Astral PFD, no Country of Origin?

So I was shopping for a new PFD over the weekend, and I was checking where they each were made, since it matters to me. I was very surprised to find that Astral does not see fit to print a COO on their jackets. Especially since that's required by law. I mentioned that to the folks running the store, and they were equally surprised to find illegal merchandise on their rack. Apparently I was the first one who ever checked. They do find space to print their North Carolina headquarters address, though.

Now if you go on Astral's site, you find that they recently moved their production from North Carolina to China, so I guess it makes sense that they would want to hide that, but that's not really a company I personally want to do business with.


Astral = outer space origin.

COO labeling is not required.

– Last Updated: Aug-10-15 11:38 AM EST –

No attempt on Astral's part to "hide" anything, as you have accused.

Life preservers and jackets are exempt:

I like my Astral YTV PFD and Loyak shoes. Great products and I'll buy the brand again. I also like Apple products, which are made in China.

Quoting from the Astral site:
'We work with a production facility in Vietnam and another in China which resemble our facility in their ability to build high-end technical products and strict quality control."

Frankly, I'm more concerned about country of origin of my food than my shoes.

I blame the forum administrator


First off, if Astral is proud of making their gear in China, why don’t they print Made in China on them? Obviously, because they want to hide that fact. Like I said, they print their entire North Carolina address, which is SOP for companies trying to appear to be domestic.

Second, your reference applies only to textiles. There are other laws which apply to labelling imports. All other PFDs are so labelled, as far as I can tell.

Third, your personal preferences are not relevant. If you want to contribute to the horrific environmental disaster that is modern China, you can… but without required labelling, others can’t make their preferred choice. I guess as long as you are wrecking someone else’s environment, it’s okay, right?

Life jackets are specifically exempt.
I have like jackets from 2 other manufacturers that also have no COO listed.

You could use the Internet
For research instead of whining.

I think if a company has something on their website it doesn’t count as hiding.

Do you have something specific on Astral’s environmental impact?

I am not going to editorialize about manufacturing in China. I will add my recent experience to the conversation. A good friend of mine is associated with this company. On a recent cycling trip in the area we stopped by their facility in Ashville NC. When we pulled into the parking lot, I knew it would be a cool place. All the employee’s cars had either a mountain bike or kayak on top. They are located next to a river and trails! The company is staffed by young, handsome, energetic enthusiasts of the sport. It was obvious they liked what they were doing and were eager to talk abut it. They had warehouses of product, floor staff, office staff, and limited manufacturing of specialty products on-site. It was a unique place with an excellent staff. I use their products and they well designed and quality manufactured by people who like and care about what they are doing.

As far as I know, Kokatat PFDs, like all their products, are US made. Of course that means they are about 25% to 35% more costly for comparable models and features. Companies have to weigh the production costs against their competitive advantage.

2nd that comment

– Last Updated: Aug-10-15 3:46 PM EST –

In a pinch, he might even be able to make some friends over the internet.


The Japanese just bought Asheville NC
(Ha, kidding. But you hesitated for a second, no?)

I would be willing to a wager
whatever passes for a large coffee at Starbucks -

That made in the US means loading fabric swatches from Thailand and foam cores from PRC into a big hopper and pushing the ON button for minimum wage.

I would be happy to find out I am wrong.

Part of Kokatat’s higher price point is their amazingly comprehensive warranty repair and replacement policy.

Per the comment above, I don’t believe you can get the product quality of Kokatat for minimum wage - there is no pfd machine with a big red button on it.

My old (maybe 2005) Astral Tempo 300 rescue jacket is still going strong. It has large letters “MADE IN THE USA!”

If the new ones are half as good they are still a deal.

Kokatat appears to be an exception

Found some other non-self published stories about the company, who stared by making sleeping bags as Blue Puma before being sued trademark infringement by Puma. Made in the USA by people sitting at sewing machines and a storyline that implies all their raw material is “regional”.

All the articles mention that they are one of the rare exceptions in the global sport gear manufacturing business

One vente with about 50 straws. Meet me in NOLA two weeks from Wednessay.

Out of curiosity, I looked at my Astral YTV. Clearly printed inside the PFD, on the back, is the country of origin although there is no legal requirement to do so per the FTC.

This PFD is less than a year old.

Wish I could say the same for my Levi jeans. All that label tells me is to care of our planet and not wash them very much - in six different languages.

If it matters to you enough to be a dealbreaker, then I wouldn’t buy it. You can certainly find a nice Kokatat PFD. If you end up paying more to stick to your guns, who cares? Your business.

All that said, my Astral Sea Wolf is the absolute best PFD I’ve ever worn. I love it so much I’d buy it wherever it was made.

you’re in luck
I don’t drink coffee…

look in the side seams
I just bought an additional Astral PFD this summer – pulled it out and looked at the inside and the origin tag is there, a very small one sewed into the side panel seam of the left front. It says “partially assembled in China”. It makes sense for manufacturers to label this way and not on the big informational patch printed on the inside of the back, because it’s not unusual for them to use multiple assembly contractors.

They likely have the shells stitched overseas and then ship them to the USA for foam insertion and finally assembly. I recall Patagonia was doing that for a while and even ended up with a bunch of PFD shell fronts that did not meet standards – rather than scrap them they ingeniously used them in pairs to make small duffel bags.

English breakfast tea for breakfast
Mint after lunch.

But nobody wagers tea.