Photo: Testing out Coleman's Nylon 24 Gram Manual Inflate Vest. (Photo: Andreas Finn)
As we turn another page on our wall calendars this week, we mourn the end of summer. Students of all ages are returning to school, the leaves are turning from lush green hues to reds and yellows, evenings are becoming cooler and camping activities are winding down across the country. Luckily, the upcoming September long weekend presents a great chance to get out there with family, friends or solo for one last big hurrah, because—let’s face it—winter is coming. This is Canada, after all!
To get people outdoors more often, Coleman Canada put a call out to all Canadians this past summer to make more time to get outside. They’re petitioning for the instatement of a new national holiday, called National Get Outside (G.O.) Day. And to help encourage Canadians to truly get out there and explore, Coleman’s released a line of new products to inspire, energize and make camping a little more comfortable. We had the opportunity to test a couple of the items out in the field.
I must admit, I’ve never fully understood the reasoning behind a manual inflate vest. But after trying out Coleman’s new Adult Nylon Manual Inflate Vest on for size, I now understand the allure.
At only 24 grams, it’s practically weightless and allows for full range of motion, so it’s easy to forget it’s even there (unlike the bulkier, blaze orange PFDs I grew up with). One size fits all so there’s no need to squabble over who wears which vest, and there’s a nifty elastic bit built in to manage any excess webbing strap, which I absolutely loved.
Because of its relatively small size, I was a bit skeptical that the vest would keep me afloat, even once fully inflated. So I put it to the test at Coon Lake in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. The vest is CO2 inflatable — all it takes is a tug to the manual pull tab. Once punctured, the CO2 cylinder fills the vest almost instantaneously (the speed took me by surprise; I’m not sure what I’d been expecting). Once inflated, the vest forms a snug fit around the neck of the wearer without being constrictive, and was more than enough to keep me afloat.
In short, this is a nice lightweight Personal Flotation Device that won’t cramp your style. Did I mention it’s Transport Canada approved? Once deployed, however, don’t forget to re-arm the vest with a new CO2 cylinder before reuse.
Air mattresses are notorious for deflating overnight. I’m not sure I’ve ever met an inflatable mattress I’ve liked. Until now. Whether you’re trying to protect your back, sleep in comfort or just don’t want to find yourself lying on the cold ground in the morning, take it from me, Coleman’s new Durarest Single High Airbeds reign supreme.
I decided to take home a Queen Size for a trial run. When it arrived, I was shocked at how lightweight it was and actually had to double check that it was indeed in the packaging. Unfortunately, it would not fit into my ultralight two-person tent, so I chose to test it out as a spare bed. It held up wonderfully after a night’s sleep, even under the combined weight of myself, my husband and our 65-lb husky. And it’s been inflated for over a month now with minimal air loss. I’m seriously impressed.
Unless you are full of hot air, you will need to purchase the air pump separately. If a Queen-size bed seems a bit too luxurious or your tent is space-limited, there’s also a Twin-size available.