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UTD Side Mount Diving

A group dedicated to the discussion of Side Mount Diving and how to apply it to your diving application, needs and exploration.

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Latest Activity: Nov 13

UTD Side mount Diving

Z-Side-Mount System

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Basics of UTD Z-Side-Mount System

Z-Side-Mount is a standardized system of Side-Mount diving that includes our roots of DIR/Hogarthian diving and yet incorporates and adheres to our UTD Principles and Convenants. - It is Scalable, Consistent, Integrated and Minimalistic*. 


Side-Mount diving places the scuba cylinders under your arm/s, instead of mounting it or them on your back. The Z-Side-Mount System is a standardized configuration that allows you to realize the liberation and ease associated with not having the cylinder/s and/or weights on your back. Side Mount diving was born in cave diving, however the configuration was often incompatible with UTD/DIR/Hogarthian configuration.


The Z-Side-Mount System configuration now allows for full compatiblity, intergrated, scaleable and unification of the team, when side-mount diving is needed. For example, when recreational or technical diving from a zodiac, or kayak or when one needs to make a difficult shore entry, Z-Side-Mount Diving has proven to be a viable alternate to back-mounting your cylinder/s. Of course when "advanced side mount cave diving", meaning you are crawling around in some really tiny places, or even when do a general cave dive, side-mounting the cylinders can be of great advantage, especially when one can now stay consistent and unified in their configuraiton, skills and approach towards the dive. Another area that has taken advantage of Z-Side-Mount Diving configuration is divers with disabilities or physical limitations and they need to remove the weight off their backs while on the surface. The reason Z-Side-Mount Diving configuration has such advantages for divers in the above examples is that it allows you to put the cylinders in the water prior to entering the water and then attaching them to the diver prior to descending.

Z-Side-Mount diving takes advantage of the the cylinders
mounted on the side but remains “Team” oriented by still having the
donateble long hose, necklace hose, bcd inflation hose and drysuit
hose - if needed all feed by the cylinders that are plugged into
the distribution block (Z-Manifold). The Z-Side-Mount Diving
configuration allows for this. The system consists of a Z-Harness,
a Z-Manifold (Distribution block), a Z-Trim Device/Z-Plus-Trim Device and Z-Weights. These components can be used together independently to provide you with an Z-Ultimate experience. For more information about the system go to http://utdequipment.com/zsystem1.html


Benefits of the UTD’s Z-Side-Mount System Configuration for Side Mount Diving

  • Z-Harness (a basic Side-Mount Harness) can be custom fit to each diver. The advantages include comfort, ease of movement,
    simplicity, and minimal drag.
  • Z-Trim Device or Z-Plus-Trim Device is a low profile, streamline "buoyancy" device which enables buoyancy, balance and trim control resulting in a
    more streamlined profile making moving through the water easier and
    more efficient.
  • Z-Manifold (Distribution Block) is a extremely robust distribution block which allows one to have one or two "inputs" and up to 6 outputs.
    This allows the diver to plug in the gases of choice and then
    provide the diver with a donatable long hose, necklace, BCD,
    drysuit and even drive a side mounted rebreather. 
  • Z-System Side-Mount Diving makes is easier for entries and less stress on the body by staging tanks in the water. Great for divers
    with physical limitations.
  • A safe option for air management as there is easy access to cylinder valve(s), first stage(s) and alternate regulator should a
    problem arise.
  • 100% compatible and integrated into DIR/UTD back mounted configuration and rebreather configuration and our signature "team"
    diving approach.
  • Less bulk for easier dive travel. 

See the Z-System Setup Video's


In the Z-Side-mount system, we use the Z-Manifold (distribution block) to "enhance" the functionality of the system and DO NOT RELY on for the dive. By distributing the gas, one is able to enjoy all the benefits (Long hose, necklace, bcd and so on at all times) with far less risk than an isolator knob on a set of doubles (z-manifold is low profile, low pressure, static o-rings). If you have any issues with the Z-Manifold, your first line of defense is bailout to "traditional" side-mount and then ultimately to your buddy. By bailing out to traditional side-mount you can simply unplug the cylinders and use a standard second stage to breath the gas, you can orally inflate the BCD.
With the Z-Side-Mount System and the Z-Manifold Block (Distribution block) what one get's is all the benefits, as listed below, without increasing the risk, in fact the risk is less than an isolator knob on a standard set of doubles manifold.

Benefits of Z-Side-Mount System over Traditional Side-Mount 

Scalable - One can use ONE system for all diving... Single (1) Tank (Recreational), 2 tanks (Tech-reational), 3 tanks(Technical), 4 tanks (Trimix). Deco bottles, Stages...Imagine that you can now stage a cave with cylinders, and deco bottle, plug them into the system and always have donate-able long hose, necklace, bcd, drysuit and even rebreather function with any cylinder in the cave. Even Rebreathers (PSCR and mCCR) - See MXZ mCCR Rebreather Configuration - One CANNOT do this with traditional Side-mount.

Consistent - Within a UTD/DIR Team and all environments. One can easily dive within a mixed team (back-mount, rebreather and side-mount) and still have the donate-able long hose wrapped around your neck at all times. (NO MORE Stuffing the long hose) Most importantly one can ALWAYS DONATE FROM ONE'S MOUTH - again something traditional side-mount configuration does not offer. With Z-Side-Mount System we can even do better than with traditional UTD/DIR back-mount in that we even have donate-able long hose at all times even during DECO.
Minimalist - Only take what you need. One does not need to configure every tank and/or stage bottle with two regulators, drysuit hose and BCD hose. Again when staging a cave ( dropping stage and deco bottles) to do big cave pushes, one does not worry about the fact that the stage bottle only has a single regulator on it anymore (traditional Back-Mount and side-mount) Now when one uses stages, we have the ability to plug it into the Z-Side-Mount system and get FULL functionality.

Integration - It integrates perfectly into our already established 20 years of UTD/DIR/Hogarthian system. The light is still on the right side, the argon is still worn on the left side, the 7'/2m long hose still wraps around your neck and tucks under the light or knife, One still breaths the donate-able hose at all times, you still have a necklace regulator always ready to go, one still uses rock bottom gas management, one still uses Ratio Deco... blah blah blah.
Essentially it fully meets the 10 covenants of UTD.


Education - Click Here for Details

UTD’s Essentials of Z-Side-Mount Diving class is designed to compliment your current certification level. You can add the advantages of using a Z-Side-Mount System into your personal recreational diving. These classes are not designed to be classes based on “gas certification” or “teach you to dive” but rather to highlight “how to” use the Z-System within your current certification level.

Basic Z-Side-Mount System Equipment System Outline

Primary regulator on a 7 ft. primary hose, donatable and worn in the traditional UTD/DIR hogarthian style
Back-up regulator, necklaced and worn in the traditional UTD/DIR hogarthian style
Non-split variety fins.
Backplate or Z-Harness system
Back inflate style trimming device - Z-Trim Device.
At least one depth-measuring device
At least one time-keeping device
One spool with minimum 100 feet of line
One surface marker or lift bag for OW only
Exposure suit appropriate for the environment you will be diving in.
Note regarding cylinders:
- AL80’s/11l or Al40’s/6l depended on volumetric needs
- Single tank worn of left side
- Z-Manifold for input and distribution of gas.

UTD Z-Diving System - A Recreational Side Mounting System from Unified Team Diving on Vimeo.

Discussion Forum

How to store large SMB's with Z-System?

Started by Michael Webb. Last reply by Michael Webb Nov 13. 2 Replies

I know the history of side mount diving comes from cave and such smb's aren't the norm. But for us open sea divers who have to carry, in many cases, two smb's I have a question.We carry our 3ft smb…Continue

Tags: SMB, Z-System

Clippin the tank..

Started by Mike van Splunteren. Last reply by Mike van Splunteren Mar 21, 2011. 2 Replies

Ok, this is the way I bungee and attach the tanks..Notice where the boltsnap is attached, the tank you see is the tank on the right post, with the long hose.The boltsnap is in front of the diver,( If…Continue

Video from some users of the Z-Trim Device

Started by Unified Team Diving. Last reply by Mike van Splunteren Feb 16, 2011. 1 Reply

Guys Phillip sent me some some side mount video from a course that was filmed in Mexico. I thought it was intresting as it shows the Z-Trim device in action on a Razor Harness. Enjoy     Continue

Tags: sidemount, Side-mount, Device, Z-Trim

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of UTD Side Mount Diving to add comments!

Comment by Elias Lazaridis on May 9, 2012 at 11:43am

Hi guys, i am a new in side mount diving and i want to use my ss backplate harness, so i am planning to buy a Z trim device (9kg lift) is it ok with the new APEKS sidemount regulator set, and is the lift enough for two s80 tanks?



Comment by PATRICK TASSIN on December 2, 2011 at 5:24am

The only problem is, the more i look at the UTD signature series, the more i want equipment........ I also consider changing my WTX4 for the Alpha trim device/doubles.

And the lighting looks great.......;

........ :)

Comment by Veerle Deleebeeck on December 2, 2011 at 5:22am

like we all do ! Join the club ;-)

Comment by PATRICK TASSIN on December 2, 2011 at 4:58am

Thanks, i guess i'll have to play with it when i'll have it...

Safe diving


Comment by Veerle Deleebeeck on December 2, 2011 at 4:50am

patrick , I convert it to backmount just to take of the harness, turn the bladder around , change dumpvalve and inflater , put it on my backplate  and attach single tank adapter , and ready . But most of the time , I leave it on sidemount , its addictive ..;-)

Comment by Mike van Splunteren on December 2, 2011 at 4:43am

hi patrick, there are several ways..you can also put it on your backplate..

have a look at the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/deltasystem

Comment by PATRICK TASSIN on December 2, 2011 at 4:39am

Thanks, but I guess i'll have to use the Z harness + Z trim device adpter and manifold.

Am I correct?

Safe diving.


Comment by Mike van Splunteren on December 2, 2011 at 4:20am

That sounds like a great idea;)

The delta trim device works really well for both types of diving.

It is easy to change from one to the other.

Comment by PATRICK TASSIN on December 2, 2011 at 4:14am

Hello guys,

I've a quick question: as i'm not a side mount diver but would like to discover this at some, i consider buying the Delta trim dive, so i can use it in a back mount configuration but also side mount if needed.

Any suggestion?


safe diving


Comment by Mike van Splunteren on March 21, 2011 at 8:53am
hehe..bit confusing he :)) ok, will see if I find something!

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