October 8th, 2012
As I am out in the field diving, I listen and watch divers and was seeing more and more divers add weight on the shoulders of their sidemount rigs to trim out, regardless of the manufacturer. A properly balanced system shouldn’t require weight on the shoulders. Depending on how the weight is attached it is never a solution that looks like it was made to order, but rather an afterthought. If you weave weight onto the shoulder straps it becomes an almost permanent solution and is balanced against a set of heavy cylinders. When you change to lighter cylinders the shoulder weight requirements change as well if you want the same effect. When you travel it’s a given the weight is going to stay at home so you have to get the rental weight on the rig. This is where pockets come into play so you can vary the weight based on cylinders and it’s the quick fix for travel, but it’s still a work around for the problem.
We set out to create a sidemount rig that doesn’t require trim weight. With the new Nomad XT, we have reshaped it, narrowed the neck, angled the sides and added more lift to the bottom. I see many tech divers switching the inflator and over pressure valve locations, moving the pull dump to the neck and the inflator up from the bottom. The problem with this switch is the loss of an OPV on the bottom of the wing. Since I know some of the tech divers want to switch these I decided to make it more friendly for the change up. The shoulder opening is now centered on the neck and there are now opening on both sides of the lower wing so any switching of the valving will still have a dump valve on at least one side of the lower wing.
We tested the new Nomad XT on a staffer who was less inclined to sidemount because the trim wasn’t as natural as diving backmounted doubles. I t only took one dive in the new Nomad XT wing and he changed his mind. My personal experience with the new Nomad XT is good balance with steel 108 cylinders and easy to hover. Try it and let me know what you think.