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Aeris 5 Oceans BC – Review

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Dual Purpose BCs

Dual Purpose BCs are lighter in weight, more stingy with their hardware, and more compact than General Purpose BCs, so they pack easily for trips to the tropics. At the same time, they provide enough buoyant lift, ballast weight capacity and range of adjustment to be worn in cold water over thick wetsuits or dry suits. The thinking is, because they’re able to be used in both the Great Lakes and the Great Barrier Reef, you only have to own one BC for all your diving adventures.

Aeris 5 Oceans

Aeris5OceansBCD Aeris 5 oceans side view

Features

The minimalist back-buoyancy 5 Oceans’ rear air cell is made of stretchy BioFlex backed up with bungee cord, enabling it to offer loads of buoyant lift while maintaining a low-profile shape. The BC offers excellent shoulder, waist and sternum adjustments to guarantee the perfect fit. The QLR weight system has sectionalized pouches to accommodate partial ballast loads for warm water. Or, combined with the rear trim pouches, the system will easily hold enough weight for virtually any cold water application. There’s a single drop-down zippered pocket on the right side of the rig, a few strategically placed D-rings, plus webbing loops, hose clips, grommets, and a carabiner for attaching loads of gear.

Performance

Specifications
Average Subjective Test Score 4.5
Dry Weight 7.5 lbs.
Buoyant Lift 40 lbs.
Inherent Buoyancy 1.5 lbs.
Weight Capacity 20/10 lbs.
Best Price Found $324.95

No BC captures the essence of a Dual Purpose BC better than the 5 Oceans. It fit over our bulky dry suits to tackle a winter’s day of diving off the California coast, then snugged down to offer a clutter-free fit on a 3mm shorty for a dip in our warm water test pool. The BC is light and packs flat yet still offers over 40 pounds of buoyant lift and 30 pounds of ballast weight capacity. The Bioflex bladder eliminates any “winging” of the air cell. In fact, you feel like it’s not even there. With the contoured shoulders and first-rate adjustable waist and sternum straps, few BCs fit as snug or feel as stable at depth. The QLR weight system is one of the easiest to load and ditch, especially now that Aeris got rid of the Velcro backup patch, which was well-intended but just got in the way. The singular drop-down cargo pocket stays out of sight until you need it, then provides a large easy-access place to stow your treasures.

Bottom Line

The 5 Oceans is without a doubt the do-it-all BC for back-buoyancy aficionados. Light and compact for travel with sufficient lift and weight capacity for local submersions, it’s our favorite BC in this use category, and in fact, our favorite BC of 2009

Customer Review

I’ve got 10 dives with this BC now and I’ve been very happy with the fit and balanced flotation. It is my first back buoyancy BC, but I really like the stability. I do wish that the BC had a pocket to put things like a car key or other personal items, but I guess that’s the point of a minimalist BC. It does have a pouch for small items found below, but doesn’t seem meant for personal items.

I’m not a big guy (5-9, 165lbs) and there seems to be a bit of space between my stomach and the abdomen strap, due to the integrated weights not flexing much (I’m keeping 10lb in each, due to diving in the Pacific NW). Also, the weight pockets on the tank strap can make putting the tank on a little bit annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it now. The integrated weight system is really easy to use and goes in/out with ease.

Surface flotation is great, even in rough water.

I’ve been very happy with this BC so far, and can’t wait to use it in some warm water

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