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Backplate Harnesses: Which one and why?

Discussion in 'Hogarthian Diving' started by scubajunkee, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. scubajunkee

    scubajunkee Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Jose, CA
    415
    2
    18
    Hi there,

    I decided to get a backplate and wing system. I see there are many different harnesses available on the market and need help in deciding which is best for the type of diving I do. I dive weekly in cold water here in Monterey, CA. I wear a drysuit, but at times will use my 7mm wetsuit. I'm usually taking photographs, sight seeing and occasionally spearfishing.

    My dive buddies who are of the DIR persuasion says one continuous webbing is the way to go. I have another friend who dives the OMS harness with the single shoulder buckle to ease in getting in and out of his rig. I've also researched other backplate harnesses such as: the DiveRite Transplate harness, Deep Outdoors Freedom, Deep Sea Supply's Pro-Fit harness and OMS's IQ Pack.

    Can some of you chime in on which ones you've tried, what you've liked and disliked about it? Maybe provide some good pros and cons of these harnesses vs. the one-piece continuous webbing?

    Any info would greatly be appreciated.

    ~ Da' Scuba Junkee
     
  2. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    73,229
    57,259
    113
    I have tried the standard one-piece harness, the Dive Rite TransPlate harness, and the Deep Sea Supply Pro-Fit harness.

    Personally, I prefer the standard one-piece ... primarily because it's the easiest to accommodate how I configure my gear, and because it's the least expensive to replace.

    Of the three, the closest to a traditional BCD harness is the DSS Pro-Fit. It uses very soft (and comfortable) webbing and molded hardware that make clipping accessories to your harness very easy. However, the soft webbing also precludes the possibility of using integrated weight pockets, and the quick-release buckle on the waist strap preclude the possibility for a harness-mount if you use a canister light.

    The Dive Rite TransPlate harness is a step closer to a traditional harness, in that the waist strap uses a standard metal buckle that you can remove for mounting a can light and/or weight pockets. It uses standard keepers and D-rings, although they are permanently mounted inside stitched portions of the strap, so they're not removable ... and limited in terms of how much adjustment you can make to them.

    Both the Pro-Fit and TransPlate harnesses are multiple pieces, and the biggest downside I see to them is that they're reasonably expensive to replace.

    The standard harness is the simplest and least expensive. Some claim it's less comfortable, but I think it's more a matter of what you're used to. Both the Pro-Fit and TransPlate harnesses come with a sternum strap that pulls the shoulder straps in closer to your neck, and for some that may increase the comfort level ... it did for me till I got used to the feel of the standard harness.

    The advantages of the standard harness is that it's very adjustable ... you can move hardware basically anywhere you please ... and it's cheap to replace. Just remove the old harness, take the hardware bits off and replace the webbing. Typical cost is about $15, and it takes about a half-hour to replace. You can buy webbing anywhere, so there's no need to place an order and wait for it to arrive.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  3. pete340

    pete340 Barracuda

    292
    0
    16
    I've never had a problem getting in and out of my continuous webbing rig. However, the other guy in my Rescue Diver class had trouble getting me out of it.
     
  4. bedmund

    bedmund Solo Diver

    190
    1
    0
    I've only ever used a one-piece harness. I wanted to go as minimal as possible and Bob is right. It's cheap to put together and replace when necessary. I haven't had any trouble getting in or out of it - but I think the key here is to get the right webbing. If there's some stiffness to it, like weight belt webbing, that helps alot.

    -Bill
     
  5. Tavi

    Tavi NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rochester, NY
    3,604
    3
    38
    I have a Dive-Rite Transpac II and 3 Standard 1 piece harnesses. I really hate the velcro on the shoulder straps of the Transpac harness, it's always coming undone and it's not easy to put back in. I really like my one piece harnesses. The transpac only gets used for pool classes now.
     
  6. MSilvia

    MSilvia Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
    4,745
    16
    38
    I agree with Tavi about the shoulder velcro on the TP. I gave mine up for a standard single piece of webbing, and have since had no reason to ever wish I had something different.
     
  7. scubajunkee

    scubajunkee Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Jose, CA
    415
    2
    18
    I just finished my rescue class this past weekend and thought about the ease of getting out of my bc and getting my victim out of his or her bc. What I've noticed is that the buckles do help in the removal during a rescue scenario. I did find I had a hard time getting out of my bc when it was cinched down tight (wearing 6mm gloves and give rescue breaths at the same time). I had snap buckles, but couldn't get out until after struggling for quite some time.

    I see everyone's points about the one piece webbing, but am still worried about getting out of my rig in a rescue, or self-rescue situation.

    Ericson
     
  8. Tavi

    Tavi NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rochester, NY
    3,604
    3
    38
    If it's a real rescue, you just cut them out.
     
  9. detroit diver

    detroit diver Great White

    3,410
    5
    0
    Not an issue. That's one of the reasons to carry a knife.

    You can't do it well in a class for obvious reasons, but a knife will cut the harness webbing very quickly when needed.
     
  10. MSilvia

    MSilvia Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
    4,745
    16
    38
    Bingo... it may be a pain when practicing (which will make you more proficient anyhow), but when the real caca hits the real fan don't take "hard to do" for an answer. A quick swipe with a good cutting tool, and the extraction's done.
     

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