NRS updated the Siren with a 400-denier fabric (compared to the previous 200-denier material), and has removed one of the zippers for the front pocket so that it can now only be accessed from the right side. The knife lash tab has also been removed. Compare the two below; the old model is shown first, followed by the update.
We're currently testing the latest version. In the meantime, the review below is in reference to the previous NRS Siren.
Hands-On Review of the Siren
The NRS Siren is a women's life jacket with just two sizes available to fit a wide range of female paddlers. It's a full coverage, Type III PFD made of six separate foam panels covered by a 200D ripstop nylon shell and a smooth 210D nylon liner.
The Siren provides a soft, secure fit for women, but comes in just two sizes.
With a smooth inner liner and six foam panels that conform to your body shape well, the Siren is a pretty comfortable PFD. Even though it doesn't have particularly large cutouts for breasts, the number and flexibility of the panels help this vest conform to a wide variety of body shapes. Even though we noticed that the shape tends to push our breasts out to the sides, it somehow still feels pretty comfortable. A narrow back leaves extra room for the shoulder mobility you want while you paddle. And though the bottom cinch strap isn't the most comfortable, we found we could get a pretty secure fit without having to tighten it as much as some others. NRS offers just two sizes of this vest, that between the two of them are supposed to work for women from 30-52" chest circumferences. What we discovered this really means is extra coverage for smaller women and super long straps that dangle awkwardly. But for those women that are the size for the Siren, they really appreciate the secure comfort it provides.
A whopping six foam panels help this PFD get a comfortable wrap around your torso.
Because of the six-panel design, we found that more women found a more secure fit in the Siren than some of its competitors. Not only does this make it more comfortable for more women, but it also keeps the jacket in place well during all kinds of activities in and out of the water. Interestingly, we think this jacket actually moves with you even better when it's wet than it does when it's dry, which was already a high point! NRS labels this vest as low profile, but compared to some other low profile options with extremely concentrated areas of padding, we don't feel that this jacket is much more out of the way than average.
Women's PFDs tend to be more narrow across the shoulders. In front is the Stohlquist Flo and in back is the NRS Siren.
The Siren also has horizontal ribs of padding running across the spine in hopes of improving ventilation. While they are rather comfortable, we didn't notice a big improvement on the breathability of this fairly full coverage life vest. And while there are some loops to tuck the tails of your shoulder straps into, they're so close to the buckle that we found them to be rather difficult to use.
Advertised as a paddling and whitewater vest for women, we think this is a pretty accurate description of this jacket's capabilities. Additionally, it's pretty comfortable overall and the full-coverage back makes lounging a breeze, which we think opens it up to being a solid general use jacket - a day on the pontoon or sailboat. Weighing 29 ounces, it's among the heaviest PFDs we tested, but we honestly don't feel like we could tell much of a difference when it's on. The Siren also has some helpful features that are great for paddling, like an off-center knife tab, a zippered kangaroo pocket, reflective accents, and a hand warmer pouch. Its lack of breathability and limited sizing options aren't helping this vest be the solution for all women paddlers, but it's still a pretty good option for pretty much all paddle sports.
These ribs don't seem to do much for ventilation, but they are comfortable against our spines!
Like many of its competitors, the Siren is made of durable materials. With six PVC-free ultra-soft foam pads, a 200D ripstop nylon shell, smooth 210D nylon liner, and nylon mesh, this jacket is on par with other similar models. NRS has a reputation for solidly made products, and the Siren is a great example of this. While many other PFDs showed some sloppy seams that started showing stray ends throughout our testing, the Siren never did. The buckles are also partially hidden under the fabric on the front right side, helping to protect them from damage and keep them comfortably out of your way. We also appreciate the outer grey color, which never seemed to appear dirty even when we knew it was.
A recessed buckle helps keep it safe from harm during your epic adventures.
Retailing for about a middling price, the Siren is a solid jacket that's comfortable and durable and pretty mobile. We think that, if one of the two sizes of this jacket fit you, the money you'll spend on it is worth the performance you'll get.
The NRS Siren is a comfortable and secure women's life vest that many of our female testers love. Though its full coverage may be a bit hot, depending on your intended usage, it retains an impressive amount of mobility for paddling. We wish it came in more specific sizes that could provide a better fit across the spectrum of women paddlers, but for those women it does fit, they love how it feels and performs in the water.
A well-made, comfortable paddle jacket.