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Help a Newbie out with some gear advice

Discussion in 'DIR' started by GARuther, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. GARuther

    GARuther Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Rockville, MD
    Dear DIR Divers,
    I am fairly new to diving - been in the water about a year and a few months. I have just over 50 dives under by belt, including a fair number of wrecks (no penetration, of course). I am very interested in DIR diving, and so are two of my more experienced dive buddies. I am talking to an instructor about doing a GUE Primer course and then fundamentals etc... I bought all of my gear when I started diving, and as you can imagine, some of it is DIR compatible, while much of it needs to be replaced.
    I want to get some basic stuff asap, so I can start getting used to it before my course in September. I am starting with a backplate, harness and wing system. I know that Halcyon is considered the king of the heap, and I can see why from a design and quality standpoint. My question is are there any other good brands I should consider? I know that DiveRite, for example, does what looks like the exact same configuration as the Halcyon Eclipse system for about $500 instead of the nearly $800 price of the Halcyon. Is there a big reason not to consider this rig or others in that price range that have the same basic design? I hope this isn't a stupid question. Also, how do DIR divers usually address the need to drop weights? I know that minimal weight is a key part of DIR, but does that mean you're stuck with the weight you splash with?
    Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. rivers

    rivers PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Bristol, UK
    Also look at hog gear. I use a hog wing and regs. I've got about 5 weeks until I take fundies...
  3. stargost

    stargost DIR Practitioner

    there are many brands and options. I guess all good. Most of the time, everyone prefers the one he/she uses ;-)
    As you mentioned Halcyon, and show concern about price, one option is to just by the wing and make a harness using other cheaper brand, or by a used one. A plate (no brand or on ebay) can be found ~50$, and you can make a harness for less than 20$. But then you wont be able to have the halcyon cinch, if this is of interest.
    For Halcyon and Dive Rite, both requires a Single Tank Adaptor, which has pros and cons, depending on personal preference. But also both have special type of corrugated hose that is good too (while again, it's personal choice)

    Depending on your size, type of diving exposure (dry or wet), some brands/config might have some advantages.

    Some plates (Hollis, DSS, other)and some wings (oxycheq, other) have multiple holes to adjust the rig. it might help .. or not and makes things more confusing ....

    If you have money, Halcyon is a likely safe bet, if you dont Hog is indeed ! And you have everything in between !

    So, it's a mess, but it's fun and you'll learn a lot. Talk to as many people as possible to see what they think, especially in your local diving area.

    Good luck!
  4. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    There are lots of brands of gear that work, but one thing I would caution you is to talk to your Fundies instructor before you purchase anything. Some instructors have some extremely strong opinions about what's acceptable (whether those opinions are valid or not) and it's not a good idea to show up with something your particular instructor considers bad gear.

    That said, what you look at depends a little bit on what you are going to do with it. If you are primarily doing warm water diving, DSS has the kydex plate and two choices of small wings which are very nice for travel. If you mostly dive single tanks, you might want to focus primarily on brands that have the tank stabilizer built into the wing, so you don't have to use an STA. If you are going back and forth between single tanks and doubles, though, an STA makes that a lot easier, since all you have to do is unbolt the adapter, and not unthread and rethread cambands (most of us just give up and buy another plate, anyway :) ). Be aware that some brands of wing may have features you DON'T want, like my Deep Outdoors wings that come with a corrugated inflator hose long enough to tie knots in. The bottom line for me is that Halcyon is a good brand making good quality equipment, but I have never felt that the gear merited the premium price point, with a few specific exceptions, like their SMB.

    As far as weights go, you will talk about that in class, but it comes down to diving what's called a "balanced rig". What this means is that, in the event of a complete failure of your wing (which is rare), you can swim the rig up from the bottom. For wetsuit divers, this means paying a great deal of attention to the tanks you are using, because big, negative tanks can easily land you in a situation where you are too negative to get yourself off the bottom. Dry suit divers have a built in redundant buoyancy option.

    If you match your tanks carefully to the exposure protection and the depths you are diving, you should not need to ditch weight.
  5. kanonfodr

    kanonfodr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, Wa
    If you're located in Rockville, are you planning on taking your classes from Bob Sherwood? If so, I would definitely talk to Bob (and probably talk to him anyways) as he is exceptionally knowledgeable about the DIR configuration and dive gear in general (as I found out a few weekend ago upon my first real chat with him).


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