PRODUCT REVIEW: STOHLQUIST aSEA P.F.D.

Welcome to our fourth product review… I’ll be reviewing this item solo, as it is for my personal P.F.D.  We hope you find these reviews helpful!

***PLEASE NOTE: The Stohlquist aSEA vest is NOT a current model P.F.D., but they are still widely available on the internet, at substantial savings over MSRP***

Product description (Unabashedly copied from Amazon.com): Specifically for boaters looking for a soft, form fitting vest with added ventilation and the performance of a high cut back. Back side has half flotation / half cool mesh to fit comfortably above the seat back found in many of today’s rec-tour boats. Easy click-in front entry. Wide range of adjustability at sides and shoulders means that one aSea size fits most all. Features:

• Longer torso for added coverage. • 3M reflective on front and back • Open sides for ventilation • Neoprene padded back lower waistband • 1-1/2″ webbing belt, dual forward pulls for a trim and low profile fit • Bellows pocket with drainage. • Two flat pockets expand for beverage can or bottle. • MeshBack rides high above back rest • Adjustable 1-1/2″ webbing shoulder and side pulls

Mike Says:  I’ve had my Stohlquist aSEA for about 6 years now after purchasing it online for kayaking use.  After evaluating the current lineup of P.F.D.s, I didn’t find anything that looked better enough to warrant replacing my old red friend, so I chose to simply outfit my existing vest for the Everglades Challenge.

The first thing I did was to inspect the vest thoroughly for any visible UV degradation of the vest, especially the straps and buckles, chafe on fabric or straps, and condition of the flotation.  The vest has always been stored inside, so it looked pretty good.  Just remember, if you are using a vest more than 2 years old, you should inspect it thoroughly, or have someone do it.  Remember, it may be a nice seat cushion, but it’s real job is to SAVE YOUR LIFE!  This P.F.D. is slightly bulkier than some of the racy new models, but I’ve never overheated in it.  It adjusted easily to fit over whatever top I was wearing, and it DID provide some insulation on a certain cold evening spent on a sand bar…

I mounted my PROMATE Shark Titanium knife ( https://claritysailingadventures.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/product-review-promate-shark-titanium-backup-dive-knife/ ) on one of the diagonal “forward pull” straps, and it worked quite well there.  The two front pockets swallowed the prodigious load required by the Everglades Challenge as follows:

  1. Signal mirror
  2. Whistle
  3. Stormproof matches (not those pansy waterproof ones…)
  4. Fire kindling cubes
  5. 2 tubes of glucose syrup
  6. 20′ of 1/8″ cord
  7. Small compass
  8. Mylar bivvy bag
  9. Energy bar
  10. Space for mounting the GPS and/or EPIRB
  11. Aforementioned knife

As a side note, we will cover life jacket gear in a separate review in the future…

Product name: Stohlquist aSEA P.F.D.

***PLEASE NOTE: The Stohlquist aSEA vest is NOT a current model P.F.D., but they are still widely available on the internet, at substantial savings over MSRP***

Manufacturers Website:  www.stohlquist.com

MSRP:  $89.95

Purchased From:  Online purchase, probably from www.defender.com

Rating  Mike:  B+

Value Mike:  A-

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