Sidemount diving has been around for decades in the cave diving world, but only just recently has it become mainstream to the general SCUBA market. Rebreather divers are Sidemounting bailout bottles to get them away from an already cluttered chest. Backmount technical divers are Sidemounting stage bottles for greater efficiency and streamlining in the water. Divers who previously could not carry heavy twin tanks, such as small women or divers with back problems, are now able to perform technical dives due to the ease of carrying Sidemount tanks to the water and donning the tanks in-water versus on land. It is also popular in recreational diving with the option of single tank Sidemount or taking two smaller cylinders to spread the weight and to provide a redundant system.
We teach Sidemount diving at New Zealand Sea Adventures and love the freer feel in the water and the ease of getting in and out compared to twins and diving larger singles off the boat. We stock Dive Rite Nomads which are a great BCD, that is flexible enough to be used with traditional back mounted tanks, sidemount, twin tanks, and rebreathers. Starting from $1499 incorporating a harness and wing, it is the BCD that will stay with you no matter where your diving takes you.