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Stohlquist Descent Personal Flotation Device - Men's

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    10 Reviews


    Descent Personal Flotation Device

    Paddlers who need top-grade performance—from serious river rats to professional first responders—choose the Stohlquist Descent Personal Flotation Device. This PFD works for Type V strong swimmers and uses its excellent fit and performance to aid you in high-pressure situations. Rescue-compatible with a quick-release belt and tow tether, the Descent excels when you're pushing your limits. The cross-cinch harness and Grip-Loc non-slip neoprene panel on the interior eliminate annoying ride-up and subsequent chafing, while the textured panels and stiffeners, as well as contoured padding, protect your shoulders during portages. Free-floating suspended shoulders stretch as you move, and the Wrapture shaped torso utilizes articulated foam and convex interior seams to provide a close but comfortable fit.

    • Comfortable, low-profile vest ready for serious rapids
    • Low-cut, offset front-zip entry adds to low profile
    • Ergonomic Wrapture torso ensures a close, comfy fit
    • Cross-cinch harness and Grip-Loc panel prevent chafing
    • Contoured padding protect your shoulders during portages
    • Free-floating suspended shoulders stretch as you move
    • Pockets offer easy-access to your items on the water
    • 3M reflective accents enhance your visibility
    • Item #STO0048

    Tech Specs

    USCG Approved
    type III
    Flotation / Buoyancy
    16 lb 8 oz
    Tow Compatibility
    side zipper
    layered pocket system
    Recommended Use
    high performance kayaking
    Manufacturer Warranty

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    not bad!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Sweet life jacket, big enough pocket to hold everything, good spot for a dive knife. The last one I bought had a very short strap on the quick release so it barely reaches the clip, that was a bit unfortunate.

    Solid PFD

      Its good, comfortable and it fits well. I am 6'4'' and 190lbs and I am in a nebulous size. the s/m is a wee bit to small and barely fits but the l/xl is on the opposite side. That said it does fit better than the smaller version. there are a couple other issues I have with it such as the type III and not V rating and the knife mount. but overall it is a comfortable PFD on its own or with a drysuit.

      Super Rad PFD!

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

      This is my first PFD for whitewater kayaking, so far I love it. Super comfortable and the Chest pocket fits the Stohlquist Throw Bag perfectly!

      The Perfect Whitewater Rescue PFD

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      Whitewater paddling is a committing endeavor. Amy first experience with anything whitewater was on a popular Whitewater run on the Snake River in Wyoming. I had been looking forward to the moment for months and had really high expectations. I was on a large 15” raft full of other youth. As I went through the rapids my excitement quickly faded to boredom, It was nearly as exciting as I had hoped! I remembered watching videos on youtube of these insane guys going off of waterfalls, dropping down narrow steep chutes and pounding through monster waves. I then realized that instead of barreling over top these rapids, it would be my destiny to be one with the waves in a kayak.

      I wen’t on KSL and found myself a cheap kayak, paddle and skirt. I met up with a friend who had similarly bought himself a kayak and with no experience whatsoever we went on the water. We learned the hard way. Time after time we’d be dealing with the consequences of our inexperience, lack of gear and improper technique. Eventually we taught ourselves to roll, bulldoze rescue boats etc.

      The following year we decided to branch out and meet and learn from other paddlers. We found the local whitewater club and joined them on various outings. Being able to see rescue technique and properly used gear firsthand was hugely important. I started investing in a better boat and gear. It made such a huge difference in my second season and I was able to quickly and confidently advance to full class IV. One of the most important pieces of gear I acquired during this time was a Type V rescue PFD.

      I spent a LOT of time researching the top rescue PFDs of each brand and found the Stohlquist descent as the one that would fit my needs the best with the Astral Green Jacket as a close second. These are some features that led me to choose it.

      -Front mesh pocket for beer or soda or whatever
      -Large internal pocket for any items including rope gear, and is also compatible with the Stolhquist Add-A-Buoy system for big water swims.
      -Attachment area for knife holster.
      -Large built in QR belt that comes with a velcro on O-ring which makes it possible to rethread the QR without taking off the PFD. Works Great with the Stohlquist tow tether .
      -Mini QR loop that allows you to attach any number of things.
      -Durable portage straps on the shoulders which makes portages easier and more comfortable.

      One of the biggest reasons I chose this over the green jacket is because you can zip it on. You simply make three quick adjustments on one side, thread the QR (which is important to check anyways) and zip it on! With the Green Jakcet you have to pull it over your head and readjust everything afterwards.

      I love this jacket and I'd recommend it to any serious paddler without thinking twice! If you have any issues, Stohlquist stands by their gear completely.
      Look at the bottom of my review for my contact info. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions about my review or this product.

      The Perfect Whitewater Rescue PFD

      Alternative knife mounting & other mods

      I like my knife on the rescue belt. Can't slide off due to a ladder lock on belt. This is a much 'cleaner' presentation and doesn't get caught climbing up on an overturned raft. Note the sewing thread which acts as double protection from donating your knife to the river. It breaks easy when needed. Also plastic release ball replaced with a monkeys fist.

      Alternative knife mounting & other mods

      Raft Guide Tested

        I replaced my Green Jacket with the Descent. The big pocket is get for holding a CPR mask, a couple prusiks, phone, and an energy bar. The front pocket holds a 12oz can on the occasions where that is important. I mount my knife low on rescue belt left side. It keeps it from catching on chicken line while climbing back into a raft. Fit is great. L/XL for 6'5" 220#

        Raft Guide Tested


        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        When mine dies I will replace it with another. I like it way more than the Astral green jacket, which I will return. As a rafter it is noticeably lower profile which I like and the pocket is well placed and adequately sized as is the beverage holder. I can fit my flip line, caribiner, and sunglasses and still have a little room for snacks or smokes without the pocket bulging. My only complaint is that the location of the knife holder is awkward if you use the beverage holder often and have a longer straight blade [the bear claw fits great at that spot]. Fortunately my NRS pilot knife fits perfectly on the shoulder strap and is out of the way; I actually like the placement better. If you're a rafter [I can't speak for kayakers] looking for a type V jacket and on the fence go with this one.

        Great Vest!... But

        • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

        I've borrowed one of my friends on many occasions but I just bought my very own from Backcountry for this kayaking season. I've always been really happy with my friends. It's defiantly designed with whitewater in mind and at least in my opinion, they are the standard for anyone that is competing or looking to compete in any whitewater competitions. My only complaint is that there is not enough room for a women's bust! A good tight sports bra is necessary to keep your ladies from being smashed out to the sides... And still it's not the most comfortable. Maybe there is not enough women whitewater kayakers to warrant a different version. After all we are making due with the Descent, and you can make it work for you it just takes some adjusting an appropriate bra choose and you can be reasonable comfortable in the bust. But all and all we can make due, it just seems like all to often us women have to make due with what there is. But an amazing product all the same.

        Great PFD!!

          I absolutely love this jacket. It?s very low profile so it?s easy to move around in and is very comfortable. I also love some of the touches Stohlquist added in like the padded shoulder straps. It makes carrying a kayak much more comfortable. The front pocket is also huge and can carry one of the Add a Buoys if you want a little more flotation as well as any other items like rescue gear, keys, phone, chapstick, sunblock, etc. There is also a little space in the back of the jacket where you can fit a 1 liter bladder. All you need to do is slide it in between the back panel and fabric, secure it, run the tube under the shoulder strap padding to the front and your set. It?s very similar to the Aquavest 300 Astral use to make. The O ring is also held in center of the jacket by some Velcro so your tow tether doesn?t slide around or hand loose away from your body. . It even has a mesh pocket in the front for a beverage! The only thing I wish it had is a pocket for a static tow tether like Astral does, but that?s not a deal breaker by any means. The placement for the lash tab is also in kind of a bad spot. It could be a little more out of the way like on the shoulder strap.

          Great rescue vest - few changes needed

          • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

          This is an awesome rescue vest. Purchased for use in a swift water rescue course. Good floatation, great all-day comfortable fit, nicely adjustable.

          A few things I would change: the front mesh pocket (while great for beverage holding) is setup as a sort or scoop and is more or less useless without being able to be zipped or closed or secured. Next: location of the knife clip is awful. Lost my co-pilot knife on the first strainer drill (you pull yourself up and over a log in the river), also, imagine trying to pull yourself back into a raft with a knife there to catch (same story with that mesh pocket). The knife is now zip-tied to a shoulder strap. The zippered pocket is awesome and big enough to keep prusiks and pullies.

          Is this a type V or type III pfd? Info on Stohlquist website says the Descent is a type V , but specs here say type III. Also, what's the flotation? Again description from Stohlquist says the Descent has 17 lbs while Backcountry says 16lbs and change.

          I purchased my PFD in April and a month ago the coil zipper for the storage pocket came off the fabric. Is there anything that can be done before returning it?

          The image of the Mango version does not show the quick release belt. Does it or does it not come with the belt?

          I am trying to decide between this jacket...

          I am trying to decide between this jacket and the Astral Aquavest. Any opinions on one or the other and why? Thanks

          Best Answer

          They are both great jackets, but it really comes down to the fit on your body. The Descent is easier to put on because you don't have to climb into the vest. The Stohlquist fit is different and can be more comfortable out of the box due to the construction using an ergonomic Wrapture shaped torso construction. The foam contours to the natural shape of your body without the tight and restrictive feeling of conventional flat-foam construction.