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Submitted: 01-18-2008 by tddockery2
I purchased a new Osprey a month or so ago after spending a good hour comparing, playing with and trying on / fitting this and other Extrasport PFDs, as well as the other brands that were on hand in the kayak shop. I'm a guy of average build, 5'10" about 195 and wanted something that fit well, was non-confining, fairly priced and had some utility to it. After narrowing down to a couple vests, I decided on the Osprey. This is not a purchase I regret!
I have now paddled with it more than a dozen times over the last few weeks (who says you can't paddle in winter?) All I can say is AWESOME!! This PFD is built like a tank, fits well, looks sharp (though the colors are a bit bland, mine is 'sand') and the pockets are an absolute bonus. I keep little 'needs' (multi-tool, lighter, cyalume stick, etc) in it for just in case 'get-outs'. I was properly 'fitted' buy the fine folks at Kelly's Kayaks (they retired as of the Jan 1st, shame but good luck!) and I have to say that the vest fits incredibly well. The zippered front with the added two adjustable belt closures low on the chest work well, the mesh shoulders are also fully adjustable, and after a bit of fitting - perfect! The vest doesn't ride up, is not confining, does not rub at the shoulders / 'pits' (there are HUGE arm holes) and the high back pads do not interfere with my boats seat back (OT Egret).
Being a mild winter I have had the opportunity to use it with everything from a t and wind breaker to several layers of fleece and a jacket to a dry suit. In all uses thus far, it has been completely comfortable, almost not noticeable. I haven't had a chance to try it 'wet', but so far it seems an all around great piece. I'll update the post as I get some wet use in the spring!
I rate it a 10 for overall design, fit/finish and utility, an 8 for a fair price (I paid about $75.00) and a middle of the road 5 for only having two bland 'can you still see me?' color choices.
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