Unedited Independent Customer reviews and comments
Cratos Wing BCD
Hi John. I've now had a few good dives with this BCD and am most pleased to provide the following review.
I bought the Cratos Wing Style BCD recently. I bought it because, although I like some of the practical side of the conventional BCD I got fed up of all the weight and bulk one has to carry at the front of the body. Lets face it, when diving we tend to spend most of our time horizontal, looking down, so it makes sense to not have so much bulk out front, keeps the arms and hands free. As far as I can tell this is the only BCD on the market at present which offers the best of both worlds. You have the simplicity of the conventional BCD but with out the sense of feeling like your sitting in a bulky armchair. I tried this BCD out on a number of different dives recently in the Scilly Isles, so I got a good opportunity to see how it performs in reality.
here are the PROS and CONS:
1) integrated weight pockets are fully adjustable and removable. So you vary the way you carry your weight.
2) Because of the lack of bulk at the front and side, the weight releases are easily accessible. I use a weight harness as opposed to a weight belt, which has its own release mechanism, this seemed to work fine because I could remove the integrated BCD pockets, which made things simpler.
3) The BCD offers a variety of strap adjustments. Initially I found it didnít fit very snuggly, but I found many ways of adjusting it to suit my body type and preferences.
4) includes plenty of D rings and shoulder straps for pipes and extra gear.
5) Price is exceptional value for what you get. And I would have been happy to pay a lot more for something that performed as well as this.
The only con I personally found was that my BCD bladder took on a little water. That is, after 3 dives I drained about a half a pint of water. Not a great deal, but still a little more than I felt was normal.
On the whole, This is a great product, a reliable and fully featured BCD. For the price, it offers a lot more than I got for my first Buddy BCD. Top marks dudes !
|Maximus wing system
|Constructed to an extremely high
standard, sensibly priced; much appreciated.
Mike Clark Unabridged Review
Red Hat wing review
be dozens of wings out there for use when technical diving. On Dive boats
ive noted the usual brands and a few lesser known setups, which for me are
always interesting to have a look at. Over the years I have used a few
types and brands such as the original Northern Diver Sea Eagle with a
Stainless Steel (SS) Back Plate, now I use a mares bc for shallow stuff
and the new Buddy Tek Light wing for my independent twins. For my
technical diving I was going to use manifolded twin 12l cylinders and
needed a SS or Aluminium (ALI) back plate to bolt them onto with ss bands.
(Buddy donít recommend using manifolded twins with the buddy band
trawling web sites looking for a wing when I came across Red Hat Diving, I
liked the look of their wings, so I contacted John Hewitt, the
proprietor and he kindly sent me up a 90LB Maximus dive wing with
ss back plate and a premium harness to review along with other optional
pockets, harnesses, and a couple of weight harnesses. Over the course of
the last 4 or 5 months I have been trying out this kit on my deeper
thing that strikes you with this wing is that it is almost identical to
the OMS wing. I had ample chance to compare the Red Hat Maximus with the
OMS wing as my buddy Gordon Mackie of GM Diving uses one. There are two
important differences between the wings though, firstly, the cost of the
Maximus which is a fraction of the OMS set up. Secondly the materials used
are lighter than the OMS. So where in these tight economic times I liked
the price very much I wanted to ensure that the wing was up to the rigors
of deep multi tank technical diving, here is how I got on.
wing is a truly modular system and you can customise it for your needs.
The bladder of the wing can be supplied in 3 sizes- 90lb, 50lb and 30 lb.
The outer of which comprises 1680 denier nylon with a PVC backing. Inside
of this is a 210 denier thermoplastic
polyurethane (TPU) inner
There is a
choice of 3 back plates ĖAluminium that can be supplied in a range of
colours for the fashion conscious and two types of Stainless Steel back
plates. The first one is an Economy back plate from Taiwan, I decided to
go for the 316 marine grade SS back plate made in the UK. All come with
mounting holes allowing for height adjustment. There are also mounting
holes around the periphery of the back plate. There is therefore no lack
of mounting options. This gave me the advantage of having 6lb of non
removable weight comfortably spread across my back. After my 5 months of
use there was no sign of corrosion and the backpack looked like new.
probably the most important part of any wing system. The Maximus offers 2
choices of harness. The Sports Harness is the more basic of the two
harnesses on offer but I would say itís very high spec. Two adjustable
shoulder clips, 4 D rings, Padded Shoulder pads, crotch strap, Chest
strap, back plate pad and a stainless steel buckle. Itís fully
adjustable and very versatile. If you want flexibility this is a good
choice. I opted for the Premium harness which boasts all of the above. The
waist bands and shoulder pads are stitched onto the harness and the
fitting are plusher. The back pad with itís red hat logo is extremely
comfy. There are a further 6 small D rings attached to the back of the
harness for clipping on further items. For the extra few pounds I think
the premium harness is extremely good value for money. I have seen a few
inspiration users and OMS wing users using this harness. This didnít
surprise me much as the premium is very similar harness to the OMS IQ
pack. I found it extremely comfy and easy to use.
wing comes with a large selection of pockets and accessories.
I found the
large utility/ mask pouch which is mounted on the waist band at the
stomach very useful for popping all my tables, mask, and line cutters in.
The only thing I would have liked to see in it was a little D ring to
secure these items too.
pouches are also available to fit directly to the harness but I found
these to be of limited use, especially with side mounts. Trim weight
pouches are useful and there are pockets for sheers, a no sag pocket which
looks good. There is also a vertical mounted weight pocket and a thigh
pocket. There is plenty of variety, so you will be able to customise your
kit exactly the way you want it.
as tough as the OMS but then very few things on earth are as the OMS is
bombproof. The Maximus is certainly no cheep copy. I found it an extremely
comfortable and easy to use wing. If you are into designer labels you will
prefer to look at the fashionable brands. But if you donít mind not
having a certain logo on your kit I would strongly recommend the Maximus
wing system by Red Hat Diving. I liked it so much I decided to put my
money where my mouth was and bought the product.
|Good price, nice piece of kit, better
than described. Thanks
Excellent Super Service GREAT PRODUCT
quality product fast delivery many thanks.
looks like a great piece of kit hope to try out soon
I originally bought the 1W and 3W Starlight LED torches as small back-ups to stick in my pocket. After a couple of days diving I began leaving my primary torch (a IST 10W halogen, purchased from Red Hat Diving) behind and using the 3W LED instead. It gives a very bright focused spot which penetrates the gloom more than adequately without too much overspill. The magnetic switch is solid giving a positive on/off, no more forgetting to twist on your back-up before diving, very little risk of flooding due to double o-rings, features which aren't on some other LED torches that are twice the cost. The 3W is compact enough to stick in your pocket even on dives where you donít think youíll need a torch and to top it all it only takes 4 AA batteries available anywhere.
Iíve been using the 1W and 3W Starlight LED torches for a few months now; Iím still on my first set of batteries. The quality is excellent and at the price youíd be daft not to buy two, I know I did!