Hello...2 new oldsters

My name is Ed, and my wife’s name is Denise…
We are retired, sorta, and we are finally getting our whack at our bucket list of things we want to do.
We live in the Pacific Northwest on a island, so we got plenty of water…
We have a boat for fishing, crabbing and fun, a travel trailer to visit other locations, and power assist bikes, which we really enjoy when the weather is nice.
Last year while camping on a lake in the trailer, my wife saw a SOT kayak, and talked to the woman who owned it, she said she loved it…
We had a tandem Pacific Water Sports yak, we bought it from a guy who was selling it cheap.
It was too big, at 21 feet, and too hard for us to manage, so it sit, until I listed it on CL…folks came out of nowhere wanting that yak…I sold it to a nice guy up in the San Juans, who really put it to good use, it deserved to be used, I was happy, but our yakking stopped there, until that fateful day.
We just bought each other for Christmas some new Vibe’s, mine a Yellowfin 120, hers the Yellowfin 100. We are very close to the water, a nice bay we can launch and learn on, then when we take the trailer, I want to get a rack on the truck so we can take these along, as I love fishing, her, not as much, however she is a sport and fishes…and normally outfishes me. Also, we have, no…make that she has, 2 minnie weenie dachshunds, that go with us on the boat, and will go on the yak, she thinks…so, anyway, that’s who we are, looking forward to getting out there, and please offer any advice if you can…happy new year!

Welcome to Pcom! Enjoy your new single kayaks frequently. I do suggest to always wear a properly fitted PFD. For the pups too with a grab loop to retrieve them from the water. And to dress for the water and not the air temps. Have safe fun.

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Thank you…the pups already wear their PFD’s, and they are already been deployed…
They are crazy lil’ female dogs who try and grab the crab and salmon from the water before we do…LOL!
I appreciate the advice on dressing for the water and not the air temp, sage advice even if I have to sweat a bit.
What kind of PFD is the most user friendly as far as paddling, for a human?
Do the automatic ones deploy too readily? I like the idea of the smaller vest, it seems it would be the most comfortable, but the ones I have for the boat are pretty bulky and tight.


Try an Astral V-8 PFD. Very comfortable.

Welcome to the neighborhood. Pretty neat living on an island in such a gorgeous area.

As string noted, Astral makes some very nice PFDs. My personal preference is the YTV but that’s because I don’t want stuffed pockets to interfere if I have to get back in my boat.

In general, we recommend kayak-specific Type III PFDs (note - they are changing the naming of the categories, and Type III is the old designation). These are foam filled PFDs, not inflatables. Among the kayak specific ones are ones that have high backs, which fit better over tall seat backs.

Astral is one brand, but there are many. Kokatat is another well known brand. You likely will hear some others.

Most important is to get one that is comfortable. In pre-covid times, my suggestion was to go to a store and try on a PFD. Once you get one you think you like and have it adjusted, just wear it as you shop for other stuff and maybe try a few boats for size. If after 15 minutes you have forgotten that it is on, that is a comfortable as you want.

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Thanks Peter…yes, in trying to gather info via the INTERNET, the consensus is to try it on…I wonder if in these COVID times they would let you buy it online and return it, much like they do shoes, if they don’t fit?
Just buying the kayak “online” was a task that I had to take a chance, so I did as much research as I could without getting to set on it…arg.

I’m beginning to think we should have seen this coming, this type of life, living, when those “reality” TV became so popular…instead of living it, they opted to peep it…on a screen.

Pretty much all of the major retailers like REI, NRS, and DIck’s will accept returns with no problems, whether bought online or in store. If you have one of these stores near you or a local outfitter you can try them on in store if you are comfortable with that. The first thing you should do after purchasing one, before removing any tags or labels is to put your boat on a lawn or carpet and see if it is comfortable when in the boat. Be sure that there is no interference with the seat back or anything else. Be sure that it is comfortable because you always want to be wearing it whenever you are on the water. It is extremely difficult to put on a PFD once you are in the water. If strapped to the boat and you lose hold of the boat, you may have lost everything you might need to survive.

Agree that a USCG approved Type III is the way to go. With manual inflatables you have one more thing to deal with if you end up in the water while trying to keep hold of the boat, paddle, and any other loose gear. With auto inflatables there is the risk of it inflating when you do not want it to and not when you do.

Also definitely agree with dressing for the water temperature and not the air temperature. The overwhelming causes of death for kayakers and canoeists is failure to do that and not wearing a PFD, often in combination. Hypothermia is uncommon as the cause of death and can take hours. More common is the gasp reflex with can take your life in less than a minute or swim failure, which depending on water temperature can occur in less than fifteen minutes. A lot of cold water information is on the National Center for Cold Water Safety.

Stohlquist is another major brand to look at

Wow…you guys are great, I so appreciate the time you took to share. I have to take a ferry to get to the stores, but I have time until I will be able to use the kayaks, we will wait until it warms up, my blood chills too quickly at my age…lol!
My wife and I agree, we won’t skimp on these vest, not gonna happen, so we will take our time in getting them to be just right, but hopefully not having to take another ferry ride to exchange them…
Maybe if we take some good measurements of our seats, HEY…I can just take my seat, yes? That would get me pretty close?

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you… :slight_smile: