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Pony as regular equipment for all dives?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by BradMM, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. Doby45

    Doby45 Do I have something in my teeth?

    The Hog D1 is basically the Apeks DST. I do not detune mine for cold and it is fine. I concur with @chrisch, I don't think the diaphragm regs are affected in the same way a piston reg is.
  2. Coztick

    Coztick Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    Thanks guys, that's what I was hoping.
    My only issues have been my own fault.
    Like dipping the second in, mouthpiece up, vent. Assist on..
  3. Michael Guerrero

    Michael Guerrero Solo Diver

    As I'm sure has probably been said, you're talking about both a "pony" bottle and a "stage" bottle, which have different purposes.

    The pony bottle is for emergencies, running out of air (which you should never do it a planned, controlled dive) and the stage bottle is for adding bottom time.

    Some will tell you that you shouldn't mix the two, but it really depends on the dive. I like having redundancy, and if I bring a pony on a dive that I can easily perform an emergency ascent from, I wouldn't think twice about using it to extend my bottom time.

    However, if I'm doing a challenging dive (which pony's really aren't suited for anyway), I would keep my pony in reserve. As you gain experience you'll better learn how to judge/differentiate the two.
    markmud likes this.
  4. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives.

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hello All,

    I dive with a pony all the time. When I am with a buddy, it is usually a 6 cf bottle. When I am solo I dive with a 13 cf pony. I have suffered reg failure issues underwater.
    Caveat Emptor:
    1. I am not an overhead, cave, or wreck penetrator diver.
    2. I don't dive solo in currents or poor vis;
    3. I usually don't dive deeper than 80 feet while solo;
    4. I don't do staged decompression (certified for it--just don't do it);
    5. Just a Sunday morning fair-weather diver.
    I like to have a small pony while buddy diving so I don't have to hold my breath (in case of another reg failure) while chasing down an SOB (wife) or instabuddy, or a "see-ya-later" buddy.

    Call me lazy and/or phobic because on both counts you are correct.

    By the way, my SAC is around .5 on so-so days and less than that on good days (marginally less). You know, first one in the water and last one back aboard the boat.

    I say dive with a pony all the time unless you are diving isolated doubles or Tech diving (with a trained reliable buddy).

    Take it from a former tug boat captain, redundancy is the key to life on the ocean. Don't let any land-lubber wanna-be tell you otherwise.

  5. SoloMonkey

    SoloMonkey Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hertfordshire United Kingdom
    I believe that in the HM armed forces BSAC clubs, that Pony gear is standard setup for all dives these days.
    A lot of us who dive BSAC in the UK will dive as standard on H valve singles and then this makes for an easy transition to Ponies/Twins when the chance presents itself.

    I.e. The DIY Twindypendent being a popular choice for the overseas travelling solo diver.


    Solo Monkey
    markmud likes this.
  6. Dive_medic

    Dive_medic Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Canada
    The debate really is if you are a single tank and octopus rigged diver. This arrangement offers no redundancy and is not suited to solo diving. An additional source is needed. The term "pony" generally means a small (often too small) tank back mounted. That is why I like the term bailout better. Bailout is to bail you out in moments of need. A back mounted small tank can - under some circumstances - be adequate and indeed ideal for solo explorations. Ice diving is a really good example of this. The diver should IMHO remove the octopus as it is not needed - there is no buddy to donate to. If you have a gas issue swap to the bailout - ideally necklaced so you cannot lose it.

    The problem comes when you combine a bailout with an octopus and an buddy that might not be familiar with such configurations. You can invert the bailout and run the AAS from it, removing the second 2nd stage (octopus) from the primary regulator. This gives the best of all worlds. The valve can be accessed to turn off the bailout in a free flow, the AAS is available for the buddy as usual and the diver can self-rescue with the bailout. I would recommend this configuration to anyone wanting to have a standardised approach to both buddy and solo diving (such as a DM).

    Here is my Question,

    As a relatively new diver 30-40 dives in looking to go Solo EVENTUALLY,

    I dive SSBP/w long hose with neklace,

    If I was to run a single HP 100-120 with a pony, are you saying to ditch my necklace from the HP tank, and have my necklace connected to the "pony" tank so I would still only have 2 regs instead of 3?
  7. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    First, it is your rig and your choice, so do your research and decide. With a long hose and necklace I would probably go to doubles and skip the pony.

    I usually leave my rig in its normal configuration, 40" with bungeed backup, and sling my pony with its second bungeed to the tank. This will leave more options in an emergency with a buddy, especially if he needs more gas to ascend than the pony provides.

    If I was diving solo with a pony, there is no reason for a bungeed backup and the pony reg could replace it. Diving solo without a pony, I sometimes use only one second stage as I did when I started diving.

    It all depends upon your objective and what emergencies you are planning for.

    JBFG, markmud and scubadada like this.
  8. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives.

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hi dive_medic,

    Where did you get your two leading paragraphs--I assume you are quoting someone?

    I like his/her point about calling a pony bottle a "bailout" when it is only for performing a direct ascent to the surface. No searching for the anchor line, no retracing your kicks u/w while swimming for your point of origin, and no safety stop or staged decompression. A dead vertical ascent to the surface while maintaining a prescribed and safe ascent rate.

    Bailout bottle sounds better and is more realistic.

    If you choose his/her detailed rig (in the second paragraph), I would use a pony bottle and not a "bailout" bottle. Other people will not have trained for "bailout" bottle ascents and may be panicked. They may need more gas than a trained "bailout" bottle diver needs.

    I would sling the pony with its second stage bungeed to the pony bottle. You can use it, or you can hand the entire rig off. You can keep the gas off as the valve is at your left chest.

    Even if you give your buddy your long hose primary, and you take your "bailout" second stage, you may use more gas because you are managing two divers and not just one. On good days, dealing with buddies can get complicated...on bad days it can be worse.

    Bob DBF likes this.
  9. Dive_medic

    Dive_medic Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Canada
    Mark that makes alot of sense,

    and Yes i did quote an above poster, sorry I am pretty new to SB
    markmud likes this.
  10. Flashx45

    Flashx45 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Southern California
    I'm a California diver (not great vis, currents/surge, and relatively cold) who half the time must dive with insta-buddies. I carry a 6 cu ft pony as part of my risk management plan with diving. It's small enough that it's easy to carry. I simply like the redundancy. I've heard the arguments against it, but for me, most of them do not apply. I flew USAF jets for 20 years that had ejection seats available as a last resort "letdown." I don't think I was careless with fuel management due to having the ejection seat, and I'm pretty sure I never flew more carelessly because of the crutch of an ejection seat. But it was there in case something that was out of my control occured. Fortunately, I never needed it, and hopefully I'll never need the pony when diving. But I'm glad it's there!

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