Sunday, June 14, 2015

Salvavida! (Life jacket)

A little something about me - I speak Spanish.  I didn't learn it as my mother tongue.  No one else in my family speaks it.  And I didn't learn it in school.  I acquired it on a 4-year sojourn where I decided to live in a Spanish-speaking country.  I speak a cross between baby talk and beach slang, but I can usually make myself understood.  It's come in handy visiting Mexico, Cuba, and even Miami! 

Technically 'salvavida' is the floating ring you'd see at pools or on ships and translates directly to 'life saver' (mmmm cherry lifesavers) but the word is also used as a short version for 'life jacket'.  It's one of those words that is fun to say for an object that usually isn't associated as being the fun part of boating.

As we rented canoes for the first couple of years we were trekking, we always had rental life jackets (aka PFDs).  Not fun and not overly comfortable.  But absolutely essential.  I've mentioned a couple of times about having been involved in a canoeing incident where I was very glad I had my life jacket.  I wear it and I make my paddling partner wear theirs as well.  Accidents happen and you don't want to pay with your life.

On one of our trips last year we rented from Trailhead Paddleshack in Ottawa. Now their life jackets are super comfy!  Finally, a jacket you could get excited about!  Their design takes a lot of bulk away from around your arms, which you use a lot while canoeing, and integrates a net pocket on the front.  For our last trip of 2014, I decided to buy us a set of life jackets at Trailhead.  

The model is the Salus Trailhead PFD.  You can check it out here:

Here I am modeling the brandy-new life jacket:
Yes, I am an ad for Columbia!
This picture was taken at Cedar Lake.  I need to mention that because that lake behind me is looking like glass - I don't think Cedar calms down all that much, it's a rare moment!

A little more about me, I'm an avid cyclist - I've got a lot more experience cycling than canoeing.  In the picture I'm wearing bike gloves and my emergency rain jacket (really just plastic with a velcro closure).  So don't go looking for those nifty accessories in the camping section of MEC - look in cycling.

We usually hang the life jackets up on a tree branch at the campsite or tuck them under the canoe - depends on whether we're expecting rain.  
His 'n Hers - Mine has more dangling stuff
And LT is a full foot taller than me so he can hang his jacket higher.

The life jackets are easy to put on, they have two bands, one clips at the waist, the other a bit higher.  Both clips are on the right side of the body.  I feel very comfortable and safe in this jacket.  There is a considerable comfort on longer paddles when the life jacket doesn't rub against your arms.

I would highly recommend this jacket for usability, comfort and price.  And as with all my gear reviews - this post is NOT sponsored (ha, like I have to actually say that!).

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