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Why the uncomfortable inflexible straps on BP/W and other gear?

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by 2airishuman, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. 2airishuman

    2airishuman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greater Minnesota
    I was pondering my kit today. It's been five years since I threaded the one-piece webbing harness through my backplate. I used the very stiff, single-layer nylon strapping that is widely used and recommended for the purpose, and have for five years endured having it cut into my shoulders while carrying my rig to and from dive sites on shore.

    Exactly why do we use this stuff? Soft, tubular nylon webbing is available and has more than ample strength. I don't see how there are any safety benefits or practical reasons to use such a stiff material.
    Martijn and Chavodel8en like this.
  2. Chavodel8en

    Chavodel8en Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oakland, CA
    Plus the stiff webbing is difficult to make adjustments.

    I dont see why more flexible webbing isnt an option.
  3. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Woof! ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    the soft/flimsy stuff is a little more difficult to get in and out of... Also the resin in the stiff stuff makes for it to potentially last longer. The flimsy stuff also seems to slip a bunch more in hardware.

    FWIW - I put "non-floaty" shoulder pads on my rig to reduce "cut in"......

    yeah, I'll probably die...

    eleniel, rob.mwpropane and garyh like this.
  4. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    It was all cotton webbing before the mid-1960. I have tried the soft nylon webbing and it is hard to get in an out of... too limp when wet. It may be a reasonable compromise when you don't need any thermal protection.
    RayfromTX likes this.
  5. lowwall

    lowwall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
    Stiffer webbing is easier to don and doff.

    Of course it is. Just buy some and thread it on. Setting it up the way you want is one of the big advantages of the BP/W.
  6. lexvil

    lexvil ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    I use the medium stiffness stuff so it packs well, the do make simple shoulder pads, I have a set of Zeagle which Velcro on but don’t bother using them.
  7. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    3 reasons, in reverse order of importance
    1. The stiffer webbing makes donning and doffing much easier since the shoulder straps somewhat hold their shape
    2. The resin impregnated webbing has a memory which allows slide locks and the harness slots to hold without sliding *think how easy a seatbelt adjuster slides on the thin webbing.
    3. MOST importantly for a safety reason. When thin webbing is put under tension, it collapses across the width. This causes point pressure areas at the edges of the webbing and does not allow for it to distribute weight evenly. When carrying gear on the surface, this has the potential to restrict circulation in the shoulders and cause all sorts of issues to the diver. Narrower webbing is less prone to this than wider webbing, but 1" webbing is really uncomfortable. This is a design parameter when we design the webbing for tourniquets and all sorts of other things, but this is ultimately the most important reason why you need/want to use the thicker webbing for the main part of the harness. The crotch strap is a different story and some people choose to use seatbelt style webbing but that only serves to give you a wedgie at the surface so I use the same webbing.

    If the really stiff edges of the webbing are cutting/chafing because you're bareback, then put a neoprene sleeve on there to reduce the abrasion, but going to softer webbing will only cause you more problems.
  8. RayfromTX

    RayfromTX Student Of Gas Mixology Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hill Country of Central TX
    The soft stuff slips in the plate and doesn't hold your adjustment well. It also doesn't hold its shape so is less convenient to don and doff.
    rongoodman likes this.
  9. rongoodman

    rongoodman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Albany, NY
    Try the stuff Halcyon sells. Stiff enough to get into easily, but still comfortable, even in a T-shirt.
    swimlikethefish and StefinSB like this.
  10. swimlikethefish

    swimlikethefish Divemaster

    Agreed. It's the only big H thing I buy.

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