When you’re already wearing a lot of equipment to dive, including a heavy tank, it might seem counterintuitive adding extra weight with a diving weight belt. However, you might be surprised to hear that a lot of your scuba diving equipment is actually incredibly buoyant. That’s why it’s essential for divers to wear weights so that they can descend more easily. It’s also crucial for helping divers to ascend more safely, by giving them greater control over their buoyancy by adjusting the weights.
So, we’ve gathered that a diving weight belt is a crucial piece of kit for all divers, but the next question is how do you choose the right one? This all depends on the type of diving that you’re doing and what you find most comfortable. Scuba diving weights are basically split into two categories - weight belts and integrated weights systems. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities and characteristics of each.
Weight belts are nylon belts worn around the waist which weights are added to. These are the two most common examples:
A lead block belt is the most common type of diving weight belt. Usually made from nylon, they feature a quick release buckle that lead weights are laced through or attached to. They can weigh anything from 2 to 15 pounds, depending on how much weight you need for your dive, and are one of the most affordable options.
A lot of divers find pocket belts more comfortable to wear than lead block belts, as they don’t dig into your sides. Made from nylon, they feature several pockets that you put the weights in. You can add either lead blocks, or neoprene lead shot pouches to the pockets, making it easy to add/subtract weight and control your buoyancy.
Integrated weight systems on the other hand are built into your BCD. The main benefit of this is that you don’t need to wear a separate diving weight belt which many divers find more comfortable. The only drawback is that they’ll feel heavier to move around in between dives as they’re part of your BCD, however they’re perfect for when you need extra weight for diving in a drysuit or cold water diving.
V-weights are most commonly used by divers that use twin tanks. A V-weight is a triangular shaped weight (similar to the shape of a Toblerone chunk!), that is positioned between two cylinders. They keep the weight away from your lower back making them comfortable to carry. You may also hear of p-weights that are mounted between the diver and a backplate in a harness brace system.
Tail weights are similar to a V-weight but attach to a much lower part of the twin tanks, often on the bottom plate. This provides equal weight distribution lower down the tanks, helping to keep divers in a horizontal position more easily. You can get some tail weights that can be worn alongside a diving belt with weights. They come in the form of a steel bar attachment or as an attachable pouch that you add loose lead shot to.
Another type of weight that we would like to give an honorary mention to are ankle weights. These are strapped around each ankle and help to prevent your legs from floating upwards! You may want to use these if you’re wearing a drysuit, however for most other types of diving, they’re not essential.
When it comes to choosing the right diving weight belt or integrated system, we’d recommend chatting with our experienced divers at Aquanauts to ensure you make the best choice for your requirements. Based on your experience level and the type of diving you do, we can talk you through the options available in order to help you make an informed choice. Feel free to give us a call on 01752 228825, or come and see us in our Plymouth store.
The new Garmin Descent MK3range has been so popular we sold out in the first week. Taking pre orders for our next delivery now, order soon to get your hands on the most exclusive dive computer this winter!