Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Astral Green Jacket

The other day I recieved my Green Jacket.  It is a new PFD from Astral Buoyancy and I have been awaiting its arrival since the summer.  But due to some Coast Guard approval issues it was delayed.  It was finally given the go ahead and I have my hands on it.  I have not had a chance to get on the water with it yet and I cannot wait.  Today I thought I was going to get out to teach a lesson.  But my student was sick and she wants to reschedule for a later date.

But I have tried it on and I can say the overall fit is really nice.  It is very secure and I would be afraid to know the amount of force the water would need to remove this vest from you.  It is a pull over design which is somewhat new for me.  But not that big of a deal for the comfort once you are in the vest.  

The vest being designed for whitewater and I plan to test it out on the sea.  So it has some features that were mainly conceived for whitewater use.  But with the ever growing rough water sea kayaking attraction, I am sure the vest will find a home amongst some sea kayakers as well. Breaking though surf, running a tidal race or playing in big winds.  The vest will be of use in many situations.

I like that pockets on the vest.  My old vest was very limited in what I could carry on me. Though it was a great vest with amazing comfort.  I needed the ability to have a few things with me while guiding or out on my personal journeys.  The chest pocket has plenty of storage and the design keeps it out of the way from any snag issues.  There are also two small pockets on the left and right waist.  The pockets will come in handy for me.

The vest has a built in back band for added support.   I am not sure if it will stiffen my back so that I will not be able to do certain techniques or not.  But I know when paddling for hours a bit of support will be nice.

The adjustments are on the left and right sides of the vest.  Three on each side.  The built in tow harness also tightens down to give extra security.  The tow harness is sewn in, I would have preferred to see it as a removable option.  But it is there and attached the vest.  I use a separate tow system for what I do.  So I really would not have a use for the built in system unless I was going to be on the river.  Not really that big of a deal.  

A safety loop centrally located at the bottom of the front of the PFD.  Comes in handy for river rescues.  It also has an adjustable torso.  Not a lot of room for adjustment, but it does snug the vest against your body for a nice feel.

The look of the vest it great.  With black as the main color with lime green accents.  It looks really different.  

So far I am really excited to have the vest.  I will give you my final opinion once I have had it on the water and see how it feels after a long day of kayaking and being in the water floating around.  Really the true test is in the field.  So stay tuned......

Here is the front and back view.  I have the black vest, but the red looks nice as well.

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