The Basics
Webbing a Harness
Stages & Deco
Gas Choice
Single Cylinders
Scooter Prop

Webbing a Harness / Backplate

These were a series of pictures I took, the last time that I webbed a harness.  The backplate is a Dive Rite Aluminium one, which Sue uses when diving in heavy cylinders i.e. twin 95 CF (twin 18's to us Europeans) and does not need the 5 LB weight of the stainless backplate

If you have an existing harness, which is comfortable, measure it, make a note of where every D ring is, every fold, every section length - in order that you can recreate it again.   However if you don't have one to go from start here. 

The shopping list

1 * backplate
15 * foot webbing (approx.)
1* stainless weightbelt buckle
1 * plastic weightbelt buckle
1 * plastic weight retainer
9 * stainless weight retainers (all but one is serrated)
5 * D rings
2 * small D rings
1 * loop Bungee cord
4 * inner tube loops


start.jpg (165916 bytes)

Everything needed for a harness

We start from the right hand side waist strap. Normally  this  will carry the hip mounted light,  therefore we use the plastic weight belt buckle on this side (as this stops the light falling off, when getting out of the harness) - here we see the RHS waist strap which is about 18 inches long, A serrated weight retainer is used to hold the waist strap in place with the back plate.  To install this section of webbing into the back plate, remove the plastic buckle and feed both ends of the webbing through the backplate from the back rhs1.jpg (152155 bytes)
rhs_bottom_2.jpg (152696 bytes) The RHS waist "end" comes out of the edge slot in the backplate, this means that the webbing section that will become the shoulder section, is the inner slot.  As can be seen the waist and shoulder sections face forward (i.e. nothing comes out of the back of the backplate). In this picture, the plastic buckle has been replaced as we will use this as an indicator that this is the RHS waist section.
Here we see the RHS lower backplate slots from the rear, a serrated stainless weight retainer is shown clearly.  The reason we use serrated weight retainers is that they do not slid on the webbing.  The non serrated ones can be used if the webbing is of of the right type, not too stiff, not too flexible and does not get soft when it gets wet..  rhs_bottom.jpg (153830 bytes)
rhs_drings.jpg (155641 bytes) Next we put on two pieces of inner tubing (approx. half a inch sections), these can be seen in line with the top fold on the backplate in the diagram, these are used to hold the backup lights in place (two are used for redundancy). The next action is to put on the chest D ring(s).  In these pictures we show two D Rings per side, Note this is not a standard harness configuration. Some divers in cold water with cold hands and thick gloves, find that the small half moon D ring adds stage work, the small half moon D rings are used to attach the backup lights to and the normal D ring is the Stage and/or "clip off" D ring. However with practice, the extra D ring is found to be not needed and is usually removed.  My harness uses only one D ring per side to which both the lights and the stages where clipped .   Notice how the webbing runs i.e. the outer face (at the bottom slot) becomes the forward facing face, therefore the D rings must face the right way (outwards)
rhs_complete.jpg (167449 bytes) The webbing then passes over the top of the backplate and from the back comes through the top slot, down and back through the the slanted slot and across the back of the backplate to repeat at the left hand side.   The LH picture shows the front view and the RH picture shows the back view top.jpg (166346 bytes)
Next we add the LH shoulder D rings, again we show the two D rings per side, the small half moon one goes on last (i.e. it will be below the normal D ring when the harness is worn.  The normal D ring also gets a bungee loop, which is used to hold your wing inflater in position.  We now can get the RH shoulder section length correct. The best way to do this is to get in your dry suit and undersuit and put the harness on.  When worn correctly the shoulder section should be snug but not tight. We find that you can comfortably slide the palm of your hand through the webbing at the shoulder D rings lhs_drings.jpg (168381 bytes)
lhs_hip.jpg (168689 bytes) Remember to put on the two pieces of inner tube.  Then through the backplate as shown.  Again a serrated weight retainer goes at the back of the backplate to stop movement.  Get the RH and LH shoulder section the same length and again try putting it on. Check for tightness by   seeing how easy it is to slid the palm of your hand between the webbing and your shoulder at the breast level.  Now get the Chest D rings in the right place the normal size ones should be at your collar bone level, with the half moon ones snugly under them.  We need to cut off the excess length at the LH waist section.  Make sure its comfortable by trying it on again and if this is your first harness, make sure you have some "spare" length for adjustments.  The LH hip D ring is now added.  
To finish off the main harness we add on the metal weight belt buckle and try it all again.  In this picture you can see the plastic weight retainer in the top RH corner which hold the "spare" webbing that could be used to make the shoulder sections bigger if needed.  Melt the webbing ends to prevent fraying top_complete.jpg.jpg (174438 bytes)
top_hole.jpg (174462 bytes) next heat a screwdriver (or soldering iron) and melt the top hole thought the webbing, make sure you melt the webbing all around so it does not fray around the hole
crotch1.jpg.jpg (155743 bytes) The crotch strap is made from the piece of webbing cut off, The front D ring, usually used for scootering (However its very useful so even if you don't scoter I would recommend you still add one).  The weight retainer is the NON serrated one as the webbing goes through it 4 times.  In the RH picture, the RH loop is the one we keep, the LH loops are pulled in tight as shown below crotch2.jpg (145466 bytes)
.crotch3.jpg (153408 bytes)
 croth4.jpg (159180 bytes) Next we burn a hole through the webbing and we bolt the crotch strap to the back plate with a stainless steel bolt,nut and washer as shown in the RH picture.  A rear crotch D ring should be fitted (before bolting the crotch strap to the backplate).  The Crotch strap length is adjusted and any excess webbing cut off (remember to melt the webbing ends) crotch5.jpg (173330 bytes)
The finished article, and after all this we have about 18 inches of webbing spare ... done.jpg (168942 bytes)

Copyright © 2001 [Gas - Diving]. All rights reserved.
Revised:4 March, 2002