Keeping Your Hose in Line: A How-To Guide on Streamlining Hose Configurations

By: Jesse Iacono

As a student of diving, you may have been shown a very specific hose configuration for your regulator setup.  This was likely effective for the task and environment at hand, but as you start to frequent more charters and dive sites, you notice divers with all kinds of hose configurations – some similar and some very different from what you are used to.  You may want to consider one of these configurations, but don’t know where to start.  When changing hose configurations, fine-tuning your existing setup, or assembling a brand new rig, there are several important things to take into consideration to ensure your assembly is tailored to you and your diving preferences.


Standard Configurations

It is important to understand that although we see and hear the word “standard” applied to various aspects of scuba equipment, one of the greatest things about this sport is that there is no real standard; everything about your equipment setup should be tailored to you.  Instead of “standard,” think “common.”  While some configurations and hose lengths may be common, you can think of them more as a starting point – they may work great for some divers but require modification to be appropriate for others.  After all, there is no standard person, so why should you have to settle for anything besides your perfect equipment setup?

Let’s keep in mind the primary function of scuba equipment – to keep you alive underwater!  First and foremost, you have to understand the choices you make regarding equipment and how they will support your life (and possibly a buddy’s) in the aquatic environment if things start to go downhill.  There is no wrong choice so long as it effectively supports that function.  After that, you can cater everything to body type, comfort, environment, or any other desires you have for your configuration.



In a moment, we will take a look at four common hose configurations so you can decide which style may be the best for you…or try them all!  Before we do, it is important to consider the core components that will apply to each and every hose configuration out there.

Long Hose

One regulator hose should be longer than the other. The length itself does not matter so long as it is long enough to donate to a buddy in need, easy to deploy, and can comfortably be streamlined.

Short Hose

The remaining regulator hose can vary greatly in length but, at a minimum, must be long enough to have the second stage sit in the diver’s mouth (while in their normal underwater position) and allow them to look in all directions without resistance.

Low Pressure Inflator and High Pressure Hoses

Most setups will contain one of each, but some can have multiple low pressure inflator hoses to accommodate additional equipment such as a dry suit.

Configuration Must Become Second Nature

While you may be experimenting with new configurations, it is paramount that whichever one you settle on becomes second nature.  This means spending time diving and going through basic skills until you can adjust your muscle memory in accordance with the new equipment locations.


Popular Configurations

The following four regulator long/short hose configurations are commonly utilized and each has its own set of advantages.  Some hose lengths will be referenced as a starting point, but remember that these can always be adjusted according to your diving preferences.

Long Hose Alternate

This is probably the most common hose configuration out there and is likely the one you used in your open water course.  The short hose and long hose are pretty close in length with the short hose second stage remaining in your mouth and the long hose second stage (referred to as octo/octopus) clipped off to your right hip or on a quick-release necklace.  The short hose can start in the 28-32 inch range while the long hose is typically about 4-8 inches longer and is sometimes different in color for easy identification.  The advantage to this configuration is its massive presence in the sport and ability to donate a second stage without removing the one in your mouth.  Most divers are trained to use this configuration from day one and will continue to use it for the rest of their diving careers, which means that the majority of your dive buddies will understand donation techniques and may match your setup.


Long Hose Under Arm

In this configuration, the short hose measures in the 18-24 inch range and the second stage is kept on a necklace so it hangs at the top of your chest, just below your chin.  The long hose measures in the 36-40 inch range, is routed under your right arm, and has an angle adapter between the hose and the second stage to keep the hose pointing downward.  In an emergency, the long hose second stage is donated to your buddy in need and the short hose second stage is transferred to your mouth.  The advantage to this configuration is its ability to keep both hose lengths fairly short while routing both hoses much closer to your body.


5-Foot Long Hose

In this configuration, the short hose measures in the 18-24 inch range and the second stage is kept on a necklace.  The long hose measures 60 inches (5 feet) in length and routes down under your right arm, up across your chest, and around your neck to your mouth.  A bolt snap will typically be attached where the long hose meets the second stage so it can be clipped to your right shoulder d-ring when not in use.  In an emergency, the long hose second stage is donated to your buddy in need and the short hose second stage is transferred to your mouth.  The advantage to this configuration is the extra length of hose that can be donated to a buddy and the comfort and neatness of the hose position.


7-Foot Long Hose

In this configuration, the short hose measures in the 18-24 inch range and the second stage is kept on a necklace.  The long hose measures 84 inches (7 feet) in length and routes down under your right arm, up across your chest, and around your neck to your mouth.  Any extra hose length is typically stowed under your waist strap in front of your right hip.  A bolt snap will typically be attached where the long hose meets the second stage so it can be clipped to your right shoulder d-ring when not in use.  In an emergency, the long hose second stage is donated to your buddy in need and the short hose second stage is transferred to your mouth.  The advantage to this configuration is the extra length of hose that can be donated to a buddy, allowing you to swim in a single-file line while sharing gas.  As this is a very common hose configuration in technical diving, it also allows you familiarity with the setup if you plan to step into the technical realm.



Regardless of which hose configuration you choose, it needs to be streamlined.  This simply means to alter the equipment in a way that helps to reduce drag as you move through the water, reduce the likelihood of damaging the underwater world around you, and avoid entanglement around tighter spaces or obstacles.  Streamlining your hoses can be accomplished by removing unnecessary inches of hosing or stowing hoses in a manner that keeps them neatly tucked away and close to your body.

Most of the regulator hose configurations discussed in this article are inherently streamlined, so let’s take a look at how we can tidy up the remaining low pressure inflator and high pressure hoses.  This can be accomplished in three easy steps:

Mapping – Map out where your hoses will need to be and how they will be used.  Ask yourself questions such as “Will the hose be remaining stationary or need some wiggle room?” “Will I need any extra length or can the hose be exactly long enough?” “What purpose will the hose serve?”  “Will the hose be in the way of any others?” “Will the hose stay the same way when in diving position underwater?”

Measuring – Once you have mapped out where your hoses will be routed, measure the distance along the route from the first stage to where the hose should end – a buddy may make this process easier if you do it while wearing your equipment.  Flexible measuring tape will work best because this route is typically not a straight line.  Make sure the length allows for all desired functions of the hose and then purchase and install the appropriate hoses.

Securing – Now that your hoses are of ideal length, you will need to make sure they are secured in place.  This will ensure your hose is always where it needs to be and your equipment never gets away from you.  For inflator hoses, your BC may already have a velcro strap intended for this purpose, but you can also secure it in place with shock cord; the stretchiness allows for some movement while still remaining in place.  For high pressure hoses, you can attach a bolt snap to the gauge/console and clip it to your left hip or across your chest.  Alternatively, you can use a retractor clip to allow the gauges to momentarily be pulled away from the body for viewing without having to unclip anything.


With all of this information, you should be able to create the ideal setup for yourself and have a greater understanding of the equipment that you utilize on every dive.  The equipment that divers use can be as unique as the divers themselves and we love to learn from and celebrate those differences.  Please use the comments section below to tell us about your preferred configuration or any tips and tricks worth sharing!

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13 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Great article Jessie!

    One thing to consider in choosing routing is how your gear configuration ‘lays’ if/when things go sideways.

    Specifically the fairly common configuration of routing the console hose down the left hip, across the chest, and attaching to the right chest d-ring: if unconscious or impeded while the rescuer is removing the BCD, it could turn this configuration into an entanglement at best, and an unintended garrote wire at worst.

    Admittedly, the alternative of attaching to the left d-ring resolves the possibility of a choke hazard, but never seemed to lay right and tended to interfere with the power inflator assembly without the addition of a shorter HP hose.

    • Jesse
      Jesse says:

      Great point, Alex! These are some great examples of the considerations divers should be making when choosing a configuration. We often think of how everything will work while underwater but should also include scenarios such as rescues, at the surface, etc.

    • Jesse
      Jesse says:

      Most of the common configurations have both regulators on the right, but there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with having one coming from the left side. Just keep in mind that most second stages are designed with the hose routing from the right side. If you are going to route from the left, make sure that you are using a second stage that is configured to accept the hose from the left. As long as you are comfortable with using it and it effectively supports the primary function of your dive gear – to keep you (and possibly a buddy) alive underwater – then there should be no problem.

    • Ben
      Ben says:

      Exactly – It’s the standard in quite a few areas, especially in CMAS Europe (pretty much a standard config. in France, Belgium etc)-
      a major advantage is not having to do the manoeuvre shown in “long hose under arm” in order to get the second stage to face the receiver correctly — the hose is not twisted, there is more leeway and it makes rescue techniques such as controled assisted ascents (using the BCDs) easier.

      Downside is that it’s more difficult to use the octo for oneself, but this is not really what they’re there for, so…

  2. Greg Maciejowski
    Greg Maciejowski says:

    Great article. I would reconsider using a snorkel together with the 7ft long hose. When deploying the long hose underwater, it might get trapped by the snorkel. I see during the dry land demonstration it works well but underwater it looks slightly different, especially in actual distress situation. Over all, still happy to see many options from which divers may choose what best works for them.

  3. Don Wallar
    Don Wallar says:

    Been diving for 42 years and recently decided to adopt more of a technical rig. My setup is 5 ft long hose for primary, short (24″) for alternate on necklace, computer (Cobalt) on console from left side across stomach to retractor attached to right mid-D-ring, backup SPG on right side attaching to right waist D-ring, drysuit inflator under left arm and harness, and deco bottle on left side.

  4. Rick Mooney
    Rick Mooney says:

    Here follows a pitch for the 7 foot hose configuration.

    First, the key to any spare reg configuration is to practice in the pool until the deployment is second nature.

    I prefer the 7 foot hose. In an emergency it provides the most flexibility for the recipient. Yes, it allows two divers to exit a narrow restriction in series, and yes it demonstrates to the recipient that you are handing off a working regulator, but it also allows critical “space” between the donor and a possibly panicked recipient. It also is convenient if the recipient has to swim freely, communicate using hand signals, or do some task prior to or during surfacing. I deploy the hose immediately, then detach the rest of the hose and fully extend it using a “Y” arm stretch. Then I coil up a couple loops of excess hose and hand this to the recipient after counting out five fingers and giving the “ok” question.

    By comparison, the donor reg off of the BCD inflator is a marketing scheme and not a practical device that I would recommend. The inflator hose needs to be accessible at all times for buoyancy control purposes and should not be used to piggy-back a spare regulator in my opinion.

    A small “fussbudget” critique of the demo’s shown above is that I prefer handing off the donated reg with the mouthpiece pointed down so that a potentially nervous recipient gets a “dry” reg. Secondly, I always briefly “test” any spare reg before breathing from it by holding it mouthpiece down and pressing the purge button slightly to ensure it is both working and dry. I was taught to never put an untested regulator in my mouth.

  5. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    I want to switch up my host setup for future technical diving. My question is the 7ft hose configuration practical for shorter divers (I’m 62″ tall) or would the 5ft length be a better option?


    Just this one blog post / demo is packed full of so much great information as I’m starting to redo my nearly 20 year old ScubaPro setup and switch to a backplate design. Over the last year I’ve been replacing hoses and trying to get it dialed in because I knew things were not quite right. The boat I’ve been diving on for the last 20 years has mostly Halcyon and Dive Rite style backplate divers on it. Great stuff here!

  7. Jason in Chicago
    Jason in Chicago says:

    Good info here. To share my experience: Having recently converted my primary/donor hose from standard length to 5ft miflex yellow, I wish I’d gone for a 7ft hose. Yes it’s a lot of hose, but I think it would be more easily stowed and be less likely to pull on the regulator in the config where it’s routed under the right arm, across the chest, and behind the neck. In this config it also helps to have something on the right waist to hold the hose down as it’s routed under the arm. I’ve had to further secure this object due to the 5ft hose pulling on it. For reference I’m 6ft tall.


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