Updated review of a fantastic BCD!
May 26, 2002 (Updated Jan 18, 2009)
Review by Marriard
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Solid, expandable, lots of options, reliable
Lasts forever. Literally. Proven!
Cons:Larger, weight system annoying to setup (easy to operate)
None I can think of.
The Bottom Line: Solid, reliable, lasts forever, black and a great reputation - why would you dive with anything else?
After initially going for a new BCD with my last BCD purchase, I decided that I wasn't making a big mistake with this selection.
Recommend this product?
The Zeagle Ranger has an outstanding reputation and has been the standard BC for Zeagle for years. When you dive with it, you see why.
As for looks - Black is heavily in. Nothing pretty here - rugged and purposeful - suits me down to the ground. No one dives to see other divers anyway.
Lets talk about the weight system first. There is options for a ripcord system or a traditional weight pocket/velcro solution. Having had weight pockets fall out before, I decided that I would try the ripcord system.
The ripcord system works by having a single handle with two strong plastic 'ropes' coming out of it. This threads through the bottom of the BCD and is secured. You then place weights into the pockets which will fall out the bottom of the BCD if you pull the ripcord. I have tested the ripcord system both in and out of the water and it works perfectly. I highly recommend buying the Zeagle weight pockets for your weights as this makes the system extremely easy to use. Although this system looks to be complicated (which is probably why others have not adopted it), it is extremely efficient and easy to operate.
D-Rings are pretty much exactly where they are located on every other BCD - 4 on the chest, 4 on the bottom of the BCD. Extremely easy even underwater to clip things on and off - I have a camera that I clip onto my BC so it doesn't wander off without me while I am doing something else, or so I have my hands free when I need without having to worry about $x,000 floating down into the deep abyss.
The cumberbund system is easy to adjust. I was lucky enough to lose some weight - and so with a quick couple of screws, I brought the cumberbund in one notch on each side and voila. 2 minutes of work.
The standard tank straps is two sets with the traditional buckle for tightening. I have always preferred the two strap system to ensure the tank is secured. Also a length strap goes over the tank valve which you adjust to ensure that you get place the BCD on th tank at the same height each time. A small feature but a nice one.
This is a back inflated BCD - thus the wing is on the back. My prefered setup anyway - and this helps in keeping a good swimming position and there is no chest squeeze. I learnt a long time ago that when you are at the surface you can 'sit' on your tank and BCD so you are not placed on your face which can be a tendency for back inflated BC's. There is plenty of lift - which is great if you are properly weighted as you wont need to add much air anyway. Nice to know it is there.
Release valves on the shoulder, and two on the bottom of the BCD allow for easy venting, and the standard inflator setup is nice. I like the velcro strap to secure the inflator/lp hose setup.
For a big BCD it packs really easily, and in a standard suitcase I could easily fit all my scuba gear without squeezing. This BC has now been on 10 lengthy scuba trips, and I have yet to encounter any issues.
Awesome BCD - highly recommended. I normally like to make a suggested improvement in my review - but honestly I can't think of anything.
If you are looking for a BCD, you can't go wrong with this one.
** UPDATE** I wrote this review intially 6 years ago. This BCD is STILL my main BCD. It now has over 1000 dives on it. It is faded, beat up and still works every bit as well as it did when I first bought it. I had a zip repaired 3 years ago otherwise I haven't done anything else to it. It has been around the world many, many times. In the distant future, I hope Zeagle are still making this BCD as I'll be buying another one. Not any time soon though.
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