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.
Our Travel Weight Pockets easily go on any 2-inch webbing so you can use rental gear and still be weighted like you are diving at home.
The added benefit of the folding Velcro attachment is that the tech diver can move weight around on the rig to get the ballast in the right place for trim. For the guys using the Nomad EXP or Nomad XT you can mount the pockets through the cam strap slots to get the weight high on the back if desired. These pockets can go just about anywhere you can mount them.
There are two points of adjustment to size your LT, the shoulders and the wing waist tie end points. The harnesses will ship as a large so you have a starting point. If you need to make some major adjustments I recommend a piece of chalk to mark the webbing. The shoulder/chest transition should be done first, for the guys on the nipples and for girls just above the bust line. Adjust the webbing at the pivot rings to get the right fit and then remove the waist d rings that limit the travel of the harness inside the air cell. Put it on and get the fit right, it’s easy and should be very comfortable. Once you do this, grab the oval loops on the waist webbing, attached to the air cell and pull both sides out along the waist belt and mark with the chalk, reinstall the waist d rings capturing the oval loops. Why? This part of sizing is critical to make sure the air cell lays flat on your back, if it’s lose the air cell will ride up and be difficult to dump air. If it’s too tight the harness will be lose from the chest down and can move on you affecting trim and the balance of the bottles.
Nomad LT Custom Fit Video
New lithium primary batteries preform in RX10 flashlight. The RX10 flashlight draws .5 amps of power as compared to the RX10 canister light drawing 1 amp. This doesn’t mean half the output but rather only a 30% drop in output. When running alkaline batteries in the flashlight it will drop to .35 amp draw and about 50% brightness after 2 to 3 hours depending on the battery brand/type. At this lower power drain the light will continue to fun for approximately another 3 hours. The new lithium primary batteries are the answer to keeping the light at higher output for up to 6.5 hours before dropping to the lower setting.
The new generation of AA Energizer Lithium Ultimate batteries are designed for high drain devices light flashlights. Don’t mistake these for early AA lithium batteries that boasted long duration but the fine print defined this for devices such as cameras. Duracell makes their version too but I only tested the bunny brand.
This new battery has many pluses over rechargeable and alkaline battery options for divers, especially the cave divers that prefer the RX10 flashlight as a primary back up light. Any back up light is just that a back up so non rechargeable long shelf life batteries are preferred and now the longer full power mode means it can be used a number of hours before having to replace the batteries. So its actually cheaper to use the new lithium primary cells for their longevity at full power. I was impressed.
The O2ptima in my opinion is one of the most advanced, yet straightforward closed circuit rebreathers on the market. The simplicity of the O2ptima is why I trust it. No scrubber to pack and it’s ready to dive in 15 minutes, provided your cylinders are full. The new Rev D electronics answer many questions to function and features. The added features of the new Rev D are a bonus but the real changes are the configuration. I have had many requests from divers to integrate their dive computer into the unit, 4th or 3 celll monitoring. The current Rev C configuration splits the solenoid control and the DIVA/HUD function; the primary handled the solenoid while the secondary handled the DIVA/HUD (diver integrated vibrating alarm/heads up display). To add another computer and cable turned the rebreather into an octopus.
The new configuration with Rev D electronics and sophisticated DIVA/HUD functions are on the primary and the secondary is strictly a 3rd cell PO2 monitor (optional deco if desired). If a diver has a dive computer with PO2 monitoring capability, the unit can be ordered with only the primary controller. If you want to upgrade an earlier unit, I recommend an upgrade to the secondary to get the new DIVA/HUD function if cost is a consideration, once you program a set point on the solenoid controller (primary) you can enjoy new PO2 display and DIVA/HUD via the secondary rather than the primary.
VIDEO: O2ptima Rev D 2012
This week is one to pay attention to. Right now we are offering trade-ins for BCDs, harnesses and wings from any manufacturer, in any condition and we’ll get you in a Dive Rite BCD, harness or wing at a reduced price. I’m asking our staff to hold onto every BCD we get and owner of the oldest BCD sent in will get an additional gift certificate signed by me. The offer is only valid through July at participating Dive Rite dealers in the US and Canada. Some divers are contacting us directly and that’s fine, too.
The youth program is nothing new, but after going to a Dive Rite Tech Tour in Albany I was impressed with the number of children diving and trying our gear. The comments on how our gear fit kids better got me reminiscing. We started a kids program when my son, Jared, was nine years old (he is now twenty-two). It was called the LTD (Little TransPac Diver) program and we updated the child’s TransPac harness as they grew.
This year, the program is relaunched with the TravelPac and VoyagerPac BCDs . This open water, lightweight rig is perfect for children and they can grow into it. We can change out the shoulders to keep them in a well fitting product. All they have to do is drop us a note about how much they like diving to get the upgrades as they grow.
Learn more: Dive Rite FREE Youth Upgrade Program
We get questions about where to mount a lift bag. The answer isn’t simple because it depends on the comfort and needs of the diver. Our new TransPac XT has a built-in lift bag sleeve in the lumbar pad, a nice convenience for technical divers wearing backmount twin tanks. Single tank divers will want to mount a lift bag on the side of their plate or TransPac harness using uick Link hardware and a lift bag sleeve. Divers who wear a Nomad or dive a Tech Buttplate for sidemounting primary or stage bottles can use the buttplate for their lift bag. Of course, divers who don a Thigh or Bellows Pocket might find it easiest to simply stow a lift bag in the pocket. This Rough Cut video shows the options: Lift Bag Mounting Options
Some divers won’t try a softpack-style harness due to concerns about plastic buckles. However, they miss out on comfort and versatility. We designed the new TransPac XT with these divers in mind. The new TransPac XT Tech model removes the shoulder strap buckles in favor of continuous webbing. The chest strap remains in order to achieve the mountaineering backpack fit and support.
Try one at a Demo Day or Tech Tour, or come by the factory in Florida. Chances are, one of us will go diving with you.
VIDEO: Technical Diving: TransPac XT Tech Version