As I’m gearing up for a forthcoming scientific expedition, among the first things I grabbed – an essential part of my gear configuration – is my butt plate. Once converted to sidemount style diving several years ago, I have since incorporated a butt place into almost all of my diving modes – it makes great use of a highly unused area of real estate.
The premise of a butt plate, or butt pack, is that any variety of accessory items from SMBs, to reels, to light canisters, to other emergency equipment can be stowed under your butt, freeing your immediate work area of the ‘clutter’ that is normally associated with technical style diving. Also routinely configured with stainless steel rails, this offers a prime location for the rear clip of stage or sidemount bottles. Keeping the rear of the cylinder down low helps with horizontal trim significantly.
In 2010, I designed my own butt plate, which has evolved into one of the growing consumer handcrafted products produced at my shop:
Like anything, a good product is the result of hard use and evolutionary innovation. My butt plate design is built tough – real tough – and made with the same rugged materials used on commercial diving harnesses and belts. Aside from your feet, the next most used part of your body is what you sit on everyday, and that is especially true when wearing 200 pounds of gear on a dive boat. Anything under your butt takes some abuse, and my design is built to take it all. By design, the system will connect to any style wing/harness, a rec BC, even commercial harness – all with little modification.
During working dives, I’ve also found utility with the butt plates for tool stowage – rather than have things clunk and clank in front of me, they are all behind me. This is especially useful when working on a vertical structure such as a pile, seawall, vertical coral reef, and so on.
Long story short – your harness is indeed important, but perhaps more important is making use of your body’s real estate to stay trimmed out in the water. A clean configuration philosophy is at the heart of this. Buy my butt plate today!
For more from the author, visit oceanopportunity.com. Donate today to enable exploration and to keep related content coming!