Help selecting inflatable PFD

I am about to get an inflatable PFD. I have seen two types. One is worn over the chest and around the neck much like a tradition PFD. The other is a belt that goes around the waist. Can someone who has seen or used the type that is worn around the waist please tell me about them? When inflated, does it them have to be moved and put on around the neck, or does it just stay around the waist. None of the internet sales info I have seen show a picture of an inflated one.


Kokatat SeaO2
I bought one over the winter and finally got to use it on 3 days of paddling in Florida last week. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. The back is mostly mesh which worked super with my seat. It felt bulky in front when I first tried it on but when I was paddling it wasn’t noticeable. I highly recommend this unit. BTW- it inflates easily through the manual inflation tube.

See archives…
I did a quick count & came up with about 135 responses to threads asking the same basic question…which inflatable pfd?

I doubt you’ll get that many responses on this thread.


belt type
The fanny-pack type inflatables just produce a horseshoe-shaped buoy when the ripcord is pulled. You have to then put it over your head, and then secure a strap around your chest. They’re certainly unobtrusive, but I would consider them very difficult to use. It would be nearly impossible to inflate and don this type without losing your boat and paddle.

I’ve got the belt type
Extremely inobtrusive. From what I’ve seen, it’s the least interfering for your torso rotation. But, when it’s deployed you do have to put it over your head. I use a regular pfd for whitewater and mainly bought this one for racing.