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FINAL FITTING AND ADJUSTMENTS
At this point, your harness should be assembled in it’s entirety, and you are ready to make adjustments to get you in the water testing your configuration. Tweaking is encouraged in sidemount to ensure you are diving an optimal system.
This fitting guide is for your XDEEP Stealth 2.0 Harness ONLY, not your cylinder configuration. How you fit your Shoulders, Crotch, and Waist will be similar for a majority of systems. “H-Style Harness” will have a slightly different approach. If you need help with basic sidemount physics and knowledge, contact one of our instructors to set up a proper course.
The guide is to help you configure for saltwater AND freshwater use; however, keep in mind that some cylinders are positive in salt, and negative in fresh. You’ll need to make adjustments accordingly to the CYLINDER; not the harness once properly configured.
Important Things to Consider:
- LEAVE EXCESS WEBBING of at least 6 in/ 15 cm before going for your dive! You can trim more after you are 100% set up.
- It’s easier if you have a buddy that can help manipulate the webbing; not critical though.
- There are other variations you may find to set up a harness, feel free to play and adjust as you see fit. We prefer a streamlined approach that doesn’t require the use of unnecessary, or makeshift, items that are added in addition to make cylinders ‘ride’ (proper placement) correctly.
- This includes “belly bands,”
- bolt snaps with bungees on the BOTTOM of the cylinder,
- Weights added to cylinders instead of proper d-ring placement,
- Ring System with locking shackle
- Your instructor may have a different approach, listen to them! ……unless they are self-certified sidemount guru extraordinaires
Shoulder Strap Fitting
Your shoulder straps do NOT have to be excessively tight. You should have enough room to move around freely in your anticipated exposure protection.
If going between WET and DRY, put on your undergarments and size accordingly. Remember, you won’t trap gas on your chest in horizontal trim.
In the Shoulder Assembly section, it was advised NOT to finish routing your webbing. You’ll want to tighten the webbing down so you can still put your fist on your chest comfortably.
When you try to lift your fist off your chest, it should stay in place. You’ll have enough room to cross your arms without being too floppy; or tight. Once you find the correct length, duplicate the opposite side.
Finally, you should be able to touch the top part of the Wing. If you have a shoulder mobility issue, then refer to the photo for proper placement.
Your crotch strap needs to sit lower than in backmount configuration. Your waist straps connect together, and they should sit flat and even across your hips — below your iliac crest (top of hip bone).
Make sure your front d-ring and triglide allow enough room to easily pass the buckle through the loop.
Our recommendation to adjust for proper placement is:
- Wear your exposure suit, or a fitting pair of jeans to simulate.
- Locate your navel, and place your index finger on it.
- With your pinky finger, loop the top of the crotch strap (as shown in picture) and place it on your stomach.
- Have your helper, or yourself, tighten until the crotch is snug. Do not overtighten or pull hard to force the fit. If it is too short, then lengthen by 0.5 in / 1cm at a time. For the men, you’ll feel it immediately.
The upper portion of the crotch will also accommodate your waist bungees passing through. This is critical as it not only holds the crotch in place when moving your legs and bending your knees, but also allows your torso to twist without pulling unevenly. The knots in the bungee can easily pass through when you are venting gas, or moving to another knot. See Wing bungee setup here.
Our setup uses a custom polymer we have made that easily allows you to double over and send through the glide without slipping. If using your own, be careful not to use too thin and slick webbing, it will cause the d-ring to pull off.
Under Arm Bungees
The length of your bungees depends on the cylinders you are diving, and the position of the cylinder in the water.
STARTING POINT (Extremely close to actual position)
With your bungees installed and relaxed, take your thumbs and place them in the loop at the same time. This will ensure your harness is pulled with equal force, in opposite direction.
Stick your thumbs out 90 degrees, flatten hand, and move arms forward until you feel the bungee catch. Your thumbs will ideally be just on the side of your nipples; not directly on top. IF you are an oversized individual, you may find your thumb to touch the side of your pectoral muscle instead. Again, don’t trim the bungee too short until you have spent time in water.
Number one issue I see is people trying to place bungee around cylinder incorrectly. Do NOT try and stretch with the cylinder away from your body. Instead, pull the valve into its proper position, then place the bungee around the BACKSIDE of the valve and under the hand wheel. Terminate on the modular post. Practice Practice Practice!!! If you find yourself having to look at the cylinder when manipulating, you need more practice.
Three Common Scenarios
1. Bungee are too loose: This will cause the crown/valve of the cylinder to hang low. The rear of the cylinder is suspended by the bottom boltsnap, and can lead to a badly out of trim position.
For aluminum cylinders, the cylinder will actually float up and pivot downard cause drag, and poor ability to manipulate the valve. Also, it looks like crap.
2. Bungee are too tight: The obvious downside is you won’t be able to reach them. They will be tucked so far under the arm, the bungee digs in causing an impression on the skin. If in a drysuit, this will force air over the shoulders.
Secondly, this can lead to the crown/valve being jammed into your armpit causing an inability to safely, and efficiently, manipulate.
Third, it will prevent you from being able to relax your arm. If your cylinders are still angling downward, we need to look at your band placement, d-ring placement, and boltsnap assembly.
3. Bungees just right: You can easily manipulate the bungee and place it around the modular valve of the cylinder. If diving PRO-Valves (without extra stem), you should still be able to wrap it around the entire first stage plus valve. They will naturally be fixed (even with continuous setup) in the proper position under your arm as that is where you will make final adjustments at.
D-Rings and Rear Drops (Squares)
Let’s break this down by type of cylinder: Does it Float when Empty (Floaty), or does it Sink (Negative)? We have to pay particular attention as the regulator we choose can affect the overall weight.
Floaty Cylinders include all aluminum cylinders in Fresh and Salt. The ONLY exception being ALXXN; otherwise known as Neutral Cylinders.
The most common setup will be with a standard AL80 / 11.1L due to being readily available worldwide, and at every facility. The diameter is 7.3 in / 18.4 cm. Given the positive weight, you SHOULD NOT USE these ever clipped to the rear square drops. The only exception is if your drops are rotated forward toward your sides, and no longer being used in their proper location just behind the hip (which we don’t recommend). The result will be your cylinder bottoms floating up.
A great starting point is just forward of your hip in approximately the 3:00 clock position (navel being 12:00). You’ll notice a shift in buoyancy in freshwater around 1600 PSI / 110 bar, and salt around 2000 PSI / 140 bar. Depending on your configuration, you may end up moving to the forward most d-ring at this point.
Lastly, your forward-most d-ring will be located at approximately the 1:00 clock position. If you have more girth in your belly, this may shift backward.
Negative Cylinders include all steel in Freshwater; however, not all in saltwater. For example, a low-pressure 85 / 13L, and low-pressure 120 / 19L cylinder are technically positive before you put regulator on. This means that even though the valve + regulator are attached, the rear WILL float up as gas is consumed. So, we need to ensure a forward d-ring attachment to secure it. All high-pressure steel cylinders will be negative with valve + regulator attached.
Simple Really. Your rear most d-ring, or square drop will be located just behind your hip in approximately the 4:00-5:00 position depending on your hip size. You’ll set your boltsnap eyelet to be directly up against the cylinder (or within a few mm), and the cylinder will hang from it in the rear. The proper position is behind our armpit, not directly in it.
If running additional deco / stage bottles, I recommend a forward d-ring, or at least a sliding for open ocean as you will be carrying your additional cylinders with you. I prefer to bottom mount vs top mount as we need to be able to readily pass, and read gauges; especially in mixed teams. Because your aluminum deco/stage will become positive, you can clip it under your primary to be held securely in place.
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I like how you e got the double Enders stowed in the bungee. I hadn’t thought about doing that. It’s streamlined and doesn’t clutter up your butt d-ring.