When it comes to our recreational BCD’s, we often get asked “which one is best for me?”. We have two versions, the TravelPac and VoyagerPac. The TravelPac has 25lbs of lift and the VoyagerPac has 35lbs of lift. The system that is best for you really depends on the type of diving you plan to do.
If your plan is to dive mostly warm water with aluminum tanks, then the TravelPac is most likely the BCD you want. The 25lbs of lift makes it perfect for AL 80s and no more than 10 lbs of weight. The low profile of the wing will make dumping air easier and will help prevent the taco effect around the tank.
The VoyagerPac, with 35lbs of lift, makes it the perfect BCD for larger steel tanks or diving colder water with as much as 32lbs weight. The VoyagerPac is my rig of choice when diving the springs or teaching, since I normally use a LP steel 95 myself. With the VoyagerPac you are not just limited to a larger steel cylinder, it still performs great with an AL 80 when you go on your tropical vacation.
The RX10 light has proven to be our best light ever for performance and durability. We have worked to have every aspect of the light made in the USA including the electronics and LED mounting. Our last upgrade was on the LED mounting board: our electronics engineer improved the output by designing our own board and now the measured system lumens is 1000 and the LUX measurement at one meter averages 11,000. This was accomplished with better quality control standards and output measurements before and after mounting the LED. Every light module is individually tested prior to assembly and afterward to ensure peak performance on a Konica Minolta Chroma Meter for output.
Our thigh pocket design is our answer for storage of the tools technical divers need to carry: back up lights, spools and lift bags. It provides a convenient way to keep tools away from line traps or danglies. The Dive Rite AC3201-XT Thigh Pocket is mounted independently of the exposure suit – not everyone wants permanent glue-on style pockets. I have friends that buy a new wetsuit every 6 to 9 months, but they have had their thigh pocket for 3 years. I have even our thigh pocket wrapped around fins and mask to keep them bundled on a boat. I never thought of that but hey, if it works go for it.
After some diving in the islands I was talking to a few divers over a beer, (it’s amazing what you hear over a few beers) and learned that our thigh pocket design could be improved. I went back to the drawing board and made the 2013 model slightly bigger so that a spool would fit while still attached to the surface marker and we changed the straps up to keep in line with the new trend to ride the primary lift bag on a deco/bailout bottle.
The new thigh pocket is just a little bit larger, you can hardly see any difference since most of it was in the side panels. We also added an ingenious way to connect it. Now you can mount the pocket upside down and attach it to tanks if you want to.I changed the elastic length for a better fit on small legs and aluminum 40′s while not comprising it for the guys or aluminum 80 cylinders. You can easily add it to a bottle or put it on your leg with very little effort. Watch our Dive Rite TV for the skinny on it.
Dive Rite makes equipment for serious divers, and those divers who are taking the first steps to becoming serious divers. Our new XT series regulator is no exception. We have seen numerous Dive Rite regulators in the field being used by single tank, open water divers. Since we get a lot of product ideas from the divers who use it, we dug deeper into this to discover that while the users were happy with the regulator, the common downfall that we heard was that the first stage would hit the diver in the back of the head. The one thing that we saw from all of these divers was that they were using the DIN first stage with the spin-on DIN-to-yoke adapter. While functional, using this adapter added to the depth profile of the first stage, moving it nearly an inch closer to the diver’s head. We also found that a large number of these divers rarely, if ever, used the regulator with a DIN valve. The solution was simple – offer the first stage with the choice of DIN or yoke. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the performance of this regulator, no matter what kind of diving you’re doing or what kind of experience you have. Like many other Dive Rite products, this regulator can grow with the diver. If the owner of a yoke XT regulator decides to change it to a DIN, this can easily be done by any authorized Dive Rite dealer, or by our technicians at Dive Rite. XT Regulator Performance Stats
Mike Engle, Dive Rite Sales Manager
It’s been very busy over the past few months. We have been swamped with orders from public safety dive teams. We give these priority production because we want to show our support however we can. We have equipped a number of teams in harness/wing systems and especially our RX10 lights. With over 100 lights recently going to public safety dive teams we are proud they looked to a US made product. Our lights are made in the USA, from the electronics to the housings. The teams were looking for products made in the USA for local service and reliability. We don’t buy off the shelf but rather design it and build it here. The engineers designing our lights are divers and take every aspect of performance and quality personally, as if they were going to dive it themselves just like we do.
The RX10 is getting brighter, we haven’t changed anything but improved heat sink and boards yield longer burn time and some more light output. Every module comes in tagged with its individual quality control analysis for color frequency, current draw and LUX output at one meter. We are going to start including these specs with every light so you know they have been individually tested and inspected.
Look for some new accessories coming out for the RX10 light: our new comfort fit Goodman style hand mount with large footprint pad for the back of your hand. This new pad has three sets of mounting holes for single or double light head mounts. As with any hard hand mount it feels better with a glove on. In the Florida caves I wear fingerless gloves to protect my hands from the light mounts and gear, it’s the little things that make the sport comfortable.
If you are at the springs over the next week I will show you some of the new accessories since I will be testing them.
Allison post dive at Ginnie Springs
When we shoot a video for Dive Rite TV, we are not using actors or models. The stars of Dive Rite TV are all of us that work at Dive Rite or those who are a part of the Dive Rite family.
The recent video for the XT AOW Regulator setup featured Lamar, myself, and my girlfriend Allison. Off camera, Allison made an interesting comment. After taking the new XT regulator for a dive, she made the comment of ‘wow, this breathes so much better than any of your other regulators’. Keep in mind, I don’t have to do much selling to her. She has her choice of any of my regulators (3100’s and Hurricanes) to use whenever she wants. Also at some point I was able to convince her to go on a date with me. I’ve done all the selling and convincing I needed to do well before this video was produced. When she made this comment, it made me think that if a recreational AOW diver can notice a breathing difference to the point that it brings up an unsolicited comment like this, she can’t be the only one that will have this reaction.
Try it for yourself. I know you won’t be disappointed. If you’re diving the XT regulator with a single tank and haven’t tried the hose configuration in the video, I encourage you to give it a try. You’ll be amazed by how streamlined and comfortable it is on top of how great it breathes.
Mike Engle, Dive Rite Sales Manager
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 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.
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.