Read reviews for the Sea02 Hybrid PFD by Kokatat as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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I recently added a Kokatat SeaO2 Hybrid PFD life vest to my collection, I wanted a lighter vest with a higher back. Yet I didn't want to sacifice, safety, comfort or quality. I was and am still leary of the total inflatable life vests. I wanted something that some traditional foam in it. I have tried and own my styles and brands of vests, Kokatat is my favorite brand. I also own the Kokatat Ronin Pro Kayak Rescue Lifejacket to compare the SeaO2 to. both are great vests. They are both comfortable, the SeaO2 is lighter and cooler, the Ronin is a bar none hard core pro vest. Technical wise the SeaO2 performs perfectly, and it does hold me afloat without adding extra air. I am 190#. Kokatat makes great products and the SeaO2 life vest has proven itself.
Being a gagetaholic, I am a sucker for all things new. No exception for this semi-inflatable PFD. I was not disapointed with the Sea02. It was a bit strange getting used to the side zipper after years in a Lotus Straight Jacket. I wanted less and more. More pocket space and less bulk. The back is all mesh up to between the shoulders. That allows plenty empty space to lay back on the deck when desired. It is cooler in warm weather because of this. The radio pocket seem secure with a D-ring to beener my ICOM inside.... not room for anything else though. Not even a small flare. The other pocket is large enough for what I carry along. Behind this pockete is a cavernous void where the C02 cartridge is tucked into. I say cavernous because I thought I lost my Optio WP and small scotch flask... Today after a few rolls I noticed that the camera and booze were deep inside there and did not fall our while inverted. I was lucky... my camera could have sunk in deep water. Anyway, the PFD will float me without any supplemental air added into the bladder with its supplied foam. The oral inflator only takes 3 breaths to inflate fully. The vest kept my head upright whether inflated or not. When inflated, the additional air is about 75% over your sternum and 25% between your shoulder blades. Another great attribute of this PFD is how easy it is to swim with on. Don't jerk the ripcord. It will cost you about $10 to replace the cartridge. The oral inflated is quick and easy. The only thing I did not like is how you let air out. It is a spring loaded and you need to turn the cap upside and press it to deflate. I'd rather no "tools" be needed to deflate it. A squeeze in the middle or a seperate deflate valve on the shoulder would be nicer.