Bestt Warm Weather PFD

After having canoed on church trips several times my wife and I have taken the plunge and just purchased our first canoe.

We are in Northern Alabama where between heat and humidity the weather can get just plain miserable.

I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for top notch warm weather PFDs. The cooler the better. Also, if anyone can recommend some good places to find canoeing gear around Birmingham that would be a big help. We have family there and would like to do some shopping while we are in town.

All help would be greatly appreciated.


If you go to REI or, or to
Sierra Trading Outpost, you’ll see PFDs designed specifically for warm weather. Such pfds often have net in the back rather than a hot foam panel.

Cool comfort in a pfd is very much a matter of individual fit, so it’s best to go to a store with a range of options and try some on. Remember that when your PFD gets wet, the Nylon fabric and straps may relax a little, so a store example can be a bit tight as long as you can move well in it.

What g2d said.
I ended up with this one last summer:

So far, I’m lovin’ it.

Check out
The Astral V-8, it has lots of ventilation. But as others have said best to try them on specifically in the position you will be paddling in. Keep in mind good fitting PFD’s cost some $$$ so don’t be afraid to open up the wallet.

having paddled in your area
A warm weather pfd when it is 95 is like running an air conditioner with the windows open. I have an astral Willis and it allows some air movement. The v8 I’m sure would be better. A good fitting vest is really the key. Or just sweat and drink more. It’s good for you.

Ryan L.

The V-8 is great, but as already
stated, you are gonna sweat.

Another recommendation:

– Last Updated: Apr-25-11 9:55 AM EST –

I live in Georgia and this is the PFD I wear. It's great for the price!
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Consider an inflatable
I did a lot of kayaking in North Alabama, I lived in Huntsville. A big storm generally created about 1’ waves. On flatwater I would wear my belt inflatable. But, in class II type stuff, I would wear a regular PFD.

I don’t get that far north much
But when it’s 100F and 100% humidity down here I wear a fishing PFD from Wally World. Costs about 1/3 of the others and better ventilated. I wouldn’t go whitewater or play in the surf but if you’re on lakes or slow rivers…

And 1/2 gal of iced sweet tea behind my seat.

When it gets Hot
I switch to my inflatable from Mustang Survival which is very cool to wear.

second the Astral V-8
I’ve gone through half a dozen PFD’s looking for comfort and am sold on the Astral V-8. I literally am hardly aware I am wearing a PFD, even on really hot days. They designed it with mesh-backed vent holes, even in the front, and it really does “breathe”. Both REI and L.L. Bean stock them – runs around $105 list but I often see them on sale for under $100. Completely worth the $$ in my opinion. All my other vests (MTI, Stohlquist and Lotus) feel like straitjackets after getting used to the V-8.