Depends on who you want vests for and how serious you need. You can get the standard orange Stearns class III/V vests for all passengers. America's Cup has them too. Not sure on pricing, since I haven't needed to buy in awhile. Hi floatation and heads up neck collar. For rower, you'll want some room to maneuever. I'd suggest getting some of the kayakers vests. Extrasport makes some nice kayakers vests in lower profile for around $70. I know I've seen a few good vests I might get for fishing. Extrasport has a vest I think is called the Sabre, or Touring Sabre. Runs around $100.00. But has full function to row, good floatation, and pockets to stuff fishing stuff into. There's also one by Lotus Designs that is pretty cool too. I get a full selection of whitewater catalogs. I'll see if I can dig some newer one's out and give you exact stuff. Once I buy my new boats, I'm buying all new vests to go with it. My old whitewatering vests are near 15 years old. If you plan to do some hard whitewater, best to have whitewater vests. You don't need the top of the line Lotus Designs or anything, but get the Guide/Outfitter series. I think Cascade Outfitters sells an actual outfit for a 3 person boat so you'd have a variety of helmets, throw bags, and vests for a boat (some rivers require helmets when you hit class IV).
I wish I could tell you the brand I use but it has worn off. When I'm running hairy water I always use the big ones, I believe they are type V which will keep your head afloat if godforbid you konk yourself on a rock.
On tamer floats, especially during the Summer I have one of the Stearns type III kayaker style for comfort.
On another note I am also considering getting one of those helmets that the kayakers wear because I do run some fairly gnarly water. Anyone have reccomendations for these???
Hey Mad. Times may have changed, but usually class V vests are only sold to those who are certified in swiftwater rescue. I know when I went through my certification, I had to supply my certificate to buy my class V's. But, you can buy class III/V's though.
Actually, some waters REQUIRE you use a helmet. It's not a kayaker thing, they are made for whitewatering. Just you see them more with kayakers. They run between $30-$80 depending on brand you get. Depends on the waters you run though. Most fishing waters is not a necessity, but it never hurts to be safe. I think I still have a few helmets stashed away somewhere. I do believe they were pro-tecs. I used my whitewater boat as a gear hauler for my whitewater guide friend. So had to outfit like he did. But nice to have those helmets. I do believe if you go to Northwest River Supply aka NRS you can find most stuff. Haven't bought from them in awhile, but still get thier catalogs and have done some online shopping. Good stuff, and not too bad of prices either. There's also Cascade Outfitters, but can't remember their URL off of my head.
SH69, You may be right about that, these originally came with my DB but they have no tags or anything on them. They are pretty big and the one time I dumped a raft in the "D" I was real glad I had it on.