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Discussion Starter #1
Heading to the Grand with a private group in a few weeks and wanted to be sure my girlfriend and I had the safest life jackets for the journey.

Spoke to NRS today and was recommended these possibilities ... NRS Big Water V (25 lbs float), Extrasport UT5 Gorge (25 lbs float) and the Extrasport B22 (25 lbs float) .

She likes the NRS Hustle (16.5 lbs float) and I'd like to go with the NRS Groove (16.5 lbs float) but not sure if it has the float to be safe in the Grand's big water.

One other thing that was thrown into the puzzle was too much float can hold you on top and possibly keep you in the big holes as opposed to getting pushed out underneath.

Just trying to stay safe so any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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How much do you weigh?

Depending on your weight, would help decide. I weigh in at 140 and prefer the smaller pfds for the range of motion and 16lbs of flotation is plenty for me. If you weigh in @ 180 give or take, you might want the bigger pfds.

Also go try them on in your gear and see if they feel too big or not.
 

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hi snowhere
i am around 160 and libby is in the low 100's ... have you heard anything about too much floatation causing problems other than the discomfort of bulk? by the way ... we are planning on running browns this weekend, how's the level?
 

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Fully agree with snowhere on the weight...

The deal is your weight versus the floatation capacity of your PFD. I had to rescue one 220lb guy in a 16lb floatation device and he looked VEERRY unhappy.

When a person with too low of a pfd lbs hits the water, you hardly see them when trying to rescue them. Good luck with the throwbag. They are mostly under water, and only their helmet surfaces past the crest of the wave, so rescue is very hard, never mind the swim for said person. If you like to swim, and swim lots anyway, go for the smaller one, you'll love it.

If you like to be happy and healthy and like to get rescued earlier or self-rescue in your swim, always opt for more floatation than available. You win.

Have noticed on rescues that the eyes get LARGER on a swim the smaller the pfd is, comparatively to the weight of the swimmer. If more than 175, definitively go for the 25lbs, but even at 160, your entire torso will be out of the water with the larger one. No love lost on the larger one, and nowadays they are actually comfortable!

Ask around...

d
 

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Discussion Starter #5
we both very much enjoy the water but at the time we may be in it and considering the size of the water in store for us i like the short swim/quick self rescue (happy and healthy) scenario ... thanks for the info!
 

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Even with what was said above, for Libby I would stick with the 16.5 pfd. I have been in large holes both in my boats and as a swimmer and have had less of a ride because I was flushed out immediately. I guess a lot depends on how comfortable in water you are. I swam and dove competitively for all my life through college, so the water does not scare me.

I still think the best thing Libby can do is try them on and see how it fits. The one thing I have seen repeatedly is those above 150 lbs have no idea how stuff fits and works for those of us on the smaller side. I have taken my 28 gallon squirt boat through class V and no hole would keep me. The creekers were being flipped and retained and I was mystery moving through anything. I am positive that I would be lost in 25 lb pfd and doubt I could even get it tight enough to be safe. But you never know until you try, so don't buy one with out trying it on. The worst thing that would happen is you would find it to big and unsafe and be scrabbling for a replacement.
 

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One other thing that was thrown into the puzzle was too much float can hold you on top and possibly keep you in the big holes as opposed to getting pushed out underneath.

Just trying to stay safe so any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.
There are no holes on the Grand that are going to hold you if you are out of the boat. Maybe the top hole at lava. There may be a few others that I am forgetting, but I would not be concerned about having too much floatation for this reason. Besides, with 7k - 15k of water, if you do swim through a big pourover, my feeling is that 9 or 10 lbs of extra flotation will be like the proverbial drop in a bucket when it comes to getting body recirc'ed. Based on the weight ranges you've listed, I would say 16.5 is fine, and probably more comfortable, especially if you are the one rowing into the wind. As mentioned just try some on and see what feels best.
 

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The Astral V Eight is another choice worth considering. It is considered a breathable PFD, and is specifically build for very hot environments. Safety is a big issue, but comfort and dehydration is too. Astral makes BOMBER jackets (built next door to the Green River, NC), in fact the V Eight works unzipped, with just the waist belt buckled (good for the flats). Another thing that I like about Astral, is that they are contoured for the body (better than other brands) and fit very well. Just an idea.
 

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Lee's orientation

Good fortune prevailed and we were able to draw permits last year and this. Knowing that the ranger at Lee's would go through each of the PFDs - we made sure that we had coast guard approved and writing legible ratings (some well-used PFDs get rejected because the ratings are not legible).

The ranger told us that there was an insignificant difference in type 3 and 5 regarding floating upright and floatation - dismissed the idea that the type 5 had any benefit other than to protect one's ass in bottom bumping in the swim in the Little Colorado. The ranger suggested that there was formal analysis, but we didn't want to stick around Lee's discussing pfds.

Having been involved in swiftwater rescue - there was an old school concept called "drown proofing" - having people swim in the river to get the feel for the water. Honestly, the river is such a force, but having a sense of water, options and a cool head combine for a real advantage. And speaking of a cool head, swim much in the Colorado and your head will certainly be cool.

It is a good idea to have a rescue plan for swimmers, flippers - just in case. It is very helpful to have a communications/protocol plan together prior to someone going for a swim.

Hope this helps.
 

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CGM is right, the holes are not the problem. The problem is the cold water, as it will tax your energy and ability to stay above water incredibly quickly. A high float will help you stay up, and in a breathable zone, much easier and for a longer period.

go with the high float type PFD. But remember, you will be wearing it for 3 weeks, it's got to be comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for the great feedback and info.

Based on research and what was shared above and since we are required to have one spare on board anyway, what the plan will be is have a comfy Type III and a beefy Type III/V.

Might be a bit over the top but in one big swim, it'll be well worth it.

Thanks again for the help!
 

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Swim in it first. The High-Float may keep you higher in the water but for some people that is not necessarily better. As a smaller person (130), I have never been able to comfortably swim in a high-float. So the smaller one may be a better option when it comes to self-rescue.

COUNT
 

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I am headed to the Grand in a week and our group has been debating this question for a while as well.

Most people in our group have opted for the extrasport b27 (the one that looks like a big down vest). It looks big and bulky but is pretty comfy and comes with some sweet retro style points. (at least that's what the GF tells me). the b27 floats ya really high in the water too. Was watching some of my friends keeping thier sholders dry while swimming.

I picked up a B22 for myself and gave it a test swim in some westwater rapids a few weeks ago. I really could feel a big difference compared to my stolquest brick (~16lb float). I found that the B22 was still easy to swim in and i floated a lot higher going through big waves. (easier to breath). Rowing in the B22 seemed fine...the range of motion is pretty nice given the extra bulk is on the chest and the sholder area is cut away.

I think my biggest worry with swimming on the grand is the cold water as well...would rather be floating high with the least amount of effort if i take a long swim. That said...i am still bringing my 16lb pfd on the trip too. Might come in handy for flather days and pfd sumo wrestling matches on the beach etc... always nice to have optoins.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
just checked out the B22 online ... great high floating life jacket

i also like the fact that they have two sizes vs most high float jackets come in one size fits all ... thanks for the suggestion!

Tumbles, if you are so inclined, when you come back from the grand i would welcome a note on your trip and any suggestions for ours. Have an amazing time!
 

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just checked out the B22 online ... great high floating life jacket

i also like the fact that they have two sizes vs most high float jackets come in one size fits all ... thanks for the suggestion!

Tumbles, if you are so inclined, when you come back from the grand i would welcome a note on your trip and any suggestions for ours. Have an amazing time!
yea no problem.

here are the links for the 2 PFD's mentioned above:

B22:
B22 - Extrasport®

B27:
B27 - Extrasport®
 

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Here's a thought. Don't swim.... because if you do you will do some down time no matter how much floation you wear. Just hold your breath when down, breath when there's air, and make sure your PFD fits snug is in good shape and you are wearing it.
yak1
 
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