2013 ScubaLab BCs: Best Buy
Mares Prime MRS BC
• MSRP: $360
• Warranty: 2 Years
• Made in: Bulgaria
• Dry Weight: 8.2 pounds (size M)
• Sizes/Buoyant Lift: XS-30.8, S-33.7, M-35.9, L-45.1, XL-52.9
• Info: www.mares.com
While designed for divers just getting started, the Prime is capable of delivering in- water performance that would make veterans happy. It’s a sim- ple rig with a rigid backpack that supports and stabilizes the tank at depth, and a molded carry han- dle that makes it easy to carry. Test divers found the BC’s ster- num strap to be positioned a little too high, and D-rings are somewhat scarce. It comes in a good range of sizes, though, so finding one that fits isn’t a problem, and the corre- sponding buoyant lift is sufficient for virtually any recreational-diving scenario. Strapped in, you can expect a comfortable, controlled ride at depth. And it’s equipped with a very ergonomic power inflator and an efficient exhaust-valve system that aced the flow-rate tests.
Divers looking for an entry-level BC that’s well appointed and performs admirably — and doesn’t cost a lot of money — will be drawn to Prime MRS. It nails the important stuff at a good price, earning it the Best Buy award.