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Stage or sidemount - what’s the difference?
Appeared in DIVER June 2012
Sidemount cylinders are carried on your side. So are stage cylinders. Without understanding some of the finer details, it can be hard to figure out just what makes them different, says JOHN LIDDIARD. A bit of history helps to put it all in context
Sidemount allows divers to wriggle through flat cracks or turn on their side to get through vertical cracks
Benefits of sidemounting include easy access to cylinder taps and protection of taps and regs
The cylinder neck is wrapped in a bungee loop from the back of the harness to a shoulder D-ring
Regs for sidemount cylinders can be held on necklaces or clipped to shoulder D-rings.
Gauges on short hoses can be set to poke straight up to be easily reachable
With a small harness and tight bungees, John Liddiard needs help to get the second cylinder in place
Stage regs are best bungeed along the side of the cylinder to avoid any confusion
For temporary removal, it may be enough to undo only the lower clip.
When breathing off the cylinder it’s advisable to undo the lower clip before the neck clip, and vice versa when replacing
When a stage cylinder is left, attach it to something securely!