Mandy Biles - StRide By StRide Equestrians Guide
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HIT-AIR: Hit-Air Inflatable Trauma And Injury Reduction

Hit-Air vests are a light-weight horseback or motorcycle riding vest that provides an extra layer of protection, air. These inflatable vests provide cushion when needed, during a seperation from your horse. Like the air-bag technology in a vehicle, the inner tubing system of the vest inflates providing instant torso stabilization, neck cradling and provides a bounce on impact. They are great for eventers, motorcyclists, endurance riders, trainers, ranchers and more. Stay safer; get one. Follow links or click photos.


  • Strong enough for motorcyclists, adopted by equestrians.
  • Very light-weight.
  • Easy to use.  Just put it on like any vest.
  • Open styiling comfort.
  • Great added protection for everyday riding.


  • Only activates when the lanyard is pulled, providing instant protection.
  • Repackaging the vest is simple as a snap and/or Velcro.
  • The CO2 canister is easy to change with the provided tools.
  • Available in other models as well.
  • Free shipping through the links provided.

Models: (there is a sizing chart below the video, scroll down to see it.. Sizes here are based on United States unisex.)


SV2 and LV:

- SV2: Small (2XS-S)
- LV: Medium (S-XL)
- 48cc CO2
- Y-Type Key Box
- Black is Standard.

- Red, Royal Blue, Navy Blue, Hunter Green possible


The Pro (MLV):

- The Pro in Medium (S-XL)

- The Pro in Large (XL-3XL)

- 60cc CO2

- B-Type Key Box

- Reflective Strip Below Neck and Shoulder

- Black is Standard.

- Reflective is Luminex Nub Covered. Bright when lit.

- Hi-Viz Yellow Stands Out.


Advantage (H):

- In Kids or XS (3XS-2XS), 50cc CO2

- In Small (2XS-S), 50cc CO2

- In Medium (S-XL), 50cc CO2

- In Large (XL-3XL), 60cc CO2

- In Extra-Large (3XL-5XL), 60cc CO2

- Insulated B-Type Key Box

- Black is Standard.

- Red, Royal Blue and Navy may be Available.

Push buttons to view vests and pricing on Amazon.  More photos and descriptions of vest models, colors, and looks as deployed and sizing are below.


Hit-Air Canisters:
The Hit-Air CO2 canisters are replacement compressed air cartridges for Hit-Air inflatable protective riding vests and jackets for equestrians and motorcyclists.  Keep plenty of the proper size in stock so you have a replacement handy.  They are only activated and immediately activated once the keyball mechanism is pulled from the keybox via the lanyard.  Once activated to fill the inner tubing system of the vest, the canister is void and must be replaced.  These CO2 canisters are threaded for the Hit-Air keybox.  They will last indefinitely, however, do check them for rust and replace if deterioration is noticed.


48cc CO2 Cartridge for use in the SV2 and LV:


50cc CO2 Cartridge for use in Advantage S&M

and for use in the Kids Vest:


60cc CO2 Cartridge for use in the MLV

and for use in the Advantage L&XL:

Canister Assembly:
The user guide of your Hit-Air product will assist with explanation on how to change out the spent CO2 canister for a new one.  The Allen wrench and bolt that come with your vest or jacket are used in this process.  You will also need to make sure you have your keyball mechanism handy; it remains attached to the lanyard during the pulling out of the keybox.  First, remove the empty CO2 canister and remove any remaining air in the inner tubing system by working the vest flat.  Repackage the apparel by snaps and/or Velcro.  Send the bolt up into the bottom of the keybox and using the Allen wrench you can get the hole for the keyball open to receive the keyball.  Drop the keyball into the hole and adjust the bolt with the wrench as necessary.  Once the keyball is completely down into the hole, remove the bolt.  Depending upon the style of keybox you may have a slide to assist with this process.  If not, you are done; if so, make sure you slide it back up.

Key Ball Mechanism:

A key ball mechanism comes with each vest.  It only needs to be replaced if it becomes lost or necessary to do so from other means.  This is the device that has one end, a round ring, that falls into place in the key box hole and is locked in.  The other end is a buckle attachment allowing it to snap into the lanyard.  This lanyard is securely attached to the saddle strap.  If this key ball mechanism is pulled hard during a fall it pulls out of the key box.  This creates the enviroment for the spring to send a pin to into the compressed air cansiter which instantly inflates the inner tubing system of the vest.  The key ball mechanism remains attached to the lanyard if it is pulled out during activation.  Remember to look for this device on your lanyard after a fall so you can place it back into the vest.  Then also replace the CO2 canister.

The Y-Type Key Ball is smaller than the B-Type Keyball.  The Y-Type is designed for the SV2 and LV while the B-Type for the MLV and Advantage (H).


Type Y KeyBall Mechanism for SV2 and LV:


Type B KeyBall Mechanism for MLV and H:


Each vest comes with a lanyard.  This buckles on one end to the key ball mechanism.  The other end is attached to a saddle strap or a motorcycle frame.  It serves as the device to pull the key ball mechanism out of the key box once enough tension has been applied.  It may need to be replaced if it becomes lost or damaged.


Bungee Lanyard:


Coiled Wire Lanyard:

Saddle Strap:

A saddle strap is designed to either go from stirrup bar to stirrup bar on an English saddle or can be wrapped around the pommel of a western saddle to give the lanyard a place to connect.  On the English saddle first take the stirrup irons off, then replace them once the end loops of the saddle strap are in place.


Hit-Air LV and Advantage (also known as the H model) Comparison Video:

You can view the Hit-Air LV and Advantage models side by side in this video.  You will see and have explained some subtle differences.  The SV2 model is very similar to the LV; it also takes a 48cc CO2 canister but has a small sizing label as it is for a smaller adult stature.  The Pro Vest (a.k.a. MLV) is similar to the LV in that it has snaps but it takes a 60cc CO2 canister, comes in a Medium, Large and XL, has some reflective material at the chest and neck.  At this point in time the LV (and SV2) come in black, red, royal blue, navy blue, hunter green and purple.  The Advantage comes in fewer color choices.  The Pro Vest or MLV comes in black, a reflective nub material, or yellow. 

Typically the LV (and SV2) model(s) is less expensive than the Advantage.  The Pro Vest is usually priced in the midst of these. 
Not sure which model you would like?  Watch this to get a better understanding of some variations.  Overall, the Hit- Air LV may work (fit) better over an ASTM equestrian vest (like the Casco MTR) than the Advantage due to the styling.  However, extensions are available for both models.

There is substantial adjustability in the waist straps and some in the chest. The vests are forgiving with flexible fabric.  If you are between sizes, opt for the larger size to accomodate the addition of layers.  The Advantage runs smaller than the other models, especially in the waist.  Buckle extensions are available as a set for both the chest and waist depending upon the model of the vest.

Measurements +/- in Inches: (Take measurements with riding clothes or additional gear on.)


Hit-Air SV2:

Chest 29"-37"

Waist 23"-31"

Height 4'9"-5'9"


Hit-Air MLV (The Pro) Medium:

Chest 34"-47"

Waist 28"-47"

Height 5'3"-6'3"


Hit-Air LV:

Chest 34"-47"

Waist 28"-47"

Height 5'3"-6'3"


Hit-Air MLV (The Pro) Large:

Chest 43"-51"

Waist 37"-45"

Height 5'9"-6'5"


Hit-Air Advantage (H) Small:

Chest 32"-37.5"

Waist 23"-31"

Height 4'9"-5'7"


Hit-Air Advantage (H) in Large:

Chest 43"-51"

Waist 37"-45"

Height 5'7"-6'5"


Hit-Air Advantage (H) Medium:

Chest  34"-47"

Waist 28"-40"

Height 5'3"-6'3"


Hit-Air Advantage (H) in X-Large:

Chest 47"-55"

Waist 42"-49.6"

Height 5'11"-6'5"


Hit-Air Kids Vest (KV) 

or Advantage XS (3XS-2XS):

One size fits most all children.

Chest: 25"-32"

Waist: 21"-27"

Height  4'3"-5'3"

Weight: minimum of 44lbs.


Hit-Air Vest Model Terminology:

  • SV-2 = Small Vest:  The 2 indicates the second version, the SV is the first.  It fits size ranges from 2XS-Small and the sizing label is "Small".  It takes a 48cc CO2 cartridge and has a Y-Type Key Box.
  • LV = Large Vest:  This vest size label is "Medium" and it adjusts from Small to XL.  It uses a 48cc CO2 cartridge and has a Y-Type Key Box.
  • MLV = Motorcycle Large Vest:  This series is also know as the Pro and is used by equestrians too.  It has two size categories labeled as "Medium", adjustable from S-XL and "Large" which is adjustable from XL-3XL.  It takes a 60cc CO2 cartridge and has a B-Type Key Box.  All models in this series have additional reflective material for night time riding and have the option of hi-visibility color for day time riding.  The MLV-C is the standard colors typically black.  The MLV-YC is the yellow color for high visibility a great choice for day time visibility or riding during hunting season.  The MLV-RC is the Reflective choice as it is a black vest covered in LUMIDEX and is extremely illuminated when light hits it at night.  Some say the MLV stands for Motorcycle Lightweight Vest and it is lightweight so that is fine. 
  • H = Harness: The equestrian H model is the Advantage.  You can also notice an H shape when viewing the back of the vest.  If you glance at the still picture of the video above you will see an LV on the left and the Advantage on the right.  If you snapped up the hip bags that are down in this view you could tell the LV has a triangle apprearance while the Advantage has an H appearance toward the bottom of the back of the vest.  The way the hip bags deploy is one of the biggest differences between the H and other models.  Some say the H stands for Horse and that is fine too.  There are a few sizing choices in this model and they all have an insulated B-Type Key Box resulting in quieter deployment.  The "XSmall" label is for Kids and small statured adults ranging from 3XS-2XS; it uses a 50cc CO2 cartridge. SKV can stand for Small Kids Vest.  The "Small" label adjusts from 2XS-S, "Medium" from S-XL and they both use 50cc CO2 cartridges.  The "Large" label ranges from XL-3XL, the "ExtraLarge" adjusts from 3XL-5XL; they both use a 60cc CO2 cartridge.

Common Hit-Air Equestrian Vest Shopping and Price Comparison:

Hit-Air SV-2 Model: Size label "Small" adjusts from US sizes 2XS-Small.  It uses a 48cc CO2 canister and has a Y-Type Key Box.


SV-2 in Black


SV-2 in Royal Blue


SV-2 in Navy Blue


SV-2 in Red

Hit-Air LV Model: Size label "Medium" adjusts from US sizes Small to XL.  It uses a 48cc CO2 canister and has a Y-Type Key Box.


LV in Black


LV in Royal Blue


LV in Red


48cc CO2 for SV-2 and LV

Hit-Air MLV Series: Medium adjusts from US sizes Small to XL and Large from XL-3XL.  They use a 60cc CO2 canister and have a B-Type Key Box.


Medium MLV-C Black


Medium MLV-YC Yellow Hi-Viz


Medium MLV-RC Reflective


60cc CO2 for MLV (3 Pack)


Large MLV-C Black


Large MLV-YC Yellow Hi-Viz


Large MLV-RC Reflective


60cc CO2 for MLV (single)

Hit-Air Advantage: XS for Kids (3XS-2XS), Small (2XS) and Medium (S-XL).  They use a 50cc CO2 canister and have a B-Type Key Box.


Kids Advantage


Medium Black Advantage




50cc CO2 for XS-M Advantage

Hit-Air Advantage: Size label "Large" adjusts from XL-3XL and "ExtraLarge" 3XL-5XL.  They use a 60cc CO2 canister and have a B-Type Key Box.


Large Red Advantage


Extra Large Black Advantage


60cc CO2 for L-XL Advantage


60cc CO2 for L-XL Advantage

Hit-Air Accessories: Vests need a saddle strap if used with a saddle.  Vests come with a keyball mechanism and lanyard.  These are extra or replacements.


Saddle Strap


Bungee Lanyard


Type-Y Keyball Mechanism


Type-B Keyball Machanism


Coiled Wire Lanyard


48cc CO2 3 Pack 


 50cc CO2 3 Pack


 60cc CO2 3 Pack

Warning: No body protector can prevent or protect from all impacts or spinal injuries. Horse sports and horseback riding have recognized hazards which can cause serious injury or death despite the use of body protectors. Body protectors cannot prevent spinal injuries or other injuries. This product is only an aid, such as an air-bag.

More Hit-Air Vests:

MLV-P has large reflective strips on the front and back.  This addition provides contrast for daytime riding and a larger relective area for night protection.


The Hit-Air RS-1 is for Racing and has the typical S-System air bag inner tubing activation.  With some motorcycle crashes the vest may have served it's purpose once. 


Hit-Air MotoRad 2 Inflatable Jacket


Hit-Air MV6 Inflatable Vest


Cooling Vest


Push the button to see the products availabe for cooling and warming.  They work nicely under the Hit-Air vests to keep you cooler or warmer.  Layer for comfort; stay protected for the ride.

Why Hit-Air?  I used to retail Hit-Air inflatable protective riding vests.  That is why these links are provided for you.  I chose to go with Hit-Air as it has a larger neck cradling system, an upscale design, has had no manufacturer recalls, and deploys outward.  They have a nice open design, are lightweight and easy to put on for every ride.

Why Amazon?  Amazon provides content rich images of products as well as pricing so you can readily see photos and make comparisons.  When you shop through  you can choose a charity that Amazon will donate to in honor of your purchase.  Amazon Associates is an affiliate program I earn from and belong to.

The mission of my charity of choice is, in short, to keep trails open for all.  I choose Back Country Horsemen of Washington and you can too.  Or find one just for you.