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Inflatable Life Vest ?

1/9/16 @ 8:40 AM
MEMBER since 3/17/02
Anybody wear an inflatable life vest while fishing? Like most people that I see on the water, I haven't put a life jacket on in over 50 years. They are too bulky and hot, but now that I have a titanium shoulder, I am pretty sure my swimming ability will not be what it once was.

I hear "Auto Inflate" life jackets inflate by themselves in hot weather or while in a hot storage compartment. "Manual Inflate" units solve that problem but if I am going to spend the bucks and I am wearing it for "Safety" I feel I should get one with all available "Safety" features.

Anybody using either of these ? Can anyone recommend a good one?


1/12/16 @ 9:58 AM
Brad Durick
User since 3/31/16
On a whim I bought an ONYX a couple years back thinking it would be good for a fly in trip I was going on. I am very happy with this vest so far. I wore it the whole time on the fly in. I have not needed it to save my life yet (good thing) but so far am very happy with it for under $100.

Brad Durick Outdoors LLC
(701) 739-5808
1/12/16 @ 8:30 AM
Major Mark
Major Mark
User since 5/20/05
bought my Sospenders brand auto unit about 10 yrs ago. Foot steps into boat, vest goes on, foot hits land, vest comes off. Many times I have forgotten it's even on, until putting boat back on trailer. Don't even know it's on. I check the "pill" every year, always good. Has a green/red indicator window for quick glance inspection of cartridge readiness. Won't fish without it, as most of my time fishing is alone in boat.

1/11/16 @ 11:22 AM
User since 4/25/06
I purchased a Mustang Survival vest 5 years ago, best money I have spent on fishing. It has the automatic inflation as well as the manual. I have been wearing it in rain storms and it has never inflated on me. I have installed a new re-arm kit every two years. It is so comfortable that I forget I am wearing it. Even bought the wife one as well. I work with somebody that had a boating accident and it almost did not turn out well, I convinced him to buy one, which he did and he said it was the smartest purchase he ever made. DO NOT HESITATE ON PURCHASING ONE. Small price to pay if you think about it.

1/11/16 @ 10:57 AM
Safe Hunt
User since 11/2/12
I bought one through a young Milwaukee Company, Hyde Expedition called Wingman. Really comfortable and stable.

1/11/16 @ 10:13 AM
Fish Hound
User since 1/29/02
Keep in mind it is not considered a PFD unless it is worn, meaning if it's not on you still have to have a "standard" life preserver for everybody on board.

1/10/16 @ 10:52 AM
Todd Young
User since 6/25/15
Been talking about getting one of these for years and finally did it. The sportsmans guide had a great price on them.

Muddy Creek Fishing Guides
(724) 674-3839
1/10/16 @ 10:30 AM
Duke M
User since 1/12/09
I bought two and regularly wear one. You really do forget you have it on. I have even shot ducks in a layout boat wearing one. I did get an excellent tip from a professional who was wearing one when he was knocked out of a small boat by an overhanging tree into the Wolf River in Spring. He was wearing it under zipped up rain gear and it darn near suffocated him until he tore his rain jacket open. Every time he exhaled it got tighter and he could not breathe, and of course the cold water leaves you gasping. Told me to always wear it outside of your coat or jacket. Sound advice.


1/10/16 @ 9:45 AM
User since 2/27/05
I have the manual inflating one that I got from Bass Pro a few years ago. It is extremely comfortable and light weight. Even though I consider myself a decent swimmer, I still wear it all the time. It is also super important to hook up the kill switch for your motor.

1/9/16 @ 1:49 PM
Steve @ G & S
User since 6/15/01
I've never heard of a newer model auto-inflating due to heat, but older models would occasionally "go off" in a driving rainstorm or when a boat compartment leaks water. They've done a much better job with the new models and protecting the water sensor from accidental exposure.

The manual-inflate models are all right, but they won't do a danged thing if you become unconscious before/when you hit the water such as being thrown from the boat or if you passed out for whatever reason. So I'd get an auto-inflate vest if I were you, simply for safety sake because you never know how or when you're going into the drink!

Mustang Survival makes a very highly rated auto-inflate vest, but they are also one of the more expensive models to purchase. But that's what I have because I figure my life is worth spending a little more on!

Formerly Steve @ G & S

1/9/16 @ 11:59 AM
User since 1/21/12
They are comfortable and safe to wear. You want them to be just a tad bit loose when they are being worn. When they inflate they will get tight. I have never heard of an automatic one deploying because of the heat or unintentionally. If the manual inflation cord (which the auto have too) gets caught on something, I could see that happening but that's the point. If it gets pulled on it inflates! Find something you'll like and wear all the time not just when you think conditions justify it. It's just like a motorcycle helmet, if you find one you like and is comfy, you'll probably wear it.

I've recovered or helped recover many drowning victims, many of whom knew how to swim. Never have i recovered a drowning victim that had on a PFD.

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