Threading those pesky cam buckles
Our local dive trips attract divers of all experience levels. Among them are divers who may not have been diving in a while and are looking to get back into things.
It’s not unusual to see these divers struggle when assembling their gear. This can result in tanks being placed in harnesses backward or regulators being attached upside down. A particularly challenging task for such divers involves threading the cam band that holds their BC and tank together.
If the cam buckle on your BC is already correctly threaded, there is no need to undo it. But if it has become unfastened, it’s vital you get it back together correctly. Otherwise, you can have a tank come off during the middle of a dive.
Except for Scubapro, most BCs use a standardized cam buckle design. To help matters, the slots on the underside of the buckle are generally numbered 1, 2 and 3, representing the order in which the cam strap weaves through the buckle.
To thread the cam buckle correctly, follow these steps:
Begin by flipping the buckle over completely, as shown here.
Thread the webbing through slot 1 from underneath.
Next, thread the webbing through slot 2. Now pull the cam strap as tight as possible and continue to hold it while progressing to step four.
Flip the buckle up 90 degrees and thread the webbing through slot 3.
Finally, flip the buckle closed while ensuring it stays properly aligned with the cam band. You should feel it snap into place.
Check your work
The best way to ensure the cam band is sufficiently snug is to reach down and see whether you can move it up or down the cylinder while fastened. It should not move at all. If it does move more than a hair, re-tighten it. Be aware the cam band may stretch when wet; it’s best to make it as snug as possible.
You may want to bookmark this page so that the next time you must thread a cam buckle, you can call it up on your phone. Also, if it really has been a while since you last assembled your scuba gear, other skills may have degraded as well. Don’t overlook the value of a refresher course. It can save you time, money and effort as well as help ensure your safety.
Thanks to Dive Rite for use of the threading diagrams.