Your Scuba Gear


A mask is one of the most important, and personal, pieces of scuba diving equipment you own because it lets you explore with your eyes. More...


A snorkel is a very personal piece of equipment. It lives with your mask, spends time in your mouth, and lets you breathe while you look below, until you’re ready to submerge on scuba. More...


There are fins for swimming, snorkeling, free diving and body surfing. More...


Imagine scuba diving while hovering, weightless underwater – eye to eye with a fish. How is it possible? It starts with your buoyancy control device (BCD). More...


Most people float, which is great if you like to stay at the surface. However, scuba divers want to descend and need a weight system to help them offset this tendency to float. More...


If you think about it, breathing underwater is pretty remarkable, and it all happens because of the regulator. The scuba regulator is a great invention that delivers the air from your scuba tank to you just the way you need it to breathe. More...


Your SPG displays how much air remains in your tank so that you can end your dive well before you get too low. More...


You can track your dives using dive tables, a depth gauge and dive watch, but most scuba divers use a dive computer – it’s easier. More...


In the 1970s and 1980s, divers wore dive watches because it was the standard way to track bottom time while scuba diving. More...


A dive knife is a general tool that scuba divers occasionally use to cut entangling fishing line or rap on their tanks to get a buddy’s attention. More...


It’s obvious that a dive light is necessary to scuba dive at night to help you navigate, see your gauges, and observe interesting aquatic life. More...


Whether you’re driving to your local dive site or getting on a plane headed for the tropics, a sturdy gear bag will help you organize, protect and carry your scuba diving equipment. More...

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It’s called exposure protection because while scuba diving you’re not only exposed to water’s cooling ability but also to things that can scrape, cut or sting. More...


With the rise of digital photography capabilities, there are now numerous options for capturing images underwater. More...


An accessory is defined as an item that can be added to something else to in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive. More...


A dive flag indicates that scuba divers are nearby. In some areas, flying a dive flag while scuba diving is required by law, but in general it’s a good idea for safety reasons. More...


In the unlikely event that you’re at the surface and need to get the attention of someone on shore or on a boat, you’ll be glad you have a surface signaling device. More...


High-pressure cylinders are relatively small, yet very strong containers that hold large volumes of compressed gas. More...


Scuba diving with a sidemount configuration simply means that you carry your tanks at your sides instead of on your back. More...



Scuba diving with a sidemount configuration simply means that you carry your tanks at your sides instead of on your back. This can reduce drag and is more comfortable for many divers. Sidemount divers often dive with two smaller tanks that are attached in the water. This makes carrying tanks and kitting up easier, especially for those who have difficulty lifting or walking with a backmounted tank. Technical divers typically need to carry extra cylinders, and believe that using a sidemount setup is the best option.

The PADI Sidemount Diver course introduces divers to sidemount techniques for recreational scuba diving. The Tec Sidemount Diver course teaches technical divers how to mount at least four tanks for their technical diving adventures.

Interested in sidemount training? See Da Nang Scuba.

Standard Sidemount Features

  • BCDs (buoyancy control devices) used for sidemount are usually wing style with a harness and different tank attachment points than backmount BCDs.
    • Tanks attach at the hip and on the upper chest, at armpit level on either side.
    • Most configurations use an elastic system (bungee, tubing, etc.) to hold tanks in place, or clips that attach to chest D-rings.
  • One or two regulators with SPGs (submersible pressure gauges) to match the tanks, and at least one must have a low pressure inflator hose that hooks into your BCD.

Optional and Desirable Sidemount Features

  • Many harnesses are padded for comfort and have pockets for weights to balance your trim. Most have crotch straps to keep the harness properly positioned.
  • Some harness and BCD designs allow you to change out parts, allowing you to use the system for either backmount or sidemount diving.
  • For cave diving, some BCDs have hoses that attach near the bottom of the bladder instead of the top.
  • Cylinder-mounted weights allow you to fine-tune weight position during the dive by loosening and sliding the band up or down the tank.

How to Choose Your Sidemount Gear

There are many sidemount diving systems available and your PADI Sidemount Instructor or Tec Sidemount Instructor can give you with the best advice regarding which sidemount rig will work for you. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Where you dive and what kind of tanks you use affect how much lift you need from your BCD.
  2. You need to be able to easily and comfortably handle all clips and attachments. If you’ll wear thick gloves while sidemount diving, it’s a good idea to try putting on and taking off tanks with your gloves on. If you plan to boat dive with your sidemount system, make sure you’ll be able to quickly secure and release tanks on a moving platform or in choppy conditions.

Take Care of Your Sidemount Gear

To keep your sidemount equipment in good shape, follow the three general maintenance procedures:

  1. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water after each use – both the outside and inside or your BCD.
  2. Let it dry completely – out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
  3. Partially inflate the BCD and store in a cool and dry place. Don’t leave weights in the harness weight pockets.