Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2-Ounce Emergency Vest

I had heard about this little piece of lightweight survival gear several months ago and didn’t pay much attention to it until I recently had the chance to play with it at my local gear shop.

AeroVest by SolaTec Technologies ( is a one-size-fits-all $14 2-ounce inflatable plastic vest which is intended to be used to provide heat to your chest in the event of an emergency. It packs as small as a cell phone and is similar in appearance to mylar. Made of polyethylene, it claims to reflect 90% of your core body heat much in the same manner as an emergency blanket. The jacket is baffled with 18 pockets to trap air within the baffles. Because the outside is plastic, it could theoretically repel rain. Because it inflates, it could theoretically give you some buoyancy in water, although I'm quite certain this isn't a marketed use. It is also bright yellow in color, presumably to attract attention being that you’d probably be wearing it in an emergency situation anyway. It is sleeveless to allow arm mobility and to aid with fit and trapping warm air around your chest.

To wear it, simply unfold it, put it on, secure it with the attached tape, insert the included straw, and blow it up with 4-5 breaths per side.

So does it work? Well, yes. It comes only in one size and will fit up to a 46” chest. It is more or less a one-time use item, although air can be extracted from it with some difficulty to use it again.

Would I buy it…probably not....but maybe, perhaps to be used only in extreme circumstances for my kids and wife as it isn’t big enough to fit my 52” chest. It is really tough to see its practicality when people in conditions to use it, such as backpackers, would already have a bunch of other gear which would likely be just as effective. If more warmth is needed when backpacking, I think I would turn to stuffing my clothing with something like pine needles or other duff to increase my body temperature. For a purely emergency item for those completely unprepared, then yes, this offers "some" protection and "some" benefit which is likely the greater purpose.


Unknown said...

You find such COOL stuff!!!

Jolly Green Giant said...

Thanks. Truth be told, I'm a gear dork. Whether I use it or not, I find innovations in the backpacking industry to be fascinating. Granted some are less useful or fascinating than others, but it sure beats the old days of lugging a 60 pound back because of the mistaken belief that carrying all that crap was the key to comfort and success. Now my mindset is about finding new technology, new fabrics, and methods to do things lighter and faster without losing comfort. Each person has their own preference for this, but in the end hopefully everyone will find personal happiness from educated gear choices.