Diving clips and lanyards can be a busy section of the website at the best of times, from curly-wurly lanyards and life-threatening carabiners to sleek marine grade stainless steel double enders, there is no end of choice out there.
What do they all do and what’s the best choice for you to secure your gear with?
As is so often the case, less is usually more. The commonly sighted Christmas tree divers are those with some form of clipped item dangling from every available D ring. A practice, at best confusing and at worst a genuine entanglement risk. It’s usually best to try and carry only the items that you need and to secure them as tidily and in as streamlined a way as possible.
If you’re carrying a camera around then the curly lanyards can be a useful way of ensuring that the camera is always attached to you regardless of if you drop it. Retractors can also do the same thing. In general though, curly lanyards aren’t that great for anything else.
Retractors can also be handy for stowing teaching slates as well as small torches and compasses.
For anything hand held, a wrist lanyard provides a bit of piece of mind too!
When it all comes down to it though, one of the most useful and popular clips these days is a simple double ended or swivel boltsnap. Stainless steel is definitely the best choice because brass has a tendency to crud up over time and become difficult to use. Mares even have a line of very smart black ceramic boltsnaps too
Boltsnaps are also generally preferable to carabiners as they can’t snap themselves, by accident, onto something else. This is very important for overhead environments but obviously a lot less so for open water recreational divers.
For colder environments where gloves are used, the swivel snaps with the large eyes that allow a gloved finger to pass through are excellent. These are one of the best choices for attaching to a torch or small camera like a Go Pro. They’re also great for sidemount tanks and stage kits too. You can tie the boltsnap using a little bit of line from your SMB, use a cable tie or one of these can do the job nicely too.
In colder water a 100mm plus sized double ender is also the best choice. Many divers carry a spare one on a chest D ring simply to have as a back-up for all sorts of applications, it can be a very useful investment and mine is pretty much my favourite bit of dive kit! Double enders are great for attaching reels and spools to D rings. Another method is to use a double ender attached to a loop of bungee in the pocket of a drysuit or pair of tec shorts over a wetsuit. That way you can store things in your pocket and then simply pull them out and unclip them from the bungee when you need them without fear of dropping anything.
Finally, Octo holders are one of those items that range from the very bad to the very good. One of the easiest and most popular options are the magnetic ones which are simple and effective. The old school scumballs are still available although they sometimes have the disadvantage of creating an airspace above the mouthpiece and causing a freeflow. The simple versions with the silicone loops so a good job and are also good value too.
What isn’t effective as an octo holder are the hose retainers. These can be useful for streamlining a hose but not so much as an octo holder. The reason being that if the out of air diver pulls on the second stage the regulator tends to slide down the hose retainer instead of coming completely free.
There are a plethora of other clips available: Bits of webbing with male or female plastic buckles on one end and split rings or carabiners on the other. I’ve genuinely never found an actual use for all these odds and ends that can’t be done with a much cheaper, simpler and indestructible boltsnap! They remind me of the tat you get in a Christmas cracker and I think they exist simply to mystify new divers and end up floating about at the bottom of a kit bag. Or Stoney Cove…