Hi float vest for big guys? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-18-2013   #1
 
Whoapiglet's Avatar
 
Denver, Colorado
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Hi float vest for big guys?

Had a bit of a scary swim on memorial day. It was an easy run on the moab daily (Done it tons of times in my own boats), in a rented 10.5 oar boat, way overloaded and out of balance (three adults, two labs, one fully stocked cooler) the last passenger and dog were a last minute addition...

I ran the same line in whites that I always do, but being so ass heavy in a short boat, and sitting on a tall cooler, I got bucked off the boat when we hit the wave.

anyway, not a big, deal, people swim there all the time. I ended up getting sucked under into the dark water for about 12 seconds from watching the video, and didn't much like the feeling of that.

Here's the question: I am thinking about getting a hi float vest for big water (regardless of class, since I wouldn't have thought I would have swum in class 3 whites rapid) but, I am a strapping 265# (enough muscle not to float well)--- should I be using a hi float for everything? would the bigger vest have made the 12 second dunk more like 6 seconds?

Trying to understand the pros and cons.

I was using my stolquist 16# vest thats about 5 years old.

thx

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Old 06-18-2013   #2
 
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Fort Collins, Colorado
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Several Opinions on this

Piglet - This has been discussed in old threads and no consensus is ever reached. So I will put my opinion out there...again.

The reason we wear them in the first place is floatation, and it sounds like you need more.

Two drawbacks are brought up by those that don't like high floatation vests. They are not as comfortable, especially for kayakers, and they could possibly cause a "keeper" hole to keep you for a longer time. Those are legit arguments but I still think the advantages win.

Coast Guard regulations require 15.5 pounds of floatation for a class III pdf. I don't think it is coincidence that many are 16 pounds. As small as possible. Doesn't make sense in whitewater.

Simply put, a 16 pound pfd is a joke for someone of your size.

I will keep wearing my 22 pound vest. I love popping up quickly.
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Old 06-18-2013   #3
 
Duluth, Minnesota
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I'll second that. It doesn't make much sense to me that the guys on the Congo expedition all wore greenjackets and then had to rig extra inflatable jackets into their system. There's a reason that a lot of the old timers (as per Blackadar in Never Turn Back) wore 35+ pound vests when running big water.
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Old 06-18-2013   #4
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Video? I wanna see!

I too had a bad swim and don't go on the river with out a 26lbs pfd now. Have the same for the wife as well. Mine is quite comfortable and I have been wearing it for a few years.

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Old 06-18-2013   #5
 
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Denver, Colorado
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THanks Bruce,

Read some of the older threads but as you said, hard to get anything concrete. I am finding myself on your side of the argument, and can't see why a 260# dude would wear the same floatation as my 140# wife.

NRS seems to have a reasonable 25# floater. probably my next purchase.

Look forward to more comments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post
Piglet - This has been discussed in old threads and no consensus is ever reached. So I will put my opinion out there...again.

The reason we wear them in the first place is floatation, and it sounds like you need more.

Two drawbacks are brought up by those that don't like high floatation vests. They are not as comfortable, especially for kayakers, and they could possibly cause a "keeper" hole to keep you for a longer time. Those are legit arguments but I still think the advantages win.

Coast Guard regulations require 15.5 pounds of floatation for a class III pdf. I don't think it is coincidence that many are 16 pounds. As small as possible. Doesn't make sense in whitewater.

Simply put, a 16 pound pfd is a joke for someone of your size.

I will keep wearing my 22 pound vest. I love popping up quickly.
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Old 06-18-2013   #6
 
Riverton, Utah
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I am using a new MTI Class V, I think its called the Canyon. I'm 260lbs butt naked. It's 23lbs of float and over Memorial Day when I went over and swam in Westwater it worked very well. I thought I was under for like 6 minutes but it ended up being only 6 seconds and that's because I had to work my way out from under the raft.

DanCan
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Old 06-18-2013   #7
 
Boise, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoapiglet View Post
Had a bit of a scary swim on memorial day. It was an easy run on the moab daily (Done it tons of times in my own boats), in a rented 10.5 oar boat, way overloaded and out of balance (three adults, two labs, one fully stocked cooler) the last passenger and dog were a last minute addition...

I ran the same line in whites that I always do, but being so ass heavy in a short boat, and sitting on a tall cooler, I got bucked off the boat when we hit the wave.

anyway, not a big, deal, people swim there all the time. I ended up getting sucked under into the dark water for about 12 seconds from watching the video, and didn't much like the feeling of that.

Here's the question: I am thinking about getting a hi float vest for big water (regardless of class, since I wouldn't have thought I would have swum in class 3 whites rapid) but, I am a strapping 265# (enough muscle not to float well)--- should I be using a hi float for everything? would the bigger vest have made the 12 second dunk more like 6 seconds?

Trying to understand the pros and cons.

I was using my stolquist 16# vest thats about 5 years old.

thx


I am very fond of my NRS Big Water Guide PFD. It is just a comfortable (for rafting) as the "lighter" vest I had, and has 22 lbs. of floatation. I am also right at 260 lbs.
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Old 06-18-2013   #8
 
Groveland, California
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After spending a LONG time under during a swim, I went a little over the top and bought a XL Force 6 rescue vest....30 lbs. floatation. I love this thing, the foam is so soft and the fabric is awesome. I haven't tested it with another similar swim yet, but I'm pretty confident I will be spending less time under next time around.
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Old 06-18-2013   #9
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoapiglet View Post
Read some of the older threads but as you said, hard to get anything concrete. I am finding myself on your side of the argument, and can't see why a 260# dude would wear the same floatation as my 140# wife.
BMI and body fat % play a larger part in it than total weight.

Do you float in calm water without a PFD? Most people are neutrally buoyant (or close).

PFD is there to make your body more positively buoyant.
Whitewater is less dense than flat water (duh). The type of water you run or could likely swim in should make more of a difference to PFD type than your body weight.

Pool-drop that quickly gets green will let you up sooner than staircase stuff that never turns green. You have to outfloat a lot of bubbles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPMG View Post
After spending a LONG time under during a swim, I went a little over the top and bought a XL Force 6 rescue vest....30 lbs. floatation. I love this thing, the foam is so soft and the fabric is awesome. I haven't tested it with another similar swim yet, but I'm pretty confident I will be spending less time under next time around.
Makes me wonder why we don't consider a 16# foam PFD with an additional CO2 inflatable cartridge. If you hit a green room or go into a hole, yank the cord and float high and fast...like pulling the ripcord on an avalanche airbag.
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Old 06-18-2013   #10
 
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My buddy has the video- doesn't show much, because the camera went in his pocket when I went over and they were scrambling to row the boat. what we do have is about 12 seconds of sheer terror in my wifes voice until I resurfaced. The swim I can handle, never want to hear that fear in her voice again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazak4x4 View Post
Video? I wanna see!

I too had a bad swim and don't go on the river with out a 26lbs pfd now. Have the same for the wife as well. Mine is quite comfortable and I have been wearing it for a few years.

MTI Big Buoy PFD - Free Shipping at REI.com
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