In the left corner, you’ll see the new knife lash tab. On the older model, there was another pocket here and the lash tab was attached via Velcro on the opposite side You had to choose between a fly patch or the lash tab, and most kayak fishermen chose the lash tab. Taking it off the pocket also gives the lash tab more security, and makes it easier to remove your safety knife when you need it the most.
Previous year's model
You’ll also notice the front reflector tabs and piping are gone. Guys fishing at night hated these reflectors because they shone too brightly in flash photos. The front of the new Chinook also features a handy coil retractor. If I remember correctly, there is another retractor in one of the pockets. The Chinook still features a handy rod holder. Didn’t notice it? See that little loop hanging from the bottom? Slide your rod butt there and then on the opposite shoulder you’ll see a little Velcro tab to wrap around the rod. Pretty slick, eh? This is an often overlooked feature, but it's great, especially for wade fishermen.
There is a reflective NRS logo on the back, and an attachment point for a safety strobe on the left back shoulder. This was a feature found on the “cVest” PFD, and it is great to have on the new Chinook. You can bet I’ll have an emergency strobe on my back this year.
Believe it or not, NRS has even found a way to make the Chinook even more comfortable. The new Soft PlushFIT™ foam offers up the same 16.5 lbs. of added floatation, but it will contour to the body for a better fit. It’s like the memory foam of the life jacket world. As it was, the old Chinook was comfortable enough that I often forgot I had it on until I tried to get in the car. Now I might forget I have it on until I go to bed.
The NRS Chinook PFD still has the same eight-way adjustment for a custom fit, 200 denier ripstop nylon, multiple D-ring attachment points on the front and rear of the jacket (for electronics, nets, or whatever else you might want to attach), and high mesh backing for maximum comfort when sitting in even the tallest of kayak seats. It now comes in three color options; the olive and orange have been standard for a couple of years, but the redesigned PFD is also available in blue.
The 2013 Chinook PFD will keep the same MSRP of $99. While supplies last, you can save some scratch and pick up the 2010 model for just $75, but the older PFD is selling out quickly.