Usually when I write about a particular kayaking product here at yakass.net, as much as possible I'll focus on equipment that is new in the market place, but every now and then I break one of the unspoken rules. This is one of those times.
I might have picked up an Ultra Xstream 2 PFD2 long ago had they not gone on special recently, but with the price reduced by a large margin I was given enough reason to take a closer look. Although my Stohlquist PFD has served me really very well over the past few years, it's certainly now showing signs of the sheer amount of use its had. While it's held up to harsh treatment a lot better that some other Stohlquist products I've used (and swiftly destroyed - Ergo Caveman boots... I'm looking at you) the Angler vest has stood up pretty well. But it's not anywhere near as durable as Ultra's Xstream PFD2, which is partly what impresses me about it so much.
While it might be fair to say that the Angler vest pockets may offer more utility it's also a certainty that the zips on the pockets of the Xstream are infinely more durable (I'll take chunky #10 tooth style zippers over #5 coil zippers for marine use any day) and it is these zips that are becoming seriously suspect on the Angler, due partly to negligence on my part, I must admit. Comfort wise I find them pretty close, though I'm yet to compare them while kayaking. The Xstream doesn't have as much of a high-back design, so it'll be interesting to note if this becomes in any way uncomfortable on my custom skipper seat. It will definitely be warmer to, because not only is the bouyancy padding thicker and there's more of it, not to mention the kidneys are fully covered, where they aren't with the Angler.
So when you're watching the next episode of Yakass Coastal Kayak Fishing Show and you note that my PFD has changed shape and colour half-way through, this is why!