Life Vests - Auto vs. Hydrostatic

errock_22

Professional Fuel Burner
Apr 6, 2008
1,613
956
113
Ventura / SB
Name
Eric B.
Boat
Ranger 240 Bahia - "Lil' Mijo" & Triumph 1700 Skiff
Thinking about getting a decent vest, I was leaning towards the hydro-static just because it can get pretty wet coming home from the islands and was worried about the auto inflate getting wet and going off. The hydro-static needs to actually go under water to inflate.

What are you guys using? Am I worried about nothing with the auto-inflate?
 

InRodWeTrust

Too blessed 2 be stressed
Mar 8, 2013
214
87
28
San Diego
Name
Wes
Boat
Inflatable
I've heard the auto inflates can go off if they get splashed too much. But im guessing the probability of that is pretty low. I have the traditional kind and like knowing that its ready to float at all times. That and the autos can malfunction(Not inflate)if not properly maintained.
 
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Keitha

Member
Oct 2, 2013
240
104
43
Costa Mesa, CA
Name
KA
Boat
18' Outrage
I've been looking and really leaning to the Hydrostatic - not just because of the lower risk of accidental inflation, but because they typically seem a step higher in quality. Many of the regular ones have 25lbs of floatation vs 35lbs with the hydrostatic.
Then the more I shoped, I started thinking that a good, well fitting traditional vest is just/nearly as comfortable for 1/4 the price. So overwhelmed with decissions, I have not bought one yet and keep wearing an ill-fitting vest, or worse yet, no vest when off-shore.
Another way to think about it is that an accidental inflation is not that big a deal and probably quite rare. The inflation canisters are much cheaper than the hydrostatic piece. You can probably go through 5 or 6 deployments (at $25 each) before you reach the cost of the hydrostatic vest.
 

InRodWeTrust

Too blessed 2 be stressed
Mar 8, 2013
214
87
28
San Diego
Name
Wes
Boat
Inflatable
I ordered my vest from BPS.com. Its a traditional vest with several pockets and its pretty comfy. Youd be surprised how much flotation the trad. vests have, I tested mine in a swimming pool and it floats my big ass just fine.
 

steelfish

Baja Boy..
Oct 16, 2008
753
289
63
Calexico, Ca / BAJA,Mexico
Name
Alex
Boat
dos por favor
I ordered my vest from BPS.com. Its a traditional vest with several pockets and its pretty comfy. Youd be surprised how much flotation the trad. vests have, I tested mine in a swimming pool and it floats my big ass just fine.

if you are referring to something like this one one BPS vest, yep, its very comfy, you dont feel the "need" to take it out


I know its not as nice as auto or hydrostatic but you are always ready with zero worries on mechanisms
 

InRodWeTrust

Too blessed 2 be stressed
Mar 8, 2013
214
87
28
San Diego
Name
Wes
Boat
Inflatable
if you are referring to something like this one one BPS vest, yep, its very comfy, you dont feel the "need" to take it out


I know its not as nice as auto or hydrostatic but you are always ready with zero worries on mechanisms
Yup I have the same one.
 

errock_22

Professional Fuel Burner
Apr 6, 2008
1,613
956
113
Ventura / SB
Name
Eric B.
Boat
Ranger 240 Bahia - "Lil' Mijo" & Triumph 1700 Skiff
Thanks guys. All great input, lots to think about. Now I just have to make a decision.....hopefully before the season gets rolling and I fall back into old habits!
 

gnarl_malone

Justin
Oct 13, 2007
516
11
18
Huntington Beach
www.brixton.com
Name
Justin
Boat
Everglades 223, Livingston 14'
I wear this stupid foam filled one made by Patagonia.
I don't think they make them anymore, but there are tons of similar ones out there. I was lucky enough to be wearing it when we flipped our boat on the beach in some large surf. I was wearing foul weather gear and deck boots and it easily kept me afloat. I've had it for about five years now and it's faded and bleached and worn, but still works fine. I have a whistle and a mini strobe light (mainly for partying) clipped onto it and keep a knife and our little PLB in each pocket. On gnarly crossings; I keep the hand held VHF in it too. Even with the added flare, it doesn't seem to get in the way at all while fishing. I recommend a foam filled one with a couple pockets.
 
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errock_22

Professional Fuel Burner
Apr 6, 2008
1,613
956
113
Ventura / SB
Name
Eric B.
Boat
Ranger 240 Bahia - "Lil' Mijo" & Triumph 1700 Skiff
I wear this stupid foam filled one made by Patagonia.
I don't think they make them anymore, but there are tons of similar ones out there. I was lucky enough to be wearing it when we flipped our boat on the beach in some large surf. I was wearing foul weather gear and deck boots and it easily kept me afloat. I've had it for about five years now and it's faded and bleached and worn, but still works fine. I have a whistle and a mini strobe light (mainly for partying) clipped onto it and keep a knife and our little PLB in each pocket. On gnarly crossings; I keep the hand held VHF in it too. Even with the added flare, it doesn't seem to get in the way at all while fishing. I recommend a foam filled one with a couple pockets.
You know, the more I look at vests the more I am leaning to these foam filled guys. I'm liking the thought that there is nothing to fail. It can get pretty hairy crossing the SB channel on the way home sometimes. Plus, these don't seem too bulky.....
 

.:LOLLY:.

Member
Nov 18, 2011
310
24
28
Downey, CA
Name
Alfredo
Boat
Float Tube
I have always preferred the foam filled ones just because you know for sure it's always ready to go. I currently have the BPS one like shown above. It is comfortable but I am looking to upgrade to a kayaking life vest. They are way more comfy!