Donning SM System | Over Your Drysuit – 3 min

Steve Martin14 Comments

14 Comments on “Donning SM System | Over Your Drysuit – 3 min”

  1. Rene Oskar Kuehne

    Video “Donning SM system over your dry suit”: Thank you for this trick. It looks quite easy. However I assume that it would become rather difficult and even unhealthy in case of a heavy central weight pocket. What is your opinion/experience about this?

  2. Vas Proud

    Hi Rene,

    There is some strength required as you add more weight – that’s true. What I tend to do when there is more weight in the system is to have the unit on a table / back of the vehicle and then sit upright in front of it. You can then pull it towards your back and then lean forward. The unit is then lying on your back and if you then stay leaning forward, you can more easily pull it up your back and have the weight supported and still allow you to put your arms in – just forwards rather than vertically up.

    If you are diving with a team mate, then they can help you with this quite easily.

    You can also use the traditional method of reaching with an arm behind you – which is made easier if you use the sliding loop bungee attachments which we will likely be showing an option for doing that.

    Out of interest, how much weight would be the most you might use? I might then give that a try 🙂


    1. Rene Oskar Kuehne

      Hi Vas
      Thank you for your suggestion. I will give it a try.
      You mentioned “sliding loop bungee attachments”. I do not know this option. Will it be shown in one of the planned new videos?
      Re your question “how much weight…”: Currently I use (together with a dry suit with thick underwear and two 12L steel tanks) 4 blocks of weight, 2.8 kg each (measured outside of the water), i.e. totally 11.2 kg.

      1. Scott Steinbright

        Like you, I dive in a drysuit with thick undergarments. As you already know, unless you have arms and shoulders the size of coffee cans like Steve and Vas, picking up an 11–13 kg harness in front of you and spinning it around behind is not very easy.

        Here’s how I don my Razor harness: With the harness behind me and slightly off to my right, I reach back with my right hand, grab the right shoulder strap and curl it up to the outside of my right shoulder. I then push the harness up over and slightly behind my head. If I’m feeling weak, I’ll bend over slightly so that my back can support some of the weight as I push the harness up. Once up there, I reach up with my left hand, find the shoulder opening and slide my left arm into the left shoulder strap. Then carefully let go of the right shoulder strap, making sure my right arm is going into the correct opening, and let gravity pull the harness down my right arm and into place.

        Be extra careful not to let the harness catch on your drysuit exhaust valve or dry glove ring system. An 11 kg harness can definitely do some damage if it snags on one of those.

        Hope this helps.

  3. Vas Proud


    The sliding loop bungee attachment is going to be shown – we made some good video to capture when it works, how it works, and when it doesn’t work!

    But I agree that lifting up 10kg+ is not going to be easy for a lot of people – and that I find it fairly easy because of trying to keep up with Steve in the gym 🙂 I think that using the back to rest the harness when pulling it on is a help, but using a buddy has got to be the way to go if the flexibility is not letting you get your arms in easily. I do also find that rather than pushing your hands/wrist in first, I bend my arm and push back the elbow into the shoulder straps – this is for those days when the shoulders do not have the flexibility.

    This technique and the one from Scott (above) are going to make more sense when seen in a video – so I will see if I can get something taken.

    Lastly, I found that switching to a heated vest gave me the ability to drop the thickness of undergarments which made the dive feel more comfortable and mean less weight on the harness – so it isn’t necessarily just for “super cold” water it can benefit.


    1. Scott Steinbright

      Vas, thank you for sharing your donning techniqes and for being willing to tackle more videos on this topic.

      That’s a great tip on the heated vest. I hadn’t considered the reduction of weight on the harness.

  4. Stephane Le Béchec

    Many thanks,
    Recently sidemount converted 2 years ago and Tec diver was wondering as far as the dry suit is concerned how to avoid having air in the legs by not standing up at some point during ascent ?
    Again really good training program, learn a lot and still learning dive after dive.

    1. Steve Martin

      Hi Alex, drysuit side pockets are an issue yes. If you keep them empty not really an issue but if you add spool and backup light, SMB into them they become bulky and do push out your sidemount cylinders. With the Santi suit they made for me, I had them fit the smallest pocket they could think from the ladies range and also I had them moved from the centre of the thigh at the side where you normally see them, to slightly further round towards your bum, this was they interfere less. I generally only keep low profile spool and some wetnotes in mine, they are useful out of water for gloves or hood quick storage, but of course in-water I use those items, so they are keep near empty. Regards, Steve

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