2012 Holiday Product Review
Your search the ultimate PFD ends here.
Well, technically speaking, Gill’s Compressor Vest, is not a street legal PFD, but rather a “buoyancy aid” that’s legal in Europe, not here at home thanks to outdated U.S. Coast Guard standards. Regardless, if the special someone in your life is still sporting a tattered Omega foam-block PFD vest every time they hit the racecourse, set them up with a Compressor Vest, and they’ll love you forever. The combination of neoprene (for warmth), aggressively contoured flotation panels, and a smartly cut minimalist design, make this by far the most comfortable lifejacket I’ve ever worn. And I’ve worn a lot.
A short side-zip and waist buckle make it easy to get on and off, and a V-notch on the front panel allows it to be worn over a trapeze harness for quick hook-ins. But the best secret with this thing is to wear it underneath a rash guard in the summer: The foam pattern gives the illusion that you’re sporting six-pack abs. Intimidation is half the battle. And let’s face it: It’s the closest most of us will ever get to Anna Tunnicliffe-caliber abs. The photo, thanks to Newport (R.I.) Laser Fleet 413 resident photographer Jeff Stevens, shows the vest, and my other most essential piece of frostbiting kit: a Kokotat Meridian Drysuit (with “relief” zipper). Gill Compressor vest: $140; Kokatat Drysuit: $1,000. Combined together… priceless. www.gill.com; www.kokotat.com