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Sidemount gear configuration practices - 4 questions

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by Colliam7, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    NWGratefulDiver’s recent thread discussing, ‘what should be taught in a sidemount class at the recreational level’ spawned a number of related, but tangential to the original premise, comments about gear configuration. Some of the questions about sidemount gear configuration seemed to ask, ‘What is the standard . . .?’, or ‘Why isn’t . . . the standard?’ Several of these comments spurred my curiosity, but I don’t want to further hijack Bob’s thread. And, several other recent threads have addressed particular questions about rigging, such as Maxime Thiery-Lavoie’s post about using parachute cord, a quick link and a double ender for the top cylinder attachment, and kelemvor’s question about bottom bolt snaps.

    I do, and teach, certain things related to SM gear configuration that I think are ‘better’, if not standard. But, I value the fact that diving a sidemount gear configuration offers considerable flexibility and freedom. And, while I don’t want to open a can of worms, replicate existing threads, etc., I am now more curious about the preferences of SM divers on SB in relation to 4 specific aspects of gear configuration, and the ‘standard’ or at least the most common approaches beyond my own insular world. So, I would like to know – what do others do (and why, if you choose to share your thoughts) with specific regard to 4 specific areas:

    1. Second stage regulator hose lengths – do you dive a long hose on one side, and a short hose (e.g. on a bungee necklace) on the other? If so, on which side do you place your long hose, and what ‘long’ hose length do you use? Or, do you dive 2 long hoses?

    2. Second stage hose adapters - do you use an adapter on your second stage hoses, such as a 70 degree angle adapter, a 90 degree angle adapter, or a 360 degree swivel adapter? If so, do you use them on both, or only one hose?

    3. Cylinder attachment methods – do you use a standard deco / stage bottle rigging kit, or something else? If something else, what do you use for the top at bottom attachment points? Do you use a fixed bottom attachment (e.g. a metal hose clamp), or do you use a cam band?

    4. Cylinder valve position – do you position the aperture (opening) of your valves so that they face into your body? Away from your body? At a 90 degree angle to your body (e.g. facing in, toward the opposing cylinder valve opening)?

    This may turn out to be an exercise in futility. But, I am interested in gauging the diversity of certain aspects of sidemount gear configurations. (I also recognize that practices will be influenced by primary dive environment, so feel free to add that to your comments, if you wish.) Thanks in advance.
    exposure, kelemvor and TTPaws like this.
  2. str8dum

    str8dum Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: raleigh
    what I have
    1. 26" or 30" short hose on the left with a necklace, 5' hose on the right with a snap bolt.
    2 90* adapters on both hoses
    3. bottom: highland quick release cam band, triglide with extra large snap bolt using paracord.
    top: medium snap bolt with paracord around tank valve for clipping off out of water. standard floating loop bungee hugs tanks close underwater
    4. I just use rental tanks for now, so one handle faces in the other out.
  3. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    Thanks for the quick reply. A follow-up. I understand the positioning of the valves, given that you are using rental tanks with (presumably) only right hand valves. But, do the openings face toward your body (i.e. the first stage is against your body), or away from your body - you can achieve either orientation with a pair of right hand valves.
  4. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    1. I use a 30" hose on my left cylinder, with second stage on a necklace, and a 7-foot hose on my right cylinder, with a breakaway boltsnap to clip it to my right shoulder-strap D-ring when not in use.
    2. I do not use, or need, any angled or swiveled hose adapters.
    3. My rigging uses cam bands for the bottom attachment and a simple bolt snap with a loop around the tank neck for the upper attachment. I use two pieces of tire inner tube for stowing hoses, and another one slipped over the cam band to prevent it from snagging on something and accidentally coming upen.
    4. Cylinder valve is facing up, handles out, putting the regulators in close to my body and the handles out where I can most easily reach them.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  5. Scott

    Scott ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    1. I use a 26 inch hose on my left cylinder, routing under my arm, across my chest and using a 90 degree adapter to the second stage. This second could be configured to have the hose attached on the left side, I just haven't done it.
    Right cylinder, I use a 7 foot hose with a breakaway bolt snap clipped to my right shoulder D-ring.

    2. As mentioned above I have a 90 degree on my left post second. If I utilized the option of changing the side my hose attaches to the second stage I could possibly remove the 90.

    3. Bottom attachments are cam bands with a weight keeper and cord sandwiched under the webbing. Nylon cord is tied to a bolt snap.
    Depending on cylinders used or situation I have a "safety" choker made of nylon cord that goes around the cylinder neck and is attached to a bolt snap, which is attached to a D-ring. Loop bungees around the valve.
    One set of cylinders I use 2 sections of inner tube for securing the long hose. The other set I have 1/4" bungees around cylinder to hold the long hose.

    4. Valve opening facing up, handles out.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  6. 00wabbit

    00wabbit Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Anywhere,USA
    Disclaimer. I've only done 4 sidemount dives so far.

    1. Short hose on left with bungee, long hose (7ft) on right.
    2. 90 angle on short hose but I will probably add on to the right as well.
    3. Using nomad ring bungee system on my sms100. Stage strap setup on tanks with cambands for lower attachment. Chocked around neck of tank to keep clip close to tank. I've been very happy with this system for rec use. Just clip in the tanks and dive. No need to secure an additional bungee after clipping and after the dive you can walk right out of the water with a metal to metal attachment supporting the tanks.
    4. Because of ring bungee set up. Cylinder opening faces down. I have the valves handles to the inside but I may change to outside.

    5. Another consideration I think is Spg config. I started with Spgs pointing up on short hoses like lollipops. I changed so they went down the tank and laid against the tank and I can bend them up to check pressure. I found on a recent night dive thought that bending them up and shining my light on them while holding a camera was a little bit difficult so I will probably change them back to point up like lollipops again.
  7. a878bob

    a878bob Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Michigan
    1. 28" right, around the neck to necklace, 7' left, down and up in the tank bungie, around the neck, with a bolt snap.

    2. 70 degree angles on both.

    3. Stage bottle rigging with hose clamps, big bolt snaps.

    4. R and L modular valves, aperture in, handles out.

    5. SPG's down on 9" hoses.

    This is is the right way you know ; )
  8. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver

    1. short hose bungeed on left. 7' long hose on right, on a bolt snap, excess stowed in UWLD tank bands
    2. omniswivels on both, but I had them on my backmount singles rig as well
    3. Loop+butterfly up top, bottom depends on setup. Home is wormscrews/webbing with knotted loop/butterfly on bottom. Travel setup is camband/triglide setup.
    4. Regs away from me, handles out. VERY tempted to switch that, though, so first stages face in.
    5. SPGs up on 6" hoses. VERY tempted to switch that, though, to 6" hoses along the tank.
    Pete Hoefsloot likes this.
  9. Maxime-Thierry Lavoie

    Maxime-Thierry Lavoie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    1. I use a 26-inch short hose on my left tank and a 7 foot long hose on my right tank.

    2. I use one fixed (no swivel) 90 degree adapter on my short (left) hose. No adapter on the right long hose. That way, even if narced and confused, I can tell by feel which is in my mouth at any moment.

    3. For the bottom, I use a metal hose clamp. For the tank neck I use this method I'm currently trying out / trying to perfect.

    4. I have the cylinder valves facing my chest so that the top of my reg is pointing inwards (I have Apeks XTX50s that have a top port on which I mount the hoses for the inflator and dry suit and I want them to point inwards and run along my chest).

    5. SPGs facing down along the tank.


    6. You could extend your question to add "What type of bungee system do you use (looped, ring, 2x standard or continuous standard)?" To that I would answer that I use a lopped bungee.
  10. Keith.M

    Keith.M PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Loomis, CA US
    Great discussion Colliam7 and all.

    From someone who has yet to try sidemount, it would be nice to see some pictures to bring it all together.
    shoredivr likes this.

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