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V Eight PFD

by Astral

Reviews

While I preferred the Onyx MoveVent life vest more because of…

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While I preferred the Onyx MoveVent life vest more because of its softness and its more comfortable feel, I bought the Astral V-Eight because it works for my short height and short waist. I tried other "high-back" vests, but even they pushed up into my face. The Astral V-Eight is the only one that does not. It has a V-neck on it too, which gives me more space in the face area. The back is very high, which is what I need. I am 4 ft. 10 in. tall and am short-waisted. I also have a kayak that has a high-back seat, but this vest sits above that in the back.

The vest has plenty of armhole room, and almost feels like I don't have a vest on. The only thing I don't like about it is that it has more of a scratchy feel than a few others I tried.

I purchased this life jacket as we do extended river trips.…

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I purchased this life jacket as we do extended river trips. First, I have to say that this life jacket is so comfortable. The fit is amazing and I love the color. For me, I am willing to pay more for a high quality, safe and lasting life jacket.

I do have to write my disappointment in the interior light blue fabric. Within one season(10 float days) the fabric had faded to almost a white color. I did contact customer service and to their credit, they were quick in response to me. However, I was disappointed that they did not take any responsibility for the material choice put in the life jacket, nor try to keep customers happy.

I just wanted people considering this life jacket to know they will get a comfortable, well fitting, but faded life jacket.

Comfortable, buoyant, eye catching, and the half back works great for…

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Comfortable, buoyant, eye catching, and the half back works great for low touring seats. The attachment point is in a good spot high on the left chest, but the pockets hold next to nothing. Great for a long paddle if you have a deck bag for snacks.

I just bought my wife a Astral V Eight PFD 3 months…

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I just bought my wife a Astral V Eight PFD 3 months ago. She has now worn it about a dozen times and she couldn't be happier. My wife loves to canoe and kayak, but there is a comfort threshold for her. The higher the comfort the more likely she is to enjoy the on water experience. I am beginning to understand that point better the older that I get. She has tried numerous vests and owns a couple of top rated ones. But she relays to me that the Astral is the most comfortable and by far the coolest temperature vest that she has ever worn. She also loves the the high back, because she is only 5'4" and canoe/kayak backs are have always been an issue. This vest helped that problem. The vest is also curved for a female in the front which relives the common tightness issues in the chest area. And she raves about feeling a little airflow through the mesh, which is found all over the vest in the right places.

Good job Astral for designing a well designed and crafted light vest.

I like the design and quality of Astral products. We have their…

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I like the design and quality of Astral products. We have their Porter shoes also. My wife and I have had our Astral V Eights for two years. We have the first model with the mesh pocket. The only thing we have in that pocket is a tethered whistle and a pair of five dollar Gorilla Gloves from Home Depot. They are very comfortable with contoured and vented panels in the chest area. So the wife's chest isn't smashed and I have air space. I shortened the shoulder straps on our vests. The V Eight has been redesigned. I'll still give the older ones a 10. The new design has a different back, front pockets and Velcro for the shoulder straps. My wife didn't see the new V Eight with the pockets yet but, when we get to the kayak shop and she sees one I'm pretty sure we'll have one of them to review.

Very comfortable life jacket! I get pretty hot typically but the…

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Very comfortable life jacket! I get pretty hot typically but the ventilation on this PFD is great. Plenty of free movement for paddling. I would highly recommend this life jacket for kayaking.

10 of 10 for comfort and cooling. I've had this PFD for…

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10 of 10 for comfort and cooling. I've had this PFD for only a short time so no long-term durability prospective. But it is extremely light-weight even after fully wetting it (something I can't say about my old PFD, which gained some notable weight from water clinging to its fabric).

The air pockets/openings work very well and provide notable cooling. This is designed to be worn high, so it does not interfere with the cockpit coaming in normal paddling or rolling. Some PFDs have low upper back, which exposes your upper vertebrae to potential knocks on rocks underwater in white water use. This one has padding way up, which not only provides cushioning but also aids in floating your upper body better than something that is primarily low around your waist.

The mesh pocket is easy to open with one hand - just pull down on the short strap. Closing requires a look down and a careful alignment to get a satisfying click.

One "issue" for me is the overly long shoulder straps that tend to flap in the wind and smack me in the face - need to wrap them around themselves a few times so the stay put in winds. Also, the lack of a pocket suitable for a marine radio is a minus but that makes the PFD compact, so a plus too (can't have it both ways...) Lastly, mine is a green color - while cute, it is low visibility. Get a brighter color!

I have been looking and looking for a comfortable PFD that does…

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I have been looking and looking for a comfortable PFD that does not make me break out in hives. I have a BetSea that I like, but the straps rub me raw under my arms. I bought a MisFit and broke out in hives everywhere it touched me. I tried several others and had no luck. They ALL made me break out in hives. Finally I tried the V Eight.

The ventilation is superb under it, NO HIVES. I still get a little heat rash from it, but I do not get hives. It sits really well on me in my Tsunami, I also have used it on a SOT twice. Fit is good and it stays in place in the water too. The fact that I still get a rash keeps if from rating a perfect 10, but it really is close.

I would second willowleaf. Got the V-8 last year, have worn it…

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I would second willowleaf.
Got the V-8 last year, have worn it on about 40 trips, and the final verdict is that you pretty much don't know it's there. My only complaint is the same too - the mesh pocket. Actually not the pocket, but the metal snap closure. It's impossible to unsnap with one hand. Velcro would be better.

I've used an old side-zip Lotus Lola for years but have always…

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I've used an old side-zip Lotus Lola for years but have always been bothered by the high center front panel riding up on my short upper body to hit right under my chin. So I've purchased a couple of front zip PFD's (Stohlquist and MTI) but found them to also not fit me well. And of course, all were quite warm on hot days. Then I spotted one of the new Astral V-8 PFD's and tried it on -- the fit was great, conforming to my high waist and full bust nicely with an exceptionally well-designed cut around the arms. So I bought it (the pumpkin-orange color was appealing too, I admit, though I now resemble a carrot slice on a lettuce leaf in my green kayak.)

When I first used it the first thing I noticed was the freedom of movement and lack of awkward bulk. It does ride a bit high behind the shoulders but I think that is because of my short back -- that looks a little strange but is not at all uncomfortable, in fact it helps to ventilate. The second thing I noticed was that I didn't notice that I was wearing a PFD at all after paddling for a while! The mesh lining and perforated flotation foam actually work to enhance air circulation and I seemed to sweat no more under the vest than I did in places that were not beneath it. I have had it out 4 times now and have never felt that I wanted to take it off while paddling even in sweltering conditions (something I was often tempted to do with the Lola.)

My only complaint, and the reason for a 9 rather than 10, is that the pockets are kind of lame. There is one large mesh pocket with a single snap flap -- no zipper. I would not store anything in there without clipping it to the d-ring inside because the pouch is not at all secure. The second "pocket" is just a shallow mesh opening above the chest, within the lining, too tiny to hold much more than a chapstick and whistle (both tethered.) I've pretty much just used it to stash my thin gloves when I wasn't using them, but I suspect they could have popped out if I had rolled.

The materials and quality of Astral's construction are outstanding, as I would expect from folks who apparently were originally involved with Lotus Designs. Very nice-looking.

Overall I think this is a great vest for anyone who wants an amazingly cool and comfortable PFD that won't chafe your underarms or feel bulky while paddling. It's the only "unisex" vest that has fit my 36DD chest well. Price is upper mid-range at around $100USD, plus or minus a few bucks.