Configuring Multiple Stages When Sidemounting
Dive Rite Ambassador and sidemount expert, James Toland, shows how he configures a leash for carrying multiple stages when sidemounting.by James Toland
When sidemounting, one of the tools I like to use for carrying multiple stages is a stage bottle leash. It allows you to organize the limited amount of space you have available. There are several versions of the leash. What I find to work for me consists of a loop of rope, short piece of hose, a bolt snap, and a 1-inch ring. Cut the hose to whatever size you like. I use two different sizes, 3-inches and about 5-inches.
The shorter one is for two bottles or less the longer is for four bottles. Put the hose on a length of rope; tie the loop using a double fisherman’s knot. Leave enough slack to loop the ring and the bolt snap at each end.
Once these items are in place you want it to be kind of stiff so that it creates a handle in between the ring and bolt snap. Otherwise the ring and snap would slide back and forth. This helps keep the tanks together in a close, uniform way.
Depending on where you mount the leash and what is comfortable to you determines the length of the leash. On my TransPac, I have a D-ring on the small of my back which is ideal for mounting reels and my leash.
This prevents the bottles from hanging too low between your legs or dragging on the floor of the cave. It puts the bottles in my slip stream for less drag. The bottles sit on top of the butt pad and this keeps my rails free for my primary sidemount tanks. You could add a ring to any TransPac by using a bail end with a ring of choice, which you then bolt to the TransPac through the top grommet of the lower back area. Ideal while scootering, but it is manageable to swim two on the leash while wearing one in place.
Preferably I place my stage underneath my sidemount bottle on the left side as you would back mounting. This creates a more streamlined profile and allows me to see the pressure gauge without removing the bottle or stopping to check the gauge. Attach the stages to the leash by using the top bolt snap on the stage and clip it to the ring. Be sure to secure the bottom bolt snap on the stage under your hose straps if only towing one bottle so it’s not dangling and potentially catches a line. When using two or more bottles in tow, snap the bottom bolt snaps together. As you need, drop the used stage and pull the next stage off the leash and place on in the normal fashion. When going through tighter areas the leash allows you to pull the bottles up in front of you to handle so you don’t damage the cave. It is also great during deco to place all the bottles you are not using out of the way. Plus, it feels more comfortable and you can better manage what gases you are breathing by having only the bottle you need in place.