Admittedly, we probably should’ve done this review a couple of months ago. For some the worst of the winter chill has already ebbed, so reviewing Slippery’s Float Coat can be viewed as a little bit on the late side. But, we’d be remiss not to talk about possibly one of the most used items in our off season arsenal. Seriously, it’s that good.
Before that, it bears saying that this was our very first “float coat.” For those unfamiliar, a float coat is a cold weather replacement to wearing both a long sleeve jacket and a PFD. The two-in-one jacket provides all of the life saving floatation of a personal floatation device and the warmth of an insulation nylon jacket. Commonly used by recreational and professional boaters alike as well as Coast Guardsmen and dock workers, float coats aren’t typical to the PWC crowd as most save their riding for warmer months.
Knowing we’d be riding and testing year-round, we opted for the Float Coat over the neoprene Sport Coat on a whim…and we’re glad we did. Unlike the Sport Coat, which only acts as an overcoat, the Float Coat is lined with Type 3-grade floatation foam and covered with heavy duty 200 Denier-coated nylon. Slippery’s float coat is as much a USCG-approved personal floatation device as any of Slippery’s other life vests.
Wearing Slippery’s Fuse john and jacket combo beneath, we were impressed with how warm (and dry) we stayed even while traversing 25mph-winds hacking Percy Priest Lake just east of Nashville on a very bone-chilling 35-degree Saturday. We were immediately grateful for the Velcro-closed fleece-lined collar and heavy-duty front zipper (with Slippery’s “storm flap” cover). Even when the wind blew its hardest, the coat never billowed.
The coat also features two zippered-shut “slash” pockets as well as a single adjustable waist belt to cinch the jacket a little tighter. We could imagine some riders wanting two larger buckles typical to other vests for a greater sense of security, but we never found the need. As part of our commitment to testing everything, we did jump into the water to see how it felt while swimming. It was here that the single strap felt inadequate, as the Float Coat tends to buoy without you. And the fleece never really fully dries until a day or two hanging up in the garage.
Mobility is insulated but not restricted although you might feel like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. Yet, when it comes to keeping you warm and keeping you afloat and protected, we couldn’t be happier with our first foray with Slippery’s Float Coat.