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DIY soft weight harness

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2001
Hello DB’ers,

A while back someone on this forum mentioned the possibility of making a soft weight harness from bicycle inner tube and wear it in a figure-8. I’ve been experimenting with the idea ever since and will show my latest version here for all you DIYs out there.

Material & cost
Mountaint bike inner tube, 26” X 1.9-2.2, 1X 4$
Lead shot from scuba weight, 12lbs 25$
Snap shackle, 2X 40$
Plastic 1” D-ring, 4X 2$
1” webbing, 2' 1$
Velcro line keepers 1$
Cable ties
Black electrical tape

The idea is to make a harness that’s comfortable, stays put even when you’re upside down, and releases when you want it to. So the inner tube is cut into 2 sections and each are filled with shot and tied off with cable ties and covered with electrical tape so there’s no sagging in the length. The tubes are then twisted around itself to shorten the length and give some tension when I wear it. This tension will be what keeps the loops from sliding right off your back when you’re gliding downward. The velcro line keeper keeps the twisting from coming undone or sliding.

The first photo shows the complete harness, unconnected. The harness is consisted of 2 parts, the weight portion and the release strap.

The second photo shows the harness connected by the release strap into 2 loops you wear like a gun holster. The release strap is in front so you or your safety can just grab it and pull.

The third photo shows the harness as worn. Note that there should be no tension on the release strap otherwise it might accidentally release. And when the release strap yanked, either one of the snap shackles will open and the tension of the rubber tube will spring the harness right off your back. The weight of the harness will also yank the second snap shackle to release it too so chances are if you pull the release strap, the weight portion will disappear before you can turn and grab it. But that’s okay. The release is the expensive part anyway.

The fourth photo shows the back view of the worn harness.

When you wear the harness it should be tight enough to pull your arms back and you walk around like a he-man baring your chest. Once you’re breathing up, face up or down, you’ll forget it’s there. And when descending you should feel the weight pressing against the top of your shoulder/neck, otherwise the harness is not tensioned enough and is liable to slip off. The only negative thing is that the release strap hovers in front of my mouth when I’m going down. Minor annoyance.

The release strap may also be made from a small line to reduce drag.

This system has been working great for me for months now. The trim is a little heavy forward so it’s nice heading down. 12lbs is sufficient for my 5mm suit and I’m neutral at 10m. If I need to wear my 7mm I just wear an additional 6lbs on my rubber weight belt.

Questions, comments, feedback are welcome.

Peter S.


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Second photo

Here's the harness clipped together.


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third photo

Here's the harness when worn, front view


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fourth photo

Here's the harness when worn, back view


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Very nice! I would buy one if they are for sale.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
You should patent it. A provisional patent is very inexpensive and protects you for a year.

Thanks for the suggestion. :) Unfortunately I believe something like this can be too easily improved upon so a patent is kind of pointless; there may be better designs coming down the road months from now, and I may have one among them! ;) Besides, I don't think there's a lot of profit to be made from shipping lead.

Peter S.
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I know this is an old post, but I wanted to revisit it now that you (Longfins) have had some time to really know how you feel about your design. Having had ideas brew in our minds tends to improve them over time... Where do you stand today? Did the quick release sailing hasps work out or have you since discovered something you felt more appropriate? Perhaps you've found a better or more comfortable way to contain the weight, or perhaps it was an ideal design you are still using to this day...


I haven't tinkered with the harness design ever since I made the one I posted pictures of here. I'm still using it. In fact, I'm surprised it's lasted this long and not blowing out on me already. The only difference is that I made the harness to be neutral at ~33' and my lungs have expanded since then and I'm now neutral at 41-42' , but I'm diving a little deeper on average so that's fine by me.

Despite the many views I've only received a few feedback from a couple of people attempting to construct one. I don't know how many people actually tried, which is a shame because it would be nice to see what variations / improvements / stylistic changes people will bring. (For example, you already see three variants on the mobile sonar thread [ame="http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?t=64325"]mobile sonar unit[/ame] ) I'm so used to mine (knowing how to don it, where the 'sweetspot' is to always pop the harness loose etc.) it isn't fair for me to be the one to say whether it's the ideal design.

If you've made one yourself, please post your pics here.

Peter S.
Made my harness based on your design.

[ame="http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?t=66231"]Weight Harness[/ame]

There's been one modification since I posted the photos: I slipped some 3" lengths of tube over the loose tube ends and cable ties at the buckle ends. Makes it looks much better and hopefully will minimise any water getting into the harness. I'll post fresh photos if anyone requests them.

thank-you for the design!

here is my version, weighing in at just under 17lbs, is about the max weight you can make with this size of tube (26” X 1.9-2.2). my harness is heavier than either peter or andrews which meant that the coresponding length of tubing to deal with is much longer as well. the length probably has some effect on the fit, with shorter likely able to be somewhat tighter fitting.

it does take a bit of time getting used to the new balance point. after a couple hours it was no problem. when descending the harness does shift slightly after the duck dive, which was slightly unnerving at first. except for this small movement it stays in place nicely. now i don't even notice it's there after i first put it on.

i add as many turns as possible before putting it on leaving enough to go over my shoulders (i would probably add at least one more than shown in the picture). the twists take up the added length and create tension (it is tight to do up). the velcro tie downs are probably not a necessity as the twists keep it together (i made mine).

i put aquaseal inside the ends of the innertube before putting them through the rings. this seems to have sealed then up as i have not had any water leak out after diving.

during breathup my head is lower in the water with the harness, which can make it a bit harder to keep the snorkel clear in high wind and waves.

i sometimes have trouble doing up the second snap shackle when i am putting it on. the first is no problem but it is hard to hold the ends and close the shackle while they are under tension. i solved this problem by buying a small yatching carabiner, which i use to temporarily clip the two free ends of the harness together. this frees up my hands to now easily place the snap shackle. once the second shackle is closed i remove the carabiner.

i also found cheaper snap shackles for 10 bucks each. so far no problem with them but if they start to stick then i can replace them easily. i bought an extra set of shackles and length of cord to use as backup (bring to dive site) in case i lose/break them.

one question i have is how likely is the tubing to break/nick? should i worry about trying to cover/protect the inner tube?

i haven't had a problem thus far but a hole would likely cause full blowout due to the combination of weight and tension. i figured duct tape would reduce the ability to create tension with the stretch of the tube.



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one question i have is how likely is the tubing to break/nick? should i worry about trying to cover/protect the inner tube?

My harness is still in great condition and I dive from a beach by pulling myself out over the rocks to the deeper water. Not had any water ingress either.
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