Category: Sidemount Diving Articles and News

Aquamundo | British / Mexico Cave School heritage sidemount BCD

The Two Schools of Sidemount Diving Heritage by Andy Davis Over recent years, a plethora of new sidemount BCDs has been released onto the diving market. To the casual observer, the range appears wildly diverse.  However, there are actually two primary ‘schools’ of sidemount design heritage. These schools were shaped and refined by the environmental […]

nomad xt sidemount hybrid sidemount systems

Top 5 Convertible Hybrid Sidemount Systems by Andy Davis My list of the top 5 most popular hybrid sidemount systems currently available worldwide. All of these hybrid systems are able to be converted for sidemount and backmount singles/doubles use. Hybrid sidemount systems offer the diver the adaptability to use their rig for either sidemount or […]


Ultimate Guide: Positioning Sidemount Cylinder Bands by Andy Davis One of the most common mistakes that I see with sidemount configurations is the incorrect positioning of the cylinder bands.  When incorrectly positioned, the bands will cause the cylinders to sit too high, or too low relative to the torso. If the cylinders are too high, then […]

Sidemount Pouches and Pockets A Look At Sidemount Stowage Solutions IMHO, thigh pockets are entirely inappropriate for sidemount diving. They are difficult to access with sidemount cylinders in place; near-impossible with multiple deco/stage cylinders – and they can cause ‘A-framing’ of the cylinders by pushing the bottoms out away from the diver. This leaves many […]

sump uk sidemount harness hardware options

Stand-Alone Sidemount Harness Options There are  a number of stand-alone sidemount harnesses on the market.  Whilst not complete sidemount diving systems, they may warrant consideration if building a mixed, or DIY, configuration rig: SUMP UK Sidemount Harnesses   ‘H’ Style Harness showing custom hardware options Andrew Goring at SUMP UK is well known for his […]


Fixing The Sidemount Training Disappointment by Andy Davis Sidemount training is increasingly marketed as ‘just another’ quick specialty course for divers.  It is not. Sidemount students are sometimes sold a myth that a couple of days and a handful of dives (usually 4) is sufficient to gain mastery in using unfamiliar and very specialist equipment. […]


Hollis SMS100 Sidemount Modifications by Andy Davis I regularly have sidemount students  bring the Hollis SMS100 for their courses. The SMS100 is a good sidemount rig, but it is a ‘convertible’ backmount / sidemount system – so it definitely benefits from some ‘sidemount focused’ modification.  Also, it is a rig that primarily caters for cold-water […]


Ultimate Guide : How To Set Up Your Sidemount Harness by Andy Davis A lot of divers find setting up a sidemount harness to be confusing, even those with experience diving backmount style wings.  Here’s my ultimate guide to setting up, sizing and configuring your sidemount harness. This article deals with ‘Mexican cave’ (aka UK) […]

sidemount loop bungee setup configure

How To Set Up Sidemount Loop Bungees by Andy Davis I’ve found that sidemount Loop Bungees are the most popular with my students and offer the most refined cylinder trim, along with the easiest cylinder don/doff routine.  This option is getting increasingly more popular in the sidemount community, especially with those diving ‘Mexican Cave’ style […]


How To Build Your Own DIY Custom Sidemount Harness by Andy Davis It’s pretty easy (and cheap!) to make a DIY custom sidemount harness for yourself. Configure it using THESE instructions.  All the components can be bought off-the-shelf at any decent dive centre; with the exception of the sidemount shoulder and lumbar plates, which you’ll […]

apeks rk3 sidemount fins

Top 5 Warm-Water Sidemount Fins by Andy Davis Wetsuit divers using sidemount in warm-water conditions typically suffer trim issues when using ‘traditional’ tech-style fins.  Heaver buoyant, fins (such as the ubiquitous ‘Jet Fin’) tend to cause too much negative buoyancy in the lower-body. Whilst these fins provide an excellent ‘foot weight’ for drysuit divers; or […]

budget sidemount diver

The $1200 Budget Sidemount Diver by Andy Davis. Sidemount really got popular over the last five years, but one factor that causes some divers to hesitate to convert to sidemount is the issue of cost. Sidemount can cost a lot if you look at the pricing for leading manufacturers on the market; that scares off […]

sidemount cylinder trim

Ultimate Guide to Sidemount Cylinder Trim by Andy Davis This is my comprehensive guide to the good, the bad and the ugly of sidemount cylinder trim.  The aim of this article is to illustrate and explain the common errors that cause less than ideal sidemount trim and frustrate sidemount divers. Use the illustrations and diagrams […]

sidemount band height andy davis

How to find the Optimal Height for Sidemount Cylinder Bands by Andy Davis Here is a quick ‘how to’ guide to configure the optimal height for your sidemount cylinder bands.  This method assumes you are using LOOP bungees. It’s correct for either steel or aluminium cylinders, whether you use waist D-rings or a buttplate/rails for […]

Apeks Sidemount Regulators

A List of Sidemount Regulator Sets by Andy Davis A greater number of scuba equipment manufacturers are now offering dedicated sidemount regulator sets.  Here is my guide to some of the best sidemount regulators sets available. For the average novice sidemount diver, there are some distinct advantages to buying a complete set-up rather than attempting […]

XDeep Stealth 2.0 Modifications Waist Buckle

XDeep Stealth 2.0 – Modifications – Low Profile Waist Buckle by Andy Davis This is a relatively cosmetic modification to the XDeep Stealth 2.0, but it’s something I’ve done on all my different sidemount rigs (6 and counting…). I got the idea after using the Razor 2, which has a two-piece low profile buckle.  Most […]

XDeep Stealth Modifications Crotch Bungee 2

XDeep Stealth 2.0 Modifications : Crotch Bungee by Andy Davis Whilst I am a big fan of the XDeep Stealth 2.0 sidemount system, I always thought that the crotch bungee method of securing the bottom of the wing was less than ideal. With thin exposure protection, it could be uncomfortable (thinking board shorts here….).   […]

XDeep Stealth 2.0 – Modifications – Redundant Buoyancy by Andy Davis The XDeep Stealth 2.0 is a very highly regarded sidemount BCD system.  Unfortunately, it does not come with an option for redundant buoyancy, which is a feature that some wetsuit / warm-water technical divers might desire. It is also a requirement, absent the use […]

aquamundo sidemount system for sale philippines

Product for Sale: Aquamundo Sidemount System *available for shipping in the Philippines and internationally. The  Aquamundo Sidemount system is full-feature sidemount system, complete with everything you need to conduct enjoyable and safe sidemount dives.  Suitable for recreational and extended-range technical divers. This sidemount system has been proven for it’s durability and functionality over 2 years […]

Advanced Sidemount Wreck Restrictions

Advanced Sidemount Wreck Diving: Passing Extreme Restrictions  Advanced sidemount diving techniques present a vast spectrum of new opportunities for wreck divers to safely explore previously unpenetrable sections of shipwrecks. The training for these activities is typically only available to fully qualified technical wreck (and/or full cave) sidemount divers. This reflects the high challenge involved with […]

Advanced Sidemount in Action  A photo from recent ANDI Advanced Sidemount training dives, held in Subic Bay, Philippines.   The Advanced Sidemount course is open to qualified Technical Wreck and/or Full Cave qualified divers.  It covers multi-stage penetration protocols and techniques for passage through major-extreme restrictions.   CONTACT ME to discuss enrolling on an Advanced […]


Sidemount Course Photos – Subic Bay Jan-Apr 2014  The first quarter of 2014 was a very busy period, crammed full of sidemount, technical and wreck courses at all levels.  In particular, sidemount courses are more popular than ever, with a large number of students attending training at either basic or technical levels.  Here are some […]


Top 5 – Sidemount Adapter Systems The increasing popularity of mainstream sidemount diving has seen a plethora of dedicated sidemount systems enter the market in recent years.  However, many new sidemount ‘converts’ already own back-mounted wing BCD systems – and the seek the opportunity to customize their existing wings for sidemount use.    DIY back-mount […]

Aquamundo Sidemount BCD

A List of Modern Sidemount Diving Systems There are an increasing number of commercial ‘off-the-shelf’ sidemount systems available to purchase.  These typically fall into one of two categories; minimalist (Hogarthian-inspired) rigs and cold-water rigs. The minimalist rigs, sometimes called “British configurations” typically feature a base harness that uses lumbar and shoulder plates, to which a flat […]

DIY sidemount technical wreck diving philippines

Adding Weight to a Sidemount Diving Harness This is a very simple, quick and cost-effective for adding weight to a sidemount diving harness.  It’s a technique I now use when initially working with students to add/remove weights in-water, during initial set-up and configuration dives.   It also has an application for travelling sidemount divers, who […]

homemade diy sidemount rig harness system

Some Options for Homemade / DIY Sidemount Rigs I use several homemade / DIY sidemount configurations frequently when wreck diving in the Philippines.  These sidemount configurations are exceptionally economic – costing significantly less than ‘off-the-shelf’ purchased rigs. The majority of components can be bought ‘over-the-counter’ at a reasonably well stocked dive shop, and/or make use […]

Technical Sidemount Diving

 The following commentary was first published as a post on the Scubaboard internet discussion forum. I felt that it provided a very beneficial perspective on the positive and negative aspects of sidemount configuration; particularly in comparison with back-mounted alternatives.  It’s a useful read for those divers, of all levels and backgrounds, who are considering their […]

M-bungee-sidemount rig

‘M Bungee’ Super-Minimalist Sidemount Rig I had some spare time the other afternoon, so I took the opportunity to test-dive a concept I’ve had brewing for a while.  Basically, it is a harness-less sidemount rig, using an ‘M’ shape continuous bungee to secure the upper wing whilst providing traditional mounting points for sidemount cylinder valves.  The wing […]

DIY Sidemount Wreck Diving Helmet

DIY Sidemount Wreck Diving Helmet by Andy Davis I noticed, with some surprise, the high cost of cave sidemount wreck diving helmets currently being sold on the scuba market. Light Monkey sells an excellent diving helmet, but the cost (certainly here in the Philippines) was prohibitive for me.  I promote a policy of frugal investment on rugged […]

Sidemount Technical Diving Techniques – Videos Some great videos that demonstrate technical sidemount diving techniques, as taught on courses, by Rob Steiner. Sidemount Buoyancy Practice Flutter Kick On Sidemount Frog Kick on Sidemount Helicopter Turn on Sidemount Sidemount Trim Cylinder ‘Feathering’ (manipulate valve to breath from free-flowing regulator) Partial Removal of One Cylinder Partial Removal […]


A Guide to Modern Sidemount Diving by Andy Davis 1. What is and isn’t Sidemount Diving? Sidemount Diving Sidemount diving is the, now increasingly formalized, approach towards conducting dives with 2 or more primary cylinders secured at the side of the body and in line with the torso – with no cylinders on the diver’s […]