How to properly attach a bolt snap to your kit

From the moment you start making the change to DIR or any form of tec diving for that matter, you will notice an overwhelming support for stainless steel bolt snaps. These replace just about any standard attachment that come with retail gear if they do not already employ stainless bolts snaps, and the appeal is easily understandable: By normalizing the way gear attaches to your harness, you avoid potential confusion should problems occur, not to mention they are hardy and relatively fail proof which is more than can be said for the so called “suicide” clips.

But how to attach them?

Initially I swore by cable ties but after seeing some experienced diver’s kit (thank goodness they didn’t see mine) and many many hours of searching through the internet, I came across a relatively standard way of attaching these handy clips to just about anything. Instead of just reposting another user’s effort, I thought I’d take the time and make a little illustrated step-by-step on how to get this done. So here’s what you need:

1x Device requiring snap bolt (in my case, a torch)
1x Stainless Steel Bolt Snap (don’t do brass, and make sure it has a stainless spring too)
1x Cave line (although any other decent nylon twine will do the trick)
1x Pair of scissors
1x Lighter
1x Super-Glue or similar Cyanoacrylate-based instant adhesive

Step 1: Cut a 30 cm/10″ piece of line. You’ll end up using less, but it helps having some extra to grab hold of and make your knots nice and tight. Burn the ends so it won’t start unraveling while you’re working with it.

Step 2: Loop the line at least twice (you can do more if you feel like it) through the eye of the snap and around/through whatever you’re attaching it to without letting the line overlap, i.e. like a coil. At this point it can still be fairly loose. You’ll tighten it later. At the end both ends should protrude towards one side of the setup.

Step 3: Tighten the loops until the snap is right up against whatever you’re attaching it to, then cross the ends to opposite sides, keeping it nice and tight.

Step 4: Flip the snap to the other side of the crossover and pull both lines underneath the snap so that they sit on either side of the looped line running between the snap and what you’re attaching it to.

Step 5: Tie the line once with a half knot and pull it as tight as possible, ensuring that the knot pulls tightly against the loops behind it.

Step 6: When you’re happy with the configuration and tightness of the setup, tie the line once more in opposite directions to end up with a square knot (note I was an idiot and ended up with a granny knot, but you get the idea.

Step 7: While ensuring that the knot remains as tight as possible, grab your Super Glue and drop one or two drops directly onto the knot. The glue will penetrate into the fibers and bond everything together into one solid piece.

Step 8: Measure out about 5 mm or 1/4″ from each remaining end and trim it down.

It should now look like this

Step 9: Using your lighter, burn both ends while taking special care not to melt the rest of the line until it’s nice and flush with the knot. Flatten them slightly as an added measure of safety.

Your snap is now properly attached and ready to venture into the depths and darkness

And that’s it! I’ve seen many pretty knots and different ways of attaching bolt snaps, but this method seems to be the most common by far and if it’s good enough for cave divers, it’s good enough for me!

Happy diving!

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