Most helpful positive review
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2012
This is a well made and apparently well engineered device. Insertion of the gas cartridge is simple. The self inflation tube is easily deployed and the puller for manual inflation of the vest is well placed, long enough to find in a hurry, but not so long as to be in the way, or get caught on things. If you fall in, the vest is designed to inflate automatically once it become wet. There is a water soluble "bobbin" which, when dissolved, allows the mechanism of penetrate the cartridge and release the CO2. If you "test it," you have to replace it!
Getting the vest on is easy and the adjustments allow for all sizes. I'm an "extra large," and there is still plenty of adjustment left. The adjustment strap is long, and on a small person might need to be "stowed" in the vest to avoid getting caught on things in the boat.
Once on, the vest is comfortable and you soon become unaware that you are wearing it. However, on very warm and humid days you'll know you're wearing something. The colors, dark red and black, absorb the sun's heat and add to the discomfort, but not enough to make you want to take it off.
The replacement cartridge sells for over $20, so I have not tested it to date. I will manually inflate the vest and see how the buoyancy is for a guy my size and file an additional report. All in all I'm pleased with the purchase. I'm an "older american" who gets out in the boat a lot to do wild life photography. Lately, I realized I could not get back in the boat, if I fell out, and certainly couldn't swim more than a short distance. Better to be on the safe side, but the conventional vests are just too hot and bulky. This should serve the purpose and be a "life saver," if the need arises. I give it four stars, as I've not tested the buoyancy or the automatic/manual inflation system.