The Spinlock Deckvest Lite is a smartly styled lifejacket. We test out the function to see if it matches the form.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

84%

Spinlock Deckvest Lite

Pros:

  • This is a smart looking lifejacket with a slimline feel with very few things to get caught or snag. It comes in a variety of casing colours. It is really easy to repack.
  • Fits smaller adult body types well. Very high visibility bladder.

Cons:

  • This might feel a little restrictive on some people with the over-the-head method of donning. This might not suit larger bodies.

Product:

Spinlock Deckvest Lite lifejacket – tested

Price as reviewed:

£109.95

Spinlock Deckvest lite

The Spinlock Deckvest Lite is a smartly styled lifejacket, weighing a smidge under 900grams. It’s a lightweight model and is donned as a closed loop, over the head, rather than the waistcoast style of all other lifejacket in our group test.

It’s available in an array of colours, including white, green, blue, red, black and grey. The lite+ model has a harness loop.

Dry Testing

As the Spinlock Deckvest lite lifejacket was passed around our testers on shore, the various testers all agreed that this looks smart when worn. The low profile design and the over the head donning style were all unanimously high scoring. The ease of adjustment was great, though in the pool later, this would be something to note.

The seatbelt style buckle closure also got the thumbs up from all of our testers. It’s easy to put on, take off with gloves or cold hands. Our larger testers noted that it felt a little bit small as they wriggled their head through it for fitting.

Finding the manual activation toggle is easy as it is in a bright contrasting colour to the casing. Manually activating it though did take a bit of effort.

Fox notes: “I had to pull three times and it really took some effort to get it to go off. I wouldn’t fancy putting this on someone without being sure they are confident enough to activate it” (parents or guardians of children/adolescents moving up to their first adult life jacket should take note). It is an auto-inflate lifejacket, but we should always be able to activate them manually.
This has one of the brightest bladders in a fluoro yellow. It has large reflectors too, but there’s no spray hood or light as standard.

Finding the lifting strop and whistle was really easy and they are clearly visible from the wearers perspective.

Pool Testing

Fox notes from the water: “When in the water, I found that the waist buckle slipped too easily and became loose. I had to keep re-tensioning it whilst moving about in the water which wasn’t easy.”

Double check the buckles and their friction mechanism to maintain the fitting size. When lifejackets are new they can have a tendency to slip, until there’s a natural ridge worn into the webbing.

In the water it held our tester, Fox high in the inflated bladder without feeling like they were sinking into it.

Fox comments: “I felt securely held high enough fromt he surface of the water in this, when I managed to cinch up the waist band tight enough. It was also easy to locate the clearly labelled lifting strop. I think the bank it was attached to is ideal for adding a strobe light. Climbing into the liferaft, I had to let out a bit of air from the bladder, but that’s pretty standard procedure as I don’t have long arms. I love the slim, body hugging profile of this when worn everyday.”

The Spinlock Deckvest lite also has some small loops fitted to one side of it, to enable fitment of a pouch. This can be used to carry a personal beacon or a multi tool or other essentials. We fitted the optional pocket to our other Spinlock lifejacket on test and found it to be useful and accessible even when the lifejacket is inflated.

Spinlock Deckvest Lite Lifejacket

Price from £109.95

Buy Spinlock Deckvest Lite from Amazon

Buy Spinlock Deckvest Lite from West Marine

How our lifejacket scored on average out of 10 for each of our criteria

9 – Adjust speed ease difficulty
9 – Fastening buckle ease with gloves
8 – Comfort
10 – Practicality. bulk snagging
8 – Positioning of essential items
NA – Accessory attachment / kill cord loop
7 – Night view / reflectors / light (if fitted)
7 – Ease of checking bottle / trigger status
9 – Unpacking / repacking
9 – Style
8 – In water score

84% Total as a percentage

Verdict

This no frills but stylish lifejacket performs well both off and on the water. It is great for everyday wear and is unobtrustive and easy to forget you’re wearing it.

Best coastal on test for everyday wear and general purpose water activity


Note: all of our lifejackets tested conform to either  ISO 12402-3 (coastal/non harness) or ISO 12401 (harness versions), and this means that they all meet the basic safety standards you would expect from a lifejacket.
In order to conduct unbiased testing, our test team were given full freedom to test and evaluate the lifejackets presented to them on the tests days. Their opinions are made in a professional capacity and skippers and end users of the products and are a result of direct hands on experience. This does not override any official safety rating or certification.
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