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SMS100 vs Nomad XT

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by Teller, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Teller

    Teller Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Harker Heights, Texas, United States
    1,075
    208
    0
    Just wondering if anyone has opinions about the differences between these two systems. I found a better deal on the Hollis but I see alot more talk about the Nomad. The only differences I could find was the lift on the Nomad was 60 lbs and I think its adjustable and the the lift on the Hollis is 52 lbs. If the picture is correct the Hollis doesnt have any hip d-rings unlike the Nomad. Thats not a big deal to me though, easy fix. I plan to use it just for SM but I would like the option of double BM even though I am sure a BP/W would be better for that. Any opinions.
     
  2. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    8,872
    1,004
    113
    I've had both systems in the water. Neither system is ideal out of the box, but I do prefer the Nomad because the issues I have with it are a lot easier to modify than the issues with the SMS100. One of the main issues I have with the SMS100 is the webbing they use on the harness. It is very soft and doesn't provide much support. It would do fine for backmount, but sidemounted cylinders pull to the side and in the SMS100 that means the soft webbing also pulls to the side. There's no way to replace the webbing without a major modification of the system. The shoulder pads are sewn into the webbing, so replacement would require cutting all that off and attaching stronger webbing with an industrial sewing machine. Unless you happen to have one of those in your workshop, you're now talking added expense. I'm also not fond of the shoulder strap routing on the harness. While it is the same as webbing routing on a backplate rig, it's not ideal for sidemount. It offers less stability with heavier cylinders and, if you keep your backup lights stored on your shoulder straps, they will be trapped between your ribs and the cylinder valves. The rails on the buttplate (actually harness since the buttplate and harness are one piece on the SMS100) are also too close together for me. I'm pretty flexible and can easily do valve drills in backmounted doubles, but I had difficulty attaching the bottom of my cylinders to the rails on the SMS100. All of these issues can be modified, but you'll end up spending more money and a lot of time to make them.
     
  3. Teller

    Teller Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Harker Heights, Texas, United States
    1,075
    208
    0
    Thanks...Is the XT worth the extra money over the EXP?
     
  4. CWSWine

    CWSWine Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manhattan, Kansas
    210
    29
    0
    First I would like to say that Dive-Aholic has about 1000 times more experience in diving/sidemount diving then I do. I have about 50 dives in side mount but have form some opinions of my own and that is all they are.

    I had just the opposite experience with the EXP Nomad but I will have to admit that I only had about 6 dives on the EXP. First I had to ditch my Hollis F1 fins in favor of lighter fins and even then I had to put 4 lbs weight up on the shoulder harness to maintain forward trim. I didn’t like EXP’s one piece system where the wing was part of the BC. The Hollis to me was more stable water and just seem to feel better overall and no weights on the shoulders straps. My instructor has set up Hollis SM100 wing on razor type harness (just purchased the similar style plates) for travel and diving with AL80 and I tried it few back weeks back and I’m sold. Have not tried the system with steel tanks yet. It looks like if we want butt plate we could attach Dive Rite butt plate on waist belt but haven’t verified if that would work yet. I do like the light harness and the versatility or the Hollis System. Check out Sidemount Equipment (tips and tricks) - Steve Martin Sidemount Diving - Course Director PADI TecRec Side Mount Scuba Diving scroll down the page and you will see the basic system we have done minus most of the weight pockets.
     
  5. CWSWine

    CWSWine Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manhattan, Kansas
    210
    29
    0
    I know this is a Nomad / Hollis thread but I did purchase a Z-System (minus the manifold system) from UTD and I love it also. Light weight and will be great for travel, lift around your butt where you need it, low profile, well built, and blast to dive. Works great with AL80 but only has 20lbs lift so I not sure how well it would work with heavy steel tanks.
     
  6. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    8,872
    1,004
    113
    The EXP has it's place, but it's a single piece system all sewn together. The XT, as well as the plain Nomad, is modular. The wing, harness, and butt plate are all separate pieces that can be replaced individually. My wing will be the first thing I replace. The difference in the XT is the material the wing is made of. It is a more durable material made to stand up to more abuse. I will likely get an XT wing when I replace mine. That being said, I currently have an original Nomad (there was no XT when I bought mine) and I have over 500 dives in it with many in small passage in which the wing is subjected to lots of abuse. I probably won't have to replace it for another 200-300 dives.
     
    Jax and CamG like this.
  7. Teller

    Teller Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Harker Heights, Texas, United States
    1,075
    208
    0
    Is it common to thread weights on your shoulder straps? Can it be done on both the XT and the EXP? Is it common to need lighter fins. I use SP Jet Fins, I know they are on the heavy side.
     
  8. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    8,872
    1,004
    113
    Yes, it is common. In sidemount you are moving the cylinders down and offsetting the balance. This often causes your feet to drop. Some will compensate if they are diving a dry suit by putting more air in the feet. Personally, I'd rather have a little trim weight than rely on extra air in my suit. It is fairly easy to thread trim weights on all the Nomads, the SMS100, and the Recon. You can also put weight pockets on the back of the rig and drop weights into them. That way you can travel lighter.

    Your Jets will bee too heavy. If you want to stay with the same style, look at the OMS Slipstreams. Another good fin is the Dive Rite model.
     
  9. CWSWine

    CWSWine Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manhattan, Kansas
    210
    29
    0
    Dive-aholic

    Using the SMS100 in either a 7 mil Henderson wetsuit or Evo 2 drysuit I have never had to put weight on the harness. When I compare my Hollis to the EXP the wing the Hollis wing was longer allowing more more lift lower down plus being a donut style wing. In the wetsuit my kit was Henderson wetsuit, Henderson drysuit hood, Henderson 5 Mil Gloves, 2 LP LP85, Hollis Fins and the Hollis SM100 and no added weight.
     
  10. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    8,872
    1,004
    113
    I'm not saying that everyone needs trim weights. There are no absolutes.

    Do you have a photo or video? I'd like to see what you look like in the water. What LP85s are you using and to what pressure?
     

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