produce gear that weighs less than before.
Tigullio is an Italian brand that pops up into British divers’ field-of-vision from time to time, and it has popped up again, this time with a range of BCs that includes a very lightweight version, ironically called the Sea Travel. This is because it’s part of a range prefixed “Sea”.
This BC is ideal for packing when it comes to air-travel – because it weighs only 1.85kg in size M.

Construction
What do you get for the money Well, it doesn’t look a lot at first glance. It’s a conventionally shaped BC of a welded single-bag design, with the top part of the harness straps integrated with the buoyancy cell. The lower parts are of webbing, joined via adjustable pinch-clips.
On looking a little more closely, one sees that it has three ways to dump air, including the corrugated hose pull-dump, and another dump at the opposite shoulder operated by a cord and toggle.
The third way to dump air is by a kidney-located dump that is on the outside of the BC, so that it can be made to release air easily when the diver is both horizontal and ascending.
The two useful zipped pockets are not huge, but have easy access, and six D-rings are made of an alloy that looks to be both strong and lightweight.
It’s possible to roll this BC up and put it into the mesh bag provided, but without a hard backpack one could ask questions of its stability when fitted to a tank.
Its camband is positioned very low down, which makes the BC ride well with aluminium tanks and, let’s face it, abroad it’s most likely that you’ll be using these rather than steel ones.
A second strap is positioned where you would expect to find the camband normally, and this is tightened with a buckle to ensure that the tank stays where it should be.
There is also the usual strap that can be tightened around the neck of a tank, and these three fixings work together to make the tank and BC handle as one.
Surprise touches were the two little zipped pockets on the second strap. These can accommodate a 1kg block weight each, and help balance an aluminium tank as it gets empty. A fixed back-cushion ensures that the tank doesn’t make your back uncomfortable.
The corrugated hose is not of very wide bore, and comes with a couple of clips that allow you to integrate a direct-feed hose with it.
Finally, an adjustable sternum strap of 2.5cm webbing augments a regular cummerbund with a fixed 3.5cm webbing strap over and adjusted with a pinch-clip.

In the Water
I took the Sea Travel to Egypt, for the maiden voyage of the new Tornado liveaboard Mistral. It was February, so I took the O’Three drysuit that I still haven’t returned after a DIVER Test that I did rather a long time ago (I’ll let you have it back soon, Sean – honest!).
I didn’t need a bulky undersuit. My Merino wool underwear was sufficient, but the weight-saving of the Sea Travel BC was a godsend, as it meant I could take some other heavier gear too.
However, with a drysuit, at first I didn’t really test the BC until I reached the surface and used it as a buoyancy aid while waiting to be picked up. For this it was more than adequate.
Later, I bit the bullet and risked a suit squeeze to use the buoyancy-control aspect of the BC.
I certainly was not inclined to carry a load more lead on my belt to use air in both. I was already laden down with lead like a packhorse. There were no surprises.
I admit that the uncluttered front afforded by a back-flotation jacket or wing is better suited for use with a drysuit. If I have a criticism, it is only that the Sea Travel looks a bit cheaply built.

COMPARABLE BCS TO CONSIDER:
Cressi Travel Light, £268
Scubapro Geo, £288

SPECS
PRICE £281
MAX LIFT IN SIZE M 13.5kg
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS 2kg of trim weights only.
SIZES XS, S, M, L, XL
DRY WEIGHT 1.85kg
CONTACT www.beaversports.co.uk
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%