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As a newly convert to cold water diving I've got my dry suit, but am yet to buy a weight system. What are your views on harnesses vs belts vs integrated?
Mika
 

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Belts are horrible

Harnesses are better

Integrated are POTENTIALLY the best, but can be awful as well.
 

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<font color='#000080'>Guess who Mika !

Well personally I find intergrated does not work too well with a drysuit due to the amount of weight required.  Also it is quite a lot of weight to get on in one go, when you consider your jacket, cylinder and weights as one lump.

Weightbelts again can be uncomfortable and cause back ache with the amount of weight that is required.

Harness.  The weight is distributed across your shoulders when walking and I found mine to be very comfortable and much easier than a weightbelt.

I can bring mine along to Anglesey if you want to try before you buy !  (I might even flog mine as I don't use it anymore).

Daz
 

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Bear in mind, integrated can include the backplate & wing arrangement where the weight is all made up by the steel plate and the P & V weights..

The nice thing about using an integrated BCD is, if you use that BCD for your bouyancy control, you put yourself under less strain:
Diver with 10kg on belt + 3kg lift in BCD = total strain 13kg
Diver with 10kg integrated + 3kg lift in BCD = total strain 7kg

A rave against weight belts
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Dominic @ June 18 2003,13:34)]Bear in mind, integrated can include the backplate & wing arrangement where the weight is all made up by the steel plate and the P & V weights..
<font color='#000080'>Can't argue with that Dom  
 (That's why my weight harness is not used anymore).

I found that integrated BCD's when filled with weights can make the pockets more restrictive (Not important anyway as they are bloody difficult to use anyway  
).

Daz
 

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Yeah, I can't say I'm convinced by the whole integrated jacket thing.

But, an integrated wing, I'm all for
And a combination of integrated jacket AND harness (or belt), and you've got a fairly secure system that'll hold all the lead you could ever want...

May not be popular for RIB dives tho
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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Seems belt is out. I liked your link, Dom. The strain theory appeals to me a lot.

I am a bit lost regarding integrated though. If you don't carry it in the BCD how does it then work? Do you swap the backplate for a heavier one or what?


Thanks for the offer of trying your harness in Angelsey, Daz.

 

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I started diving with a shotbelt and it was reasonably comfy as I didn't have the big lead bricks digging in to my sides and then I got a harness and have never looked back. Apart from the comfort level of the weight distribution being over your shoulders I also reckon they are safer as, 1- If you lose weight then the chances are you will only lose half of it. This is still bad news, though you might have that second longer to react before you go ballistic, 2- You always see divers saying during a buddy check "My weight belt is under that clip and my cummerbund". That's alright until I need to release it tout suite. A harness if lengthened correctly will sit immediately beneath your BC pockets where the pouches are easier to get hold of in a time of crisis.
 So altogether I cannot recommend anything more than a harness.

Peter
 

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<font color='#000080'>Basically the backplate/wing replaces the BCD in it's entirety.

The backplates are usually stainless steel,  and the shape of the backplate makes it possible to mold custom weights that fit in a groove in the backplate or between twin cylinders etc..

My backplate is about 2kg and my custom weight that fits on the backplate is about 4kg and depending on cylinders and whether it is fresh or salt water,  I need either no additional weight or maybe a kg.

Daz
 

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Peter , I get the picture. I went through a buddy check last Sunday and got exactly what you say. To me it basically meant that I started to think about how I access all releases of my buddy's BC. A big argument for a harness.

Daz, I am really keen 2 see your setup. It seems very straight forward, although I'm interested 2 figure out how I fit more weight within such a setup as I experienced a very tight suit during one of my dives on last weekend => water was sucked into my suit.

Mika
 

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I love my Hydrotech weight harness. I hardly notice I'm carrying lead and, as already pointed out, there's no risk of my losing my weight belt and rocketing to the surface. If I want to remove my weightbelt, for example when climbing into a RIB, I just pull the handle to separate the weightbelt part from the harness, undo the buckle and hand my weightbelt up to someone in the RIB. Easy as pie! I wear the weight harness with a wing BC (DiveRite Transpac II and Recwing) and a single cylinder and pony. I use 8 kilos of lead (membrane drysuit) in the summer and 9 kilos in the winter, when I wear an extra layer of thermal underwear. Hydrotech make two versions of their weight harness (as well as different sizes, depending on how much lead you need): a shot version and a version for block weights or pouches. I bought the latter as I wanted to be able to use it on trips abroad. It's extremely comfortable.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (mikehammer66 @ June 18 2003,22:06)]Daz, I am really keen 2 see your setup. It seems very straight forward, although I'm interested 2 figure out how I fit more weight within such a setup as I experienced a very tight suit during one of my dives on last weekend => water was sucked into my suit.

Mika
<font color='#000080'>I suspect the problem you had Mika was that your weighting is not quite right yet.  

The harness/backplate/molded weights system does require you to have a good idea exactly how much weight you need.  (I spent some time messing around with weight when I first started with a drysuit
)

If you do not make drastic changes to your setup it is quite easy to mold 2 weights,  one is for use in fresh water and a heavier one for salt water.  

Alternatively it is possible to get make a weight that is about right and just add smaller weights using a number of different methods.  ie.  small weight pockets on the harness, clip on weights etc...  The point is that the majority of the weight will be out of the way and in a good central position for suitable trim.

I basically took the amount of weight needed to sink me in sea water and melted it down to make the weight.  I have not yet made a lighter weight for fresh water.

The only problem is that in my configuration the weight is not easily ditchable,  It is an individual choice how important this is to you  


The weight harness system is very easy to add weight and remove weight.

Daz
 

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Actually, with a BP/wing you CAN make a customised weight system that can be added/subtracted to at will:

Modified V weight
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Dominic @ June 19 2003,10:57)]Actually, with a BP/wing you CAN make a customised weight system that can be added/subtracted to at will:

Modified V weight
<font color='#000080'>Damn you Dom,  I got away with playing around with molten lead once and now you've thrown another tempter in there.  


Daz
 

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John, How low to you carry the weights? It must be below the BC as you can remove them before going onto a RIB. How easy is it to get them on a gain once on the RIB? ANd if they are low how does that impact on your trim in the water?

Daz/Dom, Molding weights is still too hardcore for me. Remember I have just converted...


And yes you are absolutely right, I'm still working to get my weight right. Next attempt will be on Sunday.

Mika

PS. How do you get these nice quotes into the messages? I see the quote button and get the
in my pane. But where do I go from there???  
 

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To get a quote, you click the quote button once. It inserts the [ quote ]
Then you enter the text you want to appear in the quote.
Then you press the quote button again, and it inserts the [ / quote ] that CLOSES the quote.
Ordinary type can then be slotted in as u like

eg if you typed in:

---

Dom said, and I quote:
[ quote ] A bunch of gibberish [ / quote ]
so there you go

---

you would see:

----

Dom said, and I quote:
[b said:
Quote[/b] ] A bunch of gibberish
so there you go

----

Simple as that
 

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Incidentally, melting lead isn't THAT hardcore.

When I first melted lead I took extreme precautions - thick insulation all over, outdoors in windy conditions, staying upwind, etc.

Last time I melted the stuff, I did it in a t-shirt in the kitchen with a window open.

And the only reason I bothered with THAT was the beeswax I chucked in as a flux smoked rather a lot.

But it DOES help if you know how much lead you need.

If your BCD has a hollow plastic backplate, by the way, you can fill it with resin, pour in lead shot, let it set, and have a funky weighted backplate using only conventional gear :eek:)
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Dominic @ June 19 2003,13:45)]Incidentally, melting lead isn't THAT hardcore.

When I first melted lead I took extreme precautions - thick insulation all over, outdoors in windy conditions, staying upwind, etc.

Last time I melted the stuff, I did it in a t-shirt in the kitchen with a window open.

And the only reason I bothered with THAT was the beeswax I chucked in as a flux smoked rather a lot.

But it DOES help if you know how much lead you need.

If your BCD has a hollow plastic backplate, by the way, you can fill it with resin, pour in lead shot, let it set, and have a funky weighted backplate using only conventional gear :eek:)
<font color='#000080'>Does the beewax make that much difference ?

Actually the wife is away next monday and tuesday and  I still have my lead melting pot, some lead, a kitchen and a T shirt  


I can feel some smaller custom V weights coming on  


Daz
 

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Actually, yeah: Instead of ending up with the saucepan full of cruddy oxides, every last drop of lead made it into the mold.

Mind you, I still had to scrape crud off the surface every now and again - things like sand & burnt paint kept floating to the top
 
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