Female friendly PFD's

Hello all, I’m new here, but I need your help in picking a PFD. I’m 5"8", busty and my husband’s PFD fits horribly. I want one for me!

I plan on taking a whitewater rafting guide course later this spring so I need it by then.

My personal pet peeves about PFD’s are the fact that most squish me and chafe my chin after extended wear.


My wife tried the Stohlquist Betsea, but

– Last Updated: Jan-31-09 4:52 PM EST –

the foam panels were too stiff. She has the Astral Abba--- the kapok filled panels are somewhat resilient, but there doesn't seem to be a specific bust space.

You don't say where you live, but if you're in the SE, consider calling the Nantahala Outdoor Center store, where there's a lot of women including female raft guides. They might have some good ideas based on their experience.

Look up and email trailmom under search or in any Illinois Getting Together thread. She just got a female specific PFD for Xmas, and she’s super kind and will give you the scoop. cooldoctor1

Astral’s Wonder jacket
Astral’s Wonder Jacket has sculpted foampanels to fit fuller female figures.

MTI also makes one that is adjustable
with foam pads.

“sculpted foam cups for size B-D”

– Last Updated: Feb-01-09 9:41 AM EST –

From Astral Wonder jacket write-up.
This is not particularly full-figure in my book.

Well, to answer questions-I’m in the Seattle area and since this is somewhat anonymous- I’m a size 36 DDD. So it looks like some of the smaller sizes won’t work.

I will check out the other suggestions. Thanks again.

Stolquist Motion
But you almost gotta try them on to see what works,


Kokatat Orbit Tour
This is the only one I like but I am not considered “big” busted but again I am not a skinny minny either. Its worth a try if you can find one to test - it fits minimalist and that is what I like about it - I think it is designed for whitewater moreso because of its design.

Kokatat MsFit
You might want to look at the MsFit. The front zipper can be left open because the waist buckle secures the vest. Great feature in hot weather, too.


Check out the Astral Bella
Astral came out with a lower profile PFD, the Bella. It is the women’s version of their Willis. I purchased one late last summer, and I’ve been pleased with it. Here is a link:


Good luck! w.d.

I don’t know about anonymous, but
we can be obnoxious.

I tried on a few
I tried on the BetSea,the PFDiva and the MsFit Tour.

The MsFit Tour fit well, but the padding seemed to get in the way if I moved my arms in front of my chest.

The BetSea was only offered in a “plus” size and did pretty well but the shoulder adjustments were poking into my collar bone area as it bunched up the excess there. The REI Sales Associate said I’d get used to it. At over $100 bucks I wasn’t sure I’d want to get “used to it”.

The PFDiva also did ok fit wise, but I didn’t think “Yeah I found the one I love!”

So I think I’ll try on a Bella and Wonderjacket if I can find them.

Thanks for all your help.

If they made a PFD specifically for
women of your body type, they could just leave out a little of the foam (and not redistribute it) as the reality is you have some buoyancy built in. I guess they still have to meet some CG spec for their rating.

There are also other options like inflatable vests that might work well depending on the type of paddling you do.


Anyone reccomend the Lola or Lolita?
I see that NRS sells them. I might just order them to try on and send them back if they don’t fit. They are on sale right now so I was wondering if anyone had opinions on them?

I have a Lola
when they were made by Lotus Designs. It’s a pretty nice PFD, but I bought the Bella to replace it! Even though the Lola is designed for a woman’s body, it still compresses the bust area, when adjusted so that it won’t ride up. I have a short torso, and the Lola is a tad long for me. The front pocket is very handy, though. The Astral Bella’s storage pocket is on the inside, but not difficult to access. Unlike many of the lower profile woman-specific PFDs, I don’t think the Bella “puffs out” as much. I have had no problems with moving my arms, but the lash tab for a knife is in a lousy place. For me, the Lola’s lash tab was poorly placed as well. w.d.

I guess I’ll look elsewhere
I won’t bother with the Lola then. Thanks for the feedback.

I did find a women’s Stohlquist Motion that fit well. Only, I find out that they are discontinued. GRRRRRR!

I wasn’t crazy about the color, but at this point, I guess I shouldn’t be too picky. Maybe I’ll just get it anyway.

Kokatat MsFit Tour

I too have boobies and a Lola

– Last Updated: Feb-05-09 6:40 PM EST –

I love it.(I guess I am seeking a minimizer bra) I have a Ms Fit too that I had to buy in Canada for a trip that the outfitter was giving out Cheap Crappy Tire PFD's that would fit a box. I dont have a box but rather TT's.(use your imagination).

I dont like the MsFit as much.

Keep trying them on gal..and sink the dork at REI..thats really a stupid thing for the salesperson to have said..REI needs feedback.

Its got to be comfortable on you because otherwise you will tend to come up with reasons not to wear it. That's only human nature.

That REI advice sounds like what my mother might have said back in '55 about a girdle.

Aren’t Boobies an Artic bird?