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Exclusive test: 10 of the best lifejackets tested to the max

We tested 10 of the best lifejackets on the market in a full-open water test to see how quickly they fire and how comfortable they are to wear

Viking Conquest

Viking Conquest - beforeFeatures

  • Crotch-strap: Yes (single)
  • Light: Yes (but costs extra £12.95)
  • Sprayhood: Yes
  • Harness: Yes
  • Firing mechanism: Halkey Roberts
  • Fastening mechanism: Metal buckle
  • Price: £101
  • Rating: 4/5

Performance

Like the Marinepool, adjustment of the Viking lifejackets is a simple one-side operation. Viking even supplies a couple of clips to keep the excess webbing tidy.

Comfort levels on board were described as good and activation and casualty turning, while a little slower than most models, was acceptable at seven seconds.

Once inflated the jacket drew positive comments from our tester, including better than average support for his head, which was held well clear of the water.

Viking Conquest - after

The sprayhood was easy to find and simple to put on. Though it looked a little twisted when pulled on, it provided a secure environment.

Many of the test jackets came with a lifting strop, but only the Viking made its location obvious and easy to get at before inflation.

The reflective panels were pretty well placed and, like the light, were covered by the sprayhood, but a large clear panel allowed both to do their job. The sprayhood itself also incorporated
a number of reflective strips.

Rearming

Like the Stormy’s UML-5 system, the Halkey Roberts simply requires a new bottle and firing mechanism to be screwed in. Rearming kit: £12.95

Repacking

The separate bladder was repacked into the cover with ease, made simpler by having a Velcro closure all around the cover.

However, it seemed that the sprayhood had nowhere to go – there didn’t seem to be room for it inside the cover. I did eventually get it in but the fit was hardly neat.

Contact: Viking Life Saving Equipment Ltd
Tel: 023 8045 4184

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