Mountain Buzz banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a new rescue PFD and there are just way too many choices. My options are the NRS Zen, the Green Jacket, and the Decent. Which one do you guys recommend the most and why?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
I'm a bigger guy, and the Zen did not fit me well. I found it difficult to actively swim in, it rode up and was restrictive when paddling and rowing. For me, the greenjacket is a much better PFD and a better thought out piece of equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Would it work better on a smaller guy?

I'm a bigger guy, and the Zen did not fit me well. I found it difficult to actively swim in, it rode up and was restrictive when paddling and rowing. For me, the greenjacket is a much better PFD and a better thought out piece of equipment.
Im a smaller guy so do you think these problems would still occur?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
899 Posts
In the end it's a personal fit issue. I bought a green jacket but could never get comfortable in it. Also was not really a fan of the recently new hard clamshell. Sold it and bought a Stohlquist Descent which is a much better fit on me (6'1" 205#)

Overall pocket space/storage is less on the Descent. I like the left shoulder knife mount option where you can tuck the knife sheath under the fabric flap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I just replaced an old Astral A300 with a Kokatat Ronin Pro, and I'm really pleased. I like having the floatation down low around my torso, which the Ronin accomplishes while also avoiding the "donut around the middle" feeling I had with my A300. I personally found that the Green Jacket and the Descent (each of which I had the chance to paddle for about a month or two of full-time raft guiding) rode higher than I liked. I did get a chance to try on the Zen recently, although not on the water, and it fit ok. Still, I'm pretty sold on my decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
Im a smaller guy so do you think these problems would still occur?
Not sure...like someone said before, I think it is a function of fit and preference, which is going to be different for each body shape. I sold my Zen, and the guy that bought it really likes it. Try multiple on - last time I checked Alpine Quest had the Green, Zen and another rescue to choose from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
538 Posts
It just so happens that we've written in depth reviews about all three of these PFDs on Blister Gear Review. I hope they help! Let me know if you have any specific questions. Links:

Green Jacket

NRS Zen

Descent
Thanks for the reviews! Def helps with my decision to buy my new rescue vest. I was leaning towards the Greenjacket and your review helped seal the deal compared to the others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Same here

Thanks for the reviews! Def helps with my decision to buy my new rescue vest. I was leaning towards the Greenjacket and your review helped seal the deal compared to the others.
That was the same with me. I was torn between the zen and the green jacket but I have decided to go with the green jacket thanks to these reviews!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
770 Posts
Definitely try before you buy if possible, as noted from others the preference can be very unique for any number of reasons. My son really likes his Green Jacket - fits him well (he's 6' and 120lbs). I didn't care for the fit on the Green, felt like it rode up higher than what I was used to with my Astral 300. I bought a Ronin last summer after trying it on in a shop and after using it for a day disliked it a lot. I bought an NRS Zen without trying it on and disliked it overall once I tried it on and checked it out in person. I tried on a Kokatat Maximus Prime and liked the fit/function. Bought one and used it for the first time this weekend and am really happy with the fit, function, extra float, etc. Finding the "right" rescue PFD is much harder than I ever thought it would be. We're spoiled to have so many good options these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
538 Posts
Definitely try before you buy if possible, as noted from others the preference can be very unique for any number of reasons. My son really likes his Green Jacket - fits him well (he's 6' and 120lbs). I didn't care for the fit on the Green, felt like it rode up higher than what I was used to with my Astral 300. I bought a Ronin last summer after trying it on in a shop and after using it for a day disliked it a lot. I bought an NRS Zen without trying it on and disliked it overall once I tried it on and checked it out in person. I tried on a Kokatat Maximus Prime and liked the fit/function. Bought one and used it for the first time this weekend and am really happy with the fit, function, extra float, etc. Finding the "right" rescue PFD is much harder than I ever thought it would be. We're spoiled to have so many good options these days.
My second choice is the Maximus Prime. I am 5'-9", 192lbs and have a Astral YTV in Large/XL. What do you like/dislike about Max Prime? Size?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Fatman, have you found that the Maximus rides lower than the Green, more like the A300? I didn't have the opportunity to try it out before I got the Ronin, and I'm curious about the difference in fit between the Green, Ronin, and Maximus.
Thanks,
-Daniel

Definitely try before you buy if possible, as noted from others the preference can be very unique for any number of reasons. My son really likes his Green Jacket - fits him well (he's 6' and 120lbs). I didn't care for the fit on the Green, felt like it rode up higher than what I was used to with my Astral 300. I bought a Ronin last summer after trying it on in a shop and after using it for a day disliked it a lot. I bought an NRS Zen without trying it on and disliked it overall once I tried it on and checked it out in person. I tried on a Kokatat Maximus Prime and liked the fit/function. Bought one and used it for the first time this weekend and am really happy with the fit, function, extra float, etc. Finding the "right" rescue PFD is much harder than I ever thought it would be. We're spoiled to have so many good options these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,730 Posts
I have a Zen and I destroyed it to get the perfect fitting PFD for me. I did a little surgery. I made an incision through the first two layers and pulled out the floatation foam in the front. I then cut 1/3 of the foam out so the foam is a bit thinner. then put it back and patched it up. The pfd now fits me like a dream and still floats me nice and high. It's less bulky and wraps around my body much better. Its not like I'm saying cut up your pfd but if you just need a small tweak and skills to do so??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
770 Posts
Maximus Likes:
- Padded continuous shoulder straps
- Adjustments for shoulder straps are NOT on the shoulders (Zen, Ronin)
- Kokatat comes in XL/XXL, chest size 49-55 (NRS/Green fit to 51")
- 18 lbs of float - big difference vs. my old 300, 1lb12oz more than GJ (for the size XL/XXL)
- I can wear it low like my Astral 300 and still cinch it up tight on the sides and below my gut
- I like the shoulder adjustments better than my 300 - cinches down the front not sides. I can cinch the shoulders after I snug it on the sides and below my gut - real nice difference to keep it low.
- has an extra side adjustment vs the 300 - so I can really cinch up tight on the sides without pulling it up at the same time
- doesn't feel as bulky/donut like around my gut
- shoulder/arm sections are cut out nicely - similar to Ronin/A300
- can use as side entry (buckles, no zipper) or pull-over
- more back protection than the 300 lowrider, more float up the center front
- knife lash tab on upper right with fabric to cover it up - keep it from getting caught on raft frames and more

The jacket felt real big at first - definitely more float higher up the front and back 300 - though I quickly got used to it and liked that I could cinch it down snug against my large frame (6'3" - 250+ lbs) without making it ride up higher. I was also worried about swimming in it since it felt bulkier - tested that out with a few cliff jumps (only 15 feet into current)- and I really liked the way it stayed put (no ride up) and it certainly didn't get in the way or feel bulky. One jump I helped tow my 6 year old to the side thru the eddy line and the PFD never felt like it was in the way or riding up. Even the 300 would ride up at times no matter how tight I cinched it at the waist.

Disclaimer: No affiliation with Kokatat, as mentioned in a previous post I disliked the Ronin PFD (shoulder straps) immensely. I'm a recreational kayaker/rafter who mainly runs class III, with some IV mixed in now and again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
538 Posts
Maximus Likes:
- Padded continuous shoulder straps
- Adjustments for shoulder straps are NOT on the shoulders (Zen, Ronin)
- Kokatat comes in XL/XXL, chest size 49-55 (NRS/Green fit to 51")
- 18 lbs of float - big difference vs. my old 300, 1lb12oz more than GJ (for the size XL/XXL)
- I can wear it low like my Astral 300 and still cinch it up tight on the sides and below my gut
- I like the shoulder adjustments better than my 300 - cinches down the front not sides. I can cinch the shoulders after I snug it on the sides and below my gut - real nice difference to keep it low.
- has an extra side adjustment vs the 300 - so I can really cinch up tight on the sides without pulling it up at the same time
- doesn't feel as bulky/donut like around my gut
- shoulder/arm sections are cut out nicely - similar to Ronin/A300
- can use as side entry (buckles, no zipper) or pull-over
- more back protection than the 300 lowrider, more float up the center front
- knife lash tab on upper right with fabric to cover it up - keep it from getting caught on raft frames and more

The jacket felt real big at first - definitely more float higher up the front and back 300 - though I quickly got used to it and liked that I could cinch it down snug against my large frame (6'3" - 250+ lbs) without making it ride up higher. I was also worried about swimming in it since it felt bulkier - tested that out with a few cliff jumps (only 15 feet into current)- and I really liked the way it stayed put (no ride up) and it certainly didn't get in the way or feel bulky. One jump I helped tow my 6 year old to the side thru the eddy line and the PFD never felt like it was in the way or riding up. Even the 300 would ride up at times no matter how tight I cinched it at the waist.

Disclaimer: No affiliation with Kokatat, as mentioned in a previous post I disliked the Ronin PFD (shoulder straps) immensely. I'm a recreational kayaker/rafter who mainly runs class III, with some IV mixed in now and again.
How are the pockets compared to GJ? I have tried one on once, and it was too small so did not really put too much focus on the Kokatat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
I have a Zen and I destroyed it to get the perfect fitting PFD for me. I did a little surgery. I made an incision through the first two layers and pulled out the floatation foam in the front. I then cut 1/3 of the foam out so the foam is a bit thinner. then put it back and patched it up. The pfd now fits me like a dream and still floats me nice and high. It's less bulky and wraps around my body much better. Its not like I'm saying cut up your pfd but if you just need a small tweak and skills to do so??
Unfortunately your PFD is no longer UL listed. It would also be rejected by Rangers where there is a PFD inspection at the put-in. YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,730 Posts
Unfortunately your PFD is no longer UL listed. It would also be rejected by Rangers where there is a PFD inspection at the put-in. YMMV.

Bahaha. I bet they couldn't even tell. If I handed you mine and a new Zen, I'd have to point out what I did. And then you'd think it was factory. Its not rocket science and all one needs is a sewing machine and little skill. I'm 100% confident that it would pass a PFD inspection.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top