The Aquamundo Sidemount BCD
I was pleased to be asked to conduct pre-release trials on the Aquamundo Sidemount BCD in Sept 2013 and this is my instructor’s review of the rig:
The sidemount BCD is a complete system, designed on a minimalist harness that is ideal for tropical diving with multiple aluminum cylinders. The wing has approx 20lbs/9kgs buoyancy and is constructed of heavy-duty 1000-denier Cordura.
I dove the rig with up to 3x AL80 tanks and it performed very well throughout. The bladder is ‘channeled’ to ensure the consistent spreading of air and prevent the ‘bubble effect’.
I also used the system for several dives during the ANDI Advanced Sidemount Stage instructor course, in which it was put through its paces for some extreme restriction wreck penetrations. The rig was very streamlined and offered a highly acceptable performance when squeezing through the smallest gaps.
My preference is for bolt-snaps on the bungees, as this is more compatible with using ‘standard’ rental cylinders (left-handed handle/no extended stem) when traveling to teach my courses. It is just a 2-minute task to change the bungees to that, more conventional, configuration.
What’s included with the Aquamundo sidemount BCD
- Sidemount butt pouch
- Trim weight pockets
- Independent bungees
- Cylinder boltsnaps
It’s complete for diving.
I particularly like that the rig comes complete with a decent ‘butt-pocket’ (expandable utility pouch), which attaches to the tail via double-end bolt-snaps (included). This is a useful solution for carrying varied redundant/backup ancillaries like; wetnotes, spare masks, finger spools, and line arrows. The sidemount harness has two quick links to attach the pocket, but I found these a little fiddly. I will be putting some offset D-rings in the rear position, on either side of the lumbar plate, to make life easier.
Sidemount weighting options
Weighting options include two optional trim pockets and also two zipped trim weight sections on the underside of the wing. When using the rig, I threaded my primary weighting directly onto the spine strap.
Sidemount waist D-rings
D-rings are supplied to facilitate proper trim on the waist harness. My preference is for low-profile D-rings and, again, it is little effort to swap these out with the supplied ‘regular size’ D-rings. I find that the low-profile D-rings enable me to reduce some of the cylinder swing/play.
LPI hose for sidemount configuration
The supplied LPI hose is very long for attaching to the power inflator (which routes from below, as is my preference). Ideally, if using a left-side regulator with a 5th/end-port (highly recommended), you will only want a 23cm/9-inch LPI hose. However, without an end/5th-port regulator, the supplied hose will provide sufficient reach.
Overall impressions of the sidemount BCD
Overall, I found this sidemount BCD to provide a very good function for recreational open-water sidemount and a good basis for a robust rig for extreme wreck penetration dives.
However, more advanced technical divers may want to consider additional options for redundant buoyancy if it is necessary (some tech/sidemount courses demand it). The Aquamundo sidemount BCD is robustly constructed and the modular design permits significant personal modification if desired.
Aquamundo Sidemount BCD Price
With an initial release price of 25,500php ($593USD) it is competitively priced on the market; offering a realistic alternative to the Hollis Katana 2, Tecline, Razor 2.0 and DiveRite Ray sidemount systems.
See my updated 18-month review here: Aquamundo Sidemount System Diver Review
Interested to purchase, see retail details here: Aquamundo Sidemount System Retail
Currently residing in Subic Bay, Philippines; he has amassed more than 10,000 open-circuit and CCR dives over three decades of challenging diving across the globe.
Andy has published numerous diving magazine articles and designed advanced certification courses for several dive training agencies, He regularly tests and reviews new dive gear for scuba equipment manufacturers. Andy is currently writing a series of advanced diving books and creating a range of tech diving clothing and accessories.
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.
In 2023, Andy was named in the “Who’s Who of Sidemount” list by GUE InDepth Magazine.
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