The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

NRS Siren Review

A comfortable, full-coverage option for female paddlers
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $100 List | $99.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable fabric, moves with you, durable, secure fit
Cons:  No ventilation, sizing a bit generic for a really good fit, pushes breasts into armpits
Manufacturer:   NRS
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 7, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Comfort - 35% 8
  • Mobility - 30% 7
  • Versatility - 25% 6
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

With a soft, comfortable liner, the full-coverage NRS Siren is a solid paddle vest for adventurous women. Its six-panel construction conforms to the body and moves as you move. It provides a secure fit that our female paddlers love, though our bustier team members aren't in love with its less-than-flattering look of "armpit pudge" that it squeezes out the top sides of this vest. Though the Siren promises to fit a wide range of women's chest circumferences, it comes in just three sizes that make women on the ends of each size's spectrum less comfortable. However, if it fits your chest size and shape, we think you'll love the comfortable hug and solid mobility this durable vest provides.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The NRS Siren is a women's fit PFD that comes in three sizes. It's a Type III jacket covered with a 400D urethane-coated ripstop nylon shell and a 200D nylon liner. It features shoulder strap tail pockets and a single zippered front pocket.

Performance Comparison


The simplified Siren is a comfortable women's PFD that's easy to wear.
The simplified Siren is a comfortable women's PFD that's easy to wear.

Comfort


The Siren has a soft inner fabric that's comfortable to wear against the skin and a fit that hugs the torso. The front and back are each made of three separate flotation panels, which helps the jacket move and conform better to your shape. Both versions of this jacket that we've tested, however, have an odd tendency to push the breasts out to the sides, under the arms. This is even more noticeable on larger-busted women. Despite that odd look, most were still surprisingly comfortable in this flexible vest. The narrower back leaves the shoulders exposed and free to move and breathe.

The narrow shoulder section helps keep your arms free for a long day of paddling.
The narrow shoulder section helps keep your arms free for a long day of paddling.

The adjustable bottom strap is off the edge of the foam and can dig into your stomach when you sit. However, we quickly discovered it's pretty simple to get a secure fit without having to tighten that strap down as much as many other PFDs we tested. Each of the three sizes covers a different amount of sizes, which we find confusing and inconvenient. The smaller the size, the wider range of chest circumferences it supposedly accommodates. However, this version of the Siren has little open pockets in the top of the jacket to tuck away the exceptional amount of excess shoulder strap, which we greatly appreciate. Though it's not a totally ideal women's life vest, it's a pretty comfortable full-coverage option.

The bottom strap of the Siren hangs off the edge of the flotation panels and can dig into your stomach when you sit if not adjusted quite right.
The bottom strap of the Siren hangs off the edge of the flotation panels and can dig into your stomach when you sit if not adjusted quite right.

Mobility


Where many competitors include a single foam panel for each section of their PFDs, the Siren has six total segments divided into its two sections. This makes it much easier to wrap the jacket around your torso — no matter what shape your torso is — giving a more secure fit than many others without requiring it to be quite as tight. Large armholes with fairly narrow sections between the shoulders and on the front of the chest allow plenty of freedom of motion. Additionally, the Siren has patches of soft fabric on the front edges of the armholes to help avoid inner arm rashes if your biceps brush the edges while in motion. Uniquely, this jacket actually moves with you even better when it's soaking wet than it does bone dry. Considering it's already so flexible and freeing when dry, this is a bonus and ensures that even if you decide to take a swim (or accidentally fall in), you'll still be able to make all the maneuvers you want.

The flexible foam paneling helps us find a comfortable  secure fit when wearing the Siren.
The flexible foam paneling helps us find a comfortable, secure fit when wearing the Siren.

Versatility


This PFD is advertised for touring and kayaking, which we think is pretty spot-on. It's comfortable enough to wear even on a SUP or to hang out all day on a motorboat. Because it's a full-coverage jacket, rather than confining flotation to reduced areas of its wearable space, leaning back against any seat is easy — you can even happily lay down! Though it's one of the heaviest PFDs we tested, it fits in such a way that we hardly even noticed the extra weight. Different versions of this vest over the years have had different features to go along with them. This iteration has just a single pocket on the front. It's a bit small to be able to close around most current smartphones but will stash your keys and lip balm easily. Left-handed women beware though — the zipper is on the right side of the pocket. It also has a small loop on the top of the back panel to quickly hang on a hook in your garage to dry. Other than those minor details, the Siren is a fairly simple but comfortable PFD.

A single zippered pocket can stow belongings smaller than a smartphone.
A single zippered pocket can stow belongings smaller than a smartphone.

Durability


NRS has a reputation for making quality products that are built to last, and the Siren is another example of this impressive construction. Even stronger than previous versions, this jacket's exterior shell is an impressive 400D urethane-coated ripstop nylon. The seams are cleverly hidden to stop them from potentially wearing thin, and examining every strap and buckle revealed no weaknesses. The simple design makes it easy to clean, dry, and store this vest safely. If that's not enough, NRS backs its products with a lifetime manufacturer's warranty in case of any potential defects.

We have no complaints about the durability of the Siren.
We have no complaints about the durability of the Siren.

Value


The Siren isn't the most expensive or the cheapest jacket we tested. It's also not our favorite women's jacket, but it's still a pretty solid contender. If you like the simple design and comfortable hug of this vest, we think the price is worth what you get.

Conclusion


The NRS Siren is a flexible, comfortable women's PFD that many of our women testers really like. It may not be the most attractive fit or the most breathable vest, but it offers security and mobility in a simple, effective design.

We like this solidly comfortable  flexible PFD from NRS.
We like this solidly comfortable, flexible PFD from NRS.

Maggie Brandenburg