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Pros and cons of various sidemount harnesses, especially for cold water tech diving.

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by kr2y5, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. kr2y5

    kr2y5 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
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    Sorry if this has already been beaten to death, but my quick search did not seem to reveal enough... a lot of systems are available on the market that seem to fit the bill: DiveRite Nomad XT, Hollis SMS 75, 100, Halcyon Contour, and a number of others from OMG, HOG, ScubaPro, and probably several other manufacturers that I forgot to mention. Why would you choose one over the other? What do you particularly like or dislike in any of these systems? In the perfect world, I would be able to use the same harness for cold water tech diving, with 2 steel tanks and 2 stages, as well as for warm water rec diving with 2 AL80s and no stages. I'm not sure if this is really desirable... unless I missed something, none of these systems seems to offer quite the same kind of flexibility as a simple Hogarthian harness does for backmounted doubles, but maybe I am wrong. As a side note, I am somewhat surprised that even the Halcyon setup comes with a multitude of handles and D-rings in all sorts of places: two on each shoulder, two on each hip, loops sticking out from the wing... I am assuming this is necessary (and yes, I do plan to take a formal class in the near future, but I like to do my homework beforehand).
     
  2. MSargeant

    MSargeant Nassau Grouper

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    I use the Razor in cold water, took it to Egypt for 2 weeks last month and it was fine with up to 6 stages :).
    Aside from avoiding ones that are blatant copies, most are good systems.
    DevonDiver has a great blog showcasing most (if not all) modern sidemount rigs with their pros and cons.

    A List of Modern Sidemount Diving Systems
     
    Colliam7 likes this.
  3. oreocookie

    oreocookie PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    984
    126
    43
    I was using the Scubapro harness and 45lb wing to finish up my Tec40 this weekend. The instructor decided to nickname it the Scubapro Turtle because he said I looked like I had a turtle shell. I'm still getting used to it, so I think there's a learning curve to it as far as not trapping air goes. I'd probably pick up the smaller wing if I were going to do a reasonable amount of warm water diving w/ AL80s.
     
  4. hobodiver

    hobodiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ
    1,202
    19
    38
    I've used my xDeep Stealth in both cold water and warm without any problems.
     
  5. kr2y5

    kr2y5 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
    929
    267
    63
    Thanks! Three people, three choices... what made you choose the system you are diving over the others available on the market, was there a particular thing you really liked about it? Did you dismiss any options early on in your decision process for some reason, was there something you really disliked?
     
  6. oreocookie

    oreocookie PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    984
    126
    43
    I was initially using a rental Hollis SMS100, which I generally found too bulky. I was looking for something more minimalist but that would still have enough lift for cold water tec. I looked at options like the razor and stealth online but my actually options were a bit skewed by working at a shop with a "wear what we sell" policy (we're an SP dealer but didn't and still don't keep the bc in stock) I liked the minimalist nature of it when I first saw it, but at the time I was waiting for the SMS75 to take a look at it before buying anything. I gave up waiting for the hollis about 2 months ago when it was delayed again. (We still haven't received any.)

    The SP rig has some quirks to it that I'm currently having fun working through (like how best to attach weight to it) but it's taken care of pretty much everything I didn't like about the SMS100.
     
  7. rongoodman

    rongoodman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Albany, NY
    4,955
    1,612
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    I initially had a Razor but didn't particularly like the wing. When the Stealth came out, I was all over it. If I was going to look at anything different for cold water and steel tanks, it would be the SMS75.
     
  8. FM1520

    FM1520 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Coronado, CA
    428
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  9. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    16,879
    8,582
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    I own a HOG, a Manta, and a Dive Rite LT Tech. Depending on the conditions, where I'm diving, how I'd get there, what tanks I'd be using, extra stuff I'd be carrying, etc. is what determines which one I'll use. Last summer diving wet I used my LT Tech for a couple dozen dives. This year I was able to get a half dozen on the Manta and a dozen or so thus far on the HOG rig. I personally would be fine with the LT and smaller steel tanks like 72's and al 80 wet. Dry I might use them with my LP 85's. It only has 28 lbs of lift or so. In a 5 mil and with my LP75.5's I was ok but a little concerned if I would have had to support another diver at the surface for any length of time without dropping gear.

    The Manta has 50 lbs of lift and I'm ok diving it with any of my tanks including LP 95's. It does have some limitations as far as putting stuff on in the way of accessories. Maybe it's just my diving style and where I'm used to having things but the only mounting option on mine so far for a can light is on the waist or rear down low on the crotch strap. Problem is my lights are not set up as optimal in those locations. I do very much like the air cell. It has an internal structure that keeps it from looking like a turtle shell as someone said their SP rig does. The other thing about it is the harness. It is a traditional BPW configuration but using two small plates instead of one large on. Very easy to adjust and will feel familiar to those transitioning from a traditional BPW set up. I also like the small custom butt plate it comes with for swimming with two tanks. Some may find it too small though if they carry a lot of accessories but the way the harness is you can add a traditional butt plate like those sold by Dive Rite.

    The HOG is the rig I put through it's paces last month for me. I did my advanced wreck, deco procedures, and advanced nitrox instructor courses in it. All in cold water down to 40 degrees and depths in excess of 120 ft. In my drysuit with the LP 75.5 tanks. I wanted to use my LP 85's as well but found out I had a bad valve and so they sat. All during that week I kept taking weight off of my belt and rig and ended up dropping 12 lbs total. The rig was easy to set up for me. I added some hardware I made on the waterjet and made some mods on the back to mount my Salvo 12 watt Rebel LED can. Worked like a charm. It also has enough lift that it will easily handle my LP 95's and a couple stages. The harness on it, unlike the DR and the Manta is an "H" style (not the blue H but the letter H) and I really like the way it fits. I have a short torso and a regular BPW harness means I end up with back up lights way under my arms. The H harness means that everything stays in front and I can see anything I might want to clip off. It's also easier to adjust. It is my go to rig now for most dives. But I see times when it may just feel like a little much and I want small. The DR fits that as does the Manta if I decide I want to use heavier steel tanks.
     
    sigxbill and shoredivr like this.
  10. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    5,872
    3,071
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