All You Need to Know about the Latest Aqua Lung BCD
Turtle Bay Dive Resort is an Aqua Lung Partner
Aqua Lung Axiom i3
The new Axiom i3 is the blending of all the latest research and technology that Aqua Lung has developed over the past few years. If you want one BCD that features all of their innovations then the Axiom i3 is it; it’s got it all. To start it has the i3 inflation system that puts buoyancy control at your fingertips. Then they took some inspiration from their Dimension i3 and included the “Wrapture” harness system. This incorporates a customized back plate bottom half and a soft pack top half providing comfort and stability. Low profile exhaust valves and signature swivel shoulder buckles were included too. A new GripLock tank band and buckle system replaces the ubiquitous cam buckle. It has a familiar look but a different size and feel. It features a height adjustable chest strap and a wide quick release waist buckle with double pull D-rings for an easy fit. The Axiom i3 is also equipped with the latest generation of the SureLock weight system and offers creative options for carrying accessories with pockets and D-rings.
Simply put, it works. Setting up the system is slick as the valve retention strap sets the perfect tank height and holds the Axiom i3 in position while you lock down the new GripLock buckle. The band length can be set to your cylinder’s diameter once and then forgotten. A pre-closed position of the buckle allows you to secure the band and then move your fingers out of the way for the final push to lock down the buckle. Testers who have used a similar buckle liked the fresh take on this familiar design. On the surface the Wrapture harness secures the load on your hips and the weight is taken off your shoulders. While this may be more important on the surface, the snug fit continued under water for a comfortable and stable ride. The i3 inflation system took less time to tame than most of our test divers expected. Ascent control scored high as venting air in either a head up or head down position was very easy as both shoulder and rear valves open when the i3 lever is pressed. The Axiom is also available with a standard inflator for those who want more traditional controls.
We didn’t think the SureLock weight system could get any better but we were pleasantly surprised. The SureLock II has more ergonomic handles, and an even better rail system that guides the weight pouches home without even looking at them. Two rear trim weight pouches are secured on either side of the tank band for a combined weight capacity of 30-pounds. In the test tank we measured just 1.25-pounds of inherent buoyancy, which is considered very good for the ample padding. There are plenty of attachment points and pockets for all your goodies. The left side has a small zippered pocket and knife attachment grommets. The right side has a cool double pocket that has a small top section with a zip closure and a huge drop down pocket underneath. Since this pocket is outside of the weight pouch its volume is unaffected and offers large cargo capacity. There are also plenty of D-rings well positioned to hang other gear and a special octopus pocket to secure your backup breather.
About the best compliment we could give the Axiom i3 is that it doesn’t feel like a Jacket BCD. It has the streamlined, low profile feel of a back buoyancy BCD but with the added stability on the surface that a little air under the arms provides. If you are tired of big bulky jacket style BCD’s but not sure you want to make the switch to back buoyancy then the Axiom or Axiom i3 may be the proverbial best fit.