• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

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
    728
    68
    28
    One of the things that I do not understand about the 'high profile' discussion is why it should matter??

    It does not even look that bad...but it certainly is not a problem anywhere.
    In open water it is much smaller than any normal backmounted contraption.
    In restrictions the wing can be squeezed and easily deformed, and also emptied and filled again when free.

    I like my 'beachball' :wink:
     
    tiki_bill likes this.
  2. tiki_bill

    tiki_bill Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Chicago
    141
    37
    28
    I think both rigs are good and it all comes down to personal preference.

    I use the Stealth wing with a harness where the webbing drops down to the front like the Hollis 75 or HOG. It's a good place to mount your backup lights. This is what I use in cold water/steels/drysuit and Florida caves. For some reason I don't like all the bungees on the Stealth wing. But that's just me. If I were to do it over I would have probably just have bought the Hollis 75 or the HOG for the uses above. It's almost the same thing anyway. Oh..I use loop bungees here.

    Cave diving in wetsuit I use the Razor exclusively. Very minimalistic and most comfortable. Continuous bungee most of the time.

    For screwing around in warm open water with only two aluminums I love my DECO setup. You can check it out here: DECO - Dive Equipment Company - Sidemount - BCD's You can't get more simple than that and for an awesome deal. Continuous bungee.

    Golem Gear Armadillo is nice. I've had that for some time but feel there's not enough lift around the hip area. Loop bungees.
     
    Poseidon Alpha likes this.
  3. MSargeant

    MSargeant Nassau Grouper

    165
    46
    28
    Not sure why the comparison to Backmount systems... they're bulky regardless of wings because there are cylinders there...
     
  4. jvanostrand

    jvanostrand Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    69
    52
    18
    I have put about 300 cold water, dry suit, HP steel tank dives on my Razor 2. All my friends dive Nomad XTs and some have lately switched to SMS75s.

    Everyone, including myself altered our harnesses to some degree. The XTs used Edd's old school kit and swapped inflater/dump. I swapped the DAPs and d-rings on my Razor, picked up the 2.1 wing attachment tri-glide, added an old-school kit, and ditched the T-weight system in favour of a single strap bolted to the wing and clamped to the lumbar strap with a weight belt buckle.

    The biggest problem I see with an XT is the butt plate. Not only does it make sitting difficult but it makes clipping tanks while sitting difficult (something we do a lot on great lake charters.) The SMS 75 removes the butt plate and looks like a good upgrade.

    I have not done much tech diving with it (maybe 40 dives) but I didn't have significant problems.

    My list of peeves about the Razor are not enough for me to swap it out but they are:

    - When changing thermal protection options (e.g. dry suit to 3mm) I tend not to adjust the harness. So on a dry suit it's tight on a 3mm it's loose. I've also rarely had the bottom wing bungee set right despite trying. I think it slides itself.
    - The fanny-pack is very handy but you have to remember it's there before sitting down or you might break something in it, in a dry suit I just use the DS pockets.
    - The t-weight system was too cumbersome to change weights easily. I might do a cold water dive on the weekend and want to do a warm water quarry dive on Tuesday. This is why I replaced the t-weight with a custom solution that also solved the bulkiness of the t-weight lumbar strap system.
    - The crotch strap runs from the delta shoulder plate (at the shoulders) through the mini back plate (at the waist). Changing the length (e.g. due to thermal protection changes) meant changing it at these two points. It was also cumbersome so I opted to bolt a new strap to the delta shoulder plate, stlll run it through the mini b/p and make a loop at the end with a tri-glide.This makes it easier to modify.

    I'm still a fan of the razor, but I have to admit the SMS75 had me contemplating.
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  5. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
    728
    68
    28
    To what are you comparing sidemount then?
    It is an improvement over the backmount situation.
    It can probably be improved even further, but not with out sacrificing some of the maximum buoyancy the wing can offer - at least I do not know of a system that is an improvement without sacrifice.

    I squeezed my Razor through 'training restrictions' that I cannot get through without squeezing even when dry without the drysuit and the Razor.
    I have to take one arm backward when under water to get the shoulders through anyway a lot of times with the empty drysuit and can dump the air from the wing, squeeze through and inflate again.
    When taking both arms forward I can grab onto something with on hand, dump the air from the wing with the other and pull myself into the opening afterwards.

    I do not want to try to 'show off' or anything.
    I just do not see the problem and nobody in the discussions ever seems to be able to explain the reasoning why a few soft inches of deformable material more or less should matter at all after getting rid of the backmounted tanks.
    I would be more concerned about shoulder padding and unnecessary clutter at the front and side of the hips and shoulders than a 'user resizable' object at the most ideal position to ignore it.
     
  6. DutchHarborDiver

    DutchHarborDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dutch Harbor, Alaska
    5
    0
    1
    What did you end up with? I'm in Alaska looking at the hollis 75, 100, and a couple others. Drysuit diving with aluminium 80s mostly.
     
  7. jvanostrand

    jvanostrand Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    69
    52
    18
    Cold water diving is often very different than warm water diving. It doesn't have to be, but many cold water divers use dry suits, steel tanks, and sometimes larger tanks. These gear choices mean the harness needs certain requirements. Of course a cold water diver could choose to use a wet suit and AL tanks which would mitigate some of the additional harness requirements. Here is how a harness needs to respond to typical cold water diver choices:

    1. Cold water diving requires lots of insulation. More insulation means more lead. Steel tanks, especially HP steels, can reduce the amount of lead needed because the tanks are much more negative than ALs. With AL tanks divers often need lots of lead so the harness needs to be able to allow that much lead and be flexible enough to distribute properly for ideal trim.
    2. Dry suits can lose their buoyancy. A zipper failure or neck seal rupture can flood a dry suit eliminating a lot of lift, this is less so in a crushed neo suit than a shell suit. A failed inflator could mean not being able to inflate the suit. There are ways to deal with these issues but they aren't taught. This means you need some back-up buoyancy in your wing. A harness with less than 20lbs of lift might not have enough lift for such a situation. Add up all your non-ditchable negatively buyoant items, subtract all your positive items that can't lose buoyancy (factor some crush into a wet suit) and make sure your wing has enough lift. Consider all the equipment you might use in a dive, like stage/deco bottles too. Search for "balanced rig" for a better description of this calculation.
    3. Steel tanks don't float so you won't need to re-clip tanks. It also means that it may be harder to get tank trim. So things like a continuous tank bungee don't work as well as loop bungees. It may also mean that bungee lengths are shorter and with the restricted movement in thick suits you might have trouble reaching the bungees.

    Most of these things have work-arounds for just about any harness. It's easy to add lead to harness straps using a bungee, or adding a weight-plate or weight pouches. The Razor can accepts lots of lead and is a very flexible at placement. If the harness has a thin continuous bungee replace it with a thicker loop and maybe lower where it attaches to the shoulder harness so you can reach it.

    I do about 150 cold water dives in sidemount with others who sidemount. I dive a razor with some slight mods. My friends usually dive SMS75s with mods. The SMS75 adjusts easier and is more streamlined when the wing is very inflated. The razor is more streamlined when normally inflated and it's much more configurable and lighter for travel, on the down side it's hard to configure.
     
  8. DutchHarborDiver

    DutchHarborDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dutch Harbor, Alaska
    5
    0
    1
    Thanks for the info! I'm part of a dive club that has only aluminium tanks. I have a couple steel 133s but will use the aluminium 80s for the most part. I'm looking at purchasing tank wieghts sp they will work better side mount.
     
  9. jvanostrand

    jvanostrand Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    69
    52
    18
    I've tried several methods of dealing with AL tanks in sidemount. I've tried weight on tanks, torsion, extra bungees, extra clips and the winner is re-clipping. It's really easy to re-clip when a tank gets a little low. If you have an American style harness, like an SMS 75, you'd want to make sure the rails like up longitudinally with the d-rings on the front of the belt so when you re-clip the tank doesn't shift.
     
  10. DutchHarborDiver

    DutchHarborDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dutch Harbor, Alaska
    5
    0
    1
    Any chance of seeing the mods your sms75 friends have?
     

Share This Page