Fat Guy PFDs?

I’ve been kayaking for a number of years but am constantly frustrated with my PFD riding up into my throat. I’m 5’8" tall, weigh 240 lbs, have a 50" waist but a 46" chest. With that combination, most PFDs eventually slide up under my chin.

Short of losing 60 lbs. - yeah, been there, done that - never for long though - are there companies making PFDs for us fat guys?

Thanks in advance.

might want to try an Astral
Though I am smaller than you, I had a similar fit issue – I’m shortbodied and thickwaisted so most PFD’s rode up under my chin. So I’ve really grown to like the Astral V8, which is usually in stock in REI and L.L. Bean stores. It is cut in quite a low vee in front , with a mesh lower back and two sets of horizontal fit straps, one at the waist and one at the chest, so you can adjust them separately. Their L/XL size range goes up to 51". I’ve found it very comfortable for both kayaking and canoeing. Very lightweight and cool in hot weather too – it’s the only PFD I’ve ever owned (and I’ve bought 5 over the years) that I am barely aware I even have on. Only drawback is lame pockets – really only one large one that doesn’t close that securely. I’ve considered stitching on another pocket.

Like I said, don’t know if this would work for you but since the model is fairly easy to try on due to the two big chains stocking it, it should be simple to check it out.

Leg straps
I would get one with leg straps. It is the only way I have found to keep the vest down.

I have added crotch straps to PFDs
just so they didn’t need to be cinched so tight around the waist.

However, I’ve heard the USCG doesn’t want anything sewn onto a PFD. So one might need to carry a fully legal PFD in the boat in a situation where enforcement checks are likely.

“DNR” officers can be worse than the USCG. They don’t understand what the Coast Guard intended to achieve. All they understand is the written language of the rules.

Maybe an inflatable?
I would not wear one in white water, but I might in flat water.


Astral V 8
I love my astral i’m 6’4" 240 lbs. Canoe primarily. Wear my best all day in colder water conditions. Lots of freedom of movement.

A Few Options
I’ve dealt with that in the past, myself, since I have a long torso. Look for those that have adjustable shoulders. Used to have an Extrasport Retroglide Sabre, but they no longer make that. If you can find one, it’s a good one.

Two that are in production that I like are these:

http://stohlquist.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=59 in production that I like are this:

I have had the Stohlquist for 4 years and very comfortable. Another is this similar one:http://www.rei.com/product/782963/mti-reflex-pfd

Another thing I do is fasten a good carabiner to my front PFD belt and around my pants/shorts belt. In heavier water I do one on each side. WW

Another Stohlquist: the A-Sea

Works for me.