Fat Guy PFD ?

I’m not huge but am new to kayaking with a Pamlico 135T on the way that I will using mainly solo. I’m 6’3". 280 lbs with around a 56 inch chest…former football guy. Here’s the deal…most Pfd’s seem small on me and I would like one with a lot of room in the arms and neck. Can you guys give me some advice on good brands to look at? I don’t want to spend a fortune but want a reliable one…at my weight I sink like a rock! ;). Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

check out MTI apf, or mti web site, they have a variety, some fit 56 inch chest

PFD for Big Boys

– Last Updated: Jun-05-11 9:17 PM EST –

Modifying a PFD, such as (permanently) adding additional body strap webbing,
voids the device's approval, no matter who does the modification.

--However, for a person with a chest size over 52" , using an adult universal PFD
with a clip-on body strap extension does not void the approval.

THE BIBLE of PFD's - US Coast Guard -

The people hardest to float are those with compact, dense bodies. These tend to be people with athletic body builds, with a lot of bone and muscle mass, and not much fat. Fat is not as dense as muscle and bone, so people who are overweight can actually be easier to float than someone who is much smaller and leaner. Heavy people do not need a higher buoyancy PFD because of their weight.

BUOYANCY: Most adults only need an extra seven to twelve pounds of buoyancy to keep their heads above water. A PFD can give that "extra lift," and it's made to keep you floating until help comes.

Your weight is not the only factor in finding out how much "extra lift" you need in water.
Body fat, lung size, clothing, and whether the water is rough or calm, all play a part.

I’m about your same size.
Also have a 56" chest. Most of the major PFD manufacturers (MTI, Stohlquist, Extrasport, Kokatat, etc) make models that support up to a 56" chest. Some of the universal models go higher. The sizes indicated on the various websites seem to be relatively accurate.

It’s important, though, to make sure that whatever you purchase is adjusted properly. If not, they can have a tendency to ride up or even slip off when paddling or when in the water. This is especially noticeable on big guys like us.

I’ve purchased both an MTI Solaris and an Extrasport Riptide that I wear comfortably. The Riptide is more versatile, and nicer from an adjustment point, but either one seem to do a good job now that I’ve got them adjusted correctly.

I’ve also heard that the Stohlquists are nice for bigger folks due to their diagonal straps from chest to waist that are said to do a good job of preventing ride up. If I were to have it to do over, I’d probably look at one of their fishing models (PiSeas or Fisherman) in the Universal size.

Hope that helps.


Stohlquist A-Sea will work
And they make a “universal " modelthat fits to 54” chest as memory serves. I am pleased with mine.


Here is what i bought…
For other big guys looking at this thread, I ended up purchasing the Extrasport Osprey due to the great fit and many pockets. It definitely is a good one if you have fishing in mind at all. I spent $89 bucks on it at REI, however you can find it for $79 if you look and want to put in the effort. I was at an REI store so I decided rather than save my $10 bucks driving to the next spot and hoping they had it, I pulled the plug and bought it. It is sand colored, mesh top so should be about the coolest one you can find. I was also looking at a MTI Reflex which is a sharp looking jacket, but it definitely was more insulated and in my mind “hotter” so I went with Extrasport Osprey…good luck!