Extrasport PFDs?

I am looking at either the Chica or the Cruzin’ style of the Extrasport kayaking PFDs.

Are they pretty comfortable for the most part? how do y’all like your Extrasport life vests?

Extrasport PFD’s
I don’t use either of the models you mentioned because I am 6’3" and about 225 pounds. I use the high bouyancy model U 22 Agency Hi-floatation with 22lbs floatation as compared with the 16lbs floatation most models have. My PFD is a universal fit. It rides high on the body so it doesn’t interfere with the seal on a kayak. It has good ventilation on both sides, wide arm holes for easy paddling, and has two pockets. It has lash points and two rings plus reflective tape for easy location at night. Price $125. a bit higher than most.

I believe Extrasport produces excellent PFD’s for kayakers, canoeists, and rafters. Other good products are made by Astral, Kokatat, and NRS. Try several PFD’s on before making a decision.

Good luck!

I recommend in-store fit trials rather
than mail-order, because fit and comfort are surprisingly variable, even for very reputable brands.

I recall ordering a bargain price Stohlquist Betsea for my wife. I already owned a Stohlquist Max that was nice and flexible. But even though Stohlquist declared their intention to accomodate female dimensions with the Betsea, the foam was rather thick and stiff, and it did not fit.

If you want to bargain-shop, it could help if you have an REI store in DFW. You can order in PFDs from either the regular or the REI Outlet online stores, have them delivered to your local store with free shipping, and then if a PFD is obviously wrong for you, you can turn it back immediately at the store’s customer service. This spares the nuisance of having to repack and reship your returns.

I ended up getting an Astral Abba for my wife, but in spite of its claimed flexibility based on its kapok cells in the front, it has not been as comfortable for her as older jackets. Demo, demo applies more to PFDs than to boats, in my experience.

Like the previous poster, I have owned some higher flotation PFDs. My Stohlquist Max has 22 pounds flotation, and my old Wildwater Designs HiFloat (made from a kit) has 30 pounds. I think, however, that unless you are a low-fat, heavy boned “sinker,” you will find the 16 pounds of most PFDs more than adequate. In old age, my fat now supports my heavy bones quite well, and my 16 pound Lotus Sherman has plenty of flotation. Twenty years ago, it might not have served as well.

try b4 you buy
besides the good point made by g2D,you will want to try some PFDs cut for a woman’s body. (for that matter, many male paddlers use them too)

Every woman has a different physique, but generally we want a PFD that doesn’t squash our bust line, is for a shorter torso than the average male, and has a nice open cut in the back fitted for our shoulder span.

Definitely try some on. If you don’t get the right fit it will be uncomfortable, inhibit your paddling motion, and even be something of a PITA as you learn self- and assisted rescues. If it fits too loose it is awkward to swim in and difficult for people to rescue you.

Generally a good fitting PFD will have many points of attachment (shoulders, a few side buckles, a waist clip) and have several side panels on the front so it will wrap nicely around your torso. Generally the more points of attachment you have, the more you can customize the fit. It’s also more adaptable as your paddling wardrobe grows and you are wearing different thicknesses.

I prefer stretchy neoprene shoulder straps that buckle in well and just a pocket or two - an inside and outside one is nice. There should be an inside clip on one pocket to safeguard a car key, noseclips or whatever.

Inside the kind of foam matters: PE foam is more rigid and affordable. PVC foam is soft and malleable. It’s used for comfort and costs more. Good quality PFDs frequently use both. You want to avoid a stiff, boardlike PFD.

I agree that 16-18lbs buoyancy would do you just fine if you are height/weight proportionate to the average woman.

Try on the ones that zip up the center and the ones you pull over and cinch at the shoulders and sides. I have one of each.

In no particular order try these:

Front zippered types: Kokatat MsFit(the Tour version has more pockets, but is bulkier) MTI PFDiva, the Stohlquist Betsea, Patagonia Lola.

Some very nice over the head PFDs for kayakers are made by Palm (MTI reps for them) and MTI’s Name (an older model for women you may be able to get at a discount) These will be labelled Type V which means to meet Coast Guard regs they must be worn all the time - which is no problem if it fits. Palm has more kayaker front zip models on tap as soon as they work out approval details with the USCG.

Disclosure: I don’t work for any of these companies. I use a Palm Freestyle over the head PFD. Just got an MTI PFDiva - tried one on at Paddlesport NJ and bought one online to get my color preference. It fits great - can’t wait to get it wet this week :wink:

Kokatat Msfit
only way to go, guys too.

aw c’mon
I respect that you probably own one and like it, but it’s NOT “the only way to go”. People really need to try PFDs, paddles, etc. and decide what works for them. They can use what’s said on an internet board for a start but nothing’s gospel.

In my case, while I liked the MsFit and am a big fan of Kokatat as a company (and own a Kokatat drysuit), the Tour was too bulky. The PFDiva has a slimmer profile and curves closer to the torso. It was cut away more in the back and fit my shoulders better. The Diva also has more fitting options for women using the supplied bust inserts. Cordura fabric seems to hold up better in my experience.

So that made the PFDiva a better choice - for me. But I’d never say “it’s the only way to go”.

aw c’mon

– Last Updated: Apr-14-08 1:23 PM EST –

just deleted a double post.

Just tried on the Cruizin’
And love the fit! it’s about 50 percent cheaper than the Chica so I might just go with the Cruzin’ (save my money for buying other yak gear. :slight_smile:

I Bought the 'Eagle" Model
from Extrasport. I like it a lot. I also own a Kokatat msfit. They are both very comfortable.

My wife and I both have and like the Chica model. We’re both on the smaller side (I’m 5’8 155lb, she’s 5’3 120lb) and this pfd is definitely made for smaller people.