The Apeks LifeLine Spool Review

Apeks LifeLine Spool Review

It is about time we did an. These spools were by far our best selling spools of 2019 and 2020.

This Apeks LifeLine Spool review will explain to you, in detail, the different Apeks LifeLine Spools, the specific design features of them are that make the Apeks Spool unique and some of the applications in scuba diving that you could use each spool for are.

If you're trying to find out exactly which spool to purchase for your type of diving and want to know if that Apeks LifeLine spool is for you, then you're going to love this post. We are going to outline the Top 9 Features that, in our opinion, make this the only spool to choose for your dive bag.

This blog post was written by Alex Varnals, PADI Course Director and Technical Instructor trainer. Alex has been teaching scuba diving since 2002 and has been working full time in the UK dive industry for over 20 years. We thought, who better to get to review this spool than the man with more shiny stuff than a flock of magpies. 


Lets get started

This Apeks LifeLine Spool Review includes:



Unboxing The Apeks LifeLine Spool

Unboxing The Apeks LifeLine Spool

Getting new dive gear is a great feeling. You have spent time researching, spoken to dive buddies, the person at the dive centre (if you are Scuba Leeds it was probably with a brew in your hand) and now you have made your decision. 

The first thing that hits me when I get the Apeks LifeLine Spool in my hand is the simple packaging. Gone are the days of the spool arriving in a plastic snap-closed bag with a barcode on it great thing about the new Apeks packaging is that since 2019 they have been focusing on a project to eliminate single-use plastic from all their packaging. In around June 2020 they retired their shrink wrap machine. Farewell trusty shrink wrapper!

The Apeks LifeLine Spools all come in a new specification of cardboard packaging, which are made from recycled material and pulp sourced from managed Forest Stewardship Council forests. Yes, there is a small chance that the cardboard and print may be a little scuffed or creased when your shiny new reel arrives, but we agree with Apeks that the removal of the single-use plastic is more important for the planet.

The Spools all come with a marine grade stainless steel bolt snap attached to the cardboard packaging. This is the best choice of bolt snap for use with a spool as the trigger mechanism is far less likely to seize or jam as occurs with cheaper bronze bolt snaps.


Strength Through Build Quality

Strength Through Build Quality

Aircraft Grade Aluminium: The Apeks spools are all manufactured in the UK from aircraft grade aluminium. The choice of material ensures the product is light weight, while ensuring it's strength is not compromised. 

Machined From Aluminium Billet: The is CNC machined from a single block of aluminium. The choice of machining process ensures the spools structural integrity is greater than with cast aluminium products. 

If you had two spools made from identical materials and cast one and machined the other from a billet, the billet version would come be stronger. Casting materials are heated and cooled more times during the manufacture process. This heating and cooling changes the structure of the metal itself. Every additional step introduces flaws to the material, such as tiny air pockets or a weaker crystal structure. The machined billet does not suffer from this, so is inherently more consistent and as such stronger.

spool on the left shows the hand spool still waiting to be trimmed from the solid aluminium billet. The additional material is gripped by the CNC machine grips while the spools while is in production.

The image above shows a photo from Apeks Workshop of a spool during production. 


Apeks recycle all of the metal waste from the machining process, which we then buy back to make more products.”

Machined from one piece of aircraft grade aluminium

Rugged construction 

Unique flared design to allow ease of winding whilst wearing gloves and an outer grip for ease of use

To explain why this is important to you as a diver, we need to understand the mechanics of manufacture. 

As a diver, I want to ensure that the spool I buy is the highest quality material. A spool is one of those bits of gear, that gets bashed and knocked about more, trapped between cylinders, sat on, and generally takes a bit more hammer than the your regulator second stage. As such, knowing that the spool has no weld joints or seams means I know that the spool is the strongest construction possible.


High Quality Line

High Quality Line

High quality, high visibility line

Line is sewn instead of tied to increase strength

Orange line, best for low light conditions

Easy-release pull tabs

 

 


Line Swivel

Line swivel to prevent line entanglement and twisting

 

 


Spool To Line Ratio

Spool To Line Ratio

For the first time, a manufacturer has got the spool size to line ratio correct. What I mean by this is that the amount of line on the centre of the spool does not sit higher than the holes on the flared sides of the spool. By not over winding the line, the Apeks Spool allows easy clipping of the bolt snap for stowage (more on that in the next section). 

Allowing the spool to have the correct amount of line also gives you the opportunity to add additional line to smaller spools. Personally, I wouldn't do this as the additional line would reduce the ease of clipping the bolt snap off. But the opportunity to do so is there with these spools.

 


Large Diameter Centre Hole

A large diameter centre hole for use in cold water whilst wearing gloves 

 


Large Holes For Ease Of Clipping

A large diameter centre hole for use in cold water whilst wearing gloves 

 


Large Holes For Ease Of Clipping

A large diameter centre hole for use in cold water whilst wearing gloves 

 


Four Choices Of Spool Length

XDEEP is quickly becoming known worldwide, and it’s not hard to see why. They're clearly passionate about doing things the right way. Starting with the overall design, right down to the tiniest of details. You can really tell they put the diver at the forefront of everything they do. They use their teams’ experience, expertise, and passion to create fantastic products for recreational and technical divers. But they don’t just stop with innovative design.


Conclusion of the Apeks LifeLine Spool Review

The XDEEP NX Zen system is without a doubt a fantastic piece of dive gear. It's meticulous, innovative, and well-thought-through design, combined with the use of the very best materials makes your diving more comfortable, more efficient, and most important of all, safer. The fact that it also looks very cool is just a handy (but no less important) side effect. Whether you’re a seasoned techie or just starting out, the NX Zen system is a fantastic choice. Not sure whether to make the change from a BCD to a wing system? I would highly recommend you give it a go and see the difference for yourself - you won’t regret it. 

Now you have read our XDEEP NX Zen Wing System Review, you may want to check out the technical specifications of the XDEEP NX Zen Wing System here.

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