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Old 09-27-2013   #1
JCKeck1's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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Ronin Pro or Green Vest - best PFD?

Thoughts from people? I've hand an Astral Aquavest for years and paddled a Ronin for the last few weeks. I love Kokatat and figured I'd give it a chance, but I feel like the Ronin is riding up into my arm pits causing chafing. I also miss the pull over. The Ronin zipper keeps working its way down. Some people have said it takes some breaking in. I do appreciate the added floatation of the Ronin.

I'm thinking of bailing and switching to a Green Vest. Thoughts from the peanut gallery?


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Old 09-27-2013   #2
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
If you are already comfortable in an Astral, the greenjacket will make you wery happy... I just got the maximus pro this summer for a high (er) float pfd, after 5 yrs in the greenjacket. i was feeling the lack of floatation to be a bit concerning. the Kokatat doesnt ride up, but i wasnt very comfortable last time i used it. kinda bulky. (got what i asked for I guess. lol) I am thinking of switching back too..
I really miss the greenjacket for a couple reasons. the 3 pockets are awesome, its more low profile and takes less adjustment to get situated since its a pullover. the belay loop, the pockets and the rescue tether location are all unmatched. the knife tab was one thing that was sub par with my older GJ, but that is moved on the new model.

the maximus pfd has some nice points too, like wide shoulder straps, and two piece design that supposedly allows for flexibility. it also has side access buckles so it can be either pullover, or side entry. it took an excess amount of adjusting i felt. kind of overkill for playboating on the Pilar section of the Rio Grande, but good for the numbers...

i guess ideally, i would want both PFDs....greenjacket for most all the time, and kokatat for high water.
definitely used to having just one though

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Old 09-28-2013   #3
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
I am a firm believer in the Green Jacket. The Ronin is a great jacket, but the overlapping front panel felt too bulky for my taste, and I can see the ride up issue you are talking about as well.

The Green Jacket has served me well since it's inception; I have used it a my go to workhorse PFD for commercial raft guiding, kayak instruction and my own recreational class V adventures. The simple pullover design is so much easier than searching for that stupid buckle end... The fit is great, the adjustable torso length in the front panel is much easier and less in the way compared to shoulder straps.

In the new model you can't beat the from pocket for ease of storage, you can carry just about the whole pin kit in that pocket plus knife and camera.

Just my opinion, but thought I'd share
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Old 09-28-2013   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Posts: 4,207
Originally Posted by abron View Post
after 5 yrs in the greenjacket. i was feeling the lack of floatation to be a bit concerning.
I am highly impressed by the floatation I get from my Green Jacket. I used a Stohlquist Brik before hand, and the increased float from my Astral is definitely noticeable.... had it 3 years now and haven't noticed any change yet.

Another vote for the Green Jacket here.
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Old 09-28-2013   #5
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
I just switched from a 300 to a Ronin this season. It seems to be more difficult to adjust than the Astral. I like the vest style vs. pullover but it does take a bit longer. Haven't had the pit chafing. The shop did say that a lot of people end up leaving it zipped and using it as a pullover.

Overall I liked the Astral more but the Green didn't fit me as well as the Ronin.
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Old 09-28-2013   #6
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
I have the Ronin and like its extra flotation...but that was the reason I bought it.
It has some extra bulk but I've not noticed it nor felt any chafing or riding of the vest, but I'm pretty big-chested, so maybe that keeps it down.

I'd buy it again, for sure.
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Old 09-28-2013   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 69
Try the new Maximus by Kokatat. Pull over sweetness like the Astral, more floaty than the Green Vest (imho) and the "suspension" they talk about is like a Black Diamond backpack. Essentially, the should straps move but the bulk of the floatation stays put.
Pretty darn slick.

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Old 09-29-2013   #8
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Stolquist Decent. Im really impressed w all the features of this rescue vest including the burly pads on top of the shoulders for portage cushieness, the available float bag for the front pocket which bolsters the already ample flotation, and a well placed front mesh pocket for pesky loose beers...
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Old 09-29-2013   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I currently have the ronin pro and i like it. Had an astral 300 rescue before that.

Joe if your zipper slides down, you probably aren't tucking the zipper pull into the little bungee loop at the top? This will keep it secure.

Personally i prefer the zipper vs. the pullover. I felt like with the pullover I was always having to adjust the tension on my side straps to get the tight snuggness every time i put on my vest. Would feel too tight dry and loosen up wet. What i like about the zipper is that I dialed in the tightness off all the straps and now i just zip up and thread the safety release and i have the right fit every time without fiddling with adjustment.

The ronin feels like a bigger vest, which you feel is chafing. I noticed more vest up higher too. I like that the ronin vest seems to have more torso coverage on the back especially nearer the shoulders.

I like the ronin pro vest because its solid from a safety perspective and it fits me well. If it doesnt fit you well the green jacket might feel better.
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Old 09-29-2013   #10
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 255
I've had my Ronin Pro for a couple of seasons now. It's a solid piece of gear and has excellent floatation which was very noticeable the first time I swam in the vest. I haven't had the problems you've had and I haven't noticed a change in the way it wears after two years on the water. Unless you can find a way to adjust the rigging to work with your body type and paddling style, it probably won't ever be a vest you like.

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