#83
mdwreckdiver - 3/28/2018 12:52 PM
Long answer :)

When I began diving, my first BCD was a Dive Rite Transpac II (great set-up). After about 3 years of diving/training I became more interested in “tech diving” and thus changing up my gear to meet that need became a priority. My goal was to minimalize and streamline my kit. Like you, I had many questions regarding what to buy and why. Unfortunately, I did not have many peers involved in Tech diving so I had to forge my own path with respect to gear choices. At the time, I needed to be as frugal as I could and had to piece together a “tech kit”. I purchased an “old stock” Apeks (SS) back-plate, Hogarthian harness (1-piece webbing), and integrated weight system from a local dive shop. I paid about $200 for everything. I utilized my Dive Rite Rec Wing from my Transpac II and sold the soft harness. I ended up purchasing a Highland Single Tank Adapter (STA), and Derlin plate nuts. And that was my kit….

I dove that kit for about 6 years until I started diving regularly with the same team of folks. Which brings me to my first point of consideration; if you plan to dive with a teammate(s) regularly, you may want to put some serious consideration into what set-up their diving or at least have the discussion with them. IMO, this approach of commonality reduces the impact of equipment issues, increases familiarity with each other’s systems, increases redundancy, reduces risk, and ultimately makes the dive safer. The Tech Kit that I had pieced together was great; however, it was completely different than anyone else I dove with and thus ultimately led me to selling it and purchasing something that was in line with the rest of my teams configuration. I wanted to give you a little background before getting into my suggestions so you could potentially save yourself some money in the long run and truly match your need with gear purchase.

Most back-plate kits are relatively the same with a few variations accounting for material type (AL , SS, CF); cutouts (weight reduction/mounting options); and manufacturer “specialty options” i.e. Halcyon Quick-Cinch System, Apeks Sure-lock Weight System, pad Kits, etc.
I have not dove the Hollis system that you referred to; however, I do own several Hollis products (DX-300 Dry Suit, LED lights, Etc.) that I can say are great. That being said, I must digress for a moment. I received a pair of Hollis Rock Boots for Christmas this past year and after 1 week of Cave Diving in Florida they literally disintegrated. I sent them back, received a refund, and ended up purchasing a pair of DUI’s. The reason I bring this up is that I have begun to question the quality standards of Hollis since being acquired. Just food for thought. Again, I have owned many of their other products and can attest that they are all stellar.

Prior to purchasing a back-plate set-up I would ask yourself a few questions, in no particular order: (these would/could all have impact on style of harness, material type, and required wing lift)

1. What is your rational for purchasing a back plate set-up? I.e., the need?
2. What type of kit is your teammate(s) diving?
3. What type of diving do you see yourself doing in the next 2-5 years? (Recreational, Tech, Wreck, Cave)
4. Do you plan on traveling extensively using this kit?
5. Will you dive wet/dry?
6. Will you dive singles/doubles?
7. Do you have any plans to dive side-mount?
8. What is your budget?
9. Are you looking to purchase a complete set-up or piece together?
10. Have you read up on or are you familiar with DIR techniques/equipment configuration?
11. Peripheral equipment mounting needs? Can light?

So not to belabor any longer, I think in order to be an educated buyer I would do some research (if you haven’t already) into some of the back plate systems on the market. All have great options.
Now for my opinion, again I will caveat, this is just my opinion. I would recommend the following systems (based on the following assumptions).

1. You are planning to purchase a complete system
2. You have done your research
3. Single tank
4. You plan to dive Tech+
5. You have tried a few out already and are familiar with the concept
6. Budget is not an issue (within reason)
7. You plan to dive this kit exclusively for the next foreseeable future
8. You plan to dive a Hogarthian style kit (DIR)
Kits in no particular order: (most will require additional parts)
1. Halcyon Infinity (complete)
2. Dive Rite XT SS plate, continuous webbing harness, and Rec Wing(will require weight pockets, crotch strap, & STA)
3. Sub-gravity Continuous Webbing Harness with Paragon 26 Wing (will require weight pockets, & STA)
4. Apeks Deluxe One Piece Harness System with WTX-D30 Wing (Sure-lock weight system, attachment, & STA)

Honestly, this is just my humble opinion and nothing more. I have dove all of these and currently dive a Halcyon Infinity for Singles/Doubles (different wings) and a Sub-gravity Diamond for Side-mount. In my opinion none are necessarily better than the other, they are all great systems as I am sure the Hollis is as well. At the end of the day it boils down to your need. A Hogarthian kit is about as basic as it gets, for clear reason-it’s minimalistic, streamline, easily configured, adjusted, and repaired.

Below are a few equipment configuration links that may be of use:

gue.com/equipment/config

dir-diver.com/en/equipment/backplate_adjustment.html

frogkickdiving.com/singles-regulator.html

Best of luck, I hope this helps.