A Complete Guide to Sidemount Diving Gear Essentials and Tips

Scuba Diving Koh Tao

Sidemount scuba diving has swiftly transitioned from a niche technique reserved for technical divers to a widely embraced practice among recreational divers worldwide. This innovative approach to tank configuration, where divers carry their tanks at their sides rather than on their backs, has sparked interest for its numerous advantages, including improved streamlining, ease of movement, and enhanced safety through redundancy.

As more individuals seek unique diving experiences, places like Koh Tao have become renowned for offering some of the best scuba diving opportunities. Whether searching for “scuba diving near me” or planning a trip to Koh Tao, understanding side-mount diving gear is crucial. This post provides tips and insights into effectively selecting and using side-mount gear.

Understanding Sidemount Scuba Diving Gear

The gear that makes it possible is at the heart of side mount diving. Unlike traditional back mount setups, side-mount diving requires a few key pieces of specialized equipment to ensure underwater safety, comfort, and efficiency. The primary components include a sidemount harness, sidemount BCD (Buoyancy Control Device), regulators, and tanks specifically designed or adapted for sidemount diving.

  • Sidemount Harness and BCD

The harness and BCD are the foundation of a side mount setup, providing attachment points for tanks and other equipment. They are designed to offer superior balance, trim, and flexibility, allowing divers to adjust their buoyancy and positioning easily.

  • Regulators

Sidemount diving typically requires two sets of regulators, one for each tank. This redundancy increases safety, ensuring that divers have an alternate air source in case of equipment failure.

  • Tanks

While standard scuba tanks can be used for side-mount diving, certain modifications, such as the placement of valves, may be necessary to optimize them for side mounting.

Choosing the Right Gear

Sidemount Course Koh Tao

When selecting side-mount diving gear, consider the following tips to ensure you get the best fit for your diving style and needs:

  • Comfort and Fit

Ensure the harness and BCD fit comfortably and securely. A well-fitting system enhances mobility and control underwater.

  • Quality and Durability

Invest in high-quality gear from reputable manufacturers. This equipment will withstand the rigors of frequent diving and provide better performance.

  • Modularity

Opt for gear that offers modularity and customization options. This allows you to tailor your setup to different diving conditions and preferences.

  • Ease of Use

Choose equipment that is easy to don and doff, especially in challenging environments. This will make your diving experience more enjoyable and more convenient.

Gear Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of your side-mount diving gear are crucial for ensuring its longevity and reliability. Regularly inspect all components for wear and tear, and rinse your gear with fresh water after each dive. Store your equipment in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent degradation.

Training and Practice

While having the right gear is essential, proper training and practice are crucial for safe and enjoyable side-mount diving. Enrol in a side-mount diving course at a reputable scuba dive shop to learn the necessary skills and techniques. Practice in controlled environments like swimming pools before venturing into open water dives.


Sidemount diving is a fascinating approach to scuba diving that offers numerous benefits, from improved efficiency and safety to enhanced underwater maneuverability. By selecting the right gear, maintaining it properly, and obtaining the necessary training, divers can fully enjoy the wonders of the underwater world. Whether diving near your home or exploring the best scuba diving spots in Koh Tao, side-mount diving promises an unforgettable adventure.


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