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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. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
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    While I really like the Stealth and it is one of the more innovative Razor copies I do not like the notion that it is the 'best' system, actually quite good though.

    There are several systems that imitate the Razor nearly perfectly: Agir Brook, XDeep Stealth, DirZone Diamond, DiveSystems Manta and many others essentially allow everything the Razor does (most miss the Razor-pouch, small detail easily fixed).

    There are always some compromises though, mostly it is wing size and design:
    To stay with the Stealth as an example it its less durable than a system made entirely out of steel plates and a few strands of webbing and also more bulky.
    The extra padding also increases buoyancy minimally.
    Main complaint is always the pull-dump, however.
    Personally I like the ambidextrous idea, but in practice there can be situations where it will be next to impossible to reach the pull-dump at all with a fully inflated and probably dislocated wing (not a big problem with the right prior training, however).

    I also dislike the fixed position of the inflator. On my Razor2 I have it configured to come from the right side with the drysuit connected to the left first-stage and the wing inflator coming from the right side. I like that configuration and it is a standard feature with the Razor2 and 2.1.

    The weight system is nice, but during first experiences with sidemount and drysuits I had up to 19kg of lead on my Razor2 - nearly a year before the Stealth became available. Required some creative placement then, but I routinely use up to 13kg without problems now.
    The XDeep system is great, but more limited in positioning for trim and in its maximum carry capacity.

    I only used the Stealth as an example. I do not actually mean to point out its flaws.

    There are disadvantages to be found in any system - even the Razor 2.1 itself.
    In my opinion as an non-technical diver none of them are strictly limited in any way.
    With them modified for perfect fit and in pristine condition there is nothing I can think of that could not be accomplished with any of them (even out of the normal scope of my own dives).
     
  2. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

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    I think this is the best post so far. Stealth for warm water diving and/or AL80s, SMS75 for colder water and/or big bulky steels.

    ---------- Post added July 6th, 2014 at 08:49 AM ----------

    I've traveled with it without too much negative. I have a big suitcase that I check whenever I fly. It's my main dive bag, actually, I just do some repacking when flying with it. Anyway, I just shoved it into the bottom of the bag flat and it was mostly out of the way. It wasn't as small as a Stealth, obviously, but it didn't hinder me at all. My drysuit and big fins were much more annoying than the SMS100 could've dreamed of being.

    Having said that, if you'll be predominantly traveling, I do highly suggest the Stealth. I'm Edd-trained and I LOVE my SMS100 and you'd need a REALLY big speargun and good aim to pry it off of me.....but traveling with a Stealth would be much easier. My plan (when/if the funds available) is to keep diving my SMS100 for cold water steels and switch to a Stealth for warm water Alu diving.

    The Razor, in stock form, has a pretty grumpy wing in terms of trying to keep it flat. The "Beach ball" effect is very real. A dive buddy has one that's been heavily modified and it's a great rig. He's GUE (ex-GUE?) certified, and loves the Hogarthian-style harness.
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  3. Aotus

    Aotus Marine Scientist

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  4. Mike.D

    Mike.D DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
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    I've dove with the Nomad LT X and Blue water, and the Nomad XT. The LT X (in cave configuration with inflator positioned under shoulder) is a great rig and super easy to adjust as it has transition rings. Also very sleek. I had problems with the wing 'turtle-ing' as I dive a wetsuit however I'm sure with a drysuit and no air in the wing it would be okay.
    The LT Bluewater is very similar however it has less lift, and the harness is even simpler (more minimalist) which is great however it does take slightly longer to set up.
    XT is a great system. It's extremely easy to use and adjust and it has a 'one size fits all' approach. Not as comfy as a highly adjusted rig such as the LTX but very very close. It has heaps of lift and still keeps quite streamlined when fully inflated and the wing has baffles to control where the air inflates the wing which is nice if your only diving one stage. Cons? Slightly bulky and its not a 'dedicated' sm system. All the sm divers in my local area dive the XT, like ALL of them. It's quite weird to see actually.
    I'm hoping to dive and love the stealth or razor and break the trend :) also I'm getting into cave so a minimalist rig is my proffered option.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  5. tiki_bill

    tiki_bill Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Chicago
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    I keep hearing this beach ball effect in the Razor. Yeah, if you fully inflate the thing it's gonna be a ball. But why would you? I mean, we're talking aluminum 80's here. Even with 2 stages I'm not close to fully inflating that wing. What am I missing?
     
  6. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
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    I think this is more common when compensating for larger tanks/steels. I'm thankful for the baffles in my wing, no issues.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  7. scuba127

    scuba127 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Urbandale Iowa
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    I've heard there's a Stealth coming out with smaller wing for aluminum tanks w/wing attached. Does anyone know if this is true and, if so, when it might be available? Sorry for the hijack and thanks in advance.
     
  8. tiki_bill

    tiki_bill Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Chicago
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    On the left is the Razor (45 lbs lift) and the Stealth is on the right (37 lbs lift). Both are fully inflated. As you can see, the Razor has a slightly taller profile due to having larger lift capacity. If you shed 8 lbs of gas from it to equal the Stealth's 37 lbs, it would be safe to assume they would both be the same height.

    IMG_3832.jpg
     
    Razorista likes this.
  9. Mike.D

    Mike.D DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
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    Tiki_bill, which wing and system do YOU prefer to dive with and why?


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  10. tiki_bill

    tiki_bill Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Chicago
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    It depends on the dive I'm doing. I have 5 different setups that I choose from.
     

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