life jackets

riverwhy

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has anyone used an inflatable fishing vest like the airflo wave hopper and if so are they too bulky to wear under a wading jacket, or do you wear them on top and risk them getting set off by heavy rain. Any recommendations, vest life jacket or otherwise?
 

scoops

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Never tried a fishing vest style one but use the England’s one with auto inflation and it’s never went off in the rain, did once go off in the loft after a days fishing in the rain, should of hung it up to dry first
 

tynelobster

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has anyone used an inflatable fishing vest like the airflo wave hopper and if so are they too bulky to wear under a wading jacket, or do you wear them on top and risk them getting set off by heavy rain. Any recommendations, vest life jacket or otherwise?
Don't wear under a wading jacket!
 

Rrrr

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If you wear it under a wading jacket itl not inflate if you go for a swim

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riverwhy

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so, further to that, has anyone ever had a life jacket or inflatable vest set off by heavy rain?
 

JamesVenning

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I've been wearing a hardy inflation waistcoat vest for years in the worst of weather and never had the jacket inflate due to rain.
 

Rosslinden0

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Why not get one that isn't auto inflate, I have them for the boat, although small I'd get annoyed fishing the river all day with it on
 

SP8

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so, further to that, has anyone ever had a life jacket or inflatable vest set off by heavy rain?
Yes last Thursday. I've a Crewsaver waistcoat which has had several soakings without incident over the years including last Tuesday Thursdays rain wasn't as bad but I was standing outside the hut when it went off. Nearly had to change the underwear:oops: At least I know it works.

SP8
 

tealblue

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Been out in all sorts of weather with the wave hopper and never had a problem with it.
 

Rrrr

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Most ive heard of have gone off in the boot of the car either on the way home or if left overnight

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duncan

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Used both the yoke style and hopper waistcoat for years with no problems. I bought the hopper as I found using a waistcoat to carry flies etc and the yoke style a pain. Don’t buy a manual lifejacket for fishing, if you fall and get knocked out you’re in trouble if using a manual jacket. If they get soaked I’ve had no problem with them going off provided you don’t leave them under say wet waders or jacket, let air at them. Finally remember the activator have to be replaced, there is a “replace by” date on them.
I bought mine after a fishing friend drowned in 2 feet of water, he took a turn and fell forward on his face and couldn’t turn himself over.
 

flytay

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I have used the Airflo short wavehoppper over a number of seasons and it has never gone off in the rain. If like me you have a tendency to fall over in shallow water it will go off and you will need to replace the cylinder.

Never wear it under a jacket.
 

tynelobster

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so, further to that, has anyone ever had a life jacket or inflatable vest set off by heavy rain?
No - the water should run off the waterproof outside covering and not set it off - unless you go in of course. If you put it in the car on it's side and water runs into the inside that could do it..................
 

Sash

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There are TWO DIFFERENT mechanisms for automatic life jackets:

1) a mechanism that uses a moisture/water-sensitive cartridge, at the bottom on one of the sides of the “horseshoe”.
When this gets sufficiently wet (normally submerged but, potentially, if you leave the jacket under soaking waders, jackets etc), it goes off (with a surprising bang). This is where the “it went off in my car” bit comes from.
Clearly, if you are wearing the jacket, the water 99.9% of the time flows off without touching the cartridge, so you SHOULD be all right in heavy rain....
This mechanism is very reliable (i.e. it goes off when you go under), and is the cheapest automatic mechanism: it is what almost all ”fishing” automatic waistcoats use.

2) the pressure-activated (“Hammar”) type. This is totally insensitive to moisture (so it works really well, e.g. on a RIB, where you can get drenched in spray). And you can take it off and dump it under totally soaking kit etc if that is how you end your day. But, if you fall in and the mechanism is submerged approximately 1 metre, then it inflates. A bit more expensive (typically c.£20 more), but many fewer false inflations. These are what I use on my RIB and, were I to fish big salmon rivers, what I would take. But the vast majority of “fishing life jackets” don’t use the Hammar mechanism, so you need to get them from chandleries and marinas.

Manual inflating life jackets have none of this complication, but are horribly dependant on you being conscious/not sufering from cold shock/actually able to find the toggle to inflate the jacket. Cheap, but may not save your life in the most likely scenarios that we might want to use them. I would never use one for the sort of fishing I might do (RIB, big river wading etc): they give an utterly false sense of safety. Probably OK on a reservoir/lough, though.

My 2 pen’oth.
 
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lowforcefly

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I need to buy one myself, but don't know how to select the correct size. Any ideas please lads?
Most are fully adjustable in the straps... so any adult one should suffice, min 150N tho.
I bought a 'Baltic fly fisher,' not the cheapest, but very neat / compact, well made, designed for deep wading, with a lot of positive reviews.... to be honest you quickly forget it's there ? Comes with a crotch strap, which is a must, as they can ride up when inflated.
Haven't had to try it yet...and hopefully never will, but you never know ?
 

sgellert

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I know this thread is about inflatables, I've used this one, which is more traditional, but with a vest like appearance:
It's pretty comfy, but of course bulky, haven't used it much though.
 

dave1959

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Most are fully adjustable in the straps... so any adult one should suffice, min 150N tho.
I bought a 'Baltic fly fisher,' not the cheapest, but very neat / compact, well made, designed for deep wading, with a lot of positive reviews.... to be honest you quickly forget it's there ? Comes with a crotch strap, which is a must, as they can ride up when inflated.
Haven't had to try it yet...and hopefully never will, but you never know ?

Thanks mate
 

HOWKEMOOT

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There are TWO DIFFERENT mechanisms for automatic life jackets:

1) a mechanism that uses a moisture/water-sensitive cartridge, at the bottom on one of the sides of the “horseshoe”.
When this gets sufficiently wet (normally submerged but, potentially, if you leave the jacket under soaking waders, jackets etc), it goes off (with a surprising bang). This is where the “it went off in my car” bit comes from.
Clearly, if you are wearing the jacket, the water 99.9% of the time flows off without touching the cartridge, so you SHOULD be all right in heavy rain....
This mechanism is very reliable (i.e. it goes off when you go under), and is the cheapest automatic mechanism: it is what almost all ”fishing” automatic waistcoats use.

2) the pressure-activated (“Hammar”) type. This is totally insensitive to moisture (so it works really well, e.g. on a RIB, where you can get drenched in spray). And you can take it off and dump it under totally soaking kit etc if that is how you end your day. But, if you fall in and the mechanism is submerged approximately 1 metre, then it inflates. A bit more expensive (typically c.£20 more), but many fewer false inflations. These are what I use on my RIB and, were I to fish big salmon rivers, what I would take. But the vast majority of “fishing life jackets” don’t use the Hammar mechanism, so you need to get them from chandleries and marinas.

Manual inflating life jackets have none of this complication, but are horribly dependant on you being conscious/not sufering from cold shock/actually able to find the toggle to inflate the jacket. Cheap, but may not save your life in the most likely scenarios that we might want to use them. I would never use one for the sort of fishing I might do (RIB, big river wading etc): they give an utterly false sense of safety. Probably OK on a reservoir/lough, though.

My 2 pen’oth.

Thanks Sash, found this useful as I will be acquiring a safety device for next season.

M
 

Sash

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I need to buy one myself, but dont know how to select the correct size. Any ideas please lads?
Howkemoot, Handel, many thanks!

As far as buoyancy is concerned (and that is how you “size“ a lifejacket), it very much depends on your build, and how much kit you will be wearing! Start at a minimum of 150kn buoyancy, but dont be afraid to go well above that if your build is big!

In terms of “packaging: (i.e. how physically bulky the jacket is), modern yachting/powerboating jackets are FAR smaller and neater than any of the “fishing” jackets. So if this is what bugs you (and/or you want to look like a fighter pilot!), you will need to spend more (a really good offshore life jacket is around £200), but you will get something that holds really close to your chest, does not constrict your arms in any way, and has terrific flotation when needed.

The difference in packaging is really interesting:
- a normal jacket is shaped like an upside down U, and extends down close to the waist: a simple shape to make, and does the job.
- Whereas the offshore vest are like a rather tight horseshoe, with the two “arms” almost touching at the bottom of your chest. This has an advantage that, if wading very deep and your life jacket has the water/moisture-sensitive trigger, you get at least an extra 6” of depth before it triggers! And the inflation bladder is typically far tighter packed, so smaller when not inflated.
 

dave1959

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Howkemoot, Handel, many thanks!

As far as buoyancy is concerned (and that is how you “size“ a lifejacket), it very much depends on your build, and how much kit you will be wearing! Start at a minimum of 150kn buoyancy, but dont be afraid to go well above that if your build is big!

In terms of “packaging: (i.e. how physically bulky the jacket is), modern yachting/powerboating jackets are FAR smaller and neater than any of the “fishing” jackets. So if this is what bugs you (and/or you want to look like a fighter pilot!), you will need to spend more (a really good offshore life jacket is around £200), but you will get something that holds really close to your chest, does not constrict your arms in any way, and has terrific flotation when needed.

The difference in packaging is really interesting:
- a normal jacket is shaped like an upside down U, and extends down close to the waist: a simple shape to make, and does the job.
- Whereas the offshore vest are like a rather tight horseshoe, with the two “arms” almost touching at the bottom of your chest. This has an advantage that, if wading very deep and your life jacket has the water/moisture-sensitive trigger, you get at least an extra 6” of depth before it triggers! And the inflation bladder is typically far tighter packed, so smaller when not inflated.

Thanks Sash, much appreciated.
 
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