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Getting Ready for Ice fishing! Need some help re. survival suits


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Howdy!

Took my boys up north a few weeks ago and got into a few fish(a few below) ! Boys are stoked and want to try ice fishing at the same place this winter. I want to be safe so I'm considering finding them some float suits but have little experience.

1. Is it ok to buy used if they are in good condition?
2. Does age of the suit matter?
3. Some suits are not coast guard approved. Are these still generally safe?

TIA!

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Edited by atvaholic
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been wearing the same one for 30 years and thankfully never needed it...no clue if it will actually float should I take the plunge. Nice pictures though. Hopefully someone with some technical knowledge can point you in the right direction. Ice picks would be a good start if you want safety (so I see on the youtube videos)

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FYI, from the technical point of view the life jacket (suit) will not expire, however, since the material within loses its ability to keep buoyancy in water over time. Constant wear and tear cause the material in a foam life jacket to get damaged and losing its buoyancy.

FXR snowmobile suits might suit your needs as you can get a 2 piece suit and the boys can grow into the others (sibling) in time.  Make sure it has F.A.S.T. (float assist safety tech) on the suit if going that way VS Mustang or Striker and other brands.   

Edited by GBW
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As far as I know none of the “ice fishing” suits are coast guard approved. Only the Mustang survival suit is. 
 

I have the Striker Ice suit and it’s very warm and comfortable. Never tested it’s floating ability though. I’ve seen videos of it floating well. 

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They only need to be approved if they are replacing a life jacket on the water 

by far the two piece suits are the most comfortable and just as safe ,unless you going to sit in the water for an extended period 

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11 hours ago, Tjames09 said:

As far as I know none of the “ice fishing” suits are coast guard approved. Only the Mustang survival suit is. 
 

I have the Striker Ice suit and it’s very warm and comfortable. Never tested it’s floating ability though. I’ve seen videos of it floating well. 

Salus makes a coast guard approved suit as well. Nautilus/helly hanson seems to be out of the game.

I went through in my nautilus and it floated better than a life jacket, I was almost hovering above the water.

Im a huge fan of the Salus 1 piece, some people might find it a bit heavy/uncomfortable, but there is nothing in the world as warm, wearing the thing feels like you are wearing body armour against the elements on the ice. I fish days when its 25 below in the thing and im toasty.

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If you are "sat" in one spot and the wind is blowing a one piece with hood is the dogs cojones. I have a Mustang two piece snowmobile suit and I love it for comfort, however, it does not have an integral hood so if this is important to you bear that in mind. Just a personal opinion but I would buy one a size larger so you can layer underneath and still be comfortable. I haven't done it but I know a few that have tested theirs in a pool or at the lake to give them a piece of mind that these things will actually keep you afloat.

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On 10/5/2021 at 10:42 AM, John said:

I would buy one a size larger so you can layer underneath and still be comfortable.

100%.

I have had a bunch of them over the years, two piece and one piece.  I tried both pants and bibs for the bottoms.  My current (and probably forever) set is a bibs bottom and a good top. 

There is no way to put this delicately, so......... if you need to take a leak when you are fishing, you want to be able to take Willy out without getting undressed.  Some suits make this pretty difficult, unless Willy happens to be a foot-long.................🙄

Salus is a Canadian manufacturer, and their gear is excellent.

Doug

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3 hours ago, atvaholic said:

Thanks all. Other than being coast Guard Approved is there any other difference? Does one keep you floating/alive longer?

I can only comment on the one suit I've owned, it's an Arctic Armor bib pants and jacket made by IDI Gear. For me it's been great, very warm, windproof and waterproof and made with Insultex. I've never had to check it out thankfully, but apparently it will float up to 700lbs. There are plenty of videos showing it's use. It's quite light, very flexible in the coldest weather and reinforced in all the right spots. If I ever have to replace it I would buy the same product without thought. https://www.idigear.com/arctic-armor-cold-weather-gear

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On 10/6/2021 at 8:46 PM, atvaholic said:

Thanks all. Other than being coast Guard Approved is there any other difference? Does one keep you floating/alive longer?

Being smart and using common sense keeps you alive longer. 

 

I've had several floater suits. 2 mustangs, 1 helly hanson. They are not comfortable or light or a pleasure to wear. You sweat, you get wet, and they weigh you down. I am no longer a fan. There is a ton of much lighter and warmer gear to wear on the ice, just stay off sketchy ice. Its simple. 

I have a XXl Helly Hanson I haven't worn for likely 6 or 7 years. Its near mint condition. I can't stand wearing it after wearing much warmer, breathable, light gear. 

S. 

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The first Mustang "anti exposure suit" i had lasted 25 years ,untill the stuffing literally fell apart. I personally like the 1 piece suit. If you are boating there is no point in getting the non approved suits as you still need to wear a PFD (or have one available) I got stopped by the RCMP on Lake Ont in Nov walleye fishing....he grilled me about life jackets and was going to write me up for no PFD as all i have are the inflatable type. When i explained that the suit i was wearing was a Mustang and MOT approved he had no clue,never saw one. This was a bit surprising as all the other enforcement dept have them. The bottom line is they may save your life ...but they will find you in any case

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2 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

.but they will find you in any case

Yep, I used to tell my wife that wearing the suit would make it easier for them to find my body in the spring..............

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