Inflatable pfd

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by Uncle Sam, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Member

    Messages:
    34
    State:
    Louisiana
    Hello to all. Does anyone use the inflatable pfds? I've seen them in the catalogs, but don't know anybody who has one. I'd like to know if they are comfortable. Another concern I have is how big are they. I'm 6' 2" and weigh around 275. Fairly large belly, about a size 48 coat. I'm 55 and too old and fat to swim out of the river in winter with coveralls on. I like the idea of the inflatable but wonder if they are sized large enough. The regular stearns vest I have is supposed to adjust up to 4XL, but it is not very big. I wear 2XL carhart work coat and it fits fine. I'm looking for something comfortable enough to wear all the time and not too hot in summer. Any info appreciated. Sam
     
  2. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    most of the ones I see go up to 52" chest and vary in the comfort levels and bouyancy. I am going to go buy a couple tomorrow, because I think I would wear one that isnt so bulky, seems that most of the inflatable ones are very small and comfortable.
     

  3. crusinman2002

    crusinman2002 New Member

    Messages:
    374
    State:
    Mukwonago, Wisconsin
    don't know too much bout the sizes, but i'm sure that if you contacted one of the companies that make them they would be able to tell you for sure... as for comfort, they look mighty comfortable, as most that i have seen are more like a light vest while its dry and are small and light.
     
  4. Mark R.

    Mark R. New Member

    Messages:
    186
    State:
    Rush Springs, OK
    Sam,
    I'm in the same boat as you size wise.
    My .02 cents worth - I wear 2XL also. I shopped around and tried on may PFD's but didn't like the fit and how they felt on the back of my neck. Found that a Sospenders Model 38A LNG fit me good hands down over the others and although I have only wore it twice, I forgot that I had it on.
    I believe I paid around $140, it is automatic and came with 2 cartridges.
    Mark
     
  5. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Be sure to try on any inflatable PFD before you buy it -- they vary widely in comfort and wearability. The cheapest ones are (not suprisingly) the least comfortable.

    For a fellow your size, I would buy one with 35 lbs of bouyancy.

    Checked on a few brands and they seem to fit up to 52" chest for the most part.

    I bought one last fall at Boaters' World for around $130 or so, auto-inflating, Mustang brand. I wear it all the time on the water now.
     
  6. RivrLivn

    RivrLivn Member

    Messages:
    194
    State:
    Missouri
    Read a story from out west where a "big" guy had on an inflatable PFD and when inflated was too tight around his neck and he suffocated before they could get him out of the water.

    Don't get me wrong I think wearing a PFD is one of the smartest things you can do and since the inflatable are so comfortable maybe people will be prone to leave them on.

    I don't know if they would let you inflate it before you bought it to see what it felt like.
     
  7. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    I've had one of these for over 3 years. I fish mostly alone and didn't like wearing a regular life jacket. Wife was concerned about a heart attack, wanted me to get an auto. I don't mind wearing it, in fact sometimes forget to take it off and wear it to the house. It's suppose to fit all sizes, I weigh about 175.
     
  8. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    I've got the Cabelas "Guardian 3500 Manual Inflatable PFD", which cost $90. The Auto version is only $10 more. It's comfy, and way less restrictive than a regular foam vest. I figure I'm a lot safer with something I can wear all of the time, vs having a regular vest sitting next to me.. or more likely knocked onto the floor of the boat. I'm 6' 235lbs (but working on it!), and sizing is not a problem with the Cabelas.

    They cost about $20 to rearm, so I doubt you will find a store that will let you test the inflation.
     
  9. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    I was looking into one of the guardian models from cabelas for me on my canoe. but she was looking at price tags and I ended up with the big bulky orange foam thing. after tipping my canoe the other week. Im deffinately going with an inflatable. the orange junk pfd even though it said universal adult, felt like it has a kids size hole for the neck. Its annoying and bulky. Im 5'10 and around 275. I want the guardian with the 35 lbs of inflation.
     
  10. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Sam I'm bigger than you described yourself and weigh more. You are taller. I have used the auto pfd since they came on the market. Believe me they will work for you. Like Dayton said . You sometimes forget that you have one on.I don't have mine inside or I would give you the model #s.I gave 139.00 for mine.:lol: :big_smile:
     
  11. Indigo Flats

    Indigo Flats New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Lancaster,
    I recently bought 4 from Cabela's for my boat. I got two regular size (30'-52") and two big ones (40"-60"). They are only $12.95. I considered the inflatable ones but was not willing to pay the price. I wear mine in the cold months but don't in the summer unless the water is rough. I think any style will add to the heat in the summer. The one and only advantage I have found to being fat is that it's much easier to float!!
     
  12. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Member

    Messages:
    34
    State:
    Louisiana
    Thanks to all of you guys for the replies. I guess the best thing I can do is go to bass pro or cabela's and start trying them on. I have some cabela bucks I'd like to use, but more interested in something that fits good. I've decided I've been very lucky for a lot of years and never had to swim out of the river. Don't want to try it now without a little help. I guess its like a seat belt - Just need to get in the habit. Thanks again to all. This is a great site. I've been reading for a couple of years but never posted. Maybe I'll be able to look at the pictures now. Sam
     
  13. Mark R.

    Mark R. New Member

    Messages:
    186
    State:
    Rush Springs, OK
    I believe the one in olefin's post is the one I have, the numbers I put on a earlier post come off the vest itself.
    It is the only one in the <$150 price range that felt good.
    The others cut on my neck.
    Mark
     
  14. Lngbo

    Lngbo New Member

    Messages:
    622
    State:
    Marion Ark
    I was at Bass Pro today and Stearns ws there while I was looking to buy a mesh type. We got to talking and I now have the 149.00 model that ended up costing bout 80. It is comfortable and is the auto inflate version. I am 6'2" and the rep said that it is not a problem, this thing will float you. Catch is you have to wear it, ikt is not like the ones you can lay beside you. The Type V's you have to have on all the time or it does not count as a pfd.
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    That's a good point, and worth repeating:

    With an inflatable PFD, if you're not wearing it, it doesn't count as a life jacket per Coast Guard regulations.

    So if you're *not* going to wear it all the time, make sure you've got enough "conventional" PFDs in the boat to cover you in case the water patrol stops for an inspection...

    I'd also recommend carrying a spare re-arming kit with you in the boat, just in case the silly thing goes off prematurely while you're out on the water.
     
  16. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    If you are concerned about the size and if it is adequate you may want to test it in a swimming pool or shallow water to be sure. If you really need it and it doesn't work or chokes you it is too late to correct it.
     
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Got a flyer in the mail from Cabela's today - the Kansas City store has the Guardian 3500 auto/manual inflatable PFD on sale for $99, regularly $149. Sale runs May 3-13. Looks like it's been redesigned to be more comfortable -- I may see about buying another one for my boat.

    Don't know if the sale applies at other stores or through the web but wouldn't hurt to check if you're interested in one.
     
  18. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I weigh about 250#, and my Sospenders are so comfortable I forget I have them on. Sometimes I'll be back in camp before I remember to take them off. I recommend them very highly because you can put them on before you get in the boat and leave them on till you get out of the boat without being uncomfortable---so it's much safer. The only time I've heard about the automatic ones accidentally inflating was when someone left the PFD laying in the bottom of the boat, water collected in the bottom, and the PFD inflated, just like it's supposed to do when it's in the water.
     
  19. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    I wore my Cabelas Guardian for 16 hours straight on an overnight fishing trip this weekend. They are comfortable to the point you forget you have them on. I'm definitely sold on using an inflatable pfd.
     
  20. Indigo Flats

    Indigo Flats New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Lancaster,
    The sale is also on the web.