Best PFD for my wife on Mothers day?

My wife is 5’10", 120lbs. She needs a new PFD that is comfortable to wear in the Kayak. Looking for one with no flotation in the lower back area. Please make suggestions. THANKS in advance.

Kokatat MsFit
I have one, as did my wife - most comfortable PFD I’ve ever worn. If unsure re style or size, maybe a gift certificate from a good paddle shop…

she needs to try them on.
5’10 and 120 is really thin. She needs to try them on but a smaller mens might work better than some of the womens models meant for curvier women. The different brands all fit differently but any of the kokatat or stolhquist models work well.

I like my stolhquist tow motion but the kokatat guide is nice too. A built in short tow, a radio pocket and ability to take a hydration bladder, and lots of pockets for compass, flares, food etc. are all good features.

For touring you can never have too many pockets or storage in your pfd.

I can’t help you, but I thank you for …
loving your wife.

Jack L

Just Bought Ocean Paddler PFD
From for my daughter and she prefers it over all the the other pfd’s I’ve bought her in the past. No Velcro at all to ruin paddling outfits, etc. Only one pocket though, which contained her contact len’s when it popped out while paddling, and carries her waterproof cellphone (SamSung B2100). Got her size medium, which she wears in heavy seas while paddling her surfskis (both deep and shallow cockpits). Main thing is that she wears it and doesn’t complain about it interfering as she remounts her ski in the turbulent ocean. Yes, there is padding in the lower back area, but it is thin and doesn’t interfere while paddling deep cockpit surfskis. It is Australian designed and made, and doesn’t say “CG approved,” However, it does provide flotation and is designed specifically for paddling. It cost me $140 + $12 shipping.

Life Jackets best tried/fitted while
paddling. There are a variety of life jackets made especially for women but again, try the widest variety your wife can get her hands on while sitting in (or better, paddling) the boat. Like the gift certificate idea. Also think about remounting the yak after a wet exit, unless rolls are great. Jackets with lots of big pockets filled with stuff sometimes make it tough to climb back into your boat. A couple of small, flush pockets for basic safety gear (whistle (best attached to the zipper pull), mirror, light, phone) may be better. Just some thoughts. Paddle Safe, R

Kokatat MsFit
One reason why the MsFit by Kokatat is popular for kayakers, even for men, is because it is not as long so it doesn’t get in the way of a spray skirt as much.

Hard to do
Hard to buy a life jacket that will fit someone else. Can be done but things to think about first.

  • What style boat - high seat back or sea kayak (seat top BELOW the hip bone)

    If high seat back - from Kokatat she could try the new Aries which fits small women really well. Or the Bahia/Tour.

    If low seat back (below hip bone) - from Kokatat the MsFit/Tour would be an excellent choice as would others from both the Kokatat lineup and other brands.

    It is easy to go wrong if you are not paying attention to the boat that the life jacket will be used in. That can make any excellent life jacket feel horrible.

    Why don’t you give her a gift certificate for her favorite life jacket at your local shop? Just hand write it and decorate it with pictures of some of the suggestions from others.

Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser

A Gift Certificate
She really needs to make her own choice, and TRY THEM ON. PFDs are like kayaks - you don’t know how they’ll fit YOU until you try them on.

Manual Inflatable?
Not for everyone …