Routing Second Stage Regulator Hoses
Veteran sidemount explorer, Brian Kakuk, shares his thoughts on second stage regulator hose routing for sidemount divers.by Brian Kakuk
For second stage hoses I always use angle adapters (RG1355). They should be the NON- swivel type (rigid) angle adapters of 70 to 90 degrees and this will help you keep jaw fatigue down and make the hoses run more naturally and snag free. Use them on both second stages. I do not suggest the use of opposing-halves swivels as I consider them dangerous for cave diving (based on a previous bad experience).
Although I believe strongly that if the team uses independent cylinders, at no point should any diver be without enough gas to reach the entrance or dropped stage IF they stick to the rule of thirds. I've gone from hard core, short hose, “hell with the air sharing capabilities” mindset, to using a 7 foot hose on my left side and a short hose on the right.
The use of a 7 foot hose allows the diver to:
1. Efficiently and comfortably run the hose from the left side to the right side when a "right handed" regulator is used. The hose is run under flat bungee hose retainer (GM2052-80) or old car inner tube along the length of the left tank and back up to, and under the left armpit. From there it runs under the arm in front of the left shoulder, up around the back of the neck and into the diver's mouth or to a shoulder D-ring. Pulling slack in or out of the hose length bungeed to the tank will keep the hose from being too long or too short.
I have started using a second stage necklace on the long hose and it works well and does not interfere with second stage deployment in an out of gas emergency.
2. Allows instructors who teach in sidemount configuration to meet standards by having air sharing capabilities. Special air reserve/protocols apply here. The 7 foot hose second stage can be deployed in a similar manner to a Hogarthian configuration. I have actually accomplished real air-sharing scenarios in major restrictions (and no visibility) using this configuration, and although not very comfortable, it did work well.
The short hose on the right second stage is stowed on my right shoulder D ring (as high as I can comfortably get the D ring). I have two D rings on the right shoulder. The lower one is a standard 2 inch D ring and the upper one is an offset D ring used by rebreather divers under their counter lungs. The offset D ring sticks out to the right on my shoulder and makes for an easy clip-off of the right hand second stage.
Much of this is easier to explain in person and is certainly not my intention to steer the reader away from getting one on one training from a certified and qualified (there is a difference) side mount diving instructor.