Has anyone used a comp vest?

1 month 1 day ago #31611 by LakeMan
(Sorry this is listed under announcements. It won't let me change it.)

I'm looking for a flatwater PFD that has a lot of movement and very little safety. It doesn't have to be coast guard approved, just look like it. I dislike the bulky CGA vests. The comp vests come in bright colors so the lake warden will leave me alone. I know about the highly acclaimed Mocke and the other one starting with a V (I can't remember off hand) and those are a possibility. Just wanted others opinion. Thanks

Example: www.perfski.com/life-vests-and-wetsuits/...-comp-vest-blue.html

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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1 month 23 hours ago #31612 by tve
I use the Mocke vest and really like it. The other very popular one is the Vaikobi.
I like the Mocke because I don't notice it when I wear it and because it has a large front pocket in which I always have the marine radio (HX870, i.e. pretty bulky one). I can also easily stash phone or bottle in there while carrying ski&paddle to/from the water. Downside is no zipper, so it always goes over the head. Vaikobi has front zipper so you win in terms of on/off convenience and loose in pocket space. At least that's how I think of the comparison.
Oh, I'm pretty sure the current Mocke is CG approved and I believe the Vaikobi is also, but don't take my word for it.

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1 month 23 hours ago #31613 by agooding2
I like my Mocke vest, cooler than many alternatives. A more minimalist option is this one: shop.nelo.eu/en/nelo-pfd.html but I have not tried it. The comp west being black looks hot to me.

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1 month 20 hours ago #31614 by Wombat661
I am in the same boat - no pun intended :)
I wanted something small so I don't get a ticket.
Tried the Mustang MIT 100. Looks small in the picture, but is large, heavy and stiff. The inflator is in the front right where you slide onto the boat.
Tried the fanny pack. Is a little bulky whether is in the front or the back. If you do need it, is a multi step to put on.
Finally settled on Hyde Wingman. I am typically weary of startup companies. They over hype and under deliver. As a designer, I can tell when someone put effort into the design. The one feels like they put their full effort into the design. In comparison, the Mustang MIT feels like the engineer just wanted to get it done to meet schedule so he/she can go home.

On the Hyde, the inflator is on the back. They truly thought about people pulling themselves onto the boat or board. Is small and thin compared to the Mustang. Is also soft and flexible. They use zipper instead of velcro so you can undo the vest to rinse off salt water. The zipper is difficult to design in this application, but it does not wear out like velcro used on other lifevests. That alone is well thought out. Is also USCG approved, so you don't need to do a song and dance with the authorities.
It is a little expensive at $200, but I think is worth it.

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1 month 19 hours ago #31615 by Jef58
I wear an MTI Helios inflatable and it has similar issues that the Mustang has but is very light and as close to not wearing anything that I found. I had an issue with the inflator cartridge corroding from not being rinsed off, but that could be on me. It's possible the inflator could impede remounts, but for flat water in hot weather, it is a nice vest and is well made. I like the design of the Wingman and will definitely look into one when it's time for a replacement...

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1 month 6 hours ago #31616 by Fath2o
Yes! Good for cold wx.
Attachments:

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4 weeks 2 days ago #31618 by LakeMan
I like the Mocke and the Nelo but they don't seem to be available in the US. The Hyde is just too much money to justify. I like the Vaikobi with the back hydro pocket. Still $145 usd though. A bright orange comp vest shoukd be comfortable and add a little buoyancy plus remounting should be easier. Once wet they should be fairly cool. Not sure since I've never used one. My main thing is to appear legal and have a good range of motion. Most life vests are just too fat for me.
Thanks for all your help.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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4 weeks 2 days ago #31619 by tve
The Mocke is available in the US at paddlecal.com/collections/paddling-acces...roducts/mocke-jacket and the Nelo at paddlecal.com/collections/paddling-acces...es/products/nelo-pfd
I suspect tcsurfski has them as well.

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4 weeks 2 days ago #31620 by davgdavg
Just a note on the Mocke- don't buy the XL. Even if your size is XL, its the same as the L, just with extra (unnecessary IMO) flotation. Its just extra bulk that I can't imagine anyone would need, even in fresh water, but especially not in the ocean. Honestly after buying I wish I would have gotten a medium even because I'm sure it would be enough.



The large should be fine for anyone that doesn't have lead legs.

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4 weeks 2 days ago #31622 by Fath2o
I had similar experience with Mocke vest when it first came available here. I had an XL that would ride up into my chin. Dealer offered to exchange for used L, but, did not fit around chest.
Gave/sold to taller paddler and works fine for him. I agree wear smallest PFD possible. Approved vests can be bulky. The approved PFD in the left of one of the pictures is a med/large and straps must be let out completely for me. That one was around $45.00
at "Fleece", I mean West Marine. Fortunately, for me and where I paddle, a PFD is pretty much optional and don't use one much.

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4 weeks 2 days ago #31625 by Davidw
Just a note on the Mocke vests. Both sizes have the same floatation, it's just the length of straps that differ.

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4 weeks 1 day ago #31627 by Wombat661

Jef58 wrote: I wear an MTI Helios inflatable and it has similar issues that the Mustang has but is very light and as close to not wearing anything that I found..


That reminds me of another issue for the MIT 100 that may not be an issue for the MIT Helios. The jacket hangs in the front, and held up by the back of your neck. The weight of the jacket and inflator is up against the back of your neck. The stiff material rubs against your neck. It just adds to the feeling of restriction. Another thing that makes the Hyde feel like you don't have a jacket on.

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4 weeks 1 day ago #31629 by Jef58
I never noticed that with the Helios, but could see what you mean. The vest was probably not designed with surfski in mind but for recreational and fishing kayakers who want the safety without the bulk. I have remounted with the vest on and admit is is awkward trying to avoid the pull chord and inflator. The last thing you want to worry about in a remount...

I know there is another forum member who uses a wingman, but other than that, it's hard to get any real life feedback on them. I probably will switch to one because of the inflator and better pocket storage than the MTI units.

The inflatables are more for extreme emergencies, so like Lakeman I could realistically be ok with a vest for most of my paddling, but the Coast Guard and Sheriff routinely monitor the water where I do most of my paddling.

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3 weeks 10 hours ago #31678 by mcnye1
I have never worn a comp vest so don’t really know. To me, they look a bit hot unless you are actively getting wet.
My current favorite for the surfski is the Mocke. It does not restrict movement or get in the way much when reboarding. It has started to get hot here in FL and I am surprised that the ventilated design does not add to heat stress (I wear a dry fit shirt underneath). Unless something has changed in the six months since I bought mine, they are not USCG approved. If you prefer to wear it a little loose like I do, it will ride up a bit when you are in the water.
A friend of mine has the Vaikobi and likes it. It appears to have a little less bulk in front which likely makes it easier while boarding than the Mocke. I believe that it also is NOT USCG approved.
I have an MTI Cascade that I wear when paddling a sea kayak in rough water. It is comfortable to wear and without a doubt would be the best in a survival situation. It has too much bulk in front for reboarding the ski.
We have two fanny pack style inflatables, one regular sized and one low profile (Oynx M16). They are our preferred PFDs when kayaking but are not great in the ski. Worn in back they rub the deck and in front it would be in the way boarding (the low profile one is better than the regular). I also find that I am starting to rub through part of the PFD from wearing it so much.
We have two Helios Inflatables. They are the least intrusive of all our PFDs when paddling and would not get in the way when reboarding. Another advantage is that they are easier to see from a distance, so we don’t get the “up close” safety inspection that we get when wearing the fanny packs.
Despite being less obtrusive, I won’t wear the inflatables in the ski for two reasons. First, they provide zero floatation unless inflated. I do my reboard practice at the end of my workouts. Occasionally, I find myself out of breath and need to take 30 seconds before reboarding. This is much easier when wearing the Mocke than it is treading water with one of the inflatables. Secondly, the inflation toggles are located in a position that would be really easy to accidently activate when reboarding. Given the size of these things once inflated, you would never be able to reboard unless you deflate them, then you have zero PFDs. Another problem with inflatables is that under USCG Regs, they do not count as a PFD unless worn. An inflatable strapped to the deck does not meet the requirement of having a PFD onboard.
From a practical standpoint, I don’t think lack of USCG approval is really an issue. I have been safety checked dozens of times and the only time they have ever looked at PFD labels has been dockside on my sailboat. Once you are on the water, they just want to see that you have one. Even if the officer suspected that it was not approved, he is not going to ask you to take off your PFD while you are in a surfski or kayak. My primary workout paddling location is heavily patrolled on weekends and I routinely get safety checked while paddling. Generally, they just get close enough to see the PFD but sometimes they want to see my required whistle. I have been checked twice now with the Mocke, with not issues. The one concession that I make is that I always have an extra PFD that is USCG approved in my truck when I go to races. That way if a zealous officer recognizes that Mocke is not approved, I have a fall back option.
Lastly, I am a little surprised when I see some of the bulky items that paddlers carry in the front pockets of their PFDs. The added bulk will make it very much harder to reboard. For my part, I would rather have survival gear like radios tethered to the boat and the boat securely attached to me via leg leash.

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3 weeks 5 hours ago #31691 by tve
FYI, this post summarizes the differences between mocke, vaikobi, and nelo PFDs pretty well: tcsurfski.com/2017/07/14/pfd-overview-un...ing-iso-versus-uscg/

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3 weeks 1 hour ago #31692 by LakeMan
mcnye1, thank you for the information. It's more than I had gathered in weeks of looking. Some great information there.

tve, thank you for the article.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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2 weeks 6 days ago #31694 by Jef58
mcnye1 has made some good points and I have been thinking more about a low profile traditional PFD since this post started. My Helios is a few years old and showing wear from saltwater and sun. The 3 mentioned in TC Surfski seem like excellent choices but the Nelo looks to be the least obtrusive and most suited for Florida weather. I think I'll look into these a little more for the future and relegate the inflatable to family members that go power boating...

The comp vest would definately be good for the winter temps here in Fl. I agree with mcnye1 and believe the Coast Guard will be satisfied you are wearing something even if it is non-approved low profile one...

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2 weeks 3 days ago #31715 by Wombat661
"I would rather have survival gear like radios tethered to the boat and the boat securely attached to me via leg leash."

That would be called a single point failure in aviation. If the tether breaks, you lost the boat and radio gear just when you need one of the two most.
If the radio is on you, then if you loose the boat you still have the radio. You loose the radio, and you still have the boat. Have safety redundancy.

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2 weeks 3 days ago #31719 by Fath2o
Yeah, I put my radio in the back pouch of my customized neoprene comp vest. Less bulky soft goods go in front pouch. Actually crushed a radio during remount when radio in front pouch. I agree it is probably unlikely the authorities will inspect flotation device for USCG approval. ( I used to be a harbor patrol officer). My current strategy, since i rarely have a flotation device, is to look behind my seat and say "Geez it must have fallen off. Can I borrow one from you guys till I get back in?" :whistle:

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2 weeks 2 days ago #31729 by tve
The funny thing is ... I'm convinced you could actually pull that one off!

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