Scubapro Sidemount - initial impressions

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babycover

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Hi, I'm about to purchase this sidemount rig. This would be my first sidemount rig. Would you recommend this sidemount for a wreck (deco and stage bottle)without any mod? ( as I never dive sidemount before, just tried once in the pool - borrowed the same rig from my buddy)
How is this in comparison with Hollis75 ? Hog? Dive Rite?
In Melbourne, we dive 12L faber steel tank with drysuit. So i figure 45lb of lift is minimum requirement
 

James R

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I think they all have their pros and cons...I have dove all in your list except the HOG. If (when) I dive mine with Faber FX100 tanks in a 5mm, it's a pretty full bladder to float me and the tanks -- I am negative with only one of them in a wetsuit 5mm or smaller (don't have a 7mm or thicker). In a drysuit, it works really well with two.
 
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It's a lot more streamlined and compact than a Dive Rite Nomad, and the weight options (removable strap down the spine) are better than the SMS100. It turtles a lot less than the Manta sidemount system, so in the big picture of 45-50 pound lift systems it compares quite well.

It's not as minimalist or quite as low profile as 25-35 pound systems, but that's an artifact of the lift and isn't a valid comparison - at least with the 45 pound wing.

----

Would I recommend it without mods?

Well maybe.

Swapping it over to a loop bungee system takes all of 5 minutes and results in no permanent changes, and while it dives about as well as any other rig with a standard bungee system, like every other rig, the tanks ride better, higher and cleaner if you use a loop bungee.

Similarly, the heavier perimeter bungee is an easy swap and helps reduce the turtle shall effect when the wing is full.

Moving the pull knob for the rear dump is a little more involved, but still in the DIY range - and you can still reach back, run your thumb under the wing and activate the pull cord much like you would pull the knob in the stock configuration - except it's always in exactly the same place and is easier to find.
 
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It's working quite well with my KISS Sidekick with an LP 85. It trims very well for an aft. It also uses less weight (3 pounds) for lateral trim than my other sidemount systems to compensate for the buoyancy difference between a nearly full LP85 and a Sidekick at minimum loop volume.

It's still trapping air just a bit, but that's not an issue with the LP 85 for bailout.

It does require just a bit of head down trim to dump when ascending in horizontal trim. It's mildly irritating, but so far after 3 days and about 10 hours it's not a deal breaker.

It slides through restrictions quite nicely - equally well as my Manta and not very far off from my much smaller SMS 50.
 
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They are different approaches to the same problem - carrying multiple tanks in a side mount system. The X-Deep basically uses 2 small reinforced fabric plates (between the shoulder blades and lower back) connected by webbing.

One possible negative, depending on how you are built, is that it uses a V harness design, but with the small "plate" over the lower back the shoulder straps attach to the plate above the waist and it can be a little restrictive long your sides and shoulders. You could probably convert it to an H harness configuration by getting a suitable set of plates or offset D-rings and moving the shoulder strap attachment points to the waist belt. but it'll then clutter up the waist belt a bit and compete for D-ring space.

The center mounted dump is very flexible, but it also creates a bit of a flat spot on the bottom of the wing. I'd want to back out of a few snug restrictions before I determined whether or not it was an issue.

Also, if you like your tanks to ride fairly high, you end up reaching over your tanks to reach the rear dump, and it might be a bit of a stretch. it'll depend on where the wing rides on you and your arm and torso proportions.

The inflator connection too the wing is external but well protected as it essentially ends up on the side of the wing. However, it leaves a lot of trapped gas - just as bad as the inflator on the Scubapro sidemount wing, which makes the rear dump much more critical, while being harder to re-route to a shoulder D-ring for either hand operation.

I know it's the "in" thing right now, but I've been diving with someone with a X-Deep Stealth 2.0 all week and while it's not bad looking in the water for a 40 is pound wing, it doesn't really offer any significant advantage over the Scubapro, performance wise. I was a bit surprised by that.

If you're more of a tail plate fan, you'll be happier with the Scubapro, and if you're more of a minimalist, clip to the was it belt kind of side mount diver, you'll prefer the X-Deep 2.0. Both have enough lift for multiple tank dives.

The Stealth 2.0 offers a redundant bladder option, so that might have appeal for technical side mount diver who also dives wet, but from a pure sidemount perspective redundant bladder wings are always a trade off - significantly more bulk and complexity on every dive for a capability that you'll probably never use. I have dual bladder Nomad that sees near zero use for that reason.
 
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I ordered a 25 pound wing and took it for a spin on my most recent cave diving trip to N. Florida.

The first dive was in Orange Grove, since I had no idea if it would even work with an LP 85 and my sidemount rebreather - but after about 5 minutes in the water I headed up the mainline and put a total of 24 hours on it over the course of the week. It worked very well with the rebreather, and after a dry suit failure on the last dive day of the trip, i found that it had adequate lift to float me in my 5mm wet suit.

The caveats:

1) I used the same pull dump modification that I used on the 45 pound wing - the exact same one, I just swapped the business end of the pull dump when I swapped the wings.

2) Similarly, I used the same heavier perimeter bungee, and of course the same loop bungees on the harness.

3) I actually put the silly top cover back on when using the 25 pound wing, as Scuabpro in it's infinite wisdom did not make the webbing and grommet at the top of the wing long enough to wrap over the top of the wing. So in effect, without the streamlining effect of the cover, it lets the front of the wing stick up, which wasn't good. The good news is that I didn't encounter any major issues in the Mud Tunnel at Little River, in Rocky Horror at Madison, in the Wormhole and Harry's crack at Ginnie or in any of the smaller tunnels we played in at P1, P2 and P3 at Peacock. the one minor issue was one of the velcro tabs coming loose after moving through a tight restriction. It's going to get a snaps added to each of the tabs in addition to the velcro to make them more secure.
 

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I made most of the same mods a while ago, and finally got a few dives with it over the last couple weeks. Thanks again for the ground-work.
  • I didn't modify the pull dump yet, but still might.
  • I left the piano key inflator in place, but it's coming off before I dive it again. I put on a longer corrugated hose so I can attach the snap to my right d-ring, which puts the inflator button in a position that air can be added inadvertently, which happened twice in the last dive I did the other day.
  • The XDeep large d-rings on the waist band work great for me.
  • The chest strap mod is a huge benefit, especially with heavy tanks (Faber FX100).
I am going to change the bungees to loop soon, but not exactly sure how I want to set that up. Thoughts?

I am still not totally happy with it, but it works pretty well. It's very light and packs really flat, so it'll go to Roatan later in the fall for a bunch of dives.

Best,
 

mddolson

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Excellent write up. Appreciate you taking the time, to detail your mods. Thanks for sharing.
 
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I made most of the same mods a while ago, and finally got a few dives with it over the last couple weeks. Thanks again for the ground-work.
  • I didn't modify the pull dump yet, but still might.
  • I left the piano key inflator in place, but it's coming off before I dive it again. I put on a longer corrugated hose so I can attach the snap to my right d-ring, which puts the inflator button in a position that air can be added inadvertently, which happened twice in the last dive I did the other day.
  • The XDeep large d-rings on the waist band work great for me.
  • The chest strap mod is a huge benefit, especially with heavy tanks (Faber FX100).
I am going to change the bungees to loop soon, but not exactly sure how I want to set that up. Thoughts?

I am still not totally happy with it, but it works pretty well. It's very light and packs really flat, so it'll go to Roatan later in the fall for a bunch of dives.

Best,

I changed my routing slightly to allow the bungee to be free floating from side to side. However that was designed to allow me to carry my Sidekick higher on the side than I could otherwise. Essentially I clip the CCR on the right side, and then once I am in the water, I pull the free floating side of the loop until all the slack is out of it (and I can feel the rebreather pull fully up into position). This extra length on the tank side then makes it a little easier to loop the bungee over the tank knob, without needing extra length in the bungee.
 
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