I would suggest at least trying it on before buying. I just bought an Astral 300 safety vest with all the options and do not like it. It rides like a big fanny pack and after any time on the water it rides up to a very akward position. I bought the vest online and sold my other one so I am stuck with a ~$180 dollar vest that is a joke. I like the all the other options like the pockets and the hand warmer but I would not recomend this vest. Just one opinion.
I totally disagree on the Astral rescue vest. I paddled one about 50 days this summer and I thought it rocked. It is hard to take on and off and the straps can be long, but once it's on it's there. It is impossible to pull on the shoulder straps and take it off. I run mostly creeks and class Vish stuff, so I think it's probably overkill for your average weekend warrior, but it's the best rescue vest I've paddled in. The low cut allows for great freedom of movement and it covers most of your spine in the back. Plus the knife widget is in a good place unlike several other rescue vests. If you're running class III or playboating, buy a vest with a mid-line zipper for easy on/off and comfort. If you need a rescue vest, the Astral is da shitznet.
P.S. $130 is a great deal and if I didn't have one already I'd be all over it.
P.P.S. I hope you're reading this Tiller! See ya on the Rocky Broad next fall.
Weekend warrior?! Ouch! Class III Playboater?! That was just cold. I would take that personally if I knew you.
I have only used it about five times on Westy in November so I do have limited time with it. I bought it from CKS and they said they were redesigning it for next year and these models would no longer be used.
Mattyb, how do you use that rapidair? Do you have to let go of the paddle to grab the mouth piece? How often do you use the air? I think I would find it distracting.
PS- There is a shit load of snow down here and more on the way, the boating will be epic!
PPS- I saw the Salt went over 11,000 cfs and is still raging, is anyone going or has been down there? Tonto Creek is running too.
It is not remotely distracting. It doesn't stick up in front of your face or anything. The mouthpiece extends to a little below your shoulder. It is designed to be used without the use of your hands with pin situations in mind, so yes hold onto whatever you want while you are using it. The mouthpiece is not like a scuba mouthpiece. It is circular and easy in and out of your mouth.
The following are Frequently Asked Questions, offering information about Rapid Air
How much does it cost?
You can see close-ups of the different vests and their pricing on our products page.
Where can I buy one?
If you are scuba certified, Rapid Air can be purchased through our online store. Rapid Air is also available at select dealers throughout the United States and Canada.
Do I need to be SCUBA certified?
No. This particular point seems confusing to some customers who have visited the site and in our effort to be extremely clear, SCUBA certification is NOT required buy, own or operate Rapid Air. We do however, strongly recommend previous experience or proper training to learn how to use it safely and suggest this with the best interest of our customers in mind.
Click Here to Find out Why previous experience with breathing air underwater is helpful in using Rapid Air.
How many breaths will I get from it?
Our field test results show you can expect to get 15 to 20 breaths from one tank. Everyone's lung capacity is different and there will be a varied range depending on how calm your breathing is (record so far is in excess of 10 minutes).
How long will one tank of air last?
This depends on how long you can hold a single breath and how efficiently your body uses that breath of air. For example, if you are comfortable holding your breath underwater for 30 seconds each breath, and you can get 15 breaths from a full tank, that would equate to approximately 7 1/2 minutes under water. With practice, you may be able to extend that time even more.
Will it interfere with my body movement?
Rapid Air will not interfere with movement any more than the PFD it is integrated with. Rapid Air has been designed from the beginning to be comfortable enough to wear on all river trips.
Who makes it?
Rapid AIr was created, designed, and tested by paddlers like you, proudly made in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. For more background on Rapid AIr and our Team, click here.
Is it reuseable/refillable?
Rapid Air is reuseable, and with the proper care will be ready when you need it. Rapid Air will refill from a scuba tank. If you are scuba certified you can find refill accessories on our products page.
Where can I have Rapid Air refilled?
Many of the shops that sell Rapid Air will be equipped to refill your unit. We are working with scuba shops, local fire stations and air/gas suppliers to complete a network of Fill Locations near you.
How much pressure does it hold?
Rapid Air is designed to operate with 3000 psi of air.
Can it be overfilled or will it explode?
The main body of Rapid Air is machined from solid aluminum and has been laboratory tested in excess of 10,000 psi. This is more than three times the recommended fill pressure. This margin of safety is higher than that of standard high-pressure cylinders. Other additional safety features incorporated in the design are a burst disk and internal o-ring seals that will release air if the internal pressure should go above 3000 psi.
Can I travel with it?
Yes you can. The Department of Transportation (DOT) indicates no concern because of Rapid Air's compact size. The capacity of the air tank allows it to fall into a category similar to that of an aerosol can. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicates no concerns regarding restrictions on air travel with Rapid Air. Individual airlines may require Rapid Air to be checked in luggage or may have other special requirements. Any new information we have about restrictions will be posted on our website.
How much does it weigh?
Raid Air weighs approximately 2 pounds. However, the unit does not add any noticeable weight to your PFD and will not affect its buoyancy.
Will Rapid Air make me a better boater?
As with any safety product, Rapid Air does not make up for skill. Rapid Air's purpose is to extend the rescue opportunity window. Rapid Air is NOT intended to help paddlers get in over their heads. Never attempt to run whitewater that you feel is beyond your abilities.
Will Rapid Air make up for a bomber roll?
As mentioned above: Rapid Air is not intended to make up for experience and ability. Nothing can take the place of a "bomber" roll. However, Rapid Air can be used in the proper environment to aid in teaching or practicing a roll.
Will I have to practice using Rapid Air?
Yes. While Rapid Air is very easy to use, like any other piece of safety equipment, you should practice using it in a safe environment it before having to use it on the river. Practice will help with finding the mouthpiece underwater. Practice can also help keep you calm during a real rescue situation--which can extend the amount of time that you could remain underwater.
How is it attached to the PFD?
Rapid Air is incorporated into the front pocket of a Rapid Air Ready PFD or retrofitted to your favorite PFD. With its form fitting design, Rapid Air becomes an integral part of the vest.
How do I activate it?
Rapid Air is Air on Demand. The mouthpiece, once adjsuted to your desired length, will be within reach of your mouth when your head is tucked to your chest. You simply insert the mouthpiece into your mouth and then inhale. It's as simple as that. Rapid Air is designed to be hands free. In practice, people may at first tend to find and insert the mouthpiece with their free hand. Rapid Air is designed to allow the mouthpiece to be within easy reach while in the setup position for the roll. With practice, locating the mouthpiece and breathing become more familiar. Rapid Air is highly compressed air in a streamlined, bombproof package, ready for use whenever you might need it.
Is Rapid Air a re-breather?
No, Rapid Air is not a re-breather, which is a more complex device. We at Rapid Air feel that a simple compressed air device is less likely to have failure in a critically dependable situation. Although the unit is refillable between uses, Rapid Air has a fixed amount of breaths available per fill. You breathe normal, dry air; no special air mixes to complicate what might go wrong. Simple, compressed air to breathe.
I have no experience with the other Astral vest, but I wouldn't trade my Aquavest 200 for anything. I use it for both whitewater and touring, and have zero complaints. the excess strap is not a problem, you simply tuck it into the front hand warmer behind the pocket. The pocket is just the right size for your essential, or you can buy a water bladder that fits in it. It's a well thought out PFD, and can usually be had for around $100 if you shop.
A forum community dedicated to whitewater kayaking, boating, and rafting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about safety, routes, gear, models, styles, gear swaps, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!