A lot of people don't like wearing life jackets, as they find the things to be bulky and cumbersome. If you're such a person, then you might be interested in the Wingman, as it's claimed to be the world's thinnest.

US Coast Guard-approved for adults weighing over 90 lb (41 kg), the Wingman has actually been around for a few years, having been the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign. It's just become commercially available relatively recently, however.

It was inspired by the CO2-inflatable vests sometimes worn by big-wave surfers, although it was designed to be considerably less expensive than those. In its case, the replaceable CO2 canister is located out of the way, on a plate in the back.

That canister is activated by pulling a chest-located rip cord that is routed over the wearer's shoulder. When the cord is pulled, the Wingman's horse collar-style bladder instantly inflates, bursting through the vest via a unique zipper system that's designed to give way in three places. If need be, it's also possible to inflate the bladder orally.

Once all the excitement's over, the bladder can be deflated and stuffed back in place.

Users performing high-output activities can opt for a 1.5-liter hydration pack, which is inserted into a sleeve in the back, with its drinking hose coming over the shoulder – not the same shoulder as the rip cord, as that could be confusing.

The Wingman is available now, for US$199. Some of its other features can be seen in the following video.

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