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New to sidemount, looking for advice.

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by MrBigfins, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. MrBigfins

    MrBigfins Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Pittsburgh Pa
    347
    152
    43
    So due to my gas consumption, back and knee problems, and overall desire to switch; I am moving into sidemount diving. I recently had the opportunity to crash 1 day of someone else's sidemount course and I loved it. Let me preface the next questions with the statement that I intend to take sidemount training once I have determined what setup I want and purchase all of it. The rigging I used during the class isn't what I would want, but it was last minute and we made due with what was available.

    So I will be using (already have) diverite nomad xt harness and Apex xt50 reg set with 1 short bungied necklace and 1 long hose. Lp 85 tanks and the biggest question I can't answer despite copius amounts of reading is what tank rigging to use. In class I used both a stage bottle style rigging and bungied neck and band style. I seemed to prefer the have stage style, but I felt like the backs of the tanks were riding too low. Anyone have recommendations on what route to go with this harness? Particular brands, ways to make the tail end of the tanks ride higher? Any overall tips as a beginner in this configuration? Thanks in advance
     
  2. grantctobin

    grantctobin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago
    149
    28
    28
    Different cylinder attachment options is something your sidemount instructor or mentor should be covering.

    Short answer:

    Add loop bungees (also called armadillo or old school bungees) to the harness

    Attach a large bolt snap or butterfly clip on a short (as short as possible) paracord leash to your cylinder using a standard hose clamp. It is useful to use a cam band during initial setup to find the appropriate height of the clip. Once ascertained, switch to a hose clamp (or two, as done by some posters on this board for redundancy).
     
  3. MrBigfins

    MrBigfins Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Pittsburgh Pa
    347
    152
    43
    My experience with the instructor was actually a try me kind of experience, I just picked out that it coincided with an actual sidemount class. The different types of attachments were covered, and I actually got to dive with both types. I feel like I preferred the dive rite bungie clips, but the ease of transport etc was nice of the stage bottle style setup. I'm trying to get my gear setup as complete as possible before I take the sidemount course so that I am learning on and adjusting my own equipment during the course.
    Are most people making their own tank harnesses or purchasing prefab units? I like the idea of the cam band for initial adjustments until it is dialed in.
     
  4. grantctobin

    grantctobin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago
    149
    28
    28
    I’m pretty opposed to the ring bungee system and believe that it causes far more problems than it solves. You need neither a “stage strap” nor a top clip. You can add a paracord loop around the top of the cylinder and use a double ender to attach to a chest d ring prior to climbing a boat ladder in heavy seas but it does not support the cylinder under the water.

    Ultimate Guide to Sidemount Cylinder Trim %

    How to find the Optimal Height for Sidemount Cylinder Bands %

    How To Set Up Sidemount Loop Bungees %
     
    MichaelMc likes this.
  5. MrBigfins

    MrBigfins Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Pittsburgh Pa
    347
    152
    43
    Thanks for the links and opinion.
     
  6. Charles Graves

    Charles Graves Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Washington, DC
    47
    15
    8
    Go to Mexico and call CenotExperience. I went there, cheap as hell, dived a bunch of amazing freaking cenotes, and for only about $100 a day, I was able to get 2-3 dives in with this amazing dude. I forget his name, short Mexican guy who was skinny but very muscular/cut. They’ll be able to get you him. His name I think was Carlos but I’m not positive.

    Anyway he completely helped me rig everything that I needed.

    but I do recommend you get the ring bungee system, I think it’s called that.

    I’m not great with names of the stuff, all I know is that he hooked me up and now all of my sidemount gear is properly aligned to my height and frame and now all I need to do is just put it on and it fits perfectly and my trim is perfect too.
     
    MrBigfins likes this.
  7. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,116
    2,817
    113
    It's almost impossible to have a SM gear config work right out of the box.

    Your precise config depends so much on the type of diving your going to be doing and tanks you're using;

    As an example, mine is setup for travel. So my slings use cambands and I can just turn up at a shop, grab any two tanks, throw my slings on and go.

    After experimentation, I found that ring bungees worked best for me, with most of my divign off boats. I can easily (and quickly) gear up on the deck, walk about if necessary or just roll in. I can either remove tanks in the water and hand them up, or climb a ladder just as easily.

    To get this config I needed to experiment first to work out what was best for me.

    The next stage is fine tuning; For this you really do need an experienced and knowledgeable SM instructor (or diver) in the water. Little things like the size of rear bolt snaps, the way its attached, the placements for clipping off your cylinder's rear attachment the distance between each bolt snap, can have a big impact of it's final position with regard to trim of the cylinder.

    I've spent much time underwater, hovering motionless, while an experienced SM person makes minor adjustments underwater (which we then make more permanent on the surface before we try again. My rig isn't perfect - there are so many variables in rental tank buoyancy characteristics, so I adopt a good enough compromise between in water trim and the practical use on my rig (ease of clipping tanks on and off without assistance)

    At the end of the day, my rig is just gear that enables me to be underwater. My gear suits my diving not the other way around
     
  8. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    764
    1,110
    93
    Such type of the buckles could help to attach bottom carabine to higher position:
    prjazhki-2-dring-jpg.525337.jpg
    place it on the crotch belt, just under waist belt.

    I use also such buckle, made from two similar side-D-ring buckles:
    Minimal diving harness
    s-2766-jpg.457269.jpg

    If this attach is too short - you can use doublesided carabines.
    upload_2019-11-6_14-8-36.png
     
    MrBigfins likes this.
  9. _Ralph

    _Ralph Barracuda

    461
    180
    43
    I use a stripped down version of the Nomad LT (1pc continuous webbing - no fancy straps, just 3 regular d rings - chest and left hip)

    I used the loop bungee, but with mounting my bottles and boat/mountain shorelines, moved over to the ring bungee system.

    I use a regular stage kit on my tanks, just rotated 180deg so the regulator faces down.

    I also moved the attachment point of the ring bungee to the wing further away (ie past center) for more stretch in the bungee for attaching (the rings sit right at the edge of the wing, up by the back of my shoulder) to get the tanks up high enough. This also required adding another SS quick link to the system.

    _R
     
    MrBigfins likes this.
  10. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    744
    570
    93
    I dive Razor Sidemount and I went to Cancun to train with Geraldine Solignac in the cenotes for 3 days. Everyone has their favorite system, but i have to say it was hands down the best instruction I have received in any format.
     
    MrBigfins likes this.

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