Are self-inflating lifevests worth buying?

To above post.... And some other foam or more hard shaped PFD items as well are on sale. Not trying to promote but seemed relevant possibly.
 

Coho

Active Member
@Nick Clayton - or any others with expertise. Went to the Mustang website to buy a self-inflatable because of this thread - lots of different models.

Which model would you recommend? Would use in drift boats and PS/Hood Canal small boats.

Awesome thread!
 

keekster4504

Active Member
Thanks for all the great info here, everyone. I currently have a fishpond sling pack that I use on most of my outings. Does anyone have experience with a PFD that’s compatible with a sling pack? Would foam be the best option for this? I can’t really envision a way to wear the self inflating over the sling pack in a way that wouldn’t reduce the mobility/utility of the pack...
 

MD

WFF Supporter
Thanks for all the great info here, everyone. I currently have a fishpond sling pack that I use on most of my outings. Does anyone have experience with a PFD that’s compatible with a sling pack? Would foam be the best option for this? I can’t really envision a way to wear the self inflating over the sling pack in a way that wouldn’t reduce the mobility/utility of the pack...

I’m extremely late to this party....but consider a belt pack. I’ve used one for years. It serves the dual purpose of life jacket and wading belt.

I opted for manual inflation vs. auto because I’m rarely in a boat and I’ll wade deep sometimes.

I haven’t read the entire thread...so if you’re in a boat much, go with the auto inflate over the shoulder type. Since I wade mostly, I’m counting on being conscious and being able to pull the cord. Falling out of a boat is entirely different with the very real chance one might get their bell rung on the way out.

And yes, the manual version is an extra step during what most likely will be a panic....but being Safety Sam...I’ll usually do a mental emergency drill at least once an outing.

Evidently Mustang has currently sold out of this model, but I can only guess there are similar belt packs available by other manufacturers.

I also suggest doing a trial run at least once with whatever you decide to purchase. They can be somewhat explosive and your melon might get knocked around a bit...but it’s better than the alternative

Mike d
 

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Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
yall are playing with fire using these inflatable pfds in a river. so many ways they can fail you. foam doesnt get popped on branches/sharp rocks and it doesnt fail to deploy..... kinda like masks, yall are letting your personal comfort get in the way of being safe.
 

MD

WFF Supporter
Hadn’t thought about the puncture risks. Thanks for the info.

Mike d - fellow mask wearer
 

PhilR

Active Member
I’m extremely late to this party....but consider a belt pack. ....

Don't the belt packs require an additional step to get it up and around your head/shoulders? It looks like a whole 'nother layer of complexity to get it on, beyond pulling the cord. Have you used or tested it?
 

garyk

Active Member
Here's a link to the basic rules, AND, for folks who've been around PFDs for years - the NEW labeling standards (the old TYPE 1, 2, 3 and so forth is no more)
 

MD

WFF Supporter
Phil,

Yes, the preserver in the belt pack is to be pulled over the head once inflated.

That said, I typically wear/bring an internal frame daypack with food & other safety gear, so I've got those straps over my shoulders. I also use a wading staff.

I disconnect the daypack belt snap before any crossings. Should something go sideways and I go for a swim, my first goal is to get to or stay on the surface...inflating the preserver, if necessary, and dumping the daypack.

Depending on what I'm faced with, I'll either get the preserver over my head or make my way to safety, while on my back, using the bouyancy from the inflated preserver at my waist.

My hopes/goals are:
1) When crossing, to choose a safe spot in the first place, so I don't run into problems and need the preserver.
2) To turn around if the crossing point was misjudged and I can safely do that.
3) To pick a crossing point that, should I go for a swim, I have a sufficient distance before any hazards to get to safety and/or activate the preserver, get it over my head, if necessary, before heading for safety.

Of course, when shit happens, it often happens fast. Whether or not I'll be able to get it over my head is an unknown if I'm tumbling down stream...but I figure the bouyancy at the waist is better than what I had before...which was nothing...aside from the flatulence that filled my waders as I crapped my drawers when going in. ;)

I test the unit once a year or so and inspect it often to make sure there's no abrasions/tears whatever. I have tested getting it over my head, which was straight forward, but this was not in moving water.

Mike d
 

Squamishpoacher

Active Member
Wore one at work as far back as I can recall. Wear it fishing even on rivers and the beach. Don't even notice it being there. Moving water is white for the simple reason that it is oxygenated and as such it does not keep you afloat as if you were in a pool. I fell in an estuary a few years back and couldn't dig my heels in to stand up as the river was flowing out. Like all drowning men, when asked, "Do you need a hand?", of course I answered, "I'll be fine." Lucky for me help came as I sucked up some water and was in a lot of trouble. Now I wear it all the time fishing and boating and also have worn it on floatplanes.
 
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