Mustang survival’s Khimera is a hybridized personal flotation device that uses closed-cell foam and compressed gas to deliver 20 pounds of positive buoyancy in a low-profile life jacket. It’s made for water-toy adventures and lumpy tender rides alike. Mustang Survival engineered the performance by incorporating an inflatable polyether-urethane bladder into a polyethylene-foam sandwich that’s corralled by panels of stretchy Cordura fabric and nonstretchy Cordura 500D fabric; inflation is governed by a Halkey Roberts 840 manual inflator and backed up by an oral-inflation tube.
Building this sandwich wasn’t easy. “Major difficulty started at finding a robust yet stretchable shell material and designing a bladder that would work within that stretchable shell,” says Vanessa Fors, Mustang Survival’s category manager. Another crux involved launching a hybridized life jacket for which there were no existing type-approval tests. “The Khimera is the first harmonized PFD,” she says, “which means it’s approved by both the US Coast Guard and Transport Canada.”
Not surprisingly, sailors and watersports athletes seeking to increase their range of motion are gravitating to the design. “The whole premise for the project was movement on the water,” Fors says, pointing to the Khimera’s low-profile chassis and wide armhole apertures.
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