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Horse Collar Recommendation?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by kablooey, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. kablooey

    kablooey Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: So California
    I'm hoping for a basic horse collar recommendation?
    Make, model, source?
    (New, not vintage).
    I'm diving a Voit double hose with a backpack.
  2. Fish&beer

    Fish&beer Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Roseville, CA
    My suggestion would be to look on Ebait and find one in good condition. I believe SEATEC is the only one being produced currently. But are only being sold to Law enforcement and military. I use a SEATEC on occasion I got thru a ebay vender that bought a bunch from military surplus. Here is a newer one, Aquatech but IMO is overpriced.

    AQUATEC Horse Collar 2 Bladder BCD BC-002 Buoyancy Compensator Scuba Diving | eBay
    kablooey likes this.
  3. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Northeast USA
    I like my black SEATEC Sunfish. The dive shop had it on the rack.
    kablooey and Fish&beer like this.
  4. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    SEATAC are usually in good condition but avoid the older US Divers ones. The internal bladders were very prone to becoming brittle and unserviceable even though the shell looked fine.

    That said, unless you just want a horse collar, I would suggest a VDH back plate and a wing. They are designed for DH diving and I much prefer them to a HC.
    couv likes this.
  5. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower
    Agree. More comfortable, more versatile.

    Even with a back pack a wing is more comfortable than a horse collar-not a suitable as a plate designed for DH diving, but works well. I'll try to attach pictures of a backpack I just sold. The wing, which I still have, is one of Bryan's and I can highly recommend it. It's also less expensive than the horse collar in the link above.

    Aquacraft backpack with VDH wing   back.jpg

    Aquacraft backpack with VDH wing   front.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018 at 11:24 PM
    kablooey likes this.
  6. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    Also, the blown packs like the one Couv shows are not the best for DH diving. Reg position is important when diving a DH reg and those place the reg too far off the back and tend to not allow the reg to be low enough. If you are using an old school back pack is should be the thin single layer ones like the USD Kam-EZ or similar.
  7. kablooey

    kablooey Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: So California
    Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.

    First of all, I'm not an expert on DH.

    I already own, and use, the VDH back plate made specifically for DH. It's the one with the semicircular cut-out. I use it as a backpack, without a wing, and I like it a lot.
    I also have a couple of plastic backpacks, similar to the one in the photo above. I've made about one-hundred fifty dives with backpacks using modern regulators.

    I also already own the Argonaut #18 wing, which I plan to use as a travel wing with my standard backplates and modern regulators.
    It's a beautiful compact wing, and look forward to making my first dives with it soon.

    Here's my problem:
    My Voit DH is an early model.
    I've made about twenty dives with it, backpack style sans buoyancy.
    It does not have an LP port. In fact, it has no ports at all.
    I use a Dacor cylinder valve with a built in HP port for my SPG.
    So, a wing requiring an LP inflator doesn't work for me.

    A "banjo" is only HP, correct?

    I talked at length with a vintage gear dude at the historical diving booth at the Long Beach Scuba Show, and the only solution he had for me was to use a horse collar if I wanted to add a buoyancy device.

    Hence my request for a recommendation for a horse collar.

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018 at 8:03 AM
  8. James79

    James79 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: U.S.
    Is there any reason you can't use the vdh wing as strictly oral inflate? Maybe put a rubber cap on the lp connection to protect the inflator valve?
  9. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    The horse collars also requires a LP inflator or you will have to orally inflate it unless you get a Frenzy (brand/model of a vintage horse collar which came with a small tank and regulator). They are fairly rare, esp if the tank is with it. So unless you just want a HC, you might as well just orally inflate the wing . Swim vest similar to the modern snorkel vest were also used some but again, you have to orally inflate it. I suspect that is what the guy you talked to was thinking about.

    The Banjo is strictly HP so it's no help. Also, unless your reg has a long yoke, it will not work. You must have the later long yoke for a banjo to fit.....some regs were retrofitted with the long yoke back in the day so it's possible but unlikely. There are reproductions available so it's still possible to replace it.

    Another option is to get a small first stage (the Healthways Scuba Star is perfect) and the smallest pony bottle you can find and use them as an aux LP air supply. That is basically what the Frenzy did.

    Which Voit do you have?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM
    kablooey likes this.
  10. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    You can orally inflate a wing just as easily as a horse collar.

    We have one friend that that dives an Argonaut Kraken and he often wears a wing with his VDH plate, but he never uses an LP hose for the inflator. He doesn’t think an LP inflator is worth the hassle of one extra hose.

    The Fenzy has a small high pressure air cylinder, but no regulator. The diver just opens the valve slowly to control the amount of air into the horse collar.

    If you look at my avatar you will see a pictures from the early 70’s with my old Fenzy and the second picture is from about 15 years ago (with a different Fenzy). My old Fenzy is tired and it leaks now.

    Note: the Fenzy in the two pictures in the avatar is not the same, but the Royal Aqua Master regulator and the Farallon snorkel is the same.

    I agree with the suggestions to use a wing instead of a horse collar. All horse collars will put some air behind your neck (the highest point) and not only affect your trim, but some will actually even push a bit on the back of your neck. The Fenzy in particular has a huge volume of air behind the neck. I always thought it was great for surface flotation, but awful as a BC. When I started using the Fenzy, there were no actual good BC available, so I didn’t know any better.

    If you still want a horse collar, I would recommend a Seatech or similar (with small volume behind the neck).

    A Fenzy would be expensive and a terrible BC… but the cool factor is its only redeeming value. Don’t ask me why it is cool… it just is. It was the first to have any air source.

    Note: The Fenzy in the two pictures is not the same one, but the Royal Aqua Master regulator and the Farallon snorkel is the same.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018 at 8:17 PM
    kablooey likes this.

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