Brackets and mounts for pony bottles or (redundant air systems) range from simple hook-on bags to complex and often expensive bracket systems. Some are simply nylon or canvas bags that hang on to your main tank and flop around. On the other end of the spectrum are the ones the require you to mount brackets onto your every one of your main tanks and your pony bottle. Prices can range from around $45 to over $175 for just the part that holds the tank. Most we have seen before now have at least one failing. They are either too hard to use, too floppy, too expensive or only work with special adapters on all of your tanks.
A new pony bracket, XS scuba’s (Highland brand) “Stainless Steel Pony Mount” has everything you want in a pony mounting system and at a reasonable price. In our live-dive testing we found this bracket extremely easy to mount and un-mount with the pony, very sturdy once mounted and very simple and quick to attach and detach to any main tank (works with rental set-ups too). Unlike another brand of bracket we previously tested which would not fit a pony that was only .25 inch larger than the standard, the XS scuba mount is designed to fit multiple tank sizes, in the ranges of a 4.4” to 5.5” diameter for pony and 6.9” to 8” for main tank. For all these features, the best news just may be that at and msrp of $95 it is priced only in the lower mid-range of the field.
Our test model had one noticeable design quirk, which Mike Piantoni from XS says will be remedied soon. In marked contrast to the nice soft rubber feet on the brackets to protect your tanks from scratching, the cam that locks down the mounting strap on the pony was not protected with the usual piece of material commonly found on other tank cams. Scratches were evident on first use. If you get one of these early models that does not include the cam guard material, it is not difficult to make a temporary guard for the cam out of found material (Until you get XS to send you one.). A small snippet of thin outdoor carpet worked fine for ours.
We also found that the soft rubber feet can fall out if nudged when putting the pony onto the main tank. We reccommend to both users and the manufacturer that you pull them out and reinstall with a dab of silicon cement to prevent this problem.
With a slight deduction for those minor issues, we give the XS Stainless Steel Pony Mount 4.5 stars for its ease of use, flexibility, and affordable price.
FTC full disclosure statement: XS Scuba provided Scuba Gadget with a floor model of this bracket without charge to be used for the live testing for this article.