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LIfe Jackets, I want a inflatable. recomendations please


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Hi Folks thanks for looking, I am in the market to maybe by 1 or 2 inflatable life vests. What brand do you like, and should I be paying the extra for auto arming? I have yet to actually need one, so I dont know what happens when you hit the water but I want to be ready in case I do. and I think that my standard vests are bulky and uncomfortable.

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I was interested and looked at those too.

The ones I was able to try on still had very bulky and rigid side panels, and also the jackets fit differently. They strap around you like right under the chest in your mid section. Like half way down. It seemed very awkward and to me would be more uncomfortable than just your traditional fitting lifejacket?

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Stearns makes several models. Look more or less like suspenders. Little over $hundred last time I bought some that automatically inflate. Just make sure you store them out of the sun! Heat will pop those rascals! And accidental wet will pop 'em too.

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So if you are saying accidental wet will inflate them. Does that mean you shouldnt wear them when its raining? I know nothing about these vests, and am also in the market for one.

Light rain will not affect them. As noted, they need to be submerged so release bobbin gets soaked. But never leave them laying out in the boat on bright sunny days as they WILL pop! And a re-arm kit is $20. Ask me how I know these things.

But don't ask me how many times I've left some out on my boat! Yikes!!

NOTE: This is one of those items where I do NOT buy the inexpensive stuff. I prefer Stearns, but do what you feel is right.

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I own a couple of the $100 Cabelas units and have worn it all day in driving rain and left it in the boat all day in scorching sun without any problems. My lifevest are worn anytime the big motor is running and if not being worn they are on the seat so they are exposed to the full array of climactic condtions. With that being said, the $270 Mustang units are alot more comfortable (especially in the neck area) but the $100 units OK for the money.

Just remember, DO NOT wear an inflatable under a jacket. If you fall in and if your jacket is tight enough when it pops it will knock the wind out of you and can put enough pressure on your chest to prevent you from being able to breathe.

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