UPDATE NOTICE: THIS COMPANY IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS
After playing catch with my pony tank on two test dives we must call Scuba Solutions new Easy Tank Strap a dismal failure. At first glance we had high hopes that the Easy Tank Strap would be a leader in the new trend of quick latch tank straps. At the recent DEMA trade show we noticed that both small companies and the big boys (Aqualung and Scubapro) were adding some version of this concept to they BCDs. This one looked simple and we were excited to bring it home for ScubaGadet Labs testing.
One Major Problem – Don’t Add Water
In spite of some doubts about quality of the build and the durability of the product — and, after struggling with the recommended but kludgy adjustment – the landside testing was fine. The Easy Tank Strap really did make it easy to snap on the tank and cinch it down tight. But after starting the first test dive, I immediately noticed a problem. My tank was loose and sliding out. I was a bit surprised because I was using a two strap system so they both had to be loose. I gave the straps the benefit of the doubt and just considered that I had not tightened the ratcheting latch far enough, I lay on the bottom while my buddy gave them another crank.
But something was still amiss. I could not find my pony regulator and after a consultation we realized the pony tank was missing. We retraced our short dive path and found it near the start of the dive. I reloaded, cranked the straps way down and completed the dive with all tanks on board. We noted that straps were again slightly loose at the end of the dive.
On the next dive, I carefully cranked the straps to max and triple checked everything. But again, a few minutes into the dive, I had to catch my pony tank by the hose as it flitted past me on the way to the bottom. Again I noticed that my main tank was also ready to leave me. The bottom strap had also loosened. At least we were getting good loose tank dive rescue practice. With three buddies working on me, we got things back together and I completed the dive. Again despite super tightening the straps they were loose enough at the end of dive that I could slide my pony free with out unlocking the catch.
“Something he forgot to mention…”
When I contacted Alex Strabala, founder and president of Scuba Solutions, to my surprise, he concurred with our findings. He said, “I guess I should have told you that you need to get the straps wet before your attach the tanks.” He also agreed that having to wet the straps ahead of time was an annoying work around for the problem. I added that it may be impossible in some dive situations. Alex said he understood why we could not recommend his product.
Besides the obvious problem of tanks falling out, we also thought the shipping product looked a bit too much like a prototype. The product comes configured for the largest tank sizes. For our 80 and 100 cu ft steel tanks we were told to remove the “ladder strap” and re-attach it using into the second set of grommets. However this leaves an extra section of strap just hanging that you are supposed to fold under when attaching the tank. Additionally, all of the ScubaGadget Labs team and other divers we interviewed felt that ratchet lock device did not look durable and would most likely break on the first accidental impact.
The product came into development as a student project. This company was actually born out of a collaboration between the UNLV graduate departments of Business and Engineering. The Scuba solutions business plan won both the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition and the Nevada Governor’s Cup award with prizes totaling $70,000. They originally had planned to build a new type of scuba cart. But when that failed the Easy Tank Strap was their backup plan. Alex Strabala, founder and President, is an advanced PADI-certified diver and entrepreneur.
Even though we cannot recommend you purchase the Easy Tank Strap, we certainly give it a star for creativity. We will keep a watch and report on any revisions or new products coming from Scuba Solutions.
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