A few weeks ago I did my sidemount training here in the cold water off the coast of British Columbia. Having done my pool training up at SFU. And then doing the ocean dives at WhyteCliff. Finishing the certification dive on Nov 11th, made for a great way to spent remenbrance day, at 50ft.
A few interesting things, now that I have a bunch of sidemount dives under my belt. Among them 2 underwater search and recovery dives, and a few fun dives.
If you get a chance to try out a pair of LP50 (low pressure 50s) do it! Rent a set and try it. It is great for a fun dive, light mobile, hard to explain, like almost not having any tanks.
Al80s are fine to dive, I find that adding 2lbs per tank on the cambands makes them more neutral. A set of low pressure steels would be great for cold water.
Not having to worry about the amount of air you have is nice. I should really say, you wont need to worry about being the first one out... If on a set of AL80's you run out before the backmount diver on a single HP100, maybe start looking for leaks?
I have the xDeep Stealth 2.0 BC and have to say compared to alot of the other sidemount BC, it is the most compact and flexible. Stability in the water is excellent, but that is just sidemount in general. I was impressed when I changed from jacket style BC to BP/W (backplate wing). But going to sidemount has just taken that one step futher.
I will document my setup in a coming blog post. As well as the pack weight for warm and cold dive trips compared to my BP/W setup.