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 Post subject: Comfortable Life Jacket
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:42 am 
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
I'm looking for a comfortable, not bulky life jacket. I went to the boat store and all they carried were the cheap, incredibly bulky jackets i.e. one huge piece of foam in the back, two huge pieces of foam in the front, and lots of straps/buckles. I realize I will get a dozen different answers on this one, but at least I'll have a dozen decent jackets to choose from. Please include information on where you bought it. Thanks for your input!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:54 am 
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Location: Saint John, NB Canada sailing on Washademoak Lake
I like kayaking PFDs (a life jacket is different: life jacket vs PFD).

I find that kayaking PFD are shorter, so they sit higher from the waist and don't end up pushing your chin when you sit down. Also leaves room for the harness hook at the bottom of the PFD.

I forget the brand of mine, but it's comfortable. I got it at the a scout shop, it's marketed for kayaking, canoeing and sailing, but not recommended for watersports like water ski or wake board.

My wife has a similar one made by Roots, she loves it, much more comfortable than the 3 foam piece model you described.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:52 am 
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I can't recommend any particular make/model PFD. I do tend to favor ones made for kayaking. They offer more comfort within a larger range of movement. Try on lot's of models before you buy. Some stores will let you return them if you don't like the fit. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:42 pm 
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Location: Oceanside, California
What we offer in the catalog are Stohlquist designs and very comfortable to wear.

I'd get the S6142XX (xx=size). I have one and use it for sailing and paddling. Very comfortable.

http://static.hobiecat.com/digital_assets/hobie-sailing-parts-spring2011.pdf edited the link.

Page 4

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:31 pm 
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Location: Saint John, NB Canada sailing on Washademoak Lake
Link no worky.

I googled Stohlquist and they look comfortable.

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1978 Hobie 16 Keoke, sail# 36 84
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:01 am 
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Hummm... worky for me.

Try this one: http://static.hobiecat.com/digital_assets/hobie-sailing-parts-spring2011.pdf

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Matt Miller
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:15 am 
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Location: Saint John, NB Canada sailing on Washademoak Lake
Odd, both work today. I got page not found yesterday on your original link.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:19 am 
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tricky I am... I edited to the shorter URL.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:34 pm 
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I just got a pair of these for mate and I...fantastic!

http://www.zoumusa.com/pfd-most-comfort ... -p-25.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
I saw those and thought they looked too good to be true. They are so thin I thought there can't be enough flotation there to be any good. Are they the inflatable kind? Please give me more info on them.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:34 pm 
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I agree, this vest looks really thin and incredibly comfortable. From spec sheet on their Web site it looks like this is made in the Netherlands. It would be intersting to know how much floatation it provides.

I, too, use a jacket that was specifically made for kayaking and whitewater rafting -my favorite is one that I picked up when I worked in Argentina - and I love the Hobie vest that Matt pointed out.

If you are going to race in any serious regattas, be sure that your vest is US Coast Guard approved or you could be protested or even not allowed to race.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:39 pm 
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The Zhiks are imported by Zoum USA and aren't USCG certified...but are certified throughout Europe. I don't know if it's because a US tag wasn't applied for, or if they didn't pass the USCG's strict "immediately-reverse-a-face-down-position" requirement. I didn't worry about it because my wife and I are strong swimmers and we're sailing in protected, shallow waters. I do know it feels almost like wearing a light jacket...very unobtrusive. An initial test swim showed plenty of buoyancy; I will do a "dead man" test next time I'm out there to satisfy my curiosity.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:43 am 
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
I talked to someone in Customer Service at ZoumUSA. He said he and his son both use the Zhik PFD and love it. They sell over a thousand a year. He said it isn't Coast Guard approved because Zhik didn't want to spend the 2.5 million dollars it would cost to get approved. Gee, really? Anyway after talking to him I was sold and bought one. I'll let everyone know how I like it ASAP.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:54 pm 
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
I tested my Zhik PFD from ZoumUSA and I love it. It is very comfortable and you really do forget you are wearing it. It seems to provide as much buoyancy as other PFDs. My only concern with it is it does ride up a bit in the water unless you have the strap really snug, but again not any worse than other PFDs. All in all a really great PFD. If you are looking for a PFD I would definitely check this one out. ZoumUSA will ship it free and if you don't like it you can send it back and they will refund your money less the cost of shipping.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
wxup wrote:
I tested my Zhik PFD from ZoumUSA and I love it.

wxup wrote:
He said it isn't Coast Guard approved because Zhik didn't want to spend the 2.5 million dollars it would cost to get approved.


I'm Canadian, not American. I don't know the status of the Zhik PFD in Canada, but my only concern would be that, in Canada, at least, if the PFD isn't certified in this country, then it isn't acceptable by the authorities, and you can get ticketed, and fined. They don't care if it's the money, or if there is some other reason for the PFD to not be certified.

The only other thing that I would say is that your source for the reason that this PFD isn't certified are the same people who will gladly take your money. I would want to make sure that there isn't some flaw in this jacket, and that is the reason that it isn't approved.

Other then that, it looks like a REALLY nice PFD. Personally I use a Stolquist one, and I find it to be great. I'd love for there to be more options for comfortable PFD's so I hope that the Zhik can get approved in North America.

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