I have been a huge fan of sidemount diving ever since I saw someone years ago at a quarry with cylinders that seemed to have rolled off of his back. While I first thought it was a funny way to dive, I was intrigued from the start. So with that, I became a sponge for information on sidemount diving. Consuming every book and article on the topic, as well as the history of it. I mean how cool is it that sidemount found its roots deep in the garages of Northern Florida with cave divers hacking up and modifying jacket BCD’s so that they could carry cylinders in a new way? Since then sidemount systems have evolved and I seem to get a little warm and fuzzy feeling each time a new unit hits the market. From the original Dive Rite Nomad, to now I have followed the trends. So, its easy to tell that I was pretty fired up when the Crew from Lake City announced that they were releasing their newest iteration of the Nomad, the LTZ. Sadly, life and its commitments kept me from taking a close look at this piece of engineering until now. So without further ado, let’s take a look at it shall we?
Upon pulling the LTZ out of the plastic bag, I noted that it contained the LTZ unit itself, a set of ring bungees, and a small zip lock bag containing a set of tank chokers and a rather cool looking Dive Rite logo sticker that will be making it’s way to the back window of my Jeep. The first time holding the unit I really questioned whether or not this compact unit would fit my 6 foot 2, 240lb frame as honestly it looks rather small upon initial observation. The LTZ comes outfitted with the inflator hose running from the bottom right hand side of the wing, which is not my personal preference but honestly, it’s a 30 second operation to change that…so no worries there!
Taking a close look at the LTZ I noticed that the build quality was just what one would expect from Lamar and his crew, the webbing and stitching seems well done without corners being cut for the sake of saving a buck. The Superfabric on the wing seems almost bulletproof, in fact I had the fleeting thought of taking it to the range to test this theory but quickly thought better of it. As before with the Nomad LT line, the unit has reduced padding and extras that were ever present in the Nomad XT and JT lines. This speaks to the relative simplicity of the unit.
My initial concerns regarding the fit of the LTZ were quickly put to bed when I donned the unit. With the extra webbing and pivot points, the Nomad LTZ is almost infinitely adjustable. I was initially curious about the mounting of the buttplate being simply strung onto the waist belt, which is different than the bolted on mounting of the XT and JT models. I wondered quietly whether this was a robust enough attachment. I quickly realized once I donned the unit that the buttplate stays put nicely and actually offers a bit of side movement which would be useful when clipping tanks on and off.
In conclusion, I found upon initial inspection the Nomad LTZ that the designers failed to disappoint us once again. So if you’re in the market for a solid side mount unit for diving small to mid sized steel tanks you would be remiss if you didn’t take a close look at the LTZ like I have! Remember, the crew at DRIS is here to answer all of your side mount related questions.