The TransPac was born from my expeditions to various parts of the world. The proving ground was an expedition to the remote karst region of Japan in the Iwate prefecture to the small mountain town of Akka. The Akka river flows thru the center of town and there was a cave at each end Akkado and Shigawatarido (-do means cave). There was also another nearby a cave called Rysendo.
These caves Japan required not only diving, but also dry caving and climbing out of tedious sumps. To push the exploration thru the sumps in 38 degree F ( 4 degree C) I had to develop a harness that we could swim, climb and walk a mile thru virgin cave with our cylinders. The last push was over eight hours and the TransPac was born. This also brought about the TransPac promise of ‘If you think there is a dive that the TransPac can’t do, I’ll either tell you how to do it, or if it’s interesting enough I’ll show you myself’.
I recently found the mini DV tapes from the 1998 expedition with the Japan Cavers Club and had them digitized. I put together a short piece to give you an idea of what I do to prove gear will do the job.
Last October when Lamar and I were headed to Bonaire for two weeks, he thought he would pull a fast one on me. As always Lamar got all our dive gear together and packed it for the trip. I just didn’t know what he had packed. Quick back story – In our early days of diving together I kept my gear locked up and packed it myself so he couldn’t mess with it.
When we went on the first dive, I noticed that I was much more comfortable than I had been on previous dives. I just didn’t put it together that once again Lamar had been messing with my gear. I found out later that I was testing the prototype for the new M/L Transpac.
I am short, 5”3”, about 20 pounds heavier then I think I am and I have boobs. The standard backplate of a Transpac was too long for me, and the cummerbund of a small backplate was not long enough to come around my waist. What he made for me was a Transpac using a small backplate for my height, a longer cummerbund for my waist, and large shoulders to take care of my chest. This allowed the tank to drop lower on my back, not create tank head, and gave me stability in the waist. The Transpac I was diving before this trip always worked for me, but now I had something that fit me like I’d want it to. The custom sized Transpac XT is now available to everyone, and it doesn’t require Lamar messing with your gear without you knowing.
The TransPac was born doing an expedition in the remote mountains of Japan in 1995. Since then it has become the platform for singles, doubles and side mount solutions. When we were in Japan I needed to transport and climb with steel 45 cu ft cylinders after passing thru the first underwater section of cave 2100-feet from the entrance. I very seldom use that original configuration, but a few weeks ago we went to Jug Hole and the rig was the ticket for the 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot. This configuration can be used by sidemount divers for decompression gas on their back and the heavy primary bottles side mounted. Its the most compact set of doubles you can use.