Scuba Diving Photos
ScubaLab 2013 BC Review
APEKS BLACK ICE
• MSRP: $695
• Warranty: Ltd. Lifetime
• Made In: Mexico• Dry Weight: 9.7 lbs. (Size ML/L)
• Inherent Buoyancy: Less than 1 lb.
• Sizes/Buoyant Lift: S/M-52, ML/L-52, XL/XXL-52
• INFO aqualung.com
At first glance this heavy-duty BC seemed a little stiff, but once test divers were strapped in and under water they discovered the Black Ice was about as comfortable and stable as a BC gets. The Wrapture system, teamed with the Grip Lock buckle, holds the tank solid, there’s no wobble whatsoever, and it allows the BC to hug you like a second skin. Combine the oversized ditchable weight pouches with the rear trim pouches and you have a serious ballast capacity of 42 pounds. You also get four exhaust valves, two big easy-access cargo pockets and five badass pre-bent stainless D-rings. The power inflator pumps air fast and all applicable exhaust valves passed the flow rate tests without breaking a sweat. While most testers felt the Black Ice was just a little too hard-core for their taste — which, of course, was the intent of its design — they could find no problems with this BC.
The Black Ice epitomizes the rec/tec trend. Its heavy-duty construction looks capable of handling just about anything you want to throw at it or hang on it. If this was a review on tec-oriented BCs, it would be a serious contender for the gold.
No piece of dive gear needs to multi-task more than a Buoyancy Compensator. It has to secure tank, hoses and accessories. It must support weight pouches and cargo pockets and still maintain a streamlined profile. It has to enable you to safely control your ascents and descents, and afford relatively comfortable surface flotation. That’s a tall order. Clearly, no one BC can hit all the marks for all divers in all diving conditions. But if you can identify where you spend most of your wet-time, it’s not so hard to find a BC with your name on it.
Want more? Download our ScubaLab score sheets and test charts for east reference.