DECO skeleton harness question and BCD recommendation

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nihildriven

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Hi all,

I have lost some weight in the past few years and no longer fit into my BCD very well, so unfortunately I need to get a new one.

I have designs on eventually doing some tec diving. I'm probably most interested in doubles or sidemount. I'd be thrilled to do rebreather diving but I am far, far too broke for that, and will be for at least the next 4-5 years.

My diving at present is all recreational. I had a jacket BCD before and while I liked some things about it (metal D-rings, good dump valve locations, dump valves screwed off easily allowing me good access to the bladder for maintenance, good integrated weight system), I disliked the fit and the the completely useless and unreachable pockets. In head-down orientations, it wanted to ride up towards my head, which also wasn't great. it was also really heavy, and I did not need even 20% of the absurd amount of lift it provided.

I bought a DECO skeleton harness #2 with the MSR bladder thing a while back and honestly have not put in the time to learn to dive with it to a level I'd be comfortable using it. I never really figured out a comfortable way to attach the bladder (if anyone has suggestions/images I am all ears). I do still occasionally dick around with it in a quarry. I have designs on eventually taking a sidemount class, but that too is tied up in a lack of funds issue that is probably going to persist 4-5 years.

I travel a lot to dive - or as much as I can - and would like something relatively lightweight - though I'm unwilling to give up things like metal D-rings. I'm a tinkerer, and love things that I can service myself. I'd ideally like to get a BC that can grow with me over the next 10ish years, meaning that I can at least switch between singles/doubles. Unless I can figure out a comfortable way to dive the DECO harness, I'd probably want to be able to use it for SM also. Naturally, this has me looking at the transpac.

I guess I'm interested in other people's experience with the DECO harnesses, and how you all have them set up (especially how you've attached the buoyancy cell). I'm also interested in hearing how you all like the transpac, especially if you cycle between singles/doubles/SM with it.

Last thing is that I'd really love recommendations for a BC that I might be overlooking (something flexible and good for travel).
 

tbone1004

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Deco harness works fine if you are diving with aluminum 80's, but it was never intended to handle steel tanks nor a large quantity of volume in the bladder. It comes out of Mexican style cave diving where the water is quite warm, the wetsuits are thin, and the only tanks readily available are AL80's. If you are diving a 3mm/5mm wetsuit with AL80's it should be fine. In terms of attachment that is comfortable, the belly band is the only way to really attach it and there are things you can do going through crotch strap loops that help to distribute the pressure from the bungees but it's never going to be really comfy if that bladder is full. That rig is perfect for monkey diving *1x sidemount al80*, or with 2x al80's but not much else IMO

If your weight is in flux you really need to get to a one-piece webbing harness that will fit similar to the deco harness but be on a hard backplate to dive singles/doubles. The Transpac is fine but very expensive and should only be used with Dive Rite's wings. It also isn't going to save you much weight vs. a stainless plate when traveling and you're going to have to put between 6-8lbs *depending on if you use the backpack or not* on your weight belt to compensate. I travel with a SS backplate and figure out how to deal with the extra 3lbs in luggage vs. an aluminum/kydex/skeletonized plate because I very much enjoy being able to dive with very little lead on a weight belt.
 

grantctobin

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I'll speak mostly to the DECO rig.

Here's a few guides to ensure things are setup appropriately:

One of the potential annoyances with the DECO bladder, as you've pointed out, is the wing. In the ~15 dives I had one one, I didn't find attaching it necessary, and simply used a waist bungee and a crotch bungee, similar to the XDeep Classic.

Should you wish to attach it permanently to the harness, I'd play with its height on a few dives, and then use a pair of sex bolts DGX Assembly Screws, Metal, Set of TWO into either grommets that you install onto the spine or even simply burning a hole through the spine and running the assembly screw through the middle grommet of the wing and then the spine.

In a 7mm with a pair of AL80s, I use 4lb that I thread through the spine. You may find yourself needing to add pockets on the spine for weight, or even better, use a pain of these: Highland Weight Plates - Set of Two

Then run a bungee across the end-grommets and through your crotch strap. You'll be hard pressed to find any type of harness that travels smaller.
 

Six Feet Under

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I'm in the same boat - I'd purchased the lumbar and thoracic plates a long time ago (literally, I think mid-to-late 2018) and they've been sitting in my box of spare/leftover parts since then.

Went to build the harness up and realized I don't have the number of tri-glides (or D-rings, for that matter) necessary to finish it... so I guess that project isn't getting finished until I need enough small items to place an order from DGX.

I use the DECO wing as a back-up under my XDeep, and I've used it with a huge loop of bungee (crossed in an X behind my back, and put on akin to a suit jacket) plus a weight belt with two drop D-rings, to get in the water and check out random holes in the bottom while kayaking or if I have a day where I just want to go float around for a bit... it's held up very well and I secure it with two loops of bungee (one from each side) and the left loop has a small bolt snap attached to it.
 
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nihildriven

nihildriven

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Deco harness works fine if you are diving with aluminum 80's, but it was never intended to handle steel tanks nor a large quantity of volume in the bladder. It comes out of Mexican style cave diving where the water is quite warm, the wetsuits are thin, and the only tanks readily available are AL80's. If you are diving a 3mm/5mm wetsuit with AL80's it should be fine. In terms of attachment that is comfortable, the belly band is the only way to really attach it and there are things you can do going through crotch strap loops that help to distribute the pressure from the bungees but it's never going to be really comfy if that bladder is full. That rig is perfect for monkey diving *1x sidemount al80*, or with 2x al80's but not much else IMO

If your weight is in flux you really need to get to a one-piece webbing harness that will fit similar to the deco harness but be on a hard backplate to dive singles/doubles. The Transpac is fine but very expensive and should only be used with Dive Rite's wings. It also isn't going to save you much weight vs. a stainless plate when traveling and you're going to have to put between 6-8lbs *depending on if you use the backpack or not* on your weight belt to compensate. I travel with a SS backplate and figure out how to deal with the extra 3lbs in luggage vs. an aluminum/kydex/skeletonized plate because I very much enjoy being able to dive with very little lead on a weight belt.
So the belly loop really is the best option. Huh. Well, at least I know I had that right. Somehow it still feels very awkward to me. I generally don’t have hardly any air in the cell. Perhaps it is just my comfort with SM broadly and that class just needs to happen.

Ty for your thoughts. I mostly dive warm water and am very happy when my setup is minimal. Honestly my favorite diving is no mount in warm water without neoprene, and if I can pull it off I sometimes strap that deco/msr bladder to the top half of my tank and ~1lb to the bottom and manage the tank buoyancy that way and manage mine with a fanny pack with lead strung across my chest. It’s glorious if there’s not much current. But dive ops generally are not game for my ********.

The lighter the better for me, as my travel plans are unfortunately seldom simple. My next trip is USA-> Sydney for work diving, Sydney -> Bangkok to party for a day or two and catch up with a friend, Bangkok -> male for honeymoon diving, male -> istanbul for more traditional tourism and the other half of my honeymoon, istanbul -> Seoul for more work diving, seoul -> Vancouver for more work diving, and Vancouver -> home. I’ll be gone 3 months, which means a heavy bag will be a pain in my ass for 8 flights and 3 months of travel. I’ve got to pack clothes for like four different climates and gear for sample collection and processing in the field. I’m dragging two full size suitcases, a backpack, a giant cooler, and a pelican case all over the planet. Every pound counts.

If I can’t get this deco rig to be comfy, i may get one of those plastic tank backpacks and rent a bc for the colder dives. I’m not sure. If you have suggestions that can get the BC to be fewer than 4lb total, that’s what I’m after. Just saw halcyon has a carbon fiber plate, but good god is it spendy.
 
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nihildriven

nihildriven

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I'll speak mostly to the DECO rig.

Here's a few guides to ensure things are setup appropriately:

One of the potential annoyances with the DECO bladder, as you've pointed out, is the wing. In the ~15 dives I had one one, I didn't find attaching it necessary, and simply used a waist bungee and a crotch bungee, similar to the XDeep Classic.

Should you wish to attach it permanently to the harness, I'd play with its height on a few dives, and then use a pair of sex bolts DGX Assembly Screws, Metal, Set of TWO into either grommets that you install onto the spine or even simply burning a hole through the spine and running the assembly screw through the middle grommet of the wing and then the spine.

In a 7mm with a pair of AL80s, I use 4lb that I thread through the spine. You may find yourself needing to add pockets on the spine for weight, or even better, use a pain of these: Highland Weight Plates - Set of Two

Then run a bungee across the end-grommets and through your crotch strap. You'll be hard pressed to find any type of harness that travels smaller.
Those weight plates seem like the real deal. Threading weights through the spine webbing was not trivial when changing them out. By through the crotch strap are you talking about that weird bungee with the little metal triangle that seems designed to lodge in the butt plate?
 

Six Feet Under

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So the belly loop really is the best option. Huh. Well, at least I know I had that right. Somehow it still feels very awkward to me. I generally don’t have hardly any air in the cell. Perhaps it is just my comfort with SM broadly and that class just needs to happen.

Ty for your thoughts. I mostly dive warm water and am very happy when my setup is minimal. Honestly my favorite diving is no mount in warm water without neoprene, and if I can pull it off I sometimes strap that deco/msr bladder to the top half of my tank and ~1lb to the bottom and manage the tank buoyancy that way and manage mine with a fanny pack with lead strung across my chest. It’s glorious if there’s not much current. But dive ops generally are not game for my ********.

The lighter the better for me, as my travel plans are unfortunately seldom simple. My next trip is USA-> Sydney for work diving, Sydney -> Bangkok to party for a day or two and catch up with a friend, Bangkok -> male for honeymoon diving, male -> istanbul for more traditional tourism and the other half of my honeymoon, istanbul -> Seoul for more work diving, seoul -> Vancouver for more work diving, and Vancouver -> home. I’ll be gone 3 months, which means a heavy bag will be a pain in my ass for 8 flights and 3 months of travel. I’ve got to pack clothes for like four different climates and gear for sample collection and processing in the field. I’m dragging two full size suitcases, a backpack, a giant cooler, and a pelican case all over the planet. Every pound counts.

If I can’t get this deco rig to be comfy, i may get one of those plastic tank backpacks and rent a bc for the colder dives. I’m not sure. If you have suggestions that can get the BC to be fewer than 4lb total, that’s what I’m after. Just saw halcyon has a carbon fiber plate, but good god is it spendy.

I built mine out using the skeleton harness two weeks ago and tested it last weekend. Worked phenomenally. I have the weights threaded onto the waist belt, just next to the lumbar plate, but I've got no intention of removing them and if I were planning on doing a bunch of traveling, I have velcro pouches I could attach there that would still be covered by the wing to prevent them from being some kind of snag hazard.

Diving it with two AL80s was super freeing. I have some small adjustments to make but between that and my Deep6 fins I have definitely discovered a travel rig for warm-water diving, without a doubt.

I still have to trim the waist belt considerably as that was a 13 foot piece of webbing to begin with, and probably remove the two drop d-rings (the rubber sliders worked just fine thus far)... but otherwise, you can see what I've got. The wing sits just over all the lumbar hardware/weights and hides them all to keep everything streamlined. I also added a crotch strap to the wing that clips in to the belly strap in the front.
 

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