Best inflatable belt PFD's for the money

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Jeff Coria, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. I use an old fashioned PFD only...
  3. I suppose that would be for wade fishing. I like a solid pfd that fits well without inhibiting comfort and motion, yet remains snug in case a rescuer needs to grab it in order to save my ass.

    I am not sure if I am familiar with how an inflatable belt pfd is deployed. I assume that you have to pull it on over your head after it inflates. That's one step too many for me, if/when I'm getting swept down a chute toward a log jam. (Probably wouldn't be wading any fast or deep water above such a hazard).

    That said, I don't wear a pfd while hiking/wading. I do usually leave mine on when I step out of a boat to wade, though.

    I have considered getting an inflatable "vest" style pfd for hiking wading, though. Fellow forum member Befishin' once told me about a hairy situation where he barely survived, and an inflatable pfd would have come in handy. He wears one now.

  4. I am a reformed sailboat owner, and I still have an auto-inflatable PFD. Wore it for years, but thankfully never needed it. It can also be inflated via a mouth tube if the CO2 cartridge fails, or if you've been floating a long time without rescue and have lost a little buoyancy. I wore it on Martha Lake one day when I had a little inflatable boat. I got bored and thought, what the hell, I'm riding in a PFD, what do I need this for? I decided to test it out, and dipped it in the water.

    WHOOSH! That thing inflated instantly! I congratulated myself on my good judgement for wearing it all those years. Then I went home and found out it costs $23.00 for a replacement cartridge. Suddenly I felt less wise. Sure, I could still use it by blowing it up with the tube, but ain't the reason I'm drowning is because I got no air? What a useless feature.

    Now I am torn between getting a new cartridge or a spool of WF7F line because my sinking tip hasn't caught me any fish. I need to decide soon, because Baardo has invited me to go fishing and show me his "secret spot". Jeez, I sure hope he's talking about a river. Plus he told me I should bring along a "wading staff." So now I have to do interviews and hire people, just to go fishing? Why is this so damn complicated? And I only have a week to get it done.

    So I recommend a regular PFD that is comfortable enough to wear and doesn't get in your way. Those puffy things will interfere with your back cast and result in big loops that snag you right behind the ear where it really hurts. Or so I've heard. Hope this helps.
  5. Re-reading this it is apparent I wandered off the topic. The inflatable life jackets I wore in the Navy were normally rolled up deflated in a pouch that hung on a web belt that nobody wore except for abandon-ship drills. The idea being that when ordered to abandon ship, you would unroll the thing and hang it around your neck and fasten the straps and the gas cylinder would inflate it when you hit the water. If that failed, you could manually inflate it with the air tube.

    The one I wore on sailboats (decades later) worked the same way, except had snazzier colors and I wore it at all times un-inflated, like a vest. It had D-rings and stuff to tie myself to the boat to prevent going overboard in the first place.

    Of course wading is different, since you are essentially overboard by choice, standing in a river waving a stick, as the fellow wrote. I think a slim auto-inflatable is a decent idea, unless you wear a fishing vest, in which case wouldn't one interfere with the other?

    I think that any PFD ought to be worn unencumbered with a vest, and all my stuff should be carried in some other manner or not at all.

    Thanks for posting this and making me think about it. I previously thought about PFD's in terms of falling out of a boat, not in terms of being in the water carrying a load of crap and being overwhelmed somehow and being carried downstream.
  6. I guess I should have been more clear. I'm looking at the inflatable belt that have a CO2 Deployment. They are mandatory on my home river and really only a few deep section, the rest of the river you just stand up if you fall out of the boat.
  7. I wonder if they make an auto-inflating headband (should be easy to invent using micro-accelerometers, micro-gyros, and an altimeter, all built into the sensor)? This would be to protect the face and forehead in the event of a face-plant, if one runs aground in the river while standing in the boat.
  8. What are you going to be using it for, in the boat, wading or?

    I have a Mustang inflatable pfd, manual inflating that I bought to wear in the boat when fishing. Honestly I never wear it in the boat but wear it all the time when fishing rivers as well as my wading belt. Have never tried inflating it to see how easy it is to put it up over my head, probly should though.
    Mine's an older version of this:
    Dpn't know if that's "the best" or not but I'm not really sure who else makes them.

    When I bought my wife a kayak this spring I bought 2 of these, auto inflating when they go below 4" of water and they're pretty comfortable, not cheap though. Up till now I've not been very good at wearing pfd's in the boat but I'll wear this when I'm in my Scadden Renegade when it gets here, I really suck at swimming.
  9. For use in a drift boat, my home river they are mandatory and its a calm river so I like the comfort of the waist belts.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  10. Yes, here too, 1 for each person in the boat, along with a throw line, whistle, flash light, boaters card etc etc.
    Just make sure whatever pfd you get meets the requirements down there.

    The collars we got are pretty comfortable though.
  11. Just as an fyi, I bought a couple CO2 inflatable wading belts for a trip deep into British Columbia. Found out just before I left that you can't put them in baggage or in carry-on when flying. Rules may have changed over the years but worth checking out, depending on your modes/distances of travel.
  12. my recommendation, based on a test where I inflated my belt model in the river, and tried to swim with it on, is to avoid them unless you are certain it will fit over your head (mine did not). after the test, i congratulated myself on testing it before I needed it, and promptly went out and bought a yoke type inflatable unit as a replacement to wear when i need a pfd.

    if you are still convinced that you want a belt unit, i'll gladly give you my old unit for the price of postage. you'll just need to buy a new cartridge

  13. Avoid inflatables like the plague if you want to drift rivers.

Share This Page