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Old 09-15-2009   #11
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
I guess the bottom line is try the different ones on and see what works for you. I have the l/xl version of the green jacket and am a neither fat nor skinny 6'2". I thought the 300r astral was a huge pain in the ass to get on and off, but with the green jacket I simply loosen all the cam buckles, slip it on, and cinch them down. For me this is easier than any other vest I have used, and I don't mind the fact that there are three straps to tighten per side. By the way, I think where the vest sits on my torso is great and I have a longer upper body than inseam. I never use the side pockets so they don't bug me. YMMV. For me a huge feature of the vest was that it has the longest swath of padding along the spine, except for maybe the kokatat ronin (or an hf serpent or stohluist lucero, neither of which are easy to find). I'm not affiliated with astral, but think the green jacket is a winnah.

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Old 09-15-2009   #12
nmalozzi's Avatar
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 330
Originally Posted by ACC View Post
I've got a large lotus designs rescue vest in electric blue that is in great shape that I would sell. $100?
What size, and do you have any pics? I'm in the market for a vest as well.

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Old 09-15-2009   #13
Denver / Coloma / Monterey, CO / CA
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 119
A couple of thoughts. I've owned two Stohlquist Extracts and the Astral 300R. I have tried on the Green Jacket but never paddled in it. I had an Extract for three years, went to the 300R for a year and have been back in an Extract for the last two years. Here's why:

The Extract is easier to get on/off.
The 300R was more comfy but the Extract is comfy enough.
The 300R did not float me nearly as well as my Extract. Not good!
The 300R is pretty bulky up front. In fact it has a pocket designed to carry a throw bag or other large items up there (so does the Green Jacket). The Extract pocket is admittedly stingy but I like that.

Why is the last point important to me? I live in the Pacific NW (although I'm moving to CO soon - can't wait to boat there!). The are lots of logs in the creeks up here. If swimming and confronted with an unavoidable log, often the best defense can be to swim aggresively toward the log and try to launch/slide over it. All that bulk in the 300R could potentially get in the way of this, especially if the pocket is loaded up. It looks like the Green Jacket may have the same issue but I'm not sure.

My suggestion would be to borrow/demo all of the jackets you are thinking about, take them to a pool or lake and rate the following:
1. Fit: You will only like it if it's comfortable for your body type.
2. Float: I don't like being hole bait but I want my face (nose/mouth) above the water line.
3. Agility: Can you swim aggresively in the jacket? All of them will hinder you somewhat but which one allows you to swim easily?

There are quite a few options out there including some new ones by Euro manufacturers, in addition to the Stohlquist and Astral offerings. Good luck and I hope you never have to actually test the vest in the real world!
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Old 09-16-2009   #14
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 72
Check out the Extrasport Pro Creeker.
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Old 09-17-2009   #15
nmalozzi's Avatar
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 330
Originally Posted by jmalefyt View Post
Check out the Extrasport Pro Creeker.
Do you have one? Care to give us a little bit of a review on these? I mainly ask because they are on sale right now at .
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Old 09-17-2009   #16
Boozebay Harbor, Maine
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by tallboy View Post
If you have any length in your torso the green won't fit. for some reason they made the height static so it doesn't fit tall guys. The extrasport and kokatat are also good options
I'm 6'4" and skinny, and I'm wearing a M/L at the top of the height range, but it works fine.
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Old 09-17-2009   #17
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Professional Transient, See above.
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
I have the Stohlquist and it works okay. If you put anything in the pockets, make sure it isn't a tight fit or pad it b/c when it brushes up against stuff the pocket material tears quite easily.

I like the HF Serpent, though it's hard to find here. I don't recall if the HF is U.S Coast guard approved.
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Old 09-17-2009   #18
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
I have the Pro Creeker but my review probably won't be worth a damn because it's the only rescue vest I've ever had, so no comparison with the others. In the past I've always worn Hi-Floats and other fossils.

The Pro is pretty comfy though I miss padding on the shoulders when carrying my boat. It floats me nice and high and dry. It has a special cinching system that snugs the shoulder straps up nicely. The front pocket is OK for a few items, nice low profile, but you won't be putting a throwbag in it. It's not light-weight but I doubt that many rescue vests are. All in all I'm pretty happy with it.
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Old 09-17-2009   #19
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,407
There's a new Stohlquist rescue vest on the market. It might be the answer. I saw it in a catalogue and it's sweet. I'm gonna git one pronto. Jamie at Poudre River Kayak and Canoe knows what's up. Go up there and check out the catalogue. Also scrape down bridges at 90 cfs. It's sweet.
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Old 09-17-2009   #20
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,407
P.S. Stohlquist is a Colorado company. Support your local economy and your life will be better. Or you could send your money out east....

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