I like to butt mount my primary light for sidemount diving. Smaller lights can be mounted on the waist, but I want easy access to my light. All of our lights now come standard with a Quick Belt Mount. This gives a quick mounting solution by slipping the QB Mount through the crotch strap on the back of the Nomad. The light will have some movement, but not the same amount of play you get with quick links.
Now I can just reach back and remove the light if I get into something small and just move it to my waist. It’s a small thing, but a great solution. VIDEO: Sidemount Diving: Quick Belt Mount For Primary Lights
The JT is totally different from the other Nomads. We addressed some requests from cave divers. The over pressure valve with pull string dump (OPV) is not on the neck, but on the under side so it’s protected from the ceiling of caves. It can’t be ripped off going thru a restriction and locating it on the underside helps keep water out. It won’t stop it, if you pull on it and air doesn’t come out immediately then water is going in, it’s just physics. We also put an OPV on both sides of the bottom of the bladder to take advantage of the 360 flow thru on the bottom. Talking to some explorer buddies they got themselves into some situations where the ability to dump from either side was a good thing because of stage bottles or an awkward restriction.
The corrugated hose and inflator is positioned above the waist belt so it doesn’t interfere with the waist belt and d rings.
The problem with switching the OPV and inflator on a standard wing or Nomad is the inflator assembly has to come up from below the waist belt so there is some congestion at the belt area and by removing the OPV from the bottom of the bladder has created some stressful situations for divers in a head first vertical restriction. By locating the OPV on the bottom and top we can move the inflator assembly to a more convenient location on the under side of the wing.
The Nomad JT was designed for the cave diver and the features are designed for the overhead, sidemount environment. It doesn’t have the flexibility of diving alternate tank configurations, but it sure is fun to dive. VIDEO: Nomad JT Inflator Placement
When I am out diving I see all types of rigging on sidemount bottles. None are a surprise to me because they are all something I have done before: the clip and hose clamp or the carabineer and cam strap. Over the years my thoughts for rigging have changed. Basically every bottle I own could be a stage bottle or a sidemount bottle. I travel around the world and need to carry my bottle rigging with me so I wanted an easy way to do this. It all came together with the ring bungee system.
I need a standard stage strap, webbing or rope, doesn’t matter. The key is the neck clip has to be on the curve of bottle neck so the gate of the clip lays up against the neck of the cylinder and the choker goes around the valve and thru the gate to hold it up tight against the neck. This keeps the cylinder close to the body. The only way to mount the clip on the curve of the cylinder is to use a standard stage rig.
I rig my bottles with a stage strap with a 2″ cam strap for the mid bottle attachment so I can take the rig off a set of bottles at home when I travel. The stage strap set up ensures the mid bottle clip is in the same place every time I set it up. This can be everyday when I travel.
If your worried about the bulk on a webbing stage strap, just slide the plastic handle off the webbing. I prefer to keep it on the rig because people will offer to carry a bottle for you if it looks like it has a handle. VIDEO: Stage Strap Tank Mounting System
When I was in the Dominican Republic teaching rebreather this summer, I had to get creative and make some sidemount bungees for the guys I was diving with. They liked the way I sidemounted my bailout, but I didn’t have more bungees on hand for them. I improvised a solution only to find I like it better than what we had.
The new bungee is 5/16 diameter and makes a loop with the terminating end taking a quick link to attach to a backplate while the loop end can loop through a ring or go over a cylinder valve. One bungee works for both styles of carrying bottles and the smaller diameter cord has more stretch so it can pull the bottle a little tighter under the arm.
Necessity is the mother of invention. The new 5/16 D-ring Loop Bungee have detachable hardware so a spare is cheap and you can get creative. VIDEO: Sidemount Diving: 2012 Daisy Chain Loop Bungees
Over the years I have done numerous sidemount clinics. My first was in 1984. The number one issue always seems to be trimming out heavy legs. When you clip bottles to your hips, butt mount a primary light, add reels on the butt plate and then dive a wetsuit it becomes work to trim out. Adding weight to the shoulders seems like an easy solution, yet it requires a number of practice dives with a specific set up since cylinder size and exposure protection are a factor in determining the amount of lead needed. Change any of these and the amount of weight needed can change.
I wanted a more flexible solution to weight, one that can travel with you and adjust to changes in equipment configuration. After getting your rig trimmed out with steel cylinders and a drysuit you change to a wetsuit and aluminum cylinders and you once again need to trim out with a different set of shoulder weights. Divers want an easy first dive solution. After the JT launched I got many request for a solution to heavy legs so after a few prototypes I came up with a pillow that mounts under the buttplate with 10 pounds of lift. I was amazed at how well it worked. One of my concerns was control of the lift in the pillow; I found I could fully inflate it and forget about it. With only 10 pounds of lift it didn’t affect my buoyancy on ascents. The Trim Inflation Pillow comes standard with a 12″ hose and elbow with a 15″ inflator hose to come up on the right side opposite your BC but the OPV is on the left so you can flip them if you want. VIDEO: Sidemount & Rebreather Trim Inflation Pillow
It will do the job on the very first dive and give you flexibility to change your gear set up as well.