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Torben Lonne, Dive Instructor
PRODUCT REVIEW

Hollis Katana 2 Sidemount BCD

Hollis recently unveiled its newest sidemount offering: the Katana 2. The new model supersedes both the Katana and the SMS 50 when it comes to Hollis’ dedicated sidemount harnesses and bladders.

If you’re thinking of getting a new sidemount wing, the Hollis Katana 2 might be for you. Currently, the product is available for pre-order and was announced online by Hollis in November 2019 and shown at DEMA 2019.
The Katana 2 Sidemount BCD
Here's the Katana 2 Sidemount BCD
Photograph by Hollis

Here are our key takeaways when we looked at the differences between the Katana 2 and Hollis’ other sidemount offerings.  

The Hollis Katana 2 Key Specs & Features

  • H and Y harness configurations possible
  • 40 lbs lift capacity
  • 20 lbs weight capacity
  • Quick Fit System (QFS) ‘one-size-fits-all’ design
  • Single bladder and dual bladder options
  • Integrated mount for sidemount CCR
  • Two dump valves - one top and one bottom
  • Optional preconfigured SMS regulator kit — DCX 1st and 200LX 2nd stages, LP and HP hoses, two brass SPGs and a regulator necklace — for an additional charge
  • Two-year standard warranty

What We Like

  • Because the unit can be purchased with a preconfigured regulator kit, it can be useful for both beginners and experienced sidemount divers
  • The unit is easy to adjust and tweak to your preferences
  • The wing wraps around the diver’s body more which ensure a smooth streamlined profile and eliminate any “turtling”
  • A good amount of lift
  • The Katana 2 is really bridging the gap between what’s often known as the British/Mexico and American/Florida sidemount schools of thought.

What We Don’t Like

  • This is a Sidemount only BCD. But if that’s what you’re looking for, then the Katana 2 from Hollis is a great option.
The Back of Hollis Katana 2 Sidemount Wing BCD
The Back of Hollis Katana 2 Sidemount Wing BCD
Photograph by Hollis

Should you buy the Katana 2?

The Hollis Katana 2 is arguably one of the absolutely best sidemount BCDs I’ve tried. It fits perfectly with all variations of sidemount diving - whether you’re into advanced cave diving or a sidemount beginner.

This side mount BCD provides minimal water resistance and great freedom of movement even in the smallest conditions.

The Katana 2 has 8 well-placed D-rings + 2 buffer D-rings: one on each shoulder, one on each hip/shoulder strap connection, two rear rings, one on either side, two on the crotch strap, and two extra D-rings to place where you want.

All the D-rings (except the two on the back) of the Katana 2 can be moved or removed as you prefer, giving you the ability to adapt your setup the way you like it.

The Bungee of Katana 2 Sidemount BCD in Zoom
Here's the Bungee of Katana 2 Sidemount BCD in Zoom
Photograph by Hollis

This is a "One-size-fits all", with a Quick Fit System (QFS), which means I can adjust it to fit me (6.5-ft tall) and we could make it fit a girl at 5.2 feet. This BCD is highly adjustable for any set up you’d like.

“Depending on location, everyone’s a little bit different about how they like to set their harness up. But at the end of the day, the coolest thing about the Katana 2 is that you can run it however you want. “ -Hollis Brand Manager Nick Hollis

The Katana 2 BCD is easy to balance for a perfect trim, I think I got it on the second dive. You can’t do much in the water, but once you found the perfect setup, It'll stay in place. There are 4 "spine pockets" each with slots for one 5-lbs weight, and the bladder wraps nicely around your body which makes a low profile. The Katana 2 feels like part of me from the second dive.

The D-ring of Hollis Katana 2 BCD in both side
Photograph by Hollis
The D-ring of Hollis Katana 2 BCD in both side

Hollis Katana 2 is Only Sidemount

The Katana 2 is distinguishable from the SMS 75 in that it’s a dedicated sidemount unit. The 75, on the other hand, is made for both sidemount and back-mount diving. If you’re looking for a wing that can act like a traditional BCD and do sidemount double duty, the SMS 75 is the option for you.

But if you’ve given up back-mounted diving for good and are after a sidemount-only wing, the Katana 2 could be the ideal option.

The Front Crotchstrap of Hollis Katana 2 in Zoom
The Front Crotchstrap of Hollis Katana 2 in Zoom
Photograph by Hollis

The Difference Between “Y” and “H” Sidemount Wings

The Katana 2 has been designed with flexibility in mind. With that in mind, the newest Katana can be set up as a “Y” harness or an “H” harness.

You can think of the different styles of sidemount harnesses as related to the waters they were designed to be used in and the kind of tanks used. In warmer waters, divers typically favor a Y configuration with the harnesses running over the shoulders much like a traditional BCD.

But when divers have heavy steel tanks (often used in colder water) having the weight of the tanks evenly dispersed across the central part of the torso is useful. This is the “H” configuration, named because the harness runs straight down to the waist strap forming an H shape. The H configuration is also easier for divers in drysuits to don/doff the rig because of the larger harness opening

The Katana 2 was designed with warm water, aluminum tank diving in mind, but thanks to what Hollis is calling their H Style Accessory Kit, the Katana 2 can be configured for cold water, steel tank dives.

The Zoom-QFS of Hollis Katana 2
The Zoom-QFS of Hollis Katana 2
Photograph by Hollis

Where Can I Buy the Katana 2?

The Katana 2 is going out to dealers January 13, at which time all preorders will ship. If you are interested in ordering, Hollis’ website lists retailers and availability based on your region.

Thinking of purchasing the Katana 2? We’d love to hear from you, so drop us a comment below.

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