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Old 11-19-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
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Best (or favorite) Inflatable PFD

Bess and I want to get inflatable PFD's this year. She tells me Mustang is the best. What do we need to know about them to make a good decision? We will be 99% AICW cruising with MAYBE an offshore trip or two. I am 6.0' 225# and she is 5.0' at barely over 100#.

Advice?

Tom & Bess
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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We have the Mustangs auto inflators that trigger when they are submerged. They are comfortable and lightweight.

These get my vote.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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What model?
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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What model?
They are the hydrostatic ones. Cannot remember the model number. Defender carries them.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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Offshore vests have a harness with lifting points built in, coastal are less expensive and don't have the harness. I use coastal Mustang's, the slightly more expensive ones with a five year cartridge life on the hydrostatic inflator. They are the bargain over the two year cartridge models over five years, and since we wear them and avoid actually using them, they will last well beyond 5 years :-) Very comfortable, perfect for kayaking, so comfortable people forget to take them off when they get to shore. Fun to point out to them while halfway up the hillside on a hike.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:11 PM   #6
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My bad! I have the Offshore model without the harness, just took a look. The West Marine by Mustang. The collar is soft so it doesn't chafe you when you paddle.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
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I got Mustangs with harness rings last year from Defender.....the rings are really bulky and heavy...my girlfriend hate's 'em but does wear the vest all the time...they were on sale for something like $79 but are the bobbin type.

I think Defender just announced a Christmas sale with some on sale...also check their clearance bin....
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.B View Post
Bess and I want to get inflatable PFD's this year. She tells me Mustang is the best. What do we need to know about them to make a good decision? We will be 99% AICW cruising with MAYBE an offshore trip or two. I am 6.0' 225# and she is 5.0' at barely over 100#.

Advice?

Tom & Bess
Yes. Always check with the wife before posting her height and weight on an online forum. Geez would I be in trouble!!!
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:10 PM   #9
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I will vote for Mustang as well. When only the best will do.You are to important to be cheap.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:48 PM   #10
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Yes. Always check with the wife before posting her height and weight on an online forum. Geez would I be in trouble!!!

HA! I DO hate it when he tells people how short I am! (just kidding!!)
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:31 PM   #11
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My wife fell in love with a purple one at West Marine last year and wears it all the time. I think I'll buy one this year in a different color. House brand, auto inflation I believe and about $80 IIRC. Cheap insurance.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:18 PM   #12
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Mustang here too. I chose the "The award-winning MD3183 Deluxe Inflatable PFD with HIT (Hydrostatic Inflator Technology) is Mustang Survival's top-of-the-line inflatable PFD."

Very comfortable to wear and 5-year warranty/maintenance cycle. MD3183 w/o harness, MD3184 w/ harness.

They are a little pricey, but IMHO, worth every bit of what they cost in peace of mind.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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Do you all think these are appropriate for activities like sunfish sailing, kayaking and SUP boarding too??
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:35 AM   #14
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Do you all think these are appropriate for activities like sunfish sailing, kayaking and SUP boarding too??
Maybe kayaking with "low expectations of a turnover"...but the others suggest getting wet and rearming them would be costly and a PIA.

Omega type IIIs used to be very light and comfortable due to the design and comfy enough for sunfish/boarding...see if you can find a type III that you like.

But it's your time, money and comfort......
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:45 AM   #15
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Best PFD

Got my girlfriend the purple one from West Marine. You can disable to auto inflate to make them suitable for kayak and/or swimming and then just manually inflate if needed. Very comfortable and she liked the color. We both wear PFD all the time when out.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:50 AM   #16
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Is it bad to regularly get them wet (most especially in the dirty water of the Neuse River and Trent River basins) without inflating them? In other words, you can't SUP, Sunfish sail, or kayak without swimming. Will wearing on during passive or incidental swimming ruin them, or their inflating mechanism?
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #17
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Is it bad to regularly get them wet (most especially in the dirty water of the Neuse River and Trent River basins) without inflating them? In other words, you can't SUP, Sunfish sail, or kayak without swimming. Will wearing on during passive or incidental swimming ruin them, or their inflating mechanism?
I would guess that some I have seen would corrode and I wouldn't trust them as a primary vest anymore...

But every model seems to be a little different so inspect the inflate mechanism and see if corrosion would be an issue.

The old bobbin types...I'm not sure you could take the bobbin out and leave the cylinder in...forget how the spring mechanism works.

The hydrostatic ones I haven't played with but if they can get wet and rinsed and set to manual...what the heck I would use it then....dirty water may stain them but I doubt hurt them.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:06 PM   #18
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If you are going to get it wet you should look into kayak style vests, low bulk with large arm openings for mobility. I give a kayak style vest to my "new" passengers on their first kayak trip, so if they tip over it doesn't cost me $70 for a new re-arm kit. I believe the auto inflate style vests are intended for people who really don't plan on getting in the water but want the safety. An inflator vest will not protect you if you get knocked senseless during your activity. I carry both types on board for different activities and different passenger capabilities, kids get full flotation equipment with crotch straps on at least one side. jmo
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:49 PM   #19
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Got my girlfriend the purple one from West Marine. You can disable to auto inflate to make them suitable for kayak and/or swimming and then just manually inflate if needed. Very comfortable and she liked the color. We both wear PFD all the time when out.
We where told the same as you from WM when purchasing the same vest for my wife a year ago. I think the auto inflate only works somehow in conjunction with depth of your submersion??? Will have to read the instruction book next trip to be sure.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:56 PM   #20
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WM brand have been fine even though we've never had to use them.
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