We often get asked if there’s a way to make a continuous loop (no clip-release) harness adjustable without compromise. While nothing is as comfortable as a pre-adjusted “DIR” harness to fit an individual diver, there are several ‘solutions’ out there that do not require a break point in the webbing… yet still allow on-the-fly adjustments to be made.
Most harnesses are made out of a single length of 2 inch wide webbing. Manufacturers generally provide this in 3.5-4 meter ready cut rolls, some with a single steel grommet in the middle. Webbing by the meter can also be purchased separately.
But not all webbing is the same: There is soft webbing, rigid webbing and those in between at various strengths and durability. Some manufacturers will also custom brand their webbing to differentiate it from others.
Once set up properly, a continuous loop harness will be an ideal fit for an individual diver. But not all divers want to end up with such a standard configuration. Divers using club RIBS, entering or exiting water in adverse conditions, individuals with shoulder and back problems or less flexibility may find the standard setup restrictive.
Off the shelf systems
Because of this, a number of manufacturers have designed systems that allow on-the-fly adjustments and fine tuning to continuous loop harnesses without adding any break point to the webbing.
The most popular of these are OMS Smartstream Signature and Halcyon Infinity single tank wing systems. But the adjustable parts can also be purchased separately as an add-on to an existing backplate such as the Smartstream Full Harness Kit, Smartstream Quick Adjust Assembly which will more or less fit any backplate and the Cinch Full Harness Kit which will fit Halcyon backplates or those cloned from them.
Instead of the harness waist webbing being kept in place by tri-glides, both systems allow for the webbing coming down a divers shoulder and passing through the backplate to “slide” in and out of the backplate into position. That way a diver can release the shoulder webbing on either/both sides to easily get out of the harness or tighten it to fit prior to a dive.
It sounds simple and it is, it is also extremely easy to use, whether you go with the Cinch or Smartstream. The videos below depict how either system works.
Even Simpler Solutions
If the price point of ready-made adjustable harness systems is not to your liking or if you already have a fixed continuous loop harness and backplate but only need the extra flexibility of getting in and out of your BC, an even simpler solution is adding an inline clip for under £5. It’s a simple, effective and cheap fix without adding a genuine break point to your harness.
Dethread the left hand waist webbing part of the harness from the backplate after removing any hardware (buckle, d-ring, tri-glides) up to the shoulder d-ring. Then thread the female part of the pinch clip back up to under the shoulder d-ring where it will not hinder with its functionality. Leave a gap of 5-6 inches and thread in the male end of the clip. Thread back the harness as you would in a non-adjustable system and replace the hardware.
Clipped together this will create a flat loop of excess webbing against your suit on the left, where the harness would be set up to perfectly fit your body. When you unclip, this will create an excess of 5-6 inches on that side allowing you to easily don and doff the harness.