Cressi Travelight BC
PRICE: £250, $314
Just before leaving for Australia and desperate to shed some weight from my baggage, I got my hands on Cressi’s Travelight BC.
A medium size weighs around 2.5kg and has a respectable lift capacity of 9.2kg, but importantly it’s also capable of being rolled up into a tight, compact bundle.
My main question before I tried the BC was, what sacrifices had been made to keep the jacket so light and compact? Was it a workable compromise, for the sake of taking a few extra clothes and my toothbrush on my trip?
The Travelight certainly looks the part and feels sufficiently robust, but of course the real test of any new piece of dive gear comes the moment you hit the water.
When you’ve got one hand hanging onto a camera and the other positioning strobes and settings, there’s not a lot of leeway for fiddling with dive gear. But from the first time out, the Travelight impressed.
The jacket’s flexible backplate, the reason why it can roll up, uses two tank straps to provide rigidity and keep the cylinder firmly in position.
A decent amount of back padding, a wide cummerbund and adjustment at the shoulder, chest and waist mean that comfort was not an issue.
The jacket’s inflator/deflator, at the end of a traditional corrugated hose, comes naturally to hand and additional dumps at the left and right shoulders, plus a rear kidney dump, allow for easy operation whatever your position in the water.
An integrated weight system, each pocket carrying up to 4.5kg, uses a simple quick-release mechanism with a further weight pocket behind each shoulder to allow fine tuning of buoyancy.
Two zipped pockets are large enough to hold an SMB, reel and slate, and there are 10 D-rings – made of a light alloy rather than stainless steel – to clip accessories onto yourself.
When diving, I noticed a strange little zip pocket containing a long velcro strap, which I thought was useless, until I discovered that once you’ve folded the BC down the strap cleverly holds it all together.
So does lightweight also mean light on performance and features?
The answer was a pretty unequivocal ‘no’. I was left wondering why other BCs are so heavy and bulky when the Travelight seemed to have everything I could need?
The Travelight dispenses with weight but not features to provide a great option for the frequent traveller.