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View Full Version : What PFD vest should I look at buying?



Sanity Check
01-09-2011, 01:34 PM
My old West Marine Type III vest is worn out. The vests I saw on display there recently were generally shorter and bulkier in the front to promote the face-up floating of an unconscious wearer, but I'm most concerned with comfort and free movement. I also like the protection for the rib cage and back that a longer and more uniformly padded vest provides. My one other criterion is that I want a PFD which is brightly colored.

Here are four I found online which seem like they might be satisfactory.

The first one looks quite a bit like my old vest except for the flotation collar and the enclosed belting for reducing snag hazards. Although it is labeled as USCG approved Type III/V it is also prominently stamped with the words "work vest only." Anybody know what that means?

Have any experience or knowledge regarding any of the vests shown, or suggestions of similar products?

http://www.sharpesafety.com/catalog/images/8/2878.jpg
STEARNS I222 TYPE V FLOTATION WORK VEST

http://www.machovec.com/mustang/images/mv3106t2.jpg
MUSTANG MV3106 T2: Classic Industrial Flotation Vest

http://images.gandermountain.com/products/large/670052_L1.jpg
Mustang MV3118 Two-Pocket Survival Vest Item # 670052

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41APBynhcOL._SS500_.jpg
Stearns 4185 Trophy Series SAR Type III Life Vest

Shife
01-09-2011, 01:49 PM
Is this for sailing? Why the preference for a commercial style PFD?

I use a type III Extrasport for dinghy and a Mustang hydrostatic inflatable with harness for big boat stuff.

Sanity Check
01-09-2011, 02:04 PM
Is this for sailing? Why the preference for a commercial style PFD?

I use a type III Extrasport for dinghy and a Mustang hydrostatic inflatable with harness for big boat stuff.

Yes, my interest is in dinghy and small keel boat sailing.

The hydrostatic trigger you have on your inflatable makes that a viable option for me, but I still like the padding. That is my built-in seat back cushion. Yet if there is too much padding or if it is unevenly distributed, that can make it hard for me to get past my lower shrouds. It does seem the commercially-oriented products are a bit more sleek - perhaps to account for the increased dangers of snags when working around machinery.

Shife
01-09-2011, 02:51 PM
Aha. The commercial vests made for law enforcement do seem to be cut to fit more like an article of clothing and less like an obtrusive block of foam. You may have to try a few different models on to find what you're looking for.

For inflatables I preferred the shorter length of my old Sospenders model, but I certainly wouldn't call my newer Mustang hydrostatic model uncomfortable.

Born 2 Sail
01-09-2011, 11:15 PM
http://images.cabelas.com/is/image/cabelas/s7_021399_022_01?rgn=0,0,1834,2000&scl=3.8095238095238093&fmt=jpeg&id=1J3p_Ajf7VkeuEBtlbLMdc

I'm liking the fly fishing and kayaking life vests these days. The flotation is down low which helps keep your head out of the water, although it won't roll you over if unconscious. They are very comfortable and most have pockets to put stuff in, which is handy.

war dog
01-10-2011, 09:10 AM
I personally like and wear a Lotus vest. I believe that they are made and marketed for Kayaking but the fit is comfortable and leaves a free range of movement.


687

Edit I donít have this style but a few I know do mine is an older model that I can not longer find. If you are in the SF Bay area Svendsenís stocked the Lotus line last time I looked.