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DIR gear config question(s)

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


New Member
Aug 18, 2004
First, a disclaimer: I am a newbie (got recently certified and have almost no experience). I chose to post this question in this forum, however, because the DIR system seems to be taken seriously only by technical divers

Anyway, I found out about this DIR stuff when researching gear before plunging into a buying spree, and it caught my undivided attention. I have read their "Do It Right" book (nice little book) and got the DIR2004 DVD, and have (for now) one question: I noticed that they set their harness so that the buckle opens to the right. And when George Irvine demonstrateed with a weight belt, he set it to open to the right, too! In the certification classes they always stressed that the BC and weight belt should open in opposite directions, so they won't get confused (seems a good argument to me). So, the question is: why do the DIR guys set them both to open in the same direction? [I understand that they normally do not use a weight belt, since the negative buoyancy comes from the backplate and the steel tanks, or extra weights they put in the harness, but they DO mention the use of a weight belt as an alternative].

Thanks a lot and don't get upset if my question seems too naive.
Sounds like a question for the QUEST list.;)

The tank harness opens on the right so you can slide your canister light on it easily enough. If your balanced out correctly you just drop the cansiter- as it's all the extra ballast that you need. So, in essence it is your belt. Now that nimh batteries have shrunken down the size of the light cansiters that may not still be the case.

I, myself, have never needed a belt once my gear was rigged- even for single tank vacation dives. Either my light was heavy enough or I had weight pouches on the harness that could wasily be dumped- and I never needed more than a couple of pounds to begin with so it wasn't a big deal.

For drysuit diving I never needed a belt because of a steel back plate, steel tank(s), or a V-weight/ P-weight as a last resort.

Hope that helps, a little, but I would still post it to the Quest list and see what they say about it.

Firstly, I don't know if he can post to Quest since he started out by saying he was newly certified and "just found out" about DIR.

He could also ask on DecoStop or ScubaBoard.

Personally, wet or dry, I tend to need even a little bit of weight. I get this from wearing a 6, 8 or 10lb weight belt. I wear it under my harness (yes, under the crotch strap both front and back) and although I've had people tell me it's not ditchable that way, I can and hav removed it without climbing out of my rig.

Yes the buckles open in the same direction, but the harness buckle itself is offset toward the right hip. In my case I have two stainless buckles and have never had difficulty telling them apart.

With regards to canister lights: I have a Helios 4.5, one of the "new" NiMH cans. It's the size of 2 Coke cans on top of each other and accounts for -1.5 lbs in buoyancy. For the >$1000 Cdn it cost me, I wouldn't consider it the best thing to be dumping, either - like 1.5 lbs will be enough to save me.

Oh just a side note: I just finished watching the DIR video myself, and I swear I saw George say and demonstrate "it's the usual left hand release, as with all scuba" !! Exact quote!! I couldn't believe it.........

Forgive a little vanity while I post a picture of my in gear to illustrate the buckles............


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I should clarify - I was always taught "right hand release" for all weightbelts. I paid particular attention to this because I'm ambidextrous meaning I tend to take on a task with whichever hand is convenient, and it would have been a no brainer for me to for the weight belt habit in either direction...... My instructor even clarified, "even for left handed people, that means right hand release"

That's why George's statement and demo raised my eyebrows.

If he's interested, then joining the Quest list for a year would be a good investment. Those other boards have a range of divers posting on them and are not dedicated to DIR.

George has often stated that dropping the cansiter light should give you wnough positive bouyancy to ascend IF the rest of your gear is balanced out. Of course, my first cansiter light weighed in at over 20 pounds and consisted of two motorcycle batteries stacked on top of eachother. My last light was similar to yours and woudln't have made much of a difference in my drysuit set-up, but did make a difference in my warm water 3mm jumpsuit set up.

I have used these trim pockets, made by Zeagle, in the past. They can slide onto my harness or tank band straps and hold 3-5 pounds a piece. This was always more than enough and easy to reach. Since I started carrying the light on all my dives I never even needed those.

For cold water, Great Lakes, diving I often found myself too heavy, rather than too light. With a set of steel doubles an aluminum back plate would have worked better than a steel and I never needed to add a belt onto anything.

Running a belt under a harness in a drysuit isn't such a big deal, but I don't think that I would do it with a wetsuit.

I was always taught, and have always taught, a right hand release on the weight belt- and I am left-handed.

Just my $0.02.:)

Just a side note about my can light........

For my own amusement once I took it along with me night freediving.......... I just threaded it onto my weightbelt and when not using the Goodman handle I stowed the loop of hose as per normal, but pulled the loop through so the handle wouldn't dangle.

You're absolutely right about it making a difference in a 'light' rig as opposed to a 'heavy' - when diving in doubles adding the light or a reel or two sure doesn't make any perceived difference at all - but that night, freediving with the HID and my usual weight setup, I found I was a little negative - maybe a pound or two. Sure makes a difference freediving...........
Again, thanks to all for your help!
I have just subscribed to DIR/Quest. As I said, although I am a "newbie," I am most interested in "Doing It Right"!
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