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 of drysuits, for some agency technical diving training standards, i.e. PADI’s TecRec program.
I developed a very simple, cost-effective, solution to adding redundant buoyancy to the XDeep Stealth 2.0. I use it for most of my sidemount and/or technical diving students who opt to use the Stealth for their training (highly recommended!).
I based my solution on the redundant buoyancy design integral in Steve Bogeart’s Razor 2 sidemount – that of an oral inflation secondary bladder for emergency use only.
The XDeep Stealth 2.0 conveniently comes with a full-length zip across the inside of the bladder. This makes access very easy (no sewing required). I selected an MSR Hyromedary bag of sufficient volume to act as the oral-inflation bladder.
My choice was a 10-litre bag, but you could go for the 6-litre version if you calculate that buoyancy requirement.
The MSR Hydromedary was an original choice of minimalist sidemount pioneers. It is a tough 1000-denier nylon bag that was attached to home-made harnesses for exploration in cave systems with extreme restrictions.
Initially used with oral-inflation only through the drinking tube, divers began home-fitting the bags with a conventionalLow-Pressuree Inflator (LPI) and Over-Pressure Valve (OPV). This was the genesis for Steve Bogeart’s original Razor sidemount design.
The MSR fits nicely behind the zip and adds no noticeable bulk to the BCD. I find this a far less cumbersome, and cheaper (!) option that ‘double-stacking’ two Stealth bladders.
The oral-inflation via drinking hose method is proven on the Razor 2, but requires some practice to get the technique right…. but isn’t that the way with any safety-related technical diving skill?
Once the MSR is fitted inside the XDeep Stealth bladder, the hose can be curled back along its length leaving only the end protruding.
If the primary bladder fails, the diver can reach back, grasp the end of the hose and pull it out. It will reach to the mouth easily. The bladder zip can then be done up, securing the BCD for diving.
Hey presto! You now have an adequate means of redundant buoyancy that is accessible in seconds and adds little bulk or cost to the XDeep Stealth 2.0
If you didn’t like the option of reaching back to access the hose, then you can always leave the hose exposed/outside. It routes perfectly to be secured by rubber loops along the length of the existing LPI hose.
Note: If you are going to try this for yourself, please seek expert tuition and ensure that you have conducted successful shallow-water practice with the oral-inflation redundancy method before relying upon it on an actual dive.
Other XDeep Stealth 2.0 Modifications:
- Adding Redundant Buoyancy to the XDeep Stealth 2.0
- An Alternative to the XDeep Stealth 2.0 Crotch Bungee
- A Lower-Profile Waist Buckle for the XDeep Stealth 2.0
About the Author
Andy Davis is a RAID, PADI TecRec, ANDI, BSAC and SSI qualified independent technical diving instructor who specializes in teaching advanced sidemount, trimix and wreck exploration diving courses across South East Asia. Currently residing in ‘wreck diving heaven’ at Subic Bay, Philippines, he has amassed more than 9000 open circuit and CCR dives over 27 years of diving across the globe.
Andy has published many magazine articles on technical diving, has written course materials for dive training agency syllabus, tests and reviews diving gear for major manufacturers and consults with the Philippines Underwater Archaeology Society.
He is currently writing a series of books to be published on advanced diving topics. Prior to becoming a professional technical diving educator in 2006, Andy was a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force and has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Belize and Cyprus.