Canoe PFD?

I’m looking for a PFD just for canoeing. I have one of the high ride kayak style which is too bulky and am looking for one that extends well down my body,allows pleanty of single paddle freedom of motion,and has pockets.


Astral Norge

I wanted basically the same things you do. It’s got 2 handwarmer pockets (I think those zip now) and one zipping front pocket. Nothing protruding. Very comfy.

I bought this one for around $40 on sale.

It has pockets and two lash tabs for a knife or GPS. It also zips in the front, which makes it easier taking on and off. I am a canoe paddler and the foam does not get in the way.

Lotus grande
I have a lotus Grande, as does my wife and youngest son(6’1" 210 lbs) I personally have done many thousand

miles paddling wearing it and have no complaints. My Son was?is a kayaker and i never heard any whineing from him. The only problem I ever had(besides heat here in NC) was on One 70 mile race I got a blister on my stomich from the waist strap. Only had that problem once on all of the races I have done…

Charlie Swengros

Denver NC

Lotus / Patagonia
I agree the Lotus Designs or now Patagonia are about the nicest PDF’s out there. I just adjust my shoulder straps down and make it sit lower while in the canoe.


…Patagonia has ceased production on must if not all of their PFDs – the former “Lotus Designs” line. My personal favorite the Rio Grande was a great design with ample arm-swing room, plenty of adjustments, pockets and 19.5 lbs of floatation (much more than most comparable jackets). Sad that it’s almost unavailable these days (check for old stock). My understanding is that Patagonia failed (big time) in not getting the Lotus Design original owner to sign a non-competition agreement when they bought the rights to his PFD line some years ago. Consequently he has returned to the market with the Astral line, which has become very popular.

Curiously the Astral line features old fashioned kapok for floatation. This is one of those hokey supposedly “green” products because it doesn’t involve PVC foam. Pretty silly when you consider the fuel it takes to ship that stuff from Asia, the newer environmentally safe foams that are available these days and the fact that kapok sucks as flotation once it gets well saturated. Let’s not even think about it’s condition as flotation after a PFD filled with that stuff has been used as a sitting cushion in the “real world” for a few years… There’s a reason that stuff was given up as old school many years ago by most manufacturers. Oh well, it’s back… and even carries a Coast Guard rating. Go figure…

I have no…
vested interest in promoting any single company ( forgive the pun ). But I wore the Lotus Rio Grande for several years and when time came to buy a new one decide to try something with a lower profile on the top half. I found a Stohlquist Brik on sale and have been very pleased with it. The floatation is more around the stomach and allows greater freedom of movement in the upper torso,than the Rio Grande, which wasn’t bad. I haven’t swum a rapid in it yet but for straight paddling find it comfortable. There are several brands that make models based on this style that would probably work.


I suggest just going and trying lots
of PFD’s and take your paddle with you.

Extrasports B27 is favorite of big water or expedition paddlers because it comes down low and does not interfere with the carrying of a ditch kit.

Brik has one pocket
…as does the Stohlquist Wedge that I use most the time. I have taken numerous rough-water swims in it, and it does stay in place as advertised when adjusted properly. Very comfortable for paddling and poling.

I also have been using a Stohlquist PiSeas lately when fishing. It has two large front pockets, and while designed more for SOTs (higher back flotation) it seems plenty comfortable for leisurely canoeing with a single or double blade. Haven’t had a swim with it yet, but should do well in calmer waters.

Bought the Abba, women’s version of
the Norge, and it is not all that great. My wife is actually more comfortable in my old Lotus Sherman.

I don’t believe in “demo” for boats, but for PFDs it is essential.

t the wpascr

– Last Updated: Jul-06-09 8:07 PM EST –

CEW had one that had little or no was an inflatable that you blow up when needed. It was the least restrictive thing I have seen. Can't remember the make, but maybe Charlie will post....