A new level of comfort – the Halcyon Cinch system (First Dive Review)

At a recent dive club event, presenter Laura James introduced the new Halcyon Infinity BC with the “revolutionary cinch system” (harness). Not in the market for a new dive BC, I put on my game face and tried it on. I was impressed with the comfort of the cinch system harness. The “revolution” is that Halcyon has developed a way to have a single strap system that is still easy on, easy off. I was really pleased with the ease in which it adjusted. With the weight held by the table (or truck bed or back of car or wall), a mere push on the straps causes it to release from the shoulders. Pull on the straps, and it tucks right up to my body. The cake topper was when Laura showed that four people of varying heights and sizes could wear the same wing and experience the same comfort and ease of use that I did. At Laura’s suggestion, I decided to take it out for a try in the sea.

A few days later, we met up at a nearby dive site to try this “bad boy” out. As is often the case with trying out new gear, there was a bit of fumbling about topside to get the harness adjusted to fit me just right. Once we got that dialed in, we plunged below the surface. The harness fit securely to my body.  It felt like it was molded to me. I have slender shoulders and have a difficult time finding a BC that does not fall off my shoulders. This harness, with no chest strap, did not fall off. The curved shoulder straps clung with elegant comfort to my shoulders. It felt incredibly secure, stable and “out of the way.” Once topside again, I found it easier to walk with all that weight on my body, since the harness was anchored so well to me.

Convinced that this was a “must have” item, and just the kind of product we like to bring to our ScubaGadget readers,  I made arrangements to purchase the cinch system and backplate from Tacoma Scuba, one of our favorite local dive shops, and further test its “diveability.”  Since I already have a DiveRite wing, I opted to use my existing wing. I did have to purchase a new Halcyon backplate, however, as the Halcyon cinch system was designed to work with the Halcyon back plate (why don’t these companies play nice with one another?).  Additionally, I bought their pocket system.  While I could have used my own DiveRite pockets which slide onto my waist strap, the Halcyon pockets screw right onto the backplate, keeping them securely out of the way and not affecting the cinching mechanism in any way. I also purchased the harness pads and back pad. I was still able to use the single tank adapter I bought for my DiveRite wing.

My first test dive of the new system convinced me that I had made the right decision. Instead of relying on my partner John to clip the chest harness for me and assist me into my gear while I remained slithered down in a near squat at the back of the car, I sat down and got right in, pulled the cinch secure, and stood up. I walked easily and effortlessly to the water. Once in the water, I noticed a refreshing absence of dangling hoses around my body. This system is designed to minimize drag while supporting the tank along the back, creating  a low profile. It works. The clips for the dive console, positioned further back than my previous system, kept it away from the front of my body yet easily accessible.  My flashlight was clipped high on the front strap, yet again, easy to grab. I could wave my hands in front of my body without obstruction. Back at the car, I pushed on the shoulder straps, loosened it, and rolled right out. This is a well designed, efficient piece of equipment.

The cinch can be used for single tanks or doubles. A real plus for dive shops offering rental gear, this one system will fit all, wide and tall to slender and small. Advanced divers will appreciate the extreme low profile that this system offers. Even beginning divers will find it easy to use as long as they are comfortable in water with a back inflate system. Products like this are helping to break the myth that backplates and wings are only for tech or advanced divers.

The price for the overall system is a bit on the high side – to purchase the whole kit, with backplate, pockets, crotch strap, cinch system and wing, retail cost runs around $820. If you already own a Halcyon system, you can upgrade to the cinch system for $99. Adding the harness and back pads will run you another $99. With the incredible comfort and ease of use which you’ll experience, I guarantee you this will be a well-made purchase.

For this early review we give it the full 5 stars. I will revisit the Cinch with another review after I and my dive buddies have had more dives with the system. We are also working on an article about Halcyon’s expansion into the recreational and non-DIR world.

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Thanks to Laura James and Tacoma Scuba for their help with this review.