The Ghost a light weight travel BCD from xDEEP. Unlike other travel BCDs it provides the comfort and all the benefits of a technical backplate and wing system and yet weighs only a fraction of the weight, coming in at only 2.3kg. I could write about specifications or the outstanding build quality, but you can read all about that on our web site; what’s most important is how easy the Ghost is to travel with and how it performs as a BCD. We’ve had our Ghost BCDs for over a year now, so this blog is a summary of our experience with what has become a favourite BCD, especially when travelling.
Gizo jetty, Solomon Islands
When packing to travel, the Ghost doesn’t take much space. Not only does the backplate look fantastic but it and the tank adapter have a low profile which makes the unit easier to pack as it packs very flat, unlike jacket BCDs. The back pads are ultra slim, yet amazingly comfortable, the wing collapses flat, and we remove the tank bands so the BCDs are even flatter in the bag. The Ghost may not roll up into a ball but it is much less bulky than travelling with typical jacket BCD. When we arrive and unpack we just need to rethread the tank bands, and for the Ghost this is an incredibly simple task, and we’re ready to go.
With airlines getting stricter on weight limits, and excess baggage charges going up, the Ghost has helped us stay under limits on several trips (allowing for more for camera equipment!).
Threading the tank
band is easy!
Our first dive was literally one of surprise – that’s not an exaggeration. When diving with the Ghost, half of the time you can forget that you’re wearing a BCD. We can only put this down to the combined effects of comfort and streamlining. Comfort is a result of the backplate and its pads; there are no pressure points from the tank and the tank is very secure, unlike what you might experience with a ‘foldable’ travel BCD. The pads are slim and provide just enough cushioning in just the right places without adding to buoyancy. Freedom of movement also comes from the Ghost’s next generation harness, which looks a bit different with a double crotch strap but it is very comfortable.
Another comfort factor comes from using droppable weight pockets that connect directly to the backplate. These are soft pouches made from tough cordura fabric, so they fold down flat. When it comes to travel, these pockets add very little weight (without lead of course) and the added comfort of avoiding a weight belt running across the small of the back is well worth it.
Lunch stop, Palau
The positioning of the weight pockets quite centrally on the backplate also makes it easy to attain an excellent horizontal trim position and significantly improve streamlining (admittedly, we do tend to adopt a more horizontal position than many other divers that we meet). The wing design is also streamlined and even though it can wrap up around the tank the clever shape ensures that it balances the air evenly and air can be dumped easily. These features are in addition to the general characteristics of harness and backplate systems, which are streamlined by simply minimising bulk. All of these benefits add up to create a very streamlined unit and almost effortless movement underwater.
Aside from the optional weight pockets, we’ve added D-rings to the Ghost's tri-glides on both of the rear crotch strap sections - we use these for attaching a SMB and spool as most of our Ghost-diving is in open water off boats.
A final advantage that we noticed for travel is that, unlike jacket BCDs with lots of ‘layers’ of fabric, the Ghost dries out fast, which means we’re not carrying water weight on the way home … now if only our dive boots would dry out as fast!
Caverns in the Solomon Islands
So, where has the Ghost been in the last 12 months? The Ghost has travelled to: Palau (Micronesia), Kavieng (Papua New Guinea), Eua (Tonga) & Uepi (Solomon Islands). In the next 12 months the Ghost will travel to the Philippines and Tonga (again) and very likely another destination in Asia, but that’s yet to be decided. There is no doubt it is an awesome travel BCD – the best I have ever had and I plan to continue using it.