Soft Pack

The soft backpack design is more comfortable yet still offers a system of harness and backplate with a wing, however the backplate is made from flexible high-tech material that incorporates lumbar support together with ergonomic adjustable shoulder straps. The soft packs listed below offer substantially more lumbar padding and adjustment options than a traditional hard backplate design.

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Soft Plate Systems and Metal Backplates

Most divers find rigid metal plates are comfortable, but some divers do not; especially when the harness is improperly adjusted and the bottom edge of the plate digs into the lower back at the waist. If you find your metal plate is uncomfortable, first try adjusting the shoulder loops a little tighter to raise the plate higher. Some brands offer an optional add-on back pad designed for the accessory mounting hole alignments of their plates. However, the best comfort comes from a backplate that can conform to the body, i.e. a 'soft' back plate. There is NO DOWNSIDE to a soft plate because a properly adjusted harness with a soft plate will be just as structurally sound and stable as a rigid metal plate.

With the exception of the Apeks WTX harness system, none of the soft plate and harness systems we sell have provisions for adding a rigid metal plate. This is an often requested feature, but for many if not most divers this "hybrid" approach does not provide a benefit that is not better addressed by simply adding a backpad to the classic metal plate and harness setup. A metal plate can redistribute or add weight to your rig to resolve a diver trim issue, but you might be already carrying too much total weight. In that case, gradually reducing the weight you are carrying at your waist will improve in-water trim.

Sometimes the reason for wanting a rigid metal plate with a soft plate harness system is based on an underlying assumption that goes something like "a rigid metal plate is required in order to get the benefits of a backplate and harness system." However that is simply not true. We've seen hard and soft backplates made out of all sorts of materials, including Delrin, carbon fiber, aluminum, stainless, and flexible semi-rigid materials like Kevlar, injection molded plastic, high denier Cordura, etc. A backplate based harness system always offers benefits of a backplate & wing based system regardless of the backplate material.