IT WAS IRONIC THAT I’D JUST finished writing a piece for a US magazine about people losing integrated-weight pouches from their BCs through overloading them when I found myself using the SubGear Black Pure BC.
This has an integrated-weight system that uses very effective clips to maintain the pouches in position so that there is absolutely no danger of them falling out.
Alas, the weights are contained within the pouches by means of Velcro-covered flaps, and these turn the opposite way to the flaps that connect to the BC itself.
So there I was hitching my tank up onto my back and tightening the shoulder-straps on the dive-deck when a 2kg weight fell out of a correctly installed pouch – straight onto my foot.
Ouch! Well, at least I wasn’t enjoying a sudden increase in buoyancy under water, even though a week later I was still enjoying the pain in my big toe.
The designers had got the pouch connection system right, but had omitted to consider what would happen to weights that relied simply on a flap of Velcro to keep them in the pouch.

The Integrated-Weight System
Some BCs also have trim-weight pockets, but this one does not. Of the 8kg I was using, I ended up leaving only 1kg each side in the integrated-weight system, and put the other 3kg in the zipped pockets.
I had used the full 8kg in the integrated-weight system before the unfortunate big-toe accident.
However, the elasticated waist-strap intended to keep the BC snug allowed the sides to go wayward, like a couple of bags of heavy shopping, so I had started transferring the lead blocks appropriately to these side-pockets, although with little improvement in that department.
Not only that, but the weight-pouches tended to slip forward during diving and hang on their retaining buckles in a rather alarming way.
I’m actually a great fan of conventional jacket-style BCs for single-tank diving, and the SubGear Black Pure looks just like any other, but it is completely spoiled by this integrated-weight system.

The Design
This BC gives plenty of surface support. It’s very well made, and the air goes into just the right place when you are under water and is jettisoned easily by either a dump at the top right shoulder operated by a pull cord, a bottom-right dump operated by another, or a tug on the corrugated hose.
It has four stainless-steel D-rings and grommets that allow somewhere to fix a knife holster. A single camband that is threaded through a lightweight plastic backpack completes the picture.
It’s a pity that with an aluminium tank there is no opportunity to stuff some of the lead at the back, because this not only means that the weight is all in the same place, but also that the tank is in danger of falling out of a tank-rack during bumpy boat-rides.
I can’t even praise the capacious side-pockets with their double-action zips, because I had to reallocate their task to carrying lead.
I find it difficult to describe much else of the BC because, even a week later, the pain in my foot is so intense that it’s making my eyes water.
This may represent very good value but, thanks to its one defect, it is not a good BC.

COMPARABLE BCS TO CONSIDER:
Mares Hybrid Pure, £255
Seac Guru, £299
TUSA Selene, £304

SPECS
PRICE £230
SIZES XS, S, M, L, XL
DUMP VALVES Three
WEIGHT 3.2kg
INTEGRATED WEIGHTS Yes, but no trim-weight system
CONTACT www.subgear.com
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