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Foam Vest or Air Vest For Basic Riding?

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  • #21
    I have an airowear Outlyne vest and found that the only places to find the full range of sizes were in British online tack shops. I measured myself carefully, looked at the relevant sizing charts, and ordered from Amira-Equi. I've been very happy with the vest. I've worn it every ride for the last 2 and a half years (I ride typically about 4 times per week). Yes, it's hot in the summer, but I just ride for less time on the hotter days.

    Wearing a vest is something that if you're going to do it, you just have to commit to doing it. I chose to do it after coming off my horse and bruising some ribs. Not something to want to experience again, if at all avoidable.

    Ordering from Amira-Equi was easy, and I got the vest within a week of ordering it. Yes, if I'd had to return it or exchange it that would have been a hassle (or more of a hassle than dealing with a local shop), but more local (or even U.S.) places simply didn't have what I needed.

    I preferred the Outlyne vest because of the the big range of sizes.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


    • #22
      I believe the Airowear Outlyne vests are cut for women.

      I think most non-air vests are all pretty similar, but I would try Reed's suggestion (RAyers) since he is a guy and his experience is probably better suited to you than many of ours.
      Rhode Islands are red;
      North Hollands are blue.
      Sorry my thoroughbreds
      Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


      • #23
        Originally posted by RacetrackReject View Post
        I believe the Airowear Outlyne vests are cut for women.

        I think most non-air vests are all pretty similar, but I would try Reed's suggestion (RAyers) since he is a guy and his experience is probably better suited to you than many of ours.
        That I fall off? Yeah.


        • #24
          Originally posted by RAyers View Post

          That I fall off? Yeah.
          LOL. More so that you do not have to stuff boobs into one of these things which is one of the reasons women like the Outlyne, it's made for boobs. disclaimer- I'm sure man boobs probably work fine it is as well, if that's a concern.
          Rhode Islands are red;
          North Hollands are blue.
          Sorry my thoroughbreds
          Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


          • #25
            Originally posted by RacetrackReject View Post

            LOL. More so that you do not have to stuff boobs into one of these things which is one of the reasons women like the Outlyne, it's made for boobs. disclaimer- I'm sure man boobs probably work fine it is as well, if that's a concern.
            I'm an engineer, I would consider boobs additional safety devices.


            • #26
              Bailed off my 17hh 5 yr old a few weeks ago - and I’m convinced my Airowear Airmesh vest saved it from being a disaster. Instead of sticking the landing I landed on my back/tailbone. Vest is thick (with ventilation holes that work) and long enough behind that it absorbed a fair amount of impact. Was a tad sore a few days but was expecting much worse. I’m a 60+ amateur as well and was beginning to wonder if I needed the vest all the time - I’ve got my answer and won’t ride without it. Next will be a new MIPS helmet (head didn’t hit the ground but yes, I always wear a helmet). The vest comes in varying lengths so make sure you get the right one - I had 3 returns before getting the perfect fit (tight enough and long enough)


              • #27
                Hi, I'm a 60+ rider also. I ride with a vest all the time. My everyday vest is a Racesafe--I got it from a tack shop in the UK which allowed lots of options for sizing, necessary for me as I am very short. They also have several models, colors, and options like sleeve caps and extended back.Their UK website is worth looking at. The vest is hot in summer and feels a little odd at first, but you'll get used to it. It took me a week or so. Now it feels odd to ride without it.

                I wear a less-bulky black Tipperary in the show ring. It's less conspicuous.

                I can't offer any insight about the air vests. I've never used one.

                I do recommend getting a helmet with MIPS technology. So far the options are Charles Owen MyPS and Trauma Void, which makes two models. More manufacturers will be introducing MIPS helmets soon--OneK, for example.
                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all the input. I'm ordering a Charles Owen JL9 vest. It has the most consistently high ratings in reviews for actual protection in a fall and is available.
                  Last edited by dwpc; Jan. 10, 2020, 03:15 PM.


                  • #29
                    I have both and after riding in both for a while, now ride just in the air vest. Yes, I know that’s not how they are intended to be used, but my Tipp was hitting my dressage saddle. The reason both are required in XC is because of the chance that the airvest might not inflate, not that they are unsafe on their own.

                    I have fallen on my back in just the air vest and felt it did a better job than a passive one would have. There was more shock absorption in the tubes. The only part of me that got injured was below the vest.


                    • #30
                      dwpc, as others have said, definitely a foam vest. Don't bother fooling with the air vests.

                      As far as which vest to purchase, I'm just going to say that over the years I have owned multiple different vests of different brands and styles.

                      Charles Owen may have changed their design since I last bought one from them, but that was a vest I found particularly stiff and uncomfortable and unsuitable for everyday use. I still have it hanging in my tackroom, barely used, collecting dust.

                      Tipperary is far and away the most ergonomic vest I have found for every day riding. It is comfortable and flexible from the moment you put it on, easy to wear for every day riding, cool to wear in hot weather, and easy to fit under a winter coat in cold weather. Tipperary has a lesser safety rating because the vest design does not protect thoroughly against penetrating injuries. For example, if you fell on a spiked log, it could theoretically penetrate in between the foam pieces. Body protectors that are a "solid" piece of foam give better protection from penetrating injury, but are also more uncomfortable to wear.

                      My advice: measure yourself and order a couple different brands, but definitely include trying a Tipperary (free shipping both ways from Smartpak). Consider ordering different sizes as well, sometimes a vest that seems to be the right size actually ends up a little too long in the back or pinches at the shoulder, or whatever. Just suck up the costs of sending vests back and forth if you have to, fit is very important.

                      Because ultimately the BEST vest for YOU is the vest that is comfortable and ergonomic for every day use.

                      If you were an event rider looking for a vest that you would only wear for cross country schooling, I would give you different advice.

                      Last point--certain brands of vests fit men and women differently. When ordering, consider checking or inquiring about fit for men. A brand of vest that is a favorite with curvy women riders may not have a great fit for a male equestrian. I have several male relatives who ride and train and use the Tipperary vests--they fit men well.

                      Disclaimer: I don't work for Tipperary or for Smartpak.


                      • Original Poster

                        To close out this thread, after due diligence I purchased a Chas. Owen JL9 vest because i found that on the selling websites there were more positive reviews for its protection in actual falls. I found a lot of comments about fit and comfort and not so many mentioning actual protection experience in vest reviews I also believe that it's larger panels would distribute the force of a fall more than the segmented styles. FWIW, I'm male, 5'11, 34 waist, 42 chest and an adult Large size fits well but it's probably at its max.. It's not so restrictive to be a factor for me. If I proceed to jumping, I'll add an air vest. Thanks to all for all your comments.