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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My lab has about the thinnest coat Ive ever seen on a lab and needs a little help staying warm this time of year, especially if hunting water. The neoprene vests seem to help keep his main body warm.

The first one I used for him was a hodgman brand and after less then 20 hunts with it, it finally completely fell apart yesterday. I made sure not to cut to far into the stitching so it would last longer but that didn't seem to matter.

I also have a white avery boaters vest that I use when hunting snows so we dont worry about hiding a blind for him. It seems like it might hold up a bit better, but I cant trim it to make it fit very well.

Any other suggestions out there or are these the two brands I'm stuck choosing between?
 

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Ok, did a little more searching on the 'fuge and found this helpful post. Sounds like a good way to make the vests fit a little better. It also seems that most people are happiest with the cabelas vests.

As long as the chest size is right, the rest is a simple scissors, marking pen, straight edge and "neoprene cement" (not Aqua Seal or other such junk) project.

As mentioned the armpits can be trimmed back if it looks like they'll chafe the dog. And, if your dog's a male, you'll probably have to trim some of the vest's underside to accomodate him.

But you'll also need to cut "darts" out where the extra material "bunches" and weld the newly formed seams with neoprene cement. Using the neck for example: fold the extra material against itself at the bottom of the neck, so the vest is snug there, and mark both sides where they meet, as well as the end of the crease they've formed. Then take the vest off the dog and, using a straight edge, draw lines connecting your two marks along the edge of the neck to the mark where the fold's crease ended. That will create a "V" or "dart" that needs cut out to provide proper fit. Having cut that dart out, apply neoprene cement ("Block Surf" is a good one available from dive shops and on line) to both newly created edges, then hold them together for a few minutes while the neoprene cement melts the neoprene edges and, essentially, welds them together. And "POOF!" a custom fit neck has been created. ('Spose you could also stitch the new seam if you find yourself really getting into the tayloring thing, but it's not necessary if you've used neoprene cement, and not some substitute.)

Repeat as necessary for shoulders and flanks.

(While I have both Avery and Cabela's brand vests and prefer the later, I've had to taylor both brands to fit my dogs properly.)
This neoprene cement might prove helpful for leaky waders as well.
 

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I would go with the cabelas, especially on the labrador. You definetely want to cut the undercarriage for the male. I have a camo and blaze orange vest and they have been great. I returned the avery vest after the first weekend I had it. Avery makes some good products for hunting but their dog equipment is junk.
 

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I have three vests from Cabelas, one really old one that's shredded from running pheasants, the other two with foam inserts in the back and extra tough underliner, been great so far. One is trimmed WAY back on the chest and pits, haven't had any problems as of yet, had them for maybe 5 years now.
 

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I use these on two of my dogs. Cheap and they have held up well. They have a heavy-duty zipper and a velcro closure.

http://www.gundogsupply.com/luckydog-re ... -vest.html

The mediums fit the two dogs without any trimming except to accomodate for my male.

Personally, I don't like the vests that only have the velcro closure. I can never seem to get them closed without a fold in the neoprene. That being said, the only ones that I can get to fit one of my females only comes with a velcro closing system.
 

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I have always used the older style Cabela's vest that had a zipper and was 5mm thick. I have used neoprene repair glue on them with some success.
Think the nearest vest to the old Cabela's style might be made by Redhead. Got one on E-bay last year as a spare and I think it was Redhead, may have come from Dalton Outdoors in Mn.
 
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