After careful thought and a few cups of tea, Chicky from the South Wales Kayak Anglers selected the Astral Sea Wolf as his buoyancy aid of choice for this coming season.
Astral are regarded as a fairly solid choice when it comes to white water and touring PFDs, so after a bit of testing here's what he had to say about it:
At first glance, I liked the non garish colour of the Astral Sea Wolf, so sun glasses are not a mandatory whilst wearing this unlike some vests. Although, there is a "look at me" version if you like that sort of thing!
Next thing I think is a great idea is the side entry fit with no zip, meaning no corrosion issues later in its life. I know a few have had issues with this problem on the sea, but the buckles prevent this from happening full stop.
It has a few pockets which have ample storage, and there's a little waist pocket that has zipped section and an unzipped section. It also has a pocket that is designed for a hydration pack for the longer trips where you don't want to stop paddling to take fluids on board.
Then there's my personal highlight, a cavernous chest pocket (or clamshell pocket as they like to call it) which has separate compartments and a zipped internal section so the guys who like to take minimal tackle, ready made rigs, and other bits, its the perfect vest. However, there's another little trick this clamshell has when you open both zips all the way the pocket opens to form a work table just in front of you, and because its on your chest you can turn away from the wind so the bits\rigs you are working on don't blow away.
More features I like; It has enough hi-vis reflective tape and I like the positioning of the VHF loops and safety knife attachment ,the clamshell pocket is detached from the main floatation band only connected by two straps which allows the vest to move and articulate as you paddle and move around which gives the feeling of great freedom .