Better Rescue PFD for Rafting - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-20-2015   #1
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Better Rescue PFD for Rafting

I raft and IK. I'm due for a new PFD and wanted to see what people think. I want more float than the Green Jacket. I love the storage and the chest throw rope, but just never felt like it floated me high enough. I don't want a high float PFD necessarily, but another pound or two might offset some of the hardware I carry and give the PFD sufficient float for the entire 5 years I'll use it heavily before replacing.

I am not willing to get away from the chest-carry throw bag. I'm like Wyatt Earp with that sucker and I can't change. Does anyone know what PFDs might accommodate this with minimal alteration? Ninja? Maximus?

I also carry 4 locking carabiners, 2 prusiks, and a 12' piece of webbing. I abhor zippers on PFDs but will settle for a zippered compartment or even side-zip if it has everything else. I have no use for a radio pocket.

I'm looking at the Kokatat rescue PFDs, the Stohlquist X-tract (the add-a-buoy feature might be great for high water...), the NRS Zen, and am open to other suggestions.

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Old 10-20-2015   #2
 
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Got the Kokotat Ronin Pro for a lot of the same reasons, mostly the extra float. I wear a waist throw rope so I have not put a rope in the chest but bet it would work. Baer just posted an article and he has a "dinger rope" in his chest pocket on the same vest. Might have to see if my astral throw rope from my greenvest will fit in it. Really like the fit and float of the PFD for me.

The one thing I would say I miss about the astral is the side pockets, they handled the pin kit better than the Ronin does. Do not miss pulling that thing on every time though, like the front entry PFD's.
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Old 10-20-2015   #3
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Why do you say the Ronin has more float than the Greenjacket? Are you basing this on the buoyancy rating? My understanding (from Astral) is that comparing that rating between manufacturers is misleading because it depends on numerous environmental factors that are not controlled for.
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Old 10-20-2015   #4
 
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Yes I was going off the buoyancy rating ~16 astral and ~18 kokatat. I could definitely see their (Astral's) point about it being relative much like boat volume. With the USCG involved I would have thought there was a definitive way to determine or rate the buoyancy. Just looked and Kokatat offers three jackets with different nations certification - US/Canada/EU. Had no idea they did that and leave it to governments to make it subjective.

All that aside, I can say without a doubt that I have more protection and better float than I did in my GreenJacket. Side by side the Ronin looks and feels bigger mostly in the rib cage area, but also because I fit in the Kokatat XXL.
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Old 10-20-2015   #5
 
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Randy, it does my heart good to know that you are preparing for your swim season already. I was also worried that you may not have enough float given the constant submerging your gear takes. In addition to a new PFD, I also recommend floaties, shin gaurds, elbow pads, shoulder pads, a cup, hiring a buddy to run along shore the entire run with a rope, and depends.
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Old 10-20-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Randy, it does my heart good to know that you are preparing for your swim season already. I was also worried that you may not have enough float given the constant submerging your gear takes. In addition to a new PFD, I also recommend floaties, shin gaurds, elbow pads, shoulder pads, a cup, hiring a buddy to run along shore the entire run with a rope, and depends.
I wear the cup, but mostly as protection from unwanted advances by the ladies in my boat. I usually throw the rope from the water to fishermen on shore when I swim. It keeps the payroll down.

It's funny to think that I only needed my current PFD 5 or 6 times in 6 years of regular use. That's $40-50 a swim for the Green Jacket!

I think I'm going to go try on a Ronin Pro. Baer's article is here Where Is Baer ?: Time for a new Personal Flotation Device?! for anyone who is interested - it's full of good advice. You won't catch me wearing one of those silly cowboy helmets though.
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Old 10-20-2015   #7
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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I don't know if this is worth much. I picked up the Zen last year. I love the fit, and it floats me MUCH better than my old Kokotat. I'm a pretty skinny guy so I felt I needed the extra buoyancy. The front pocket is nice and big. So far beer is the only item of significance I have put in the front pocket if that gives you any idea of the size. It is a side entry so it can be a pain to take on and off. Great mobility when swimming.
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Old 10-20-2015   #8
 
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I got a Stohlquist Decent just recently. Its pretty sweet now that its broken in. Normally I love the fit of the astral's but I didn't jive with the fit of the green jacket. Im a skinny guy, the stohlquist should hold me over until astral redesigns their rescue vets. I would recommend trying on as many as you possibly can, and find the one that fits best, like said above.
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