How to Replace Air Cartridges in Safety Air Vests

Updated December 9, 2022

Whether you’re an experienced eventer, trainer, barn manager, or parent, it’s extremely important to know how to change the air cartridge in your safety vest.

If you did fall off wearing your air vest, check it for any rips or tears and then deflate it. Before riding in it again, you’ll need to replace the air cartridge. In the videos below, SmartPaker Cora gives step-by-step instructions on how to replace the used air cartridges in both Hit Air and Point Two vests.

How to Replace Air Cartridges in Hit Air Vests

  1. To get started, you’ll need the vest itself, the lanyard, saddle strap, screw, Allen wrench, and user guide. Replacement cartridges are sold separately, and you can purchase them in sets of three or individually.
  2. Your saddle strap will have two holes at either end. Slide these holes through the stirrup safety bars on your saddle.
  3. Unclip the lanyard from your vest. Loop the lanyard through the hole in the middle of the saddle strap. Reattach this to your vest.
  4. Unzip the compartment holding the air cartridge and unscrew it from the canister. You will be able to see a hole in the bottom of the cartridge. That’s a good indication that the cartridge has been used as a new one will have no breaks in its seal.
  5. On the canister you can see that the piston, where the ball needs to go, into has moved up. That’s how it releases the air from the air canister.
  6. Take the screw and put it in the bottom of the canister.
  7. Put your Allen wrench into the screw. By turning the wrench, you will wind the piston down. Keep turning it until the ball is flush and you can see the keyhole completely open.
  8. Put the key ball into the canister and tighten it into place using the Allen wrench. As you’re tightening it, the screw will come out of the bottom of the air cartridge.
  9. Screw your new air cartridge into the holder.
  10. Unclip the lanyard from the key ball. There’s a little hole in the vest that you will pop it through. Zip the compartment closed, reclip the lanyard, and then you can put everything back together by snapping the buttons.

Shop Hit Air Vests and Air Cartridges

How to Replace Air Cartridges in Point Two Air Vests

With a Point Two air vest, your Allen wrench will be tucked right next to the canister. The used air cartridge will simply slide out of the compartment instead of being unscrewed. When winding down the piston, you can expedite this by loosening it with the Allen wrench, and then pushing it down from the top to get the ball back into place.

When you’re tightening the bottom of the canister, you’ll see an arrow and a little dot. Try to get those to be lined up so you know that the bottom part is screwed back in tightly. The new cartridge will also have an arrow that should line up with the space between the air cartridge and the bayonet when locked into the right position.

Shop Point Two Air Vests and Air Cartridges

Looking to buy your first safety vests or replace your current vest for a different style? Visit our protective horseback riding vest guide to learn about the different types of vests, how they should fit, plus cleaning and care tips!

The information provided in the Horsemanship Library is based solely on our SmartPak authors' opinions. SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian or equine professionals regarding specific questions about your horse's health, care, or training. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or behavior and is purely educational.

Originally published May 2, 2017