I want to say the Nomad LT is my most favored Nomad for the side mount diving I do. Usually it’s travel and aluminum 80′s or LP 85′s in our backyard springs. For me, if I need anything more, it is most likely a rebreather dive on the O2ptima.
We introduced the Nomad LT Cave last fall because we selfishly had some exploring to do. There are a few holes close to home I wanted to check out that required a close fitting rig without any snag points on the back and the Nomad LT Cave’s positioning of both the inflation and dump valve near the wing base gives divers the ability to easily reach them swimming prone inside caves.
Now we have the Nomad LT Bluewater, a rig more suitable for my travels since the inflation is on top and a dump valve on the bottom just like a standard BCD so now you can dump gas when vertical, ascending on a downline or coming up a wall. I’m taking the Nomad LT Bluewater with me this week to St. Croix, as a matter of fact. Here is a video comparison of the two: Nomad LT Cave & Blue
I tend to specialize my equipment to the mission. What do you like to do?
Since the day I got my first GoPro Hero all the underwater video I have shot is with it, then the Hero 2 and now the Hero 3. When the Hero 2 came out we started working on a video light for it. The RX Video Light is a proprietary light from Dive Rite with a four LED array spaced and mounted on a reflective board, which gives us the even light seen on the video. The Hero 2 needed 2 RX video lights to fill the capture area and now the Hero 3 only needs one RX to do the same job. This is a great upgrade since in a cave setting the rule was you can never have too much light, now you can.
For me one of the tricks was use the LCD back screen to make sure you have the subject matter in view and the lighting correct. Tilting the camera can create dark spots around the edges. The system I came up with uses the attachment pieces that come with your camera and this mounts directly to the leg of our Goodman style handle. You can easily check your lighting and subject matter set up like this. You can set up more lights for fill lighting, but remember with the Hero 3 anymore than one on camera will overpower it. Here’s a sample of a single RX video light in action with the Hero 3. VIDEO: RX & GO PRO DIVER WALKING ON CEILING
I see divers in the field settling for a regulator with a lower performance for their stage regulators. I think this thought process on regulator selection should be analyzed again. Let’s separate usage first, travel and decompression regulators are one class while stage regulators, deep travel and bailout regulators for cave CCR are in a different class. Travel and decompression regulators have depth limitations, usually shallow or limited use by nature. The argument for a regulator of performance not equal to the “primary system” can be debated.
The other class of regulators is different and you should look at all regulators in this class being of equal performance. Since I am always testing gear I find myself with multiple models on a dive doing the “Pepsi/Coke taste test” which is better breathing what makes them different. When you get in to high stress conditions, brought on by current, visibility or some other stress related event, regulator performance can be the little thing that magnifies the problem. I know, I have switched back to the better breathing regulator in stressful situations because I needed to feel good about something while everything else was hitting the fan. This can lead to over breathing a bottle’s gas planning and create another cascade of issues.
When it comes to regulators that I use at the same depth under the same conditions they are all just as important and I don’t compromise. At 200′ all my regulators need to be up to the task not just my primary. Food for thought.
Dive Lab Reg Performance Article
We had a request from Canada for a Nomad XT to fit a female diver who is 4’11″ and 105 pounds. The Nomad XT sizing begins at size medium because it its designed around the standard TransPac XT back plate. Because we build almost all of our products in-house, we can usually do just about any custom requests. Kenny and Jon accepted the challenge and built an Extra-Small, Nomad XT. With just a few minor alterations they put it together quite nicely. They used a small-size TransPac XT and the Nomad LT buttplate to make sure the length would be correct. Daisy chain ring bungees gives the diver additional customization to ensure tanks hang correctly.
We checked sizing first on Kathleen, our marketing director, and knew we were on the right track. The guys played with it and got a friend to come in that matched the size of the customer to make sure it would be a perfect fit. Congrats on another custom-job well-done.
We no longer publish our regulator service manuals now that we have launched the new XT Regulator. Proper service of a breathing regulator requires the right tools, fixtures and lubricant. The new XT is a high performance regulator and should be tuned to get peak performance. The pictures below show the tools of the trade to properly service a regulator. A good technician will have these and an ultrasonic cleaner to make sure the parts are properly cleaned and prepped for assembly. I don’t service my own regulators, I leave it to the trained and experienced technicians in our service department. I do carry a parts kit just in case I need to have it serviced on a dive trip, which divers can get from an authorized dealer.
The rechargeable Li ion battery in the NiTek Q computer is rated for 300 charges from a deep discharge state. The computer has a sophisticated charging circuit to get the longest life possible from the battery. The key to long battery life is keep the battery topped off and avoid taking it into deep discharge. So don’t try to see how many dives you can get on a charge, keep the NiTek Q charged up for long battery life. It can stay on the charger indefinitely and it will hold a charge for up to six months.
We pride ourselves on customer service, as a small North Florida company in the heart of cave country, we are divers. The guys dive after work, teach on weekends and talk to divers everyday. Since we dive our equipment so much we take any problem personally and want to get the diver diving as soon as possible. Did I say we are a small company? The guys on the phone are the same guys checking receiving product on the dock; walking it back to the technicians who are also divers. We don’t have a call center, just many phones around the two buildings covering over 14,000 square feet located on a city block.
We answer every email, but a phone call is much faster. Since you get to talk to a real diver, pick up the phone and give us a call. Sometimes we just like to hear a good dive story or what happened if your gear is broke. This helps us improve the product and get ideas for new products. So for personalized customer service from a fellow diver, call us toll free at 800 495 1046.
I am happy to announce the launch of our new regulator, the XT Series. After a year of development and field testing, it’s ready. We wanted a second stage with left or right hose routing, but with outstanding performance and simplicity. The second stage is smaller and with outstanding work of breathing and no extra parts or adjustments needed to change it from right to left. The first stage is environmentally sealed with a 5th port for more hose routing options. We just got the Dive Lab test results back and it’s more than 35% percent better than our RG3100.
We don’t include a low pressure BC hose with the Nomad LT because we can’t decide on a single solution for everybody. My son, Jared, and I couldn’t agree on the same hose length when we were test diving the LT in Mexico this summer. Now that we have two versions of it, one with an over the shoulder BC hose and the tech version with an under the arm inflator hose, it’s even a more personal choice for the proper length hose. I have some suggestions to help you get a good fit.
The tech model has the inflator and OPV protected on the side close to the diver and both located on the bottom, you can switch them to have the inflator on the left or right and it comes up from under the arm. With a fifth port first stage you can go as short as 6″ to 9″ but it can limit cylinder movement so some people don’t like it. With standard first stages a 15″ to 22″ works better.
The OW model has the inflator hose over the shoulder so the most appropriate lengths will range from 15″, 22″ or 27″, the larger the size the longer the hose needed, up to XL can use 22″.
One of the key points of side mount is the regulators are now under your arms and the hose lengths are crucial for comfort. Standard regulator hose lengths are 28″ to 30″ and OW inflator hoses are 27″ to 28″ and in most cases too long. The best tips for comfort are 70 degree angle adapters on the regulator hoses, fifth port first stages for optimum hose routing and 6″ hoses on the SPG. And like Jared and me, there is not a single solution that works for everyone.
Lamar sidemounting the Dive Rite Nomad
I find it amusing and flattering that some manufacturers have discovered side mount diving and build everything from ultra light to hard core cave exploration side mount systems. I have been diving and building them for more than 30 years and enjoy doing it. We are a small company in North Florida, we design, test and build our buoyancy systems in the USA. I see claims of “the only CE approved side mount system”, “the choice of professionals”. I read these claims and smile. I know or trained most of these professionals, I wrote the first side mount certification course for the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society and proofed the programs for many other agencies.
Side mount can be a life style or mission specific diving application, for me its just another tool in my bag for exploration. When it comes to diving equipment design I like the trickle down effect. After I dive it in Antarctica, a small cave in North Florida, or a wreck off the coast then it’s ready for the marketplace.
All Dive Rite buoyancy devices are built in a UL certified facility and go thru UL testing before we introduce it to the marketplace. After we tweak the product thru consumer feedback then we take it to CE testing in Europe. UL testing is more stringent than CE testing. UL inspects the production facility and testing procedures annually while CE is a test of products selected by the manufacturer for testing. I prefer to make sure it meets UL standards in the USA before taking it over to Europe for a one time inspection but that’s just the way I like to do things.
It’s not always about price but what’s behind the product. We are 25 years of experience and a real passion for diving. I travel all over the world just to make sure I haven’t left anyone out when I design products.