Mares Prestige SLS - Honest Review & Test 2024

By Julius
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Mares Prestige SLS

The Mares Prestige SLS is one of the better Mares products out there and a sturdy and comfortable choice for mid-tier BCDs. It’s a common occurance in dive centers around the world for good reasons. We really love the colorcoding and Mares did a good job making it foolproof to use.
It looks good, comes at a really fair price, and is super durable. We like that it has trim pockets and already bent D-rings along with big pocket space. As with all Mares BCDs, this thing can take a beating. That makes it a great choice for dive centers but also people who like diving in harsher environments.
Unfortunately, the weight pockets aren’t the best ones out there and the handle bars could be improved on Mares side. The BCD is also rather bulky which was a bit annoying for our female test divers. If you are looking for fancy features, this is not the BCD for you!

Scuba diver exiting water over ladder
Mares Prestige SLS Review - Table of Contents
(Click to expand)

Of course, we also read other opinions online but in the end, nothing beats real world experience. So we took the time for a thorough Mares Prestige SLS test and review! Below you find everything you need to know, including features, specs and what we like, and don't like about it.

Review Summary

If you want a no-nonsense ADV-style scuba diving BCD, the Mares Prestige SLS is a great choice without bells and whistles.

Our Rating

4.2 / 5.0

What We Like

  • Very sturdy
  • Great color coding
  • Lightweight

Reasons to Avoid

  • It's a Mares product 😉
  • Some complaints about faults weight system
  • Weight pockets hard to insert
  • No bells or whistles

What could be improved

  1. Improve integrated weight pockets

Get it here

First Impression

In a hurry and looking for the gist of things? Here is our review in short. Keep reading for the entire version.

The Mares Prestige SLS is one of the classic ADV-style BCD designs out there and beginners will have no issue using it right away.
The way the entire BCD is laid out and how the colors are used makes this one of the most beginner-friendly BCDs on the market and a solid offering for anyone looking for a cheap BCD option.

It has no extra pockets or fancy features, but it does the job it’s supposed to do. Love the colors and Mares did a good job making it foolproof to use.

This is especially true for the inflator/deflator buttons which are easy to reach, have different colors, and are located at just the right spots.

You know I’m quick to criticize Mares products but I think in terms of ease of use they make some of the best inflator systems on the market.

I am not a fan of the way the weight pockets attach to the BCD and it can be really hard to insert them correctly. I’ve also heard some complaints about faulty weight systems but if you buy from a good dive shop they will replace it for you.

As always: Do some dry testing with any piece of equipment before using it in the water for the first time.

What I find wrong with it is the very steep price tag despite not being a Wing BCD. In the €500+ range, most competitors already start to offer basic back-inflate configurations and I believe Mares should go with the times and adopt the same approach.

Super easy to use and durable at the same time, the Mares Prestige SLS is a great choice for a BCD (and much better than the Mares Rover that’s used by thousands of dive schools).

You can also find it in different colors and, in typical Italian fashion, in versions for both men and women.

Specs & Features

TypeJacket-Style ADV BCD
Lift Capacity10.8 kg to 18.3 kg (24 lbs. to 38 lbs.)
Bladder LocationSides
Weight4.5 kg (9.9 lbs.) for Size L
Integrated Weight PocketsYes
Number of Relief Valves3
Different Men/women versionsYes
Other Features

If you have any other questions or need advice, leave us a comment below and get the conversation started.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

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Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.


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