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Backplate Webbing

Discussion in 'Deep Sea Supply' started by Slym, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. BurBunny

    BurBunny Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Delray Beach, FL
    Early on with my DSS rig, I switched to Halcyon webbing, and haven't looked back. Haven't found the Halcyon to soften to the point where donning/doffing, even in water, to be any issue at all. No problems with stretching after the initial few dives - everything stays right where I put it, dive after dive.

    The DSS was just a bit too stiff based on my body shape. Being a curvy woman, needed things to bend a bit more easily to be optimally comfy.
    rongoodman likes this.
  2. Ouvea

    Ouvea Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: San Jose, CA, USA
    Zef, what do you mean by this? Are you referring to the one piece webbing vs a multi-piece harness, such as the Dive Rite Transplate? Each are quite different and offer different benefits to the individual user. Referring strictly to cost effectiveness and simplicity, you can't beat the one piece webbing. The placement of the D-Rings, the length of the straps (shoulder/waist) and their ratios will vary based on the shape of the diver and the diver's range of motion.
  3. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    What I mean by that is that the tech diving community (e.g. DIR, GUE, etc) have a doctrine of standardization of equipment. Each diver throughout the organization they are a member of in the tech community will match the others in their organization, with rare exception, down to the number and placement of d-rings and position of gear on their harness and body. Their mentality towards gear seems to be based on keeping things simple and familiar, and also based on what works in the environments they expect to find themselves diving in (e.g. caves, penetrated wrecks, deep diving etc.). These divers have a functional necessity to thoroughly know their gear as well as their partners/team mates. When things go wrong at the depths or in the environments they routinely dive in is not the time to figure out how their partner's power inflator works. Tech diving requires a familiarity with one's own equipment and their partner's beyond that of what is covered by a simple buddy check. There is little room for individuality or personal preference in this paradigm.

    On the other hand, there are those, myself included, who consider themelves non-tech recreational divers, but borrow ideas from that community. Divers in this group are free to set up their rig anyway they choose. If one finds a one piece webbing harness comfortable and want to dive with it that is great, if they then decide they want fancier articulating shoulder straps with padding and and quick release buckles then that is fine too. There is no doctrine in this group that inhibits or prevents complete customization along the lines of one's personal preference and/or comfort level.

    As a personal example:
    I dove a jacket type BC until last season. I take really good care of my gear, but despite this the flange of the inflator separated from the BC material. Unfortunately there was no safe way to repair this. I posted on scubaboard asking for advice and also called DSS and DGX, as well as visited my LDS...the echoing sentiment was that any repair that I made would be a risk for continued use. It pained me at first because the rest of my BC was in great condition but totally unusable as a piece of kit. I decided to purchase a BP/W. I was talked into going with a simple 1-piece hogarthian style harness (if I was to do it again I would probably purchase something like the transplate harness due to some upper back and shoulder problems and for more comfort going to from the water). My mentality is that I wanted a simple rig that was durable, modular, and affordable so that if any one part of it deteriorated or broke I could replace that piece without having to scrap the entire setup. This just makes sense to me. Another thing that makes sense to me is the primary donate setup from tech diving but I have no reason to dive with a 5 foot or 7 foot hose. I used the BP/W purchase and setup to change my reg configuration and put my octo on a short hose and my primary 2nd stage on 40" hose that goes under my right arm. I added a 90 degree adapter for comfort. I dive a single back mounted tank with a single first stage attached to the valve. I have no intention of becoming a "tech" diver, as the risk/reward calculus is not appealing to me after 23 years of diving...but I have no qualms against capitalizing on things that tech divers do that make good sense and are easily adapted/incorporated into the style of diving that I enjoy.

    For those divers that share a similar mentality towards gear, the paradigm is about what works for the individual. Customize and play around with your setup until you are happy with it....if that means you start with a hogarthian harness setup but end up with a 10 d-rings on each shoulder strap because you think it looks cool, or like the idea of any and all your accessories having their own place to hang from then so be it. The idea, outside the realm of tech diving, is to explore and find your personal comfort zone.

    I hope that clarifies things for you.

    Last edited: May 15, 2018
    Matt England, DeepSeaPirate and Ouvea like this.
  4. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    As a follow-up to my last post, here are some lessons learned after diving with a BP/W for a year:

    1. No matter how much research you do, you will never be as educated about what you intend to by as you are after you complete the purchase.

    2. A 1-piece harness makes sense from a simplicity standpoint. But setting up a harness so that it fits "just right" is a wopping pain in the ass, especially for the first time BP/W purchaser. The idea of stripping the webbing off of my harness to try something else is a bit loathsome given the effort it took to set up.

    3. Also it is much easier to swallow the financial cost of the more expensive fancier harness and switch to the simpler webing design than the other way around....at least that is the way things roll in my household.

    4. I went with simple neoprene covers on my shoulder straps (Dive Rite BP/W, 1-piece hogarthian harness, with 2-inch wide crotch strap)...these neoprene shoulder pads DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AND ARE A COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY. They barely stay in place and most of the time just bunch up but you cant feel it due to the thickness of a wetsuit or the thickness of the drysuit undergarments. Save your money and don't bother with these.

    5. I am very happy with my Dive Rite Voyager XT wing...I especially like the lifetime guarantee offered by Dive Rite on their XT series of gear...but after I bought my setup I became even more aware at the market offerings. If I could make my purchase again I would lean towards a DSS plate and wing....I like the way DSS wings can be mounted/unmounted without having to unthread the cam bands.

    6. If you are setting up a BP/Wing for the 1st time, don't forget to put the "keepers" (inner tube pieces) on your shoulder straps before you finish threading the webbing through the BP and adjusting the position of d-rings and such.

    7. a 1 to 1.5 inch crotch strap is more than enough if you are not using a DSV. I find the 2-inch wide crotch strap to be noticeable enough that It bothers me.

    8. quick release add-on style pockets seemed like a good idea but are kind of unnecessary. To mount them in a position where you can easily manipulate the removable pocket part with the weight in it, the pockets need to be far enough forward that it eats up real estate on the waist belt and messes up the position of the d-rings, or is so far back that it is difficult to insert the weight pocket into the mounted holster. A simple weight belt is far more functional and gets the extra weight off your back/shoulders and puts it on your hips instead.

    9. Use tailors chalk or something similar to mark the placements on your webbing as you make changes. This greatly facilitates getting things back in place if you have to unthread it for any reason (see #6 above).

    10. I bought a 35lb lift wing against the recommendation of the good folks at DGX (they recommended their 25lb lift rig)....while I don't have any major regrets doing this, I totally understand their recommendation now...35lbs of lift is more than I need.

    11. different companies backplates are different thicknesses....a thicker plate, especially the stainless steel variety equals more weight on your center of mass and less need to carry additional lead....this is good to know if you are going to purchase a BP/W and not dive dive doubles.

    12. If you have back problems, consider a side mount setup from the start, as a BP/W for all of its benefits and comfort in the water, does not reduce the amount of weight you will be carrying nor the overall strain on your back. This past weekend I was diving in Zeeland Netherlands and the walk from the car to the water was long and really put a strain on my already messed up upper back. I have spent the last 2 evenings researching how I can incorporate my existing setup into a side-mount system. I wish I had explored side mount as an option last year.

    Those are my biggest takeaways from my 1st year diving a BP/W. I hope this info is useful to others out there. Mods, feel free to move this post to somewhere more beneficial if you think it appropriate.

    My apologies for the thread hi-jack.

    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    hilljo88, melloyello and Ouvea like this.
  5. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    2. the key to that is to use a piece of fabric chalk the tailors use. Strike through all of the d-rings, and the points where the webbing crosses over on the harness. When you take the first piece of webbing out, lay it against the new one and transpose the chalk marks over. It will be set up how the first one is. If you decide to go back, the first piece still has the chalk on it to make putting everything back easier.

    4. the crotch strap one helps quite a bit with suit abrasion, but agreed on the shoulders

    6. I still botch that one and curse myself when I have to undo the left side because I hate threading belt buckles

    8. BINGO!!! been saying that for years. With the big ss plates, you shouldn't need more than 2 weights and it's easier to deal with a belt than pockets

    9. jynx since I was going through this in order

    11. most of them are pretty close to the same thickness, but the delta is usually less than a pound. They're all pretty much 4.5-5.5lbs unless you have a short or a long one. Couple exceptions, but they're all pretty close. Which ones did you see that were different enough to note?

    12. if that's a major problem for you, you may well qualify for a transplate. The problem with going sidemount is you have to rely on a cart of some variety to wheel stuff down and that isn't always practical. The transplate is designed to transfer the load to the hips like a hiking pack and you may well be a candidate for that. John has Red and Blue in a bunch of sizes, though the sizes are basically just the length of the shoulder pads. I would urge you to get one of those and some sort of back pad for the backplate to shift all the weight down to your hips and off of your shoulders. A proper fitting one-piece harness can start to do that, but isn't nearly as comfortable. With upper back problems, the $80 for one of those is probably a worthwhile gamble
    Large - Dive Rite Transplate Harness - Red -Large

    the "doctrine of standardization" you talked about is really a small group of the tech community. The rest of us that end up diving with most of the stuff in the same place is just because it also happens to make the most sense. I deviate on several things and most all of my buddies do as well, but the base configuration is that good. We don't care what is in what pocket where, we don't all have the same primary canister cord routing, some of us don't have steak knifes on our left side waist strap, etc. That said, the sidemount and CCR side of tech diving have botched just about everything in standardization since they are all so personal.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
    Zef and Ouvea like this.
  6. DeepSeaPirate

    DeepSeaPirate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Planning my next vacay
    Can you take a photo showing what you mean by this?
  7. Zef

    Zef Divemaster


    Some/many BP/W users will use cross section pieces, cut from a bicycle innertube, on their shoulder straps to keep their backup torches or other accessories from dangling. Sometimes its not innertube material but instead a loop made from neoprene. Divers who prefer to not cut the excess webbing of their harness will sometimes use one of these cross section pieces on the waistbelt to keep the tail of the harness from flapping around. Some kits come with these pieces and some don't.

    You have to put these pieces on before you thread the webbing through the bottom of the back plate to form the waist straps, waist d-ring(s) and buckle, otherwise you will need to undo all of that to slide the pieces onto the shoulder straps, which can be a pain in the arse, especially if one has really stiff webbing that is difficult to thread/unthread from the tri-glides and backplate.

    When I first set up my harness, I thought I would simply thread the webbing through the back plate and check the fit and then add d-rings and such and adjust.....After checking the fit, I reallized that I just wasted a bunch of time and effort as I now had to remove the harness to thread everything on the harness. I had to do it again to put the inner tube pieces on because I had forgotten to slide them on.

    In my opinion it is best to put a couple of extra on each side in the event that one breaks you won't have take your harness apart to replace it.

    Here is a photo I pulled from google images to give you a visual:


  8. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    Just a quick update about the shoulder pads....

    My shoulder pads are just the simple neoprene sleeves that Dive Rite markets. I had to make changes to my harness shoulder strap section length due to a change from wetsuit to drysuit. I used this partial harness unthreading opportunity to pull about an inch or so of the neoprene sleeve through the slot at the top of the backplate that the webbing passes through. This has worked well over the past couple of weeks to keep the neoprene sleeves from bunching up on the shoulder strap.

    I am still not sold on the effectiveness of these neoprene sleeve type shoulder pads, but since I have them I figured I would continue to use them if I could get them to work and not continue to bunch up....so far so good.

  9. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    One item I noticed is that the large o ring is around the inflator hose and the corrugated hose. I use bungee but only run the inflator hose through it. Not the corrugated one. Allows the hose to be raised and keeps the inflator where I want it.
    rhwestfall likes this.
  10. Schwob

    Schwob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Illinois
    Helpful thread. Thanks.

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