SOME HISTORY

Early cave explorers were looking for a way to easily get through narrow places together with their dive gear and numerous accessories. They needed to transport their tanks comfortably in the dry cave sections and be able to pass through narrow restrictions under water and. If necessary, they wanted also to completely remove and replace the tanks under water. These needs eventually leaded to the invention of sidemount configuration.

In those early pioneer days there were no commercial sidemount sets available, so self-constructed harnesses where used to hang the tanks more or less on the side. Some random regulators in recreational configuration completed the setup. That was it! And it worked… most of the times.

Things evolved a lot since those pioneer days. Materials and designs got much better. The general diving philosophy emphasized a lot more on safety, resulting in more specialized and thorough dive training. But most importantly many of those DIY (Do-It-Yourself) sets, be it backmount, sidemount etc. crystallized into commercial available  kits.

(R)EVOLUTION

Recent years, diving with side-mounted tanks changed from being a necessity for cave explorers into a well appreciated and comfortable way of diving for the mainstream diving (recreational and technical) population. 

Taking it under consideration,  #TecLineTeam analysed the needs, experiences and wishes of SM divers (both rec, tec and cave). We used this important feedback as a guideline to create the ultimate SM set.

The base for the new product was the SIDE 16 purely recreational, sidemount BCD. However, it needed some construction changes to meet the requirements of more advanced divers. And so it happened. 

Michaël Doumont (XperienceDiving / MDSTechnology) and Karel Levrau (Narcotec) disassembled the SIDE 16 and rebuilt it with a fair deal of improvements. After a lot of testing and fine-tuning the details, they claimed this remodelled TecLine SM set to be the ultimate in sidemount diving.

This is how TecLine’s SIDE 16 AVENGER was born.

Michaël Doumont & Karel Levrau

SIDE16 AVENGER

HARNESS

The AVENGER has a clean and simple DIR harness with the necessary D-rings and crotch strap evidently. This harness can easily be adjusted both on the attachment points on the back as on the waist, without unnecessary complexities. This makes the AVENGER an excellent set for teaching as it is easily and quickly adjustable.

The AVENGER is a real “plug and play” system. Because the webbing for shoulders and waist are separate they can be different in thickness, flexibility in this way offering a lot of possibilities to customize your comfort level.

The harness and bladder act as 1 unit when assembled. This allows to get in and out of the set very easily.

The waist belt is also separately adjustable from the shoulder straps. Again, this allows for quick adjustments when needed. The waist belt comes standard with the extra hard webbing, allowing for easy adjustment of the sliding D-rings while diving in order to maintain the perfect trim for the tanks. The waist belt attaches to the bladder much more to the inside, allowing to move the sliding D-ring much more backwards. This can come in handy when diving with heavier steel tanks for example. This way of attaching the waist belt to the bladder allows the bladder to better wrap around the diver and as a result is more streamlined then most other SM sets.

WEIGHT SYSTEM

Under the bladder of the AVENGER there are 4 fixed weight pockets which can hold up to a total of 12 kg. The position of this weight pockets, slightly more downwards and outwards, offers a more streamlined profile. Putting these fixed weight pockets more downwards also gives a much better trim as the weight of the tank valves are compensated better in that way. A little more weight downwards will also help a lot of dry suit divers  getting the perfect trim. If 12 kg is not enough, 2 more trim pockets can be added, left and right, to the waist belt. These pockets come in 2 seizes: 2 kg each or 4.5 kg each. So no more need to attach weights with tie-wraps on pieces of the harness everywhere.

GAS DUMPING

The AVENGER’s bladder went through  a few changes too. The inflator corrugated hose on the bladder can be repositioned coming from either the right or the left. The other port than can be used as dump valve or OPV. On the lower part of the bladder an extra dump valve is added. The position of this extra dump valve is in the arched, thus lowest, part of the back and doesn’t hinder while going through restrictions etc. The highest section of the bladder has been cut a bit so not to increase the divers profile. The trim pocket in this section has also been removed for the same reason.

ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

The AVENGER comes with a beaver tail which can be removed. The beaver tail with the 3 sectioned fixed D-rings is preferred by many SM divers diving with steel tanks, but is also a handy storage point for your extra gear, pony bottle, battery pack, …. With the beaver tail detached, the holes can be used to attach a battery pack, your pouch with extra gear, etc.

Attaching the cylinders depends on your personal choice and  sometimes also on the tanks used (heavy steel vs aluminum) and can be done either with a floating bungee or fixed bungee with bolt snap. Both items come with the kit.

SUMMARISED SPECIFICATION

TecLine Side16 Avenger

• Easy to configure and adjust
• Shoulder straps and waist belt
can be separately adjusted
• Easy adjustments – helpful in teaching purposes
• Integrated wing and harness
• 16kg lift capacity
• Max 19kg of weights
• 4 integrated weight pockets (10kg in
total)
• Extra weight pockets available in 2
sizes (2kg and 4.5kg)
• Rear dump valve in a strategic,
protected position
• Low profile bladder to reduce drag
and lower the risk of getting stuck in
restrictions
• Inflator can be placed on either the left
or right side
• Detachable beaver tail / beaver d-rings

Karel Levrau
Side16 Avenger co-Designer
Official Distributor: TecLine Belgium, France, Suisse

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