Good Thinking

Evolution UA-80 life vest provides under-arm floatation

Evolution UA-80 life vest prov...
The Evolution UA-80 holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a traditional yoke-style life vest
The Evolution UA-80 holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a traditional yoke-style life vest
View 2 Images
The Evolution UA-80 holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a traditional yoke-style life vest
1/2
The Evolution UA-80 holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a traditional yoke-style life vest
The Evolution UA-80 weighs 3.6 lb (1.6 kg)
2/2
The Evolution UA-80 weighs 3.6 lb (1.6 kg)

When most people think of life vests, they likely picture yokes that are worn around the user's neck. Switlik Survival Products' new UA-80 Evolution Vest takes what is claimed to be a better approach, however, by going under the arms.

Reportedly the first FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)-approved device of its kind, the UA-80 is designed for constant-wear use by professional aviators and flight crews. It incorporates a two-chamber inflatable air bladder, which was inspired by one designed for the US Army Aircrew Combat Equipment (ACE) program.

When not activated, the UA-80 is simply worn over a flight suit, looking pretty much like a regular vest. Gear can be stowed in its front pockets and loops.

Should the wearer end up in the water, they just pull the vest's inflation handle. Doing so releases a compressed air cylinder, which inflates the bladder. That bladder goes across the chest and under the arms, providing over 80 lb (36 kg) of buoyancy.

The Evolution UA-80 weighs 3.6 lb (1.6 kg)
The Evolution UA-80 weighs 3.6 lb (1.6 kg)

The UA-80's design not only holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a yoke, but it also doesn't get in the way of a helmet or other head gear. Additionally, should the user be rendered unconscious, the inflated bladder will automatically bring them into a stable, face-up orientation. That bladder is protected by an abrasion-, fire- and puncture-resistant multi-layer Cordura nylon outer covering.

Other features include reflective patches and a locator light for spotting the user at night, along with a grab handle for pulling them out of the water.

The UA-80 Evolution Vest is available now for preorder, priced at US$795. Its features are demonstrated in the video below.

Introducing the UA-80 eVolution Vest

Source: Switlik Survival Products

4 comments
4 comments
Peter Boulanger
I'd be more impressed if they had shown floating tests. In water. I'm curious if the head can slip between the floatation pads at the back
Ornery Johnson
Would be cool if the two extensions that go behind the head would automatically affix to each other with velcro once inflated.
Username
Why isn't this thing self inflating?
ljaques
It's about time that someone built a life vest which would keep your head above the water level. Kudos on that, Switlik. But boo/hiss on the ungodly price.
With all those molle loops, I can just see someone hanging everything, including the kitchen sink, from all of them.