One of the exciting features of the TransPac XT are the new chest plates. I wanted to make it easy to add D-rings or adjust the length of the shoulder straps for a custom fit. The new chest plates will let you lengthen the straps or add D-rings in just a few minutes without having to double weave the webbing back through the hardware. For rebreathers, the offset D-rings can be added on top of the chest plate for a solid connection point. This is the best spot for bailout bottles when the rebreather has shoulder mounted counter lungs.
VIDEO: How To Adjust TransPac XT Shoulder Straps
What makes the new, TransPac XT fit better than the Classic TransPac? Let me take you down memory lane on the evolution of the TransPac. The original TransPac had integrated hip support, but the shoulder to waist connection used screws and nuts. Any adjustment by the diver usually resulted in loosing one or more of the screws. The next generation incorporated side plates at the waist so divers could make their adjustments easily without concern of loosing any hardware. The TransPac had a cummerbund to cushion the diver against the side plates. This sacrificed some comfort and back support for versatility. VIDEO: TransPac XT Features
The new TransPac XT brings the best of both together: the hip pads are a continuous part of the backplate to increase the lumbar support for carrying heavy tanks. By extending the backplate around and morphing it into hip pads, more weight is shifted off the shoulders and across the entire back, reducing shoulder strain. The narrow side plates let the diver tweak the fit for comfort if you want to move them back further toward the lumbar for greater support.
The new design allows divers to now wear weight pockets in front of the sideplate, rather than captured on top of it. This gives more freedom for mounting options and the pockets will stay in place as long as you capture the belt loop on the hip pad. VIDEO: How to Install 16lb QB Weight Pockets on the TransPac XT
The TransPac will do everything the Classic TransPac can do, but now with greater support and comfort. I happen to believe you can be comfortable when diving.
I had a great dive last week with my friend, Bill Main. He was taking his new RX10 on its maiden voyage while I bolted a production TransPac XT to a set of back mounted steel 104 cylinders, some of the heaviest cylinders on the market and preferred by Florida open circuit cave divers. We went for a leisurely swim in Devil’s Ear cave at Ginnie Springs. I was amazed at the support of the new XT. I had dived every prototype up until now and knew it was better than all previous models, but I hadn’t taken a production unit out for a swim yet.
I thought the changes were going to be more cosmetic than functional, but was I ever surprised. The guys at the office had already dived steel 104s a few days earlier and had told me the new harness was impressive.
Drop me a note if you want to stop by and try A TransPac XT, maybe I can get away and dive with you.
Last year we decided to make some changes to the Button Gauge: it needed the same safety features as a hose SPG – a pressure relief valve. It took longer than expected, but it’s now back in stock. I feel this is an important feature especially because of the abuse this little gauge is exposed to. It’s most common application is on decompression bottles and rebreather bailout bottles. Applications where close gas monitoring is not important, but rather monitoring if the tank if full or needs filling.
This application usually means pressurize the cylinder, check everything, then turn the gas off to prevent loss thru regulator free-flow concerns. If the pressure drops on the cylinder the regulator can fill with water including the SPG, this can damage the gauge and regulator. This happens more often than divers will admit. Another area of abuse is exposure by mounting the gauge on the top of the regulator of a decompression or bailout bottle where it can be bumped, hit and anything else you can imagine. I see many guys will now mount a button gauge on the bottom side of the regulator to protect it. Since it is only used to check starting and ending pressures tucking it away on the underside keeps it out of harms way.
The O2ptima Rebreather Rev D electronics must run on rechargeable batteries that come with the unit, but you can power the Rev C secondary on a non-rechargeable 3.6v lithium or high quality alkaline battery. The non-rechargeable lithium battery will last for up to 20 hours in the secondary and the alkaline should be changed when you change the cartridge.
Apply the same rule to the Rev D electronics: put a fresh, rechargeable battery in when you change a cartridge and set the low voltage warning at 3.3v on the Rev D primary.
Dive Rite introduced the Ring Loop bungee system as an alternative to classic sidemount bungees. We dress the bottles with stage straps and a neck loop that clips into the Ring of the bungee. The classic bungee has been around since the early 1980’s and is either a single piece of bungee connecting both bottles to the diver or two separate bungees, one for each bottle. It is important to note that when a single bungee fails it means the connection point for both bottles is severed and the diver should have a safety clip on the neck of each bottle to manage the bottles and abort the dive.
The Ring Loop bungee evolved from a desire to quickly don sidemount bottles when wreck diving or more complex cave entries. It allows the diver to manage the neck of the bottle independently, just like the lower bottle clip. The Ring Loop system requires stage straps in order to work and this puts some divers off. They believe less is more when it comes to diving. I believe you wear the gear necessary to get the job done and now that sidemounting is mainstream, rigs have to evolve to accommodate divers who don tanks while treading water in the ocean. Besides, you don’t notice the stage straps or bungee hardware while diving.
The classic method needs less bottle hardware, which seems appealing, however I believe this is the Achilles heel of the system. With the classic sidemount bungee the diver has to attach the lower bottle clip first, which doesn’t give the diver flexibility. When diving from a boat or in a cave system that doesn’t have a shallow water platform, the classic system is very challenging to don.
Anyone can attach a sidemount bottle kneeling on the floor, the real proof of a modern sidemount rig is the ability to do so mid-water, especially with steel tanks. Aluminum 80 sidemount divers have it easier because the tanks are light, yet northern wreck divers prefer steel tanks for weight and volume and today’s sidemount diving isn’t just for warm water cave divers.
We designed the Nomad to accommodate all divers and it really shines with larger cylinders. This rough cut video is a demonstration of the two bungee styles and it speaks for itself. I have dived all types of sidemount systems in some of the most inconvenient entries in the world and I know the Ring Loop bungee system is the best I’ve used in thirty years of sidemount diving. VIDEO: Classic Sidemount Bungees Vs. D-Ring Loop Bungees
With the launch of the new XT line we have the toughest line of wings available in the sport diving market. Coupled with the SuperFabric technology we also launched a new, tough 210 laminated bladder. It’s the same material used in lift bags and surface markers. It’s pinch-proof, poke-proof and snag-proof and we believe so highly in this product we now offer a lifetime warranty on all 2012 model EXP and XT Wings that carry the 210 bladder.
A lot of people ask us why the bladders are bigger than the outerbag. They discover this when they dismantle their wing to clean it. You don’t need to take your wing apart to clean. Just run fresh water through it, dump and inflate overnight. But to answer the question, the bladders are bigger than the outerbag to keep stress off of the seams. Due to the restriction of the outerbag, the bladder isn’t able to inflate to its full size. That’s a good thing.141
This month we are launching one of the toughest wings on the sport diving market today. Based upon the success of our Nomad XT Rig, plus input from our customers, we’ve developed a wing with three layers of protection from punctures, snags and abrasions. They’ll take a hell of a beating.
The first layer is the 200 weight inner bladder which is highly resistant to punctures. Next, we add a 1000 denier Cordura outerbag on the face of the wing with SuperFabric material on the reverse. SuperFabric is a technical fabric resistant to cuts and damage. Created as a base layer and then overlaid with plates, its flexible, yet will keep sharp objects from penetrating.The key to making a tough wing isn’t thick, heavy fabric. It’s layering. VIDEO: XT Series Wings
If you damage this wing, call me. I want to go diving with you and see for myself what could possibly hurt this wing.
Before launching the EXP line of wings in 2009, all Dive Rite wings had a solid mid-section with slots for cam straps. We changed that with the innovation of the EXP wings and it has worked so well, we will continue the same mid section design for the new XT wing series.
The webbing crosshair configuration lets the wing adapt to any backplate with or without slots or a single tank adapter (STA). The multiple grommet holes let you adjust the height to help with trim and placement. The webbing is actually stronger than a solid center panel. Another advantage is that it allows us to give a 3D effect to the wing, which creates the necessary lift in a smaller package. You can’t do a panel strip on the inside of the wing if it’s solid. VIDEO: Crosshair Backplate of Dive Rite Wings
The Single Tank Adapter (STA) was originally named “Singles Mounting Plate (SMP)” when I designed it in 1985. At that time, we had just launched the Dive Rite Wing, the original doubles wing with 60lbs of lift. Cave divers dropped by the old shop to share their ideas and show us their modifications, since back then no one could dive a product off the shelf without a few adjustments.
Guys were cutting slots in the wing for diving singles and my girlfriend (now my wife) was a new cave diver that wanted to dive her backplate all the time, including with a single tank. We had a ABS plastic plate, so I got the idea to rip it from top to bottom on both sides of the cradle that nestles between the double tanks. I added cam strap slots on both sides of the bolt holes. I now had a set up to attach a single tank to a backplate, my girlfriend was happy and the guys stopped mutilating their wings.
Today, the STA is so popular with the single tank crowd that we have now shortened our STA so it doesn’t interfere with the smaller center section now prevalent on single tank wings. Our single tank wings (Travel and Voyager) do not require a STA since we have gone to a crosshair center section that keeps the wing and harness securely together, however some prefer the convenience and added weight of a Single Tank Adapter. VIDEO: Single Tank Adapter 2012