After looking at and trying a whole bunch of different and popular sidemount rigs, I ended up looking at the Dive Rite Nomad LTZ.
Courtesy of Cave Country Dive Shop, I was able to demo it at Ginnie and we did so using two LP120’s and two stages swimming to the Hinkle restriction.

Setting the rig up was done in just a matter of 2-3 minutes and it ended up both trimming out very well and handling nicely. The build quality is superb, with the back being covered by a superfabric surface and everything looking very solid. The only drawback that we found while using the Dive Rite Nomad LTZ was the fact that it does bulk up when partially full. While not as pronounced as the with it’s predecessor the Nomad LT Extreme, the Nomad LTZ still “beach-balls“. This is a result of the design of the wing, providing all the lift evenly distributed along the back.

Basically, Dive Rite built the Nomad LTZ with baffles so it can expand (when filled) laterally in the bungee area plus vertically in the bottom areas. This does work well on dry land when the air inflates evenly in the wing, it is however not so ideal in the water when inflating the gas causes an upward force within the wing.

Dive Rite Nomad LTZ

Photo by Oliver J. Albrecht
Dive Rite Nomad LTZ (unmodified) showing wing ‘turtle’ effect.

Even when partially inflating the Die Rite Nomad LTZ in the water, the upward force of the gas lifts the top of the wing up.  The result is heavy ballooning in the upper and middle area of the bladder, making the Nomad LTZ resemble an inflated turtle shell.  In addition to that, it increases the overall height by up to 3-5 inches, causing the wing to frequently scrape on the ceiling in low sidemount passages.

We decided to have an expert look at remedies for the “beach-balling“ and Rob Neto quickly discovered a few tricks to streamline.  After re-doing part of the webbing in different areas and switching to a totally different way of attaching the loop bungees, the Dive Rite Nomad LTZ was, compared to the original result, very much streamlined. It was tightened down in such a fashion, that it would no longer balloon, yet still provided much of the advertised 35lbs of lift; and there was even more good news; apart from material for the loop bungees and a little elbow grease, there is no additional hardware required for the Nomad LTZ with the Rob Neto modifications. All the modifications are even reversible, if so desired.

The Dive Rite Nomad LTZ has since become my primary rig for Florida sidemount diving.

I can highly recommend trying it out and talking to Rob Neto about the modifications he recommends to make it streamlined and enjoyable to dive.

Dive Rite Nomad LTZ Sidemount

Dive Rite Nomad LTZ Specifications:

Outer shell: SuperFabric material with double ply 600 denier fabric
Inner bladder: Heavy duty 420 denier nylon laminated
Lift capacity: 35 lbs. (15.8 kg)
Dual bladder (optional) lift capacity: 10 lbs. (4.5 kg)
Hose: 12-inch (30.4 cm) corrugated with inflate/deflate valve
Exhaust valves: One pull-dump at top, center and one at bottom/left corner of wing; configurable with corrugated hose on left or right side of wing
Cylinder attachment:
Ring bungee: Double bungee approximately 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) long and 15 inches (38.1 cm) overall with hardware attached
Choker system: Two nylon tank neck chokers that attach to the ring bungee clip to secure the cylinder easily under the arm

Butt plate: Reinforced nylon to provide the proper amount of rigidity to hold tanks in position and eliminate sag and two stainless steel handles for tank attachment
Crotch strap: 2 in. (5 cm) padded strap with scooter ring
Hardware: Marine grade stainless steel throughout
§ D-rings: Custom low profile angled D-rings on chest, 2 on waist, and 2 each on shoulders straps
Sizing: One size fits all (comes sized as large and can be adjusted as needed to resize)
Weight: 5.75 lbs. (2.61 kg)
Made in USA

  Manufacturer’s Website:   Dive Rite Nomad LTZ Sidemount

Dive Rite Nomad LTZ

Photo by Oliver J. Albrecht
Dive Rite Nomad LTZ with Rob Neto’s modifications

Dive Rite Nomad LTZ Sidemount

Photo by Oliver J. Albrecht
Dive Rite Nomad LTZ (unmodified)

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