In October 2023, I spent time in Monterey, California, to meet the Nex Underwater Products team and try their gear. I have been diving with a Razor sidemount harness for 6+ years, and Nex wanted to break me out of that strained relationship to see if their harness would suit me better. It did. Full disclosure, after trying their gear, they did give me the harness as a gift, but I am not being paid to write this blog and did not get paid to create the video linked above.

Webbing Material & Workability

The first thing I noticed was the webbing. The Razor sidemount harness comes with some seriously rough and stiff webbing, which feels like sandpaper by the end of a sidemount harness fitting. I always hated that webbing. It was one of the reasons I never wanted students to buy a Razor. Granted, you can always swap out webbing on this kind of gear, but I would much rather get a harness that’s more comfortable and user-friendly. The Nex harness is made of Cordura webbing, so it’s tough and smooth. This type of webbing allows for easy adjustments, and it allowed me to switch to sliding D-rings for my aluminum tanks since the webbing is smooth.

Hardware & Adaptability

In general, sidemount harnesses are very easy to travel with due to their small hardware pieces. The Razor actually has much smaller pieces, so it feels smaller, but the Nex has more options for webbing configuration. You can even swap pieces around, add a single tank adaptor and use it as a backplate and wing. That means, it’s a toss-up for whatever option is more appropriate for you as a diver, but I have been happy with the larger, more adaptable hardware pieces.

Bladders & Functionality

The two main options for harness bladders are the triangle bladder and what I call the diaper. For the Nex gear, the triangle bladder has a 26-pound lift, and the diaper has a 16-pound lift. I have the triangle bladder attached to my harness and a diaper that I can add if I need a secondary bladder for technical diving. 

The Razor comes with a dual triangle bladder system, which holds the primary and redundant bladders. When I first got this, I thought it was a great idea, but after many years of using it, I don’t anymore. The redundant bladder has a camelback mouthpiece for the inflater hose, which always fell off and would allow water into the redundant bladder. Also, the fact that the two bladders are packaged together, it’s not as easy to check if both bladders are in good working condition. 

Y vs H Configuration

The cool thing about Nex Underwater Products is that all their gear is highly customizable. Since everything is assembled in Monterey, California by their small team of divers, you can put in requests for exactly how you want things set up (that goes for their regulators too!) 

They offer both the Y and H harness setups for sidemount. I have the Y configuration, which means the shoulder straps feed into the low back hardware and becomes the waist belt. The H configuration takes the shoulder straps and attaches them to the waist belt via extra pieces of hardware. 

I like the Y configuration because I am a small human and I dive with aluminum sidemount tanks. My size is important here because I don’t have a lot of real estate on my waist belt, so I don’t have room for the extra hardware needed for the H configuration if I dive with aluminum tanks. I could get away with it if I only dive with steel tanks clipped in at the drop D-rings at the back of my harness. If you are a larger person or only dive with steel tanks, the H configuration may be the perfect option for you as it is easier to get into and out of the harness.

Shop Nex Underwater Products

I love my new harness and sidemount regulators from Nex Underwater Products. If you’d like to check out their gear, I highly recommend you reach out to their team. Tell them Azul Unlimited sent you, and they’ll get you sorted with the perfect system suited for the diving you want to do.

Join me on upcoming Azul Unlimited dive expeditions

See what trips are coming up. I always give my community first dibs on spots, so you can sign up for Patreon (and get trip discounts) or my email list to be the first to know about new expeditions in the future.

scuba diving trip to los cabos
whale shark snorkel trip to la paz

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