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  1. #1
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    brand new BP&W setup, really excited - but how to weight it? Trim pockets?

    Hi everyone - very excited as today the last bits of kit arrived to let me build my first BP&W. This is the list of all the bits of kit I currently have on my living room floor:

    1) Wing: Apeks WTX-D30

    2) Backplate: Apeks aluminium

    3) Harness: Mares XR Heavy-Light (This includes a stainless steel buckle, aluminium hardware (3x flat D-rings, 2x pre-bent D-rings, 4x plain triglides and 2x toothed triglides, pre-made crotchstrap with 2x aluminium D rings), 4x elastic harness bands and 1x bungee loop) *don't worry the logos aren't as gaudy as they seem in the image, they're not on the crotchstrap and are only on one side of the harness so only appear on either the waistband or the shoulder straps*

    4) Boltsnaps: XDeep - one double end (for reel), one small (for torch) and one large (SPG). These are really nice and much lighter than normal SS ones.

    5) Tank bands (x2): plastic buckle versions bought from Red Hat Diving

    6) Bookscrews (x2): double dome ones bought from Red Hat Diving

    7) Trim pockets (x2): Mares to put up to 4kg on the upper tank band.



    I'm sure this is boring for more seasoned divers, but for me it feels like a big step in taking diving more seriously.

    Prior to this I had two jacket style travel/lightweight BCDs (A Cressi Lightjak and an Aqualung Zuma), both of which tore in different places. Understandable given they are made from lighter material so I thought the BP&W setup would still give me light weight but would be much tougher and being modular would be repairable.

    All my kit is very lightweight as all my diving is done abroad (I haven't yet dived in the UK but try to get away for a couple of overseas trips each year). In this vein, my regs are Aqualung Mikrons and my fins are Scubapro Go Sports. In theory I could go with a single carry-on which I may well do one day given that I often have an extra trip to Malta and Easyjet/Ryanair hold luggage is a pain and expensive... but their extra large cabin bag upgrade is reasonably priced. I didn't want to get another lightweight buoyancy bag, so I got a heavyweight Apeks wing but offset this a bit with very very light 'everything else'.

    Anyway, the reason I'm posting is about adding weight to my setup. I've obviously read dozens of posts on the forum as this is asked quite often but hoping for a definitive answer based on my new setup.

    - I obviously can't rely on a stainless backplate as I'm using aluminium - so I need to add weight.
    - I've already got the two trim weight pockets for the upper tank band (I have sinky legs and I want to move some weight off my waist).
    - I don't want to use a weight belt (I'm pear shaped/fat and I find I spend the whole dive adjusting the belt - as well as it being a pain with the new harness)

    Looking back through my logbooks I was carrying 7-8kg when diving with an Aqualung Zuma travel BCD. Though I think I've tended to be a touch overweighted. I'm going back to Malta in a couple of weeks and the first few dives will be with an instructor getting my weighting and buoyancy on-point. I'm then going onto a Rescue Course.

    I have read all about balanced rigs and while they look fab... I'm not there yet. I'm still learning and after a bit of a scare last trip I will be the good little Padi boy this trip and will have removable weight on my waist. I'm not mentally ready to deviate too far from the textbooks.

    So - I think I have two options:

    1) I could buy a pair of true ditchable harness-mounted weight pockets, like the XDeep Medium ones or the Apeks weight pockets with Surelock.
    2) I could simply add a second pair of trim pockets to my waist, tucked back against the backplate.

    Given I was using 7kg with the Aqualung Zuma - I'm guessing that I'll need less weight with my new BP&W setup - does that sound logical?

    In that case, I'm leaning towards getting a second pair of trim weight pockets. That way I could carry up to 8kg of weight (though suspect that this will drop to 4 or 6kg once I try my kit) and could split my weight between ditchable and non ditchable with say one block on each side of the tank and one block on the waistband at each hip.

    While using trim pockets mean the weight isn't truly 'ditchable' (yes, I've read and watched plenty of articles that say that ditchable weight isn't always necessary and that it could introduce a hazard in itself), it would mean that half the weight was fixed but that the other could be accessed from the waist pockets.

    So, the question: Given I'm going on two Padi courses (Peak performance Buoyancy and Rescue) - do you think that this setup of 2-out-of-4 trim pockets being hip mounted would be OK with a typical instructor and a sensible way to dive?

    The other benefit of course is that as I get my confidence back, I could move towards an "innerspace Explorers"-style of balanced rig/clean harness by simply moving the trim pockets from my waist back onto the lower camband.

    Any feedback or advice would be very welcome. I've found it nearly impossible to get a lot of dive kit at the moment (LDS have very limited stock and can't get more from the manufacturers and online shops say kit is in stcock then cancel the order a few days later - I've had four failed orders just getting all the kit above together) so I'll need to get hold of the pockets pronto ready for my trip. A big downside to only diving abroad is that I can't always just nip to the nearest shop to get something if I've forgotten a piece.

    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by gasket; 21-09-2022 at 05:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Get a weight harness adjust to your liking either high up or low down.

    is relatively light as it is strapping and two weight pockets.

  3. #3
    Established TDF Member witchieblackcat's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd add a couple of weight pockets on the waist belt and lose the ones on your cylinder.

  4. #4
    #keepittea ebt's Avatar
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    Just to point out the obvious, might be worth finding out if your rescue instructor is familiar with bp&w. They have some foibles when youre doing rescue on them….

  5. #5
    Nicotine, valium, vicodin... notdeadyet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebt View Post
    Just to point out the obvious, might be worth finding out if your rescue instructor is familiar with bp&w. They have some foibles when youre doing rescue on them….
    I used to play the body regularly on rescue courses and always used a BP&W. It didn't take much task/time pressure to make BCD-wearing students completely incapable of getting me out of the harness. They got there in the end but for a surprising amount of time, even when familiar, they would still just automatically look for shoulder clips. You also learned to get good at holding your breath because your mush is going underwater every time and for a long time while they wrestle you out. "Protect the airway" went out the window.

    If you're attaching weight to the rig then make sure it will float without you in it. With certain cylinder and wing combos, the wing was floaty enough with me attached but on its own it would be slightly negative even with a small wing fully inflated. Rescue courses have a lot of kit ditching, in the middle of it is not the time to find out your wing wasn't beefy enough.

    If you have weights in pockets then you also need to think about how that will be dealt with on the rescue course. Ditching the weight belt is one of the first things you're taught (or at least it was on mine) and there's a lot of simulating it. On the courses I played the body on it was generally done with an empty belt or in water shallow/confined enough that someone (usually me) could recover the ditched belts easily. With weight blocks or shot bags, life gets harder. If you just run empty pockets then it's harder to positively confirm that the other person ditched them (it's clear with a weight belt). If you use actual weight then it makes recovering individual blocks a bit more of a hassle. It's always better to train how you dive but it's worth, as EBT says above, discussing it with the instructor.
    Caliph Hamish Aw-Michty Ay-Ya-Bastard, Spiritual leader of Scottish State in England

  6. #6
    Established TDF Member JimmE's Avatar
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    When I dive in a single-cylinder setup (using a similar wing and backplate etc that you have here), I use two pockets on the top cylinder band to help trim and reduce the weight on the belt, and then the rest of the weight goes on a standard buckle belt.

    I've used weight harnesses etc in the past, I found them necessary at the time due to the amount of weight I needed on a belt (12-14kg) but since changing my kit, losing a little bit of bodyweight and experience meaning I need less weight anyway, I've now found that I don't have issues with a "normal" weightbelt slipping providing there is no more than about 8kg on it.

    I do tend to use a stainless backplate in the UK (as I have it anyway, used for my twin cylinder setup) and only use the ali plate when travelling, but that's only a couple of kg difference.

    I don't foresee any issue with weight pouches on the waist band as well if needed, I just wanted to keep things as simple as possible. All the extra 'bulk' of material you carry is ultimatley more buoyancy, which needs to be offset by more weight, hence I moved away from a bulky BC to a more minimal wing, moved away from the weight harness and even a pouch belt in favour of a normal webbing belt, etc.

    (Pouch belts are great if you need to add/remove weight regularly (changing kit configurations, or diving with trainees etc) but once you know how much weight you need it doesn't normally change often (e.g. I do a weight check once a year) so I never really saw the benefit of a pouch belt over a webbing one!)

  7. #7
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    Thanks all.

    Ah - some good points on the rescue course there.

    I'm going for a week and in that time I'm doing the peak performance course, having a couple of 1:1 dives (to get my confidence back) a fair few group dives and also doing the rescue course. Based off the points above it seems sensible to use a rental BCD for the rescue course and my new BPW for the rest.

    So, a couple of trim pockets on the waist band sound sensible and aren't inherently hazardous compared with a ditchable set?

  8. #8
    All hail ZOM Woz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasket View Post
    Thanks all.

    Ah - some good points on the rescue course there.

    I'm going for a week and in that time I'm doing the peak performance course, having a couple of 1:1 dives (to get my confidence back) a fair few group dives and also doing the rescue course. Based off the points above it seems sensible to use a rental BCD for the rescue course and my new BPW for the rest.

    So, a couple of trim pockets on the waist band sound sensible and aren't inherently hazardous compared with a ditchable set?
    Shove some weight in the trim pockets up high (you will need them to get flat) and the rest on a belt. You could you QR weight pockets on the harness but anything more than a couple of kg in them they have a tendency to drop out. I've collected many, many pouches on dives.
    A weight harness and a BP/harness looks shit and dives even worse. Don't go there.
    I have nothing to do with BSAC any more apart from being a muggle member. So anything I write on here is likely to be complete bollocks. Hooray!

  9. #9
    All hail ZOM Woz's Avatar
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    Also from your original post you are missing a Single Tank Adapter that clamps the wing between the backplate and the adapter. Kent Tooling do a lovely one.
    I have nothing to do with BSAC any more apart from being a muggle member. So anything I write on here is likely to be complete bollocks. Hooray!

  10. #10
    Established TDF Member Steve Clark's Avatar
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    You don't mention it, but I assume you're diving in a wetsuit?

    Personally, I'd just put some weight directly on the cambands threaded through the blocks. Typically some on the top (2x1kg?) and a bit more on the bottom (2x2kg?) with an ali plate. Then I'd put some blocks on a simple weightbelt, with tri-glides to so they don't move about and wear it under your harness so it's neat and won't fall off.

    If you're properly weighted, you're very unlikely to need to ditch the weight underwater. You can just fin up until the air in the wing and your wetsuit expands a bit.

    On the surface you may need to ditch some weight if you end up in a lost the boat for a long time or emergency surface swim type scenario with some swell. You can just take the weight belt off and drop it to get your head further above the water. You can also oral inflate the wing and inflate dsmb's for more buoyancy.

    To get on a rib, you're taking the harness off anyway so crack that first, then pass up the weightbelt, then dump the set. Over your head like taking a jumper off is easiest in a one-piece harness.

    For the course, you can wear the weightbelt over the top of the harness if you need to tick a box.


 
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