The Harness and Backplate
The backplate is metal, generally made from stainless steel, some divers use aluminium & ABS. ABS is not commonly used due to it being inherently less durable and the potential for failure with the weight of equipment being carried. The harness is made from one continuous piece of webbing with no clips or joints in the shoulder sections, to web a harness tep by step head here. This makes for a much stronger system which cannot fall apart.
Notice how the webbing under face follows your body to the lower notch of the backplate. The side with the d-ring is the side that is facing out at the bottom, otherwise it cuts into you. The strap must go to the inside slot first, and then out through the outside - this prevents the webbing from slipping (if you web it in the other direction it will slip) if you don't fit weight retainers behind the plate - see later. The final reason to weave it this way, is that if you weave to the back of the plate, you will need a chest strap to prevent the shoulder sections from slipping off you
Simplistically the webbing has a D ring at each shoulder and one on the left hand hip to which the contents gauge is clipped. Often this clip on the contents gauge is actually on the hose itself as you then don't have to worry about anything breaking causing the gauge to flop around. These D rings are all that's needed for mounting all the stages that you can ever use. If you look carefully in the photograph to the right you will see a spare piece of innertube that is mounted on the webbing , this is to hold the backuplight in event of the failure of the innertube loop which normally holds the light in place.
The corrugated hose and inflator hose from the wing is held together with a bit of inner tubingand then attached to a piece of bungee which is in the left shoulder D ring. This prevents you losing your BC inflator. You can see this on the hose routing page. The top webbing is feed as shown in the photograph to the left here. It doesn't cross behind the head, as its not needed and crossing the webbing may nip the neckseal and allow water into your dry suit if you look forward and down. Crossing the straps was done on some harnesses to hold the straps in place across your chest, however if you web the bottom of the webbing as shown in these diagrams, its not needed. Even if webbed as described here, we find that the webbing can still slip through the bottom holes, if that's the case add a metal weight retainer behind the plate as shown below.
A small knife, which must be serrated and with the metal blade all the way through the handle, is all that is needed. The knife is mounted on the belt to the left before the buckle, it can be seen in the diagram right at the top of this page.
Lastly on the harness is the crotch strap which runs from the bottom back of the backplate and has a loop which the waist belt runs through. Again we have a D ring at the front to attach the scooter tow to and a D ring at the back which is used for reels or lift bags and spare scooters.
Generally with the type of diving this equipment is aimed at, the amount of cylinders and equipment you carry mean that you will not need a weight belt - if you still find the need for extra weight then consider the use a V weight mounted between the cylinders and the backplate
If you need good webbing in the UK contact any one of our recommeded outlets
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