Aqualung Axiom BCD Review


From one of the very first manufactures of scuba diving equipment, the Aqualung Axiom is a BCD that is hard to fault.

Are you looking for a BCD to help reach that perfect trim whilst diving? Aqualung’s brilliant wrapture harness system – with weight pockets – is a wrap around jacket that’s proven to be really easy to adjust and manage when on the move.

The Aqua Lung Axiom i3 has already proven to be a popular choice with many divers thanks to its integrated weight system and its amazing comfort levels – it is also my own BCD that I have used on hundreds of dives, so I have lots to say about it! Should you believe the hype? Keep reading, and I’ll share the full lowdown with you.

Perfect For: Recreational divers looking for a super-comfortable BCD that's built for occasional divers as well as those looking for unsurpassed comfort with maximum streamlining. The system has barely changed over the years, but there's a reason for that!

Unboxing the Axiom i3

Right out of the box, you can tell that the Axiom BCD combines comfort with practicality. There are actually very few recreational BCDs out there quite like this! It’s got a fabulous streamlined design, and an ADV style wrap around jacket that already looks like it’s going to give you plenty of protection.

The patented¬†Surelock II weight system does give the jacket a bit of a bulk when you pick it up, but on the whole, the weight seems to be pretty well distributed. As divers, we know how important it is to have weights that are quick and easy to remove in case of an emergency. Most entry level scuba courses will be required to teach weight belt removal which can sometimes be tricky particularly if you don’t hold the belt out far enough from your body, causing it to get caught on you. Weight belt removal is an important skill to learn and should always be practiced, as should your other skills, throughout your diving years.

However, no one can deny how nice it is to use an integrated weight system! No bulky weight belts to mess around with when gearing up and super easy removal of weight pockets in an emergency, or when taking gear off before getting back onto the boat. They are honestly a dream. After a few years of diving, the weight pockets can become a bit worn but Aqualung do sell replacements.

It’s also easy to see that there are a handful of straps in place, great news for any divers who have found themselves struggling to harness up. They are really easy to locate and release which is a huge bonus. There are three main pockets, too – a left pocket, a mid a right pocket and a hidden pocket!

The griplock tank band strap is something special. It makes fixing and adjusting the length of the tank strap really easy and, again, great for new divers. This griplock tank band mechanism makes sure that the tank is always secure and I have never had an issue with the tank coming loose whilst on a dive.

Performance

Security and Protection

I’m a big fan of the proprietary wrapture harness system – as much as a mouthful as that is to say! When putting the BCD on, you can immediately feel the comfort, and there’s a good weight distribution even when you’re under the water.

It’s also really easy to adjust the jacket to your measurements and needs. The patented swivel shoulder buckles mean you can easily move things around on the go, even when you’re diving. The griplock tank band is also a nice feature – it really does help to ensure your cylinder remains perfectly vertical, right where you need it to be.

Inflation and Setup

The side inflation system built into the Axiom BCD is super easy to use. The valves are low profile and out of the way meaning they shouldn’t intrude on your dive. You’ll also find that there’s a handy oral inflator, easy to access behind your shoulder to inflate at any time.

This system uses Aqua Lung’s proprietary i3 inflation standards, as well as a powerline inflation setup that, too, comes with ease of inflation over the shoulder.

Multiple Storage Points

This wrap around jacket also comes with an easy and safe solution for stowing and accessing gear on the move. As mentioned earlier, the jacket style BCD comes with several d-rings for attachment, with one plastic d-ring as a spare (there are five stainless steel d-rings as standard).

Two large pockets will zip up to offer extra security for your gear, and there’s also a left lobe accessory point for your knife. Knife attachment points don’t always arrive as standard, so this is a fantastic plus and I love the fact that I can carry my knife around with me and still keep it easily accessible.

I also love that it has a very clear and easy to reach pocket for my octopus, stowing it away but ensuring that the octopus remains visible to my buddy at all times.

Comfort and Maneuverability

The customized ultra thin back plate is extremely comfy to wear on, and the adjustable chest strap operates on a superb rail system and can be moved up and down depending on where you want it placed. This not only helps with everyday diving comfort, but also means you can get the BCD on and off again with ease.

It’s also really easy to streamline yourself in the deep thanks to the bladder retraction system on board. This is easy to access via the sides when you deflate. Dump valves are available through a right shoulder pull option and on the lower right, too.

On top of all of this, the rolled neck collar is padded and super comfortable – there’s less chance of fatigue from this jacket style BC compared to your average!

The Best BCD for Scuba Divers

As mentioned, this is my go to BCD for diving in both warm and cold water. I can only say positive things about its durability, having done hundreds of dives in this over the past 4 years and it’s still in great condition and functioning perfectly.

I use it on a regular basis over my Hydrotech Predator II drysuit and it’s an absolute dream. Even with thick, bulky gloves, the low pressure inflater hose is easy to locate operate and the pockets are big enough to store a torch, slates, my SMB and reel as well as a mesh bag to collect any trash I may come across.

I love the amount of D rings that are available, an important feature for many divers. Just please, don’t be one of those divers who go to the extreme and use all the rings at once, you’ll end up looking like a Christmas tree….

I love the look of it too. It’s smart and looks really well made, without being too “in your face”. The Axiom was also the recommended BCD for dive instructors at the shop that I worked at in Koh Tao, Thailand. That just shows how highly respected this BCD is. Aqualung have really created a no-fuss, comfy and efficient piece of equipment.

The Forefathers of Scuba

To be fair to them, I’ll always be a big fan and most of my dive equipment is provided by Aqualung. They are one of the best and most reliable brands within the market of dive equipment and that’s no surprise when you find out that they have been on the scene since the very start of the Scuba journey.¬†

Did you know that the name Aqualung takes after the 1943 “Aqua Lung” – the first piece of equipment to lead to the invention of scuba diving, pioneering an aquatic revolution headed up by Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan. The Aqua Lung was an autonomous diving system with a demand regulator and would later lead to the birth of the Aqua Lung International brand.

Anyway, I digress…..

Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely comfortable thanks to the wrapture harness system – won’t ride up
  • Always easy to access your tools and equipment
  • Tank strap / griplock tank band always makes sure your cylinder’s firmly in place
  • Super easy to adjust thanks to shoulder swivel buckles
  • The bladder retraction system makes it extremely efficient to deflate on the go and maintain streamlining and reduce drag

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can be a little bulky to move around with at first – the integrated weight system takes some getting used to
  • The jacket design on the Aqua Lung axiom is fairly niche – might not be to everyone’s tastes!

Conclusion

I really like the Aqua Lung Axiom for lots of different reasons. For one thing, there’s no need for any complicated web weaving or clumsy pockets and straps. Everything you need is seamlessly designed for ease of access, right from the impressive wrapture harness system through to the balancing of the integrated weights.

When I dive in my Axiom, I spend very little time fidgeting with it during set up, it’s so quick and easy compared to other BCD’s on the market.

The Aqua Lung Axiom BCD combines comfort and functionality, is full featured, ultra thin, and just perfect even for long dives. If you have a lot of kit to bring with you, then the scooped octo pocket – and other openings – will certainly help!

Katy Jane

Thank you for reading. I started KatyJaneDives.com to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver. This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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