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Life vest recommendations

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Life vest recommendations
Long story short I?ve been hunting bodies of water that I want to wear flotation on. I have bought and returned two different flotation coats because I found them bulky and cannot layer with, let alone shoulder a gun.

I?ve been wearing my life vest while running and setting decoys but take it off to sit and shoot. Then I find myself not putting it back on to pick up birds. Though I rarely need to do that. Lol.

I?m looking for a life vest I can wear the whole time I?m on the water and that I can fire a gun while wearing.

Anyone have a recommendation? Price is not the primary consideration. Fit and function are.

Note that I rock a pretty big gut.
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I bought a Mustang inflatable for this very reason. I decided to not get the one with auto inflate but others go for the ones with auto inflate. Personal preference. There are times, although rare, that I walk in water that would be deep enough where the auto inflate would activate. That would scare that crap out of me. When these things inflate, it is quite sudden.

Mark
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Kevin
I wear an onyx a33 a/m insight . See the link. I find it very comfortable and it fits over all
My hunting gear. I?m an XL and there is room to spare. I have worn it out in rain storms and no accidental deployments, supposedly it has to be submerged to deploy or you can pull it manually. I like it?s design with the extra fabric that makes it fit better and not get twisted up. Plus the window shows that it armed and ready. I wear it year round. Just my .02

https://www.onyxoutdoor.com/impulse-a-3-m-33-all-clear-automatic-3-manual-x132800--500--004--21


Gunning from the FOWL HOOKED

Last edited by:

T Entwistle: Jan 16, 2022, 9:23 AM
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Interesting. I had not considered the inflatables because I assumed they would be in the way of my shoulder for mounting the gun. My inflatable I have for fishing would be too wide at the shoulder to use.
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Kevin Puls wrote:
Interesting. I had not considered the inflatables because I assumed they would be in the way of my shoulder for mounting the gun. My inflatable I have for fishing would be too wide at the shoulder to use.


I can't use an inflatable being left handed. They have the backup mouth piece under the left side.

Have you looked into kayak live vest. Some only have the material no foam on the shoulders.
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
This is what I use. I do a lot of hunting from a kayak and canoe and have harvested many birds while wearing it. But given the choice I certainly wouldn't want to wear it all day if I didn't have to. It does work for shooting though.


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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I wear an Onyx inflatable that had auto inflate feature. I stepped into a hole went down onto one knee and stuck my hand down to keep from going under. Damn vest inflated immediately. Just as advertised. I removed the auto actuator and now rely on pull handle.
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I find the inflatables rub my neck raw. (I have a 20" neck, and so far as I know they only come in one size.)

In the same situation as you with the same concerns, I took to using my camo lifejacket to cover my motor when I stash the boat. It's pull start, so I need to take it off the motor to restart if I go to pick up a duck or move decoys. That reminder is enough to prevent the "don't bother to put on" problem.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Inflatables are comfortable but is your life worth the possibility of the auto inflate feature failing? We just had a fella here in SC say his dad fell out of the boat this past weekend and his lifejacket failed to auto inflate. From what I gather, some won't auto inflate until you sink below a certain depth.....I'm not relying on that and figure I'd already be dead before that happens. The only place I use my inflatable is when paddling shallow water that I can stand up in.

I run the MS river South of New Orleans. I want to be seen, heard (whistle clipped to vest) and picked up with reflective tape at night if needed. (kill lanyard around wrist) I have a camouflage vest like this orange one (whistle too). I can paddle, shoot, etc using them.




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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Paul Taylor wrote:
Inflatables are comfortable but is your life worth the possibility of the auto inflate feature failing?


Yes, I trust my life to my inflatable PFD. The chances of a properly maintained inflatable failing to inflate, are miniscule.

Some folks will even go so far as to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, trusting their life to a parachute opening as intended.

Laugh

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Why get a low profile boat and put a high profile blind on it?
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I have an Onyx camo inflatable I use in the early season but when the water temps get to the 30's and below and you don't have a lot of time to mess around, I prefer a standard life vest. I use this one. I like this one because the shoulders are covered with material and the gun stock doesn't slide around. It also has flapped pockets as well as the open mesh pockets.





Take care,

Ed L.
East Moline,
Illinois
_________________________________________
If I'd had asked what they wanted they would have said faster horses" - Henry Ford

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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
As others have mentioned, I use a shooting PFD w/whistle attached to it. I also have two for my layout boat too.

https://www.amazon.com/Onyx-Classic-Sport-Realtree-X-Large/dp/B00SI3441W/ref=sr_1_2?crid=10QGJB094VU4J&keywords=hunting+pfd&qid=1642428799&sprefix=hunting+pfd%2Caps%2C89&sr=8-2






"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
 I have mustang auto inflatable that I use when standing or underway.. Has to be second nature putting it on each time. Also sit on a throwable and have a 5xl vest behind my back.
Worked for Towboat and put it on when I stepped into the boat. Yesterday a kyacker was lost, 36 degrees. The life you save may be you Own. Be Safe
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Do I trust that my Mustang inflatable will work as advertised? Certainly. If these life vests are good enough to give the USA pilots to wear, they are good enough for me.

I found that having to wear the bulkier lifejackets made it so I wouldn't wear them all the time. Since this was doing me no good, and I was pretty certain my habit wouldn't change, I went searching for a solution I would wear all the time while the boat is underway. The inflatable worked for me and I do wear it all the time.

Your mileage may vary.......

Mark
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I hunted with a new guy this year and as I put my vest on "mesh shoulder camo one from bass pro" he put his on. He uses a inflatable and seems pretty nice but I only wear mine when under power. The whistle addition Troy said will be going on mine today.
South Jersey
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I have worn a mesh top shooting PFF for years, I have one for kids too. Both have whistles on them. I also have a Mustang inflatable I use for work and in warmer months. Put it in when. I get in the boat and stays on. Also have 2 throwables


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
So, now that this topic has be thoroughly discussed, what provisions have you put in place to get back into the boat, particularly if you hunt alone?

I once blew the neck gaiter seal on a dry suit while diving in about thirty feet of water upstream from the Sault Locks entry on the Lake Superior approach side. By the time I got back to the tender boat, doffed my mask and snorkel and tank/bouyancy compensator weight pack I was so hypothermic I was barely coherent. I had to walk up the cavitation plate on the outboard while grabbing the engine cover and then through the splash well to get back in. I never could have accomplished this maneuver alone,, but did with significant help from the two dive boat tenders that were in charge of surface safety on our crew. This was during summer and I had a set of polypropylene long underwear on under the Poseidon dry suit. I was in my late twenties then, I am not anymore. My point? Practice how you are going to get back in your duckboat with your gear on in warm water to gain familiarity with whatever type of ladder you intend to use and practice, because it will be significantly more difficult to do in cold weather.
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
I've enjoyed the safety discussion. As duck hunters, hunting in sometimes poor conditions, we can never be too safe.
I personally wear a mesh top PFD when running in the dark. I also put it on in very rough conditions on my Bankes 19' Crusader.

And RL makes an excellent point on how one gets back in a duck boat if fallen overboard. Many of the duck boats have those sloped sides. I do slide in my dive ladder on my transom every time I get out. Having helped a neighbor order a Bankes 17' Freedom, I do like how Michael Bankes fits into his design a ladder you can deploy from the water. On my Crusader I keep my ladder on my transom deck. Maybe this summer I'll get in the water to make sure I can reach it from the water.

Steve

Last edited by:

S Lewis: Jan 21, 2022, 1:18 PM
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Last edited by:

RLLigman: Jan 21, 2022, 2:49 PM
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Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Last edited by:

RLLigman: Jan 22, 2022, 4:58 AM
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I wear a Stearns floatation wader jacket and find it quire comfortable and I'm able to shoot without issue.
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I'll make the point that I've made about 100 times before. If you fall into near freezing water with a life jacket and waders (or worse no waders) - you are immediately saturated and the strength is sapped from you as the shock hits you and then hypothermia sets in. A float coat with waders lets you float on top of the water and dramatically cuts down on saturation and gives you the time to rescue yourself. Little good bobbing around with a life jacket on if you are soaked and too cold and weak to rescue yourself.

It is astounding how dry you stay float coat and waders. I have a float coat for everyone in the family when we are out over cold water.

Last edited by:

tod osier: Jan 23, 2022, 8:38 AM
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Re: Life vest recommendations In reply to
Tod~


Concur re waders + float coat. My 5mm neoprene "farmer John's" are good peace of mind - but I'm looking for a new float coat/jacket. Your recommendation?


Also, is a float coat (longer) as handy as a float jacket (shorter)? I'm thinking the coat might be fine when sitting upright on a seat/bucket - but maybe uncomfortable if on my back in a Scooter or Sneakbox?


Finally, I seem to recall seeing you in an olive float coat/jacket? I would prefer that over camo (because of my Old School proclivities/peculiarities).



All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com