The Cressi Flex lightweight BC functions well for a BC...The Cressi Flex lightweight BC functions well for a BC costing around £200 and is more than adequate for the travelling 'holiday' diver. I have spent over 20 hours diving with mine on 26 different dives in various conditions (boat, shore, drifting, night dives, etc) to 30m in the Red Sea. I would recommend it to any informed purchaser who is prepared to accept that there must be some trade-offs made which (without being criticisms of the BC) are inevitable when you want a super light-weight BC and a very reasonable cost:
(1) The jacket has no backplate and gains its shape from having a velcro strap above the tank strap which secures it in position on the tank on two places. However, the velcro strap is mounted very high on the back of the jacket and cannot be adjusted. As a result, you need to seat the main tank strap slightly lower than normal in order for the velcro to wrap around the tank where the sides are flat rather than curved towards the valve-head. This causes the tank to end up higher on the back of the jacket that would otherwise be the case. This should be noted by anyone who dives with a tall or bulky first stage, enjoys rolling-rear entries or otherwise undertakes activities where their head can easily come into contact with the metalwork (which ends up quite high above your shoulders).
(2) The trim weight pockets at the back are single lined 'popper' button pockets which are mounted fairly high up on the jacket. The 'flaps' are such that I would be concerned about 1KG weights falling out unless additionally secured whilst the pockets don't look sturdy enough to take 2KG each for very long. I tried one dive with 2KG in each pocket and felt top heavy as well as mildly concerned that the stitching could give out if I shifted my position in the water too much. Ultimately, I have decided not to use the trim pockets and - though I've no reason to think that they might be unsafe - I would caution anyone planning to use them to consider how secure the stitching looks and how much weight might move during a dive.
(3) Many people have complained that the pockets are small and slightly difficult to access during a dive. This is true. However, this really has to be expected given the overall bulk of the jacket (or lack thereoff).
(4) I was a little surprised to see that, after only 20 or so dives, my DSMB and torch which I normally keep in the same pocket had managed to start to wear through the stitching at the back of one of the pockets. Equally, I saw another diver with the same Cressi Flex lightweight BC on which the stitching around the pocket panels had torn and ripped away in places. Inevitably, you have to accept that a lightweight BC will not be as rugged as a standard BC.
(5) Having no backplate means that whilst the jacket is largely perfect for boat diving (when you'll mainly be sitting when not in the water), you do notice the weight of the tank a little more than usual during long walks, difficult shore entries and long waits in heavy surge.
Otherwise, rather than list all of the usual and standard functions (which can all be assumed from the fact that no-one has yet published a negative review), I would also make the following general observations:
(6) The toggle for the lower rear dump valve is at the front rather than the back. It is very handy as long as you remember that it is at the front (especially if you are used to having them at the back on other BCs).
(7) The shoulder dump is excellent for rapid descents (in a current) but you need to make sure that you have freed the toggle from any obstructions otherwise it can fairly easily get lost amongst the other buckles and straps in the same vicinity.
(8) There used to be a lot of warnings about older Cressi BCs having 'sticky' inflator buttons. This seems to have been fixed in the current models.
(9) The sizes are fairly generous. I was worried that a medium might be tight but actually it would fit easily over a bulky wet
Recommend to a friend? Yes
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