MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal
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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal on 01/27/2012 22:10:18 MST Print View

I figured I'd start a thread in the packrafting section to document the creation of my inflatable PFD since I'm super stoked about it.

The project started off as a hybrid air/foam PFD, but I've now shifted directions and I'm making purely an air PFD. I decided filling the air chambers about 1/3 to 1/2 full of foam would significantly increase the bulk and weight, while still sucking at being a PFD since it would be below the minimum amount of float I really need. Accordingly, this PFD is now an ultralight inflatable PFD for moderate wilderness use, and I'll use a more robust foam PFD if I ever start creek boating locally.

All materials to date have been ordered from QuestOutfitters.com

Stage 1 - Making the Vest
Using 2.2oz 70D nylon, I set about making a basic vest. I traced the outline (minus the sleeves) of a shirt that fits well onto my fabric. Then I cut that out and make a duplicate so I had two halves. I then sewed them together using flat felled seams.

Then I made the 'front' more of a front by adding a 'V' to the neck line and I cut it open down the front. I then enlarged the sleeve holes, mostly towards the front and bottom (as you can see in the first pic), so that there is lots of room to paddle without interference. Once I was happy with everything, I sewed on the edging from Quest. Unfortunately I didn't order quite enough (3 yards) so I'll have to finish the edging later.

PFD 1

PFD Seams

Stage 2 - The Back Chamber
With the vest made, the next order of business was to create the 3 air chambers (one upper back, two on chest) needed to float. I decided about 22 lbs of float (10 back, 12 chest) would be a decent amount, since I don't plan to run crazy white water with this.

I sat in my pack raft and figured out where I could position the air chamber that wouldn't interfere with my use of the back rest. I did think about eliminating the raft backrest and incorporating an air chamber into the vest instead, but I didn't want the floatation getting too low down my body because I want to make sure I float head up.

I deciding on a back chamber of 12" (wide), 9" (tall) and 2.5" thick. This gives me a total of 270 cubic inches and 9.7 lbs of float. I suspect in reality because the chamber will bulge a bit away from a perfect rectangle, I'll get a bit more float than this.

To make the chamber, I used 70D heat sealable nylon (from Quest). I didn't want to bond to equal halves together like is normally done to create sleeping pads and pillows, because I wanted a non-symetrical shape that would sit nicely against my back. This is hard to explain, so I'll let the photos do the talking:

Outer side:
Back Chamber 1

Flat side, which will get sewn to the vest around the 3/4" bonded perimeter:
Back Chamber 2

I'm super stoked about this air chamber. I still need to add the valve. It's going where my fingers are in the first picture. By putting it in the corner seam, I leave the perimeter seam intact so I can sew it to the vest all the way around.

As a side bonus, this is going to make an amazing pillow.

I haven't totally determined how I'm going to sew it to the vest yet, but it shouldn't be too hard. I might cut a hole and reinforce the edge before sewing it to the chamber, or I might just sew it on.

The work continues...

Edited by dandydan on 01/28/2012 09:59:02 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD Weights on 01/27/2012 22:14:24 MST Print View

Oh...the chamber weighs 42g (1.48oz) and the valve will add ~0.2oz...for a 1.7oz total.

The vest is 44g (1.55oz) but it still needs another 4g in edging and then the webbing and buckles (1oz?).

Add in ~2.5oz for the two smaller chambers on the front, and I think I'm going to wind up around 7oz.

Edited by dandydan on 01/27/2012 22:28:45 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal on 01/28/2012 03:52:17 MST Print View

Very cool Dan. IIRC, my old SOSpenders Scout Life Vest weighed around 9 oz after taking off the autoinflate parts.

http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Sospenders-Scout-Life-Vest-Manual-Inflatable-PFD/752763/product.html

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD's on 01/28/2012 10:08:33 MST Print View

I'll be happy as long as I can keep mine the same or lighter than that, since my vest is going to be quite a bit more featured and comfortable (hopefully).

Features Planned:
- The upper buckle is going to have an integrated whistle
- Two pockets on front below the air chambers. One for fishing lure box and the other for a knife, snacks, sun screen etc.
- Rear air chamber doubles as a nicely sized pillow.

Edited by dandydan on 01/28/2012 10:09:43 MST.

Keith F
(hamerica) - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: MYOG Inflatable PFD on 01/28/2012 14:37:09 MST Print View

Looks great Dan! I really need to learn how to sew. How do you plan on testing this thing when it is done?

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal on 01/28/2012 14:44:45 MST Print View

waterbarrel

How else?

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal on 01/28/2012 14:47:39 MST Print View

Sorry for cluttering the thread, I couldn't resist.

Thanks for sharing this project, Dan. The photos are very helpful and the weight to feature ratio looks great!

I have considered a similar pursuit, but want to incorporate some solid foam for margin, as your original idea, if I can get it light enough. Your process is thought provoking.

Edited by biointegra on 01/28/2012 14:48:26 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Safety on 01/28/2012 16:40:45 MST Print View

The difficulty with designing an inflatable or hybrid PFD is that partly comes down to safety vs. weight, so you need to choose a compromise that works with your intended use and risk tolerance. Even with a foam PFD, you face that compromise somewhat (ie. how much foam to put in?).

One question I've been asking myself is: "What would happen if it popped?"

It seems to me that if any one chamber popped, I would still be okay (with 'okay' defined as floating generally head up). If the back chamber popped, I'd likely float chest up, so hopefully my face would be out of the water (but maybe not). If one of the front chambers popped, I'd still probably float upright but with a tilt. It's good I will have two front chambers. The real danger would be if both front chambers popped (and not the back one). Then I'd be floating face down. I think I'm okay with this risk, since popping two separate air chambers in one swim seems quite unlikely, and even if it did I would still okay (I could clip out) unless I was knocked out too....so 3 bad things would have to happen at once for me to be in serious trouble.

With separate valves for each chamber, I will be able to test this out and see if it floats as I'm theorizing. If my PFD can indeed sustain any one puncture and still make a positive contribution to my floating head up, then I'm okay with that risk situation. However if I single puncture results in me floating face down, then I'm not sure I want that risk. If this ends up being the case, then I think I would link the three air chambers together (hose) so that if one pops, then the whole thing goes flat. Since I don't on any crazy creek boating, I'm okay with this risk. I'm going to keep it as 3 chambers for now, as having 2 out of 3 seems safer than having 0 out of 3, but I'll test that out when I can.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Testing on 01/28/2012 16:43:34 MST Print View

" How do you plan on testing this thing when it is done?"

Good question....the lakes are darn cold around here right now. Ideally I'd take it to the local swimming pool, but it's a pretty busy place and I'd look pretty ridiculous. I suppose it's either that, or wait until spring.....or poach someone's hot tub.

Keith F
(hamerica) - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Testing on 01/28/2012 18:36:42 MST Print View

Since when did anyone on this site care about looking ridiculous ;)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: MYOG PFD on 01/30/2012 19:22:58 MST Print View

Looks awesome Dan. My thoughts on the safety of three chambers matches with yours pretty well. Realistically, a PFD like yours would suit the vast majority of my packrafting just fine. I'm more interested in having something much smaller to pack than the weight savings (though saving ~10 oz is nice too).

Make sure the front chambers don't mess with the lap pillow.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cool Project on 01/30/2012 19:30:33 MST Print View

Very cool project. I wonder if you could turn this into a side business if it works well. Liablity issues would be something to think about though.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD's on 01/30/2012 20:44:28 MST Print View

Things are coming along pretty good.

I got the back chamber installed. I put it on there with 3 lines of sewing and then I zig-zagged over top of the inner and outer stitching to really make it bomber:
PFD 4

I designed the back chamber so it's just high enough that it doesn't interfere with the pack raft backrest. As long as you don't inflate it too firm, you can't tell you're wearing it. It could be firmer than this pic though. Kinda funny looking...but effective.
PFD 5

I started putting the buckles on, but had to stop since I don't have all the edging in place yet. I've now decided I'm going to go with 3 buckles instead of 2, so one more will be added in the middle so it doesn't splay open when seated:
PFD 6

I made the front two chambers today, after redesigning them about 4 times. I'm still not sure they're going to be perfect, but I'm keep working away until they are. Tomorrow the valve glue will be dry and then I'll tape them to in place and see how it works before actually sewing.

As it sits now, I've got 9.7 lbs of float in the back and 11 lbs in the front. With the front flotation also a bit lower down, it should give me a nice lean back.

"I wonder if you could turn this into a side business if it works well."
Unlike most of the projects I've made (ie. cuben fly), I probably would make a couple more of these if people really wanted. Definitely not a permanently business though, as I get tired of making the same stuff pretty quickly.

Edited by dandydan on 01/30/2012 21:12:21 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD Weight on 01/30/2012 20:52:12 MST Print View

Oh...with all three chambers and two buckles, this PFD is at 6.51oz. The rest of the edging (5g) and third buckle (8g) will take me to 7oz. I'll probably add another 0.5oz in pockets too. So I'm estimating 7.5oz finished weight.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: PFD Weight on 01/31/2012 05:13:50 MST Print View

Very cool! The estimated finished weight is awesome.

Not to be a negative nancy, but is anyone concerned with the legality of MYOG life vests? I only ask this because while packrafting Isle Royale, we were mildly harassed by a ranger who threatened to terminate our trip because we were in "glorified pool toys" (our alpacka rafts). He lamented that the boats didn't have some sort of coast guard rating. Luckily our inflatable PFDs were coast guard approved because he thoroughly inspected those too.
(full details coming soon hopefully)

Maybe you'll be in more remote places. Just a thought.

But great work! :)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: PFD Weight on 01/31/2012 09:08:39 MST Print View

Yes, you have to take the risk of getting ticketed if wearing a myog vest.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD Legality on 01/31/2012 14:08:25 MST Print View

Perhaps the rules are different up here in Canada....I'm not entirely sure what the rules are because they don't seem to be enforced. I know a lot of people raft the mellower creeks/rivers around here without PFDs at all, so I'm not too worried about a MYOG PFDl. I'd only be concerned if I was in a motor boat.

Also, the funding for BC Parks has been cut back so much that I've never seen a ranger ever....so yeah I'll chance a $75 fee.

Edited by dandydan on 01/31/2012 14:10:40 MST.

Rob E
(eatSleepFish)

Locale: Canada
Re: PFD Legality on 01/31/2012 14:21:27 MST Print View

Just as a point of conversation, I believe it is a legal requirement to carry a certified PFD for packrafts, canoes, bellyboats, etc. in Canada. See http://www.tc.gc.ca/publications/en/tp511/pdf/hr/tp511e.pdf pages 22-23

"These requirements do not apply to inflatable self-propelled water toys
because these toys are not designed for use in open water. If you do choose
to operate these toys in open water, they will be treated as pleasure craft and
subject to the same strict rules."

Now, note the language says that "one PFD per person", and does not specific whether that PFD needs to be worn or not. Also, it does not say at what point a small body of water, such as a creek, becomes "open water".

Legality aside, I agree that the park services in BC are so underfunded and understaffed that I think the chances of being stopped are rare. In some instances you'd be more likely to be stopped by DFO officers, and I am not sure if they would inspect life jackets all that closely.

If anyone else has a more definitive sources for legal requirements for small self-propelled vessels in Canada I would be interested in learning the exact rules and definitions.

Edited by eatSleepFish on 01/31/2012 14:23:15 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: PFD Legality on 01/31/2012 14:28:12 MST Print View

In the US, it could come up if you are on "Navigable Waters" and subject to Coast Guard inspection. Then lacking any of your required safety gear (signaling devices, lighting at night, PFDs, etc) could cause an issue as could design issues with the boat. Some states have requirements for children to be wearing PFDs as opposed to them just being on board. Required gear varies greatly with boat length, power/sail/paddle.

US National Parks sometimes have their own regulations and inspections for boats. GCNP comes to mind as being especially detailed with your hand sanitizer system inspected beforehand, your pottie weighed afterwards and certainly high-floatation PFDs being required to be worn at all times while on the water within the park.

Any PFD you wear (MYOG, factory, whatever) is better than the most approved PFD that you're not wearing. The biggest determiner of survival in a small plane ditching in Alaska is if you went out of the aircraft with a PFD on. You'll be incapable of helping yourself within minutes, but if you're bobbing around with your head above water 30-40 minutes later, the Coast Guard might save you.

If you don't get off a Mayday, a helpful Q to ask is, "Okay, I swam / washed up on shore - now what?" Consider that you might be in your paddling clothes, with your PFD and NOTHING ELSE. When I work for the USFS, they issue inflatable PFDs in blaze orange that are like a photographer's vest with little pockets all over. There's a mirror, space blanket, whistle, leatherman, cord, power bar(?) - they did a pretty good job of putting in the stuff you'd most want. I've since converted by factory PFDs with little zippered organizer pouches to hold that stuff. Since it's "modified" it might not pass an inspection but I can't imagine being led away in handcuffs because I have survival gear and SPOT in my PFD. At least not up here.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Your PFD on 01/31/2012 20:38:47 MST Print View

I'll take one. I'm 6'0, 155lbs.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFDs on 01/31/2012 22:30:32 MST Print View

Wait a few days and see how the front turns out. I'm still not sure about it.

Getting enough float on the front isn't hard, I just want designed so it doesn't interfere with the spray deck waist. I think I'm going to have to go with larger but thinner bladders, so they are only 1-1.5" thick. Once you get to 2-2.5" I start to get worried about how well the spray skirt wraps around.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD Update on 02/03/2012 17:42:15 MST Print View

I scrapped the front air chambers I made a couple days ago and made two more that I'm finally pleased with. I got those made and sewn on today and I'm quite happy. You can't really tell in the picture, but the top side of the air chambers is sloped at a 45 degree.

Right now the PFD tips the scales at 6.71oz and it's actually only going to get lighter. I'm going to cut off the bottom 4" or so of the vest that hangs below the front air chambers and just leave an inch, since there really is no purpose for this material. That'll probably cut off 1/2oz and then I'll add a bit back on by adding a pocket above each front chamber, so my final estimated weight is 6.5oz. I'm heading out to a backcountry cabin for the weekend, so I plan to finish it on Monday or Tues.

If I ever make more vests, they'd wind up a bit lighter still because there is no need for 3 buckles. Had I placed my middle buckle a few inches higher at the top of the chambers, I wouldn't need the top one. Another way to save a bunch of weight would be to use lighter heat sealable material on the inside of the air chambers (the part that goes against the vest), but I'm not sure where to get that stuff. The air chambers are most of the weight on this thing (ie. 2/3rds).

The front chambers are really soft in this pic since the valves are still drying. You do want them a little soft though so they wrap around your body instead of being rigid.

Notice the line across the right chamber....I was really getting low on heat sealable material after 4 attempts on the front chambers, so I had to attach two pieces together to create a larger piece before I could cut this panel.

PFD 7

Edited by dandydan on 02/03/2012 17:45:24 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Very Interesting plus another idea on 02/03/2012 17:48:04 MST Print View

Very interesting to follow your project, glad its coming together.

Here's another idea for those who don't want a lighter PFD but don't want to go the inflatable route. How about a PFD with lighter fabric (all that I've seen are heavy duty) and removable foam? The lighter shell would save some weight and the removable foam could be packed a lot more efficiently so it wouldn't take up as much room.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: Utah
Will it float, will it float? on 02/03/2012 17:51:58 MST Print View

Just like on Letterman, I'd love to see you, in this thing, in some whitewater.

I'm sure it works to some degree, but I'm really curious to see how well. Let's see some test videos!

Also, in terms of legality what immediately came to my mind is that selling a PFD without having it approved may leave you liable. Not that any BPLers would do that, right?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD on 02/03/2012 18:09:24 MST Print View

"selling a PFD without having it approved may leave you liable."

Yeah...it could be the 'desert vest' designed for carrying extra water on long dry stretches of trail. Just take a mouthful of water and blow it into the valve.

"How about a PFD with lighter fabric (all that I've seen are heavy duty) and removable foam?"

I think this could work really good. Fabric can be really light, so the hard part could just be finding the best foam. A 70D nylon vest with lots of chambers for foam would be no more than 2-3oz. Also, with removable foam bits you could alternatively substitute in air filled platypus bottles for UL trips on mellow water.

"I'm really curious to see how well [it floats]"
Yeah me too....hopefully it's not an utter failure and I have to start over. There's a lake on my street with about 10' x 10' of open water where a stream enters. I could jump in there :) Honestly, I'm not sure when I'm going to test it. The lakes are awfully cold and frozen, and the local pool charges $10 to get in, which is a lot to pay just to go look goofy in front of everyone.

Edited by dandydan on 02/03/2012 18:42:54 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: PFD Update on 02/03/2012 18:38:38 MST Print View

Dan, great job.
Could you nave made pockets for the air chambers to fit in instead of sewing them in- how much extra weight do you think it would add? My thinking is if you get a leak in a chamber you could just swap out a good one.

I thought about this because of your comment about inflation and fitting close to the body. My thought was to make separate tubes but that would be inefficient- too many valves. Then I thought maybe seal up the chambers almost all the way, just a little opening at each end (like a cheap blow up pool mattress). You could make the outside larger then the inside causing it to curve when inflated. Being in a sleeve/pocket they might allow for a better fit.

You might be able to get a lighter weight heat sealable fabric at Seattle Fabrics. I saw some in there this summer when I was getting fabric for some lightweight dry bags. It was a little too lightweight for me to use for kayaking. But now I wish I would have picked some up.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/03/2012 21:01:28 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFDs on 02/03/2012 18:59:34 MST Print View

Making pockets for the air chambers instead of sewing them on wouldn't take that much fabric. Maybe an ounce, plus whatever other weight you add in terms of zippers or snaps...so 2-3oz if you had a lot of hardware.

However, making the air chambers is by far the hardest and time consuming part of this (getting all the measurements draw on the material, cutting it, adding baffles and heat sealing etc). So if you actually did this you'd probably want to use the same chamber for all 3-4 spots instead of unique chambers, so you'd only need to carry one spare. Creating 3 unique spares would add a lot of work.

The biggest challenge with a PFD seems to be getting enough inflation on the front of your torso. It's easy to add tons of float to the back because it's out of the way. With the front though, you need to get quite a bit of float out of a relatively small area. I couldn't make the front air chambers any lower, because when you're sitting down you don't want them hitting your legs and being shoved up. I could have made them a little taller, but it starts to get interfere with the movement of your arms and the vest is narrowing quite a bit so there's not that much room anyways.

My point is just that if you didn't use baffles and just mostly used 'sewn thru' construction (but heat sealed) then it would wrap around your body better but you'd have a hard time getting enough air volume. Even as it is, I'm nervous about how much I have on the front. I have about 8 lbs of float on the front and 9.7 on the back. It might float alright, or I'm might need to partially deflate the back chamber to float on a nice lay back position.

One approach that would work well would be to NOT have the closure up the front, as it takes up valuable space. If you made a vest that was a pull over and then attached at the sides, you'd have an intact front area to work with. With this, you might be able to use a 'sewn thru' construction technique and still get enough air volume.

The front pads on this are 1.5" thick. Originally I made chambers that were 2.5" thick but it was too bulky. I went to 1.5" thick and maybe them a little larger. It actually feels quite good. It's fine if the chambers are firmly inflated, and if you back it off 10% then you don't even notice they're there.

Edited by dandydan on 02/03/2012 19:00:04 MST.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
The Bob. on 02/04/2012 18:14:23 MST Print View

Dan, noticed you put a gear list up for the Bob. I'll see you there bud.

Rob E
(eatSleepFish)

Locale: Canada
modular on 02/04/2012 19:15:13 MST Print View

Hi Dan,

Really like your progress, excited to see how you do in a float test on the water.

I like your idea of not having separate front/rear inflation bladders so that you don't have to carry multiple spares.

If the weight/cost of a valve isn't that much, what about a modular system in which you have several different inflation "tubes" that you can stuff places. I am thinking cylindrical inflation tubes, something like 2-3 inches in diameter and 6-8" in length. You could then place a few where they are needed. say 3 or 4 in your back, and 2 in each front side. There is redundancy because if one of the chambers pops you don't loose the entire inflation on that quarter. This way you have redundancy and can carry the same size spare. Also, for easier trips, warm weather on still water, you can reduce the number of chambers you use, and for say, white-water in colder weather, you could stuff more chambers in there.

Anyway, just a thought, I haven't worked through all the implications, or concluded as to whether this is a good or bad idea. I think a lot hinges on the cost/weight/hassle of the valves.

Cheers

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFDs on 02/05/2012 19:47:12 MST Print View

"...noticed you put a gear list up for the Bob. I'll see you there bud."

Yeah I'm pretty sure I can make it. Work is still a bit of an unknown but it looks good.

I whipped up that list pretty quick but it's a likely strategy that I may take. Obviously I have a pack raft and if I went that route my list would be really different. I haven't really planned my route yet (waiting on maps which are in the mail), so that will affect gear decisions a lot.

"what about a modular system in which you have several different inflation "tubes" that you can stuff places."
I think there would be a place for a design like this. If I was planning on running riskier water where there's a chance I get chewed up pretty good then I'd want more redundancy in the chambers. For me, I plan on mostly running class 2-3 in the wilderness and I feel pretty comfortable with risk I'm taking on. If I was thinking about class 4 water then I'd water additional precautions. I do want to get into some class 4 in local waters, but I'd probably just buy a cheap foam inflatable for this.

With regards to the design, perhaps a mix of tubes/chambers and Platypus bottles would work well, because you'd add redundancy and use gear you're already carrying. You could also make a PFD with a few (3?) non-removable chambers, but then it would also have smaller pockets for 1L or 500ml platy bottles that you could stuff in there too for gnarlier waters.

It wouldn't add that much weight to have more chambers. You're looking about maybe 0.3 or 0.4oz for a valve. You wouldn't want to have ten, but 6 instead of 3 would only be an extra ounce, plus likely a bit more fabric for the separate chambers.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: PFDs on 02/05/2012 20:02:39 MST Print View

I've been doing some looking around (I have the NatGeo TOPO program for Montana) and it seems that you could do without a pack raft for the whole trip. Most of the rivers seem to flow either north or far south of the finish point.

I also noticed you are bringing a shelter and a sleeping bag. I don't think I'm packing that. Hehehe.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD Update on 02/06/2012 20:48:47 MST Print View

I trimmed the excess fabric off the bottom that wasn't serving a purpose. The air chambers needed to be as high as they are so they don't hit your lap when sitting.

PFD is now 6.4oz. It's getting two pockets (one above each front chamber) and then prototype 1 is complete.

The front chambers feel good when wearing it. They don't feel too bulky

If I ever make a V2, it would have two buckles instead of 3, likely some refinements to the back air chamber shape (it's probably a bit big) and possibly lighter through the use of 30D heat sealable nylon the inner sides of the chambers.

PFD 10

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Sleeping pad on 05/05/2012 11:37:57 MDT Print View

My thought when I read through this thread was "How could this and a sleeping pad be integrated?" I know that you mentioned that you plan to use this PFD as a pillow. I was just thinking that it might be more volume than you really need for a pillow, and you could save some weight by combining some of that extra volume with an MYOG sleeping pad.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
PFD on 05/06/2012 13:17:56 MDT Print View

I'm not sure you could use it as a torso pad, but perhaps you could combine it with a torso pad to make a full length one.

This PFD is essentially finished. I ended up changing how it opens. I sewed the front together and removed the buckles to get the air chambers closer to together (and to the front) to improve floating position and get them a bit further away from my arms. I cut a slit from one of the air holes down to the bottom, which is how it is put on now. It uses a few clips to close up, and then I added some cord and LineLoc3's around the back of the vest so it can be snugged up nicely.

I'll try to post updated pics sometime. I've been away hiking/travelling/working a lot lately.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
MYOG Inflatable PFD - Progress Journal on 05/06/2012 15:58:50 MDT Print View

Dan -

I'd be interested in seeing photos of the vest in action if/when you get up the nerve to pool test it.

I have a variety of floatation devices that I've acquired over the years and none are perfect. I really like the idea of a custom solution. The "official" regulations hear in Canada requires a floatation device to keep you afloat "face up" while unconscious. While I understand why that is a desireable requirement, what it actually accomplishes is a life vest design that is so uncomfortable to wear that nobody wears their vests. If you are under 16 (in Canada) you have to wear a certified floatation device while on the water. If you are over sixteen you have to have an approved life saving vest in your water craft.

Where it gets sketchy is in things like float tubes (for fishing). You are actually required to have a vest but most don't and as you said, who is checking on provincial waters. Some of our lakes are patrolled by the local police but I've never been challenged regarding a life vest in any of my water craft in freshwater. Definitely a different story in salt water where I am constantly challenged to produce my saftey equipment (and even thanked for wearing my vest!).

I have a fishing vest that incorporates an inflatable bladder (CO2 rip cord type) that is certified and might be an option if deconstructed and rebuild to you design.

I also have a device that was build as a prototype that failed certification so the manufacturer couldn't produce them. It's a very small (flat) package that clips to my belt loop and uses a rip cord to inflate a large "log". Easy to carry and as long as I'm conscious, would do a great job (as long as you can hang onto the inflated log). This is the device that I use the most as it's small and out of the way but accessible.

I also have a canoeing vest that is trimmed down in size and allows free arm movement and is really comfortable to wear however, it doesn't float me "face up" so technically not legal.

Keep us posted when you do your final testing. Great project!

Edited by skopeo on 05/06/2012 19:58:37 MDT.