We broke ice over the weekend and Bus wore an old/outdated vest from a deceased former member of our pack. My buddy was commenting on how poor Bus needs a new vest from Santa.
Cabelas ruined Santa's surprise today and emailed me about the Armorflex, which apparently just shipped to my home. (Well, maybe it's a birthday present. I'm a mid-December baby.) It was my wife, who ordered it to ship to my home, and somehow they connected my shipping address with my Cabela's account and sent me a tracking email!
My hunting partner uses the Avery Boater's parka, with the handle on top and it sure seems nice. I'd always thought that if I got a cold weather dog vest, that would be the one. Of course I don't want to hurt my wife's feelings and I want to reward the effort for getting us a thoughtful gift.
I will be boat hunting late season from a boatblind, but I can probably lift the dog in without that handle using the Cabelas product. As I recall, the handle on the Avery creates two decent size holes along the dog's spine that are un-insulated and would let cold water spill in.
My plan is to see how it fits and go from there.
For those with experience, do you have a preference?
Old School Labs
12-10-2009, 04:18 PM
The Cabelas all the way,the Armour Flex front works great when running hard in corn fields or cattails and grass, not to mention busting ice, and the side floatation pockets help with their swimiing when on their 25th retrieve in cold water. ;-) The way their vests fit is better than most because of the velcro closure.
12-10-2009, 04:43 PM
Having had both I prefer the Avery Boaters Parka. I really like the handle in the back, I use it alot more than I ever thought I would. It's really handy to have when you need it. I like the zipper and velcro closure, it stays secured. The velcro only vests I've had had problems staying secure and thus staying on.
12-10-2009, 05:05 PM
Chris, I own both Avery and Cabela's vests, and much prefer Cabela's wide Velcro closure to Avery's zipper, mainly because it affords a good bit of fit adjustability and is easier for me to get on and off with cold hands. My Velcroed vest has never offered to come off when I didn't want it to. And though I've yet to have a dog's vest get badly hung up on anything, when I read of Cabela's vests getting torn off by brush I see that as a very good thing. By that same token, I see the Avery handle holes as little more than two more chances for the vest to hang on something. (Well, that and perhaps portals for the water transfer a vest is supposed to slow.) Unless one's dog is small enough to hoist over the gunwale like a six-pack or, perhaps, one is in the water with the dog, using a vest handle is much more hassel for both parties than not. We work out of a rampless boat quite frequently, and it's far easier to hoist the dog by the scruff of its neck until it's front feet are over the side, then let him lever himself aboard against the brace of that hand.
Can't speak to the value of added flotation, but I am a fan of Cabela's "armor". Though when I first saw the light mesh that's used I thought it much more of marketing than practical value, four seasons of hard use have demonstrated that it really works. The vest now has numerous gouges in the outside shell and neoprene above its armored section (though nothing has yet penetrated the inside shell), but the armored bottom of the vest, which is taking the real beating, remains unmarked.
12-10-2009, 05:38 PM
Mark, Troy and Rick,
Great feedback! Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I will measure this stuff out.
I'm a 2x lower-back surgery veteran. I'm not going back for a 3rd laminectomy! I'm pretty sure that leaning over the side of the boat and lifting 70 lbs of dog plus water & vest by the handle will really be a strain. Bus has mastered the scruff of the neck until the front paws hit the gunwhale trick. I've thought about putting a dog ramp on the boat, but it seems like the space and hassle may outweigh the convenience of water exit back into boat.
I think I'll check out this new Cabelas model and if it fits well, I'll probably go with it. If I'm looking at a return due to fit issues, I'll probably take a good hard look at the features and benefits of each and make a call. Looks like price is about a wash.
12-11-2009, 07:17 AM
No experience with the Avery with handle but I use the Cabella's 5mm Armor as seen in the picture. Last weekend hunting out of a boat with no dog ramp just grabbed him by the collar got his front legs over the side and he did the rest to get in no problem. I like the wide velcro closure. Not sure if there would be any issues with a handle on the vest getting snagged on something??? Here's a shot of next years "cabella's" ad for their vest.
Also I trimmed the vest for a custom fit with no problems.
My girl uses the Avery vest. It is SWEET. That handle on the back is really, really convenient. I don't have to search for something to grab to help her back in the boat or on her tree stand. It seems to be really well built and seriously tough. You can get them for under $30 including shipping if you call the Avery store directly.
12-12-2009, 07:21 PM
Chris- You do know that neoprene vests can be cut to fit properly, right?
This is assuming the size is right.
Get a dog platform, so the dog can get back in the boat without your help.
01-27-2010, 05:31 PM
I bought the Avery vest this year for my young 18 month old BL. I really like Bethe Avery product and the fit is fantastic compared to the Cabela vest. I also like the "D" rings on the back for the eager young dog that might want to break. ;)
01-29-2010, 07:08 AM
I've had both and have gone back to usig my Cabelas vest. Rick gave many of the reason why I switched back. The wide velcro strip allows me to adjust fit as the season goes on. My dog actually puts on weight during the season. That's because we are not training twice a day 5 days a week. The armor also helps a lot when we are hunting in the beaver swamps. My dog an I also hunt out of a Momarsh Fatboy DP in small lakes and rivers. When my dog gets into the boat all I have to do is Press down on the top of his head as he is climbing back in and he has no problems. I used to try to grab his collar and haul him in and it was a pain. Pressing on the top of his head so he can use it as a brace is much easier on the dog and my back. I've had this vest for 4 seasons now and it's still in very good condition.
01-29-2010, 12:35 PM
I have had both and found the fit better for my labs with the Cabelas armor flex. Another thing I find is that a lot more water is able to get underneath the Avery vest than the Cabelas version, figure probably because the holes. Another thing is the handles for the vest seem to be in a great spot to make a straight lift but not so great trying to get a lab over the gunwales of a boat. Scruff of the neck seems to work way better.
10-06-2011, 08:07 PM
hard to beat the Avery 5mm boat vest with handle, D rings... we have several in different camo patterns, snow white, and sizes. they are nice. I had to cut material out of the front arm pits to customize fit a bit. Nat Gear is my fav camo for pups vest
10-11-2011, 10:05 AM
Does anyone have an opinion on the better of the 2011 models of the two vests?
I really like the Avery boaters vest. Used it for 3 seasons now and never a problem, the D ring and handles are great.
10-11-2011, 01:14 PM
I am just catching up with this thread being back on top.
I went with the Avery Vest for my dog. (the one with the handle in the back). The main reason for me was it was the best fitting. I know that folks say you can cut, trim and re-glue the vest for a custom fit. I just did not have the nerve to do a $50 experiment on cutting and gluing. I went with the vest that fit best and it was the Avery.
11-21-2011, 11:12 AM
I also bought the avery boaters dog vest. Less than a month into hunting season the zipper pull tab came off which makes it impossible to zip.I am responding more about customer service than there products.I also bought a new pair of cabelas waders last year and they had a leak. Upon contacting cabelas cabelas next day shipped me new pair and arranged for picking up my old ones so I wasn't one day without them. Well I contacted avery over the zipper on their vest and they said I can return it for a new one but shipping was on me and they would send me a new vest once the old one had been received OR attach a pull tab to get me through.
My point is if I wanted to rig up new hunting equipment I would buy the cheaper product to begin with.my next vest will be a cabelas because of customer service it nothing else
Peter G Lippert
11-21-2011, 11:59 AM
Great vest. The fit is much better for my dog compared to the Cabelas.
12-21-2011, 09:45 AM
I bought 2 of the Cabelas brand. So far so good. I had the avery with the handle and D ring and was scared of it getting caught on something. The Velcro is nice because if your dog gets caught up they can get out of the vest. The fact that people are using vest is great.