Inflatable PFD which one?

I am not a hot weather person so I have decided to invest in an inflatable PFD. Manual is fine.

I will probably get a small foam unit, at least to use for friends who go paddling with me.

But I like the sound of the inflatable, and apparently they are used by the military, merchant marines, law enforcement personnel etc… quite extensively. I see they have become uscg approved.

Now the big question is which model. I do think I have narrowed it down to sospenders manual from stearns or the mustang 3085

Does anyone have any experience with these and is there really any difference in comfort?


I have neither of the ones you mentioned
However, I recently bought a Kokatat SeaO2. I haven’t been able to paddle in it yet since most of the area water in under several inches of ice but what I can say about it is that the back is nearly all mesh which will be great in the hotter months. The design has minimal impact on torso and arm movement. It snugs up well without feeling like you are being squeezed. It inflates via the manual inflation tube with only a few breathes in the event the CO2 cartridge fails. My only dislike may be that I had hoped the front would feel a bit less bulky than it does but thats where the bladder rests so it is what it is.

watch length
I have sospenders vests for sailing, and I like them. Some yachting inflatables are too long for paddling though, so make sure you try on the one you are considering in a paddling position. Another complaint about the yachting style inflatables is that they are not very comfortable around the back of the neck. So if you think you won’t at least be wearing a t-shirt, I’d look at the paddling-specific inflatables (like the Kokatat SeaO2) instead.

Mustang 3085
I have been wearing one for the last 3 years and have no issues with it.