Thursday, February 13, 2014

Alternative to Thigh Pockets

Since I started getting into a drysuit and technical diving I have had thigh pockets on my exposure suits.  I first started with one zipper bellow pocket on the right leg, then went to two bellow pockets with velcro closures.  The pockets served me well for many years however as I moved to sidemount diving I started going in to tighter areas the pockets seemed to snag and begun peeling away.  In addition when diving multiple bottles two to three stages/deco bottles I was having trouble getting to the pockets as easily as I liked more so when cold water diving.

Two Zipper Pocket
Dive Rite Two Zipper Pocket
During the winter season I started thinking of ideas, looking online to see what others might be doing and researching what different equipment manufacturers offer for a possible solution.  My first thought was to use a Dive Rite two zipper pocket and slide it over my harness waist band, but this wouldn't work because I do not have enough real estate on my waist band, the position would be low and could drag or be a potential snag hazard and finally it could be hard to restow gear.

Razor Expandable Pouch (Front View)
The second option I found was by Steve Bogaerts which was his Razor pouch.  The first version of this pouch that I saw was a bolt snap connected to the corner of the pocket.  The pouch contained all your items and was mounted to the divers butt D-ring.   While I liked the idea of the pocket I didnt like the fact my backup gear was mounted behind me by only one clip.  It could potentially come off and I would never know until it was to late.  Also I dive on shipwrecks, non-overhead environments, and cold water and thought there was a potential of dropping the bag when unclipping or clipping the pocket.

Razor Expandable Pouch (Back View)
The second version of the Razor Pocket I have seen since is one with two clips and clips to two D-rings on the back of the Razor harness.  Again I didn't like the idea of having to unclip the pocket to gain access to my gear, plus having the pocket in this location for me would it in the way of one of my liftbags when diving shipwrecks and since I keep my gear configuration the same no matter what site I am diving this wasn't going to work for me.

The solution I came up with was a combination and modification of the previous ideas I had researched.  I took a newer Dive Rite two zipper pouch and added two brass grommets on the top of the pocket.  Then I took shock cord like the type used for a computer or compass and thread it threw the grommets.  At each of the bitter ends of the shock cord attach a small brass or stainless bolt snaps.  Along the bottom of the pocket there are already grommets which act as drain holes for the pockets.  Do the same with the shock cord and bolt snaps for the bottom of the pocket.
Dive Rite Two Zipper Pocket w/ Clips
The pocket is attached to my harness with the top two clips attached to my shoulder D-rings and the bottom two clips are attached to low profile D-rings on my waist band.  The pocket rest in the middle of your torso typically just under your drysuit inflation valve.  The pocket is easily accessed, doesn't need to be removed and since its higher on your body the snag hazard is reduced some.  If for some reason you need to remove the pocket to access or stow a piece of gear or to get through a restriction you can.
Pocket Attached to Harness
The pocket is large enough to hold most if not all your gear in which you would want to stow in a pocket.  The shock cord at the top of the pocket allows for the attachment of the stowed gear as not to accidentally drop anything.  You can also attach a cutting device to the front if you need an extra one or two.  I typically carry a backup mask, slate w/ deco tables attached, spare double ender, bottom timer, neck leash for a tank and jon line.  The smaller pocket holds a signalling mirror for ocean diving or directional markers for cave diving.

Pocket w/ Contents