Kokatat Orbit pfd Question

-- Last Updated: Feb-14-12 12:15 PM EST --

I think i am looking for a new PFD . i am in the Kokatat misfit currently and i have a problem of the back riding up to high on me( i am in a small and it still does this even after making it so tight i can't move)No big gut or spare tire either :). Second pfd that does this.My other is a Lotus. background info. is: I am 5'2" and paddle the P+H Scorpio LV. I have only paddled a couple of other sea kayaks in the past, and feel that i may sit fairly low in my Scorpio. there for i am thinking that my pfd's are just shoving up the back when hitting the combing. I have played around with the shoulder straps, everything we can think of. When wearing a helmet it will rub on the back of the pfd. This is really uncomfortable a strain on my neck as well. After a lot of looking around i am leaning toward the Kokatat Orbit tour or NRS Ninja because they are so low profile in the back?. My paddling is done mostly on big and small lakes and monthly trips to the Atlantic during the warmer months.
Thanks for any feedback or advice in advance.

Wold the Kokatat Sea 02 work for you?
I have been considering this pfd - waiting for my Lotus L’Ocean to bite the dust but it just keeps on ticking.

hadn’t noticed this one
it seems similar in design (in the back) to my Lotus, but will ask Suz to bring one to KTP show in March. Thanks.

Check out Astral Bella or Willis, too

– Last Updated: Feb-22-12 2:19 PM EST –

They are shorter than average. The Bella allegedly is shorter than the Willis. They compensate (in flotation) by having the front consist of two overlapping panels of foam, one thick and one thin. I wish both were thin, but nobody makes one like that. Anyway, the separate panels have the advantage of allowing lots of freedom of movement for torso rotation. Adjustable for for both girth and shoulder strap length.

OR you might be able to get away with using a (shhhhhh...) kid's PFD as I often do. It fits really well, though I can't wear it with a drysuit because that adds too much breadth for it. Can wear it with a 3mm wetsuit, though. The length in front is perfect for me. It even floats me just fine, though I can feel it has less buoyancy than an adult PFD does. It is rated to 90 lbs but I suspect they allow a fair bit of margin for clothing, as I am not that light!

Any PFD feels like a hindrance, but the kid's PFD less so.

A WW rodeo PFD might also suit you, as they are designed for maximal freedom of movement. The catch is that the front foam will be quite thick. Worth trying on, though.

I love my Kokatat orbit tour

– Last Updated: Feb-14-12 5:29 PM EST –

and i am the same height as you. I paddle a WS Tempest and i forget i am wearing it. The tour has nice pockets.
The drawbacks - pullover, and thick front to make up the floatation needed as it is so cut out around the arms which i love. I actually bought a 2nd one for back up in case something happens to this one (thats how much i like it!)

Once you get used to it - you will love the openness of it. I have tried so many others with front zips but rip them off as i can feel this huge wide thing in front of me.
Edit- I wear the small/med and i have the shoulder straps cinched as much as possible and it works ok that way for me.

after looking at the Bella and Willis
my concern is still in the back panel coming up as high as these do. i am looking for the really low back panel so when and if it rides up it’s doesn’t become a headrest. I will look at kids next time i am near a paddle shop though. None of which will be open for a while in our neck of the woods.

Glad to see a post on someone that is using one of the 2 and likes it. Thanks for the feedback.

LLBean sells the Kokatat orbit tour

– Last Updated: Feb-14-12 7:31 PM EST –

and free shipping. If you dont like it - just return shipping on you. I ordered my 2nd from them. This jacket has a rubberish lining which helps it from riding up and keeps it pretty solid.

Thanks for the tip
I need to go to bean’s anyway! I could order than take back if need be when i take my tent.

New Kokatat Aries
Kokatat is launching a brand new PFD called the Aries. This PFD is designed for small paddlers and is the first to take advantage of the Coast Guard approved YXL/XXS sizing, but comes in all sizes.

Mine rides up
during swims. It looks great in catalogs and is made with quality materials but it’s not secure on me in the water where it counts. Even with the grippy material around the base it tends to slide up unless it’s tightened to the point of being uncomfortable.

I’ve used a high-back model from Stohlquist for years. It fits me like a glove and feels very secure in the water so the Orbit has been disappointing.

The only thing
about pfd’s with the floatation concentrated in the belly is how they impact self rescue efforts when sea kayaking. Not an issue generally when paddling rivers which is the sort of paddling they are designed for - whitewater.

Good to hear things like this. Thanks

Suzanne is bringing this to
KTP show in March for me to try.

Aries looks very promising!
It has the front zip and may not be quite as full in the front but I cannot tell from a pic. It still looks quite roomy around the arms so its worth checking out!

Gotta examine that backside

– Last Updated: Feb-22-12 2:20 PM EST –

One photo looks like the rear foam is up top, which is fine, but I wonder what's below it, just unpadded nylon or thinner foam?

Anyway, I, too, am interested in the Aries. Right now I use the Stohlquist youth Escape PFD most of the time, but because it's too small for use with my drysuit I use an Astral Willis for that.

Neither is really what I want, because the Escape (besides being barely big enough for me) ideally would be about an inch or two longer (in back but not front) to protect my spine more. The Willis is so bulky in front that it's very difficult to do a cowboy re-mount and not the greatest for rolling, either. Otherwise I like it...if they'd only make a true XS adult size (or XL youth--don't need the 16 lbs of flotation).

Flotation numbers and sizing
The Aries’ 14+ lbs rating in the smallest size should float us light paddlers very well, based on my experience with lesser and greater amounts.

For comparison:

  • My adult PFDs have all been rated at 16 to 17 lbs of buoyancy.
  • My youth Stohlquist Escape is rated to about 10 lbs. It’s enough.
  • The Sea Kayaker Magazine review of the hybrid inflatable Kokatat Sea 02 stated the foam in that provided about 7.5 lbs buoyancy (22 lbs if inflated with air or C02), and that that was enough to float the adult male reviewer, though low in the water.

    The sizing numbers are very generous. My youth PFD says chest up to 29" and weight up to 90 lbs. I exceed both those maximums by more than 15% and it still fits (barely) and floats me. Which is why I need to actually try on a PFD to avoid getting one that’s bigger than necessary.

not sure why or how
the Orbit could make a difference in self rescues? My goal is to have my roll on both sides solid this summer. Almost there. Not trying to be funny just trying to understand the impact of the self rescue with this PFD.

I looked at the back of the Aries also
and think the foam stops and then there is just nylon and it is attached around the waist on that empty nylon area but i cannot be sure until i actually see one.

NRS has one similar to the Orbit

– Last Updated: Feb-20-12 11:55 AM EST –

so it looks on the site "NRS Ninja"- might want to check that one out also

I agree…
it hard when you have to mail order everything though, what a pain! Thanks for the info.