Life Jacket (PFD)

I’m trying to decide between a traditional life vest or a self inflating waist vest like the one below.

I will be using this for kayaking. Any advice about PFD. I will also be doing some fly fishing but I don’t need any storage space on my PFD.

Thank you,

Ken Devorak

doesn’t look suitable
If you wore that with the inflatable portion behind you, it would be in the way of the seat back. If you wore it with the inflation portion in front of you it would tend to hinder re-entering the boat in a capsize. Honestly, I have never seen unit like that used for kayaking and have trouble imagining how it would work. It seems to be designed for SUP paddlers and fly fishermen, not for people sitting in boats.

I’ll stand corrected if anybody wants to clarify this.

My suggestion for a kayak comfortable, non bulky PFD choice is the Astral V-8.

thank you
Thanks for the input.

inflatable PFDs have very few suitable applications and kayaking is definitely not one of them. I agree that a nice comfy low profile PFD would be a much better choice. There are some that would impede fly casting buy many that wouldn’t.

Dat’s a Floater
That style is not designed for anything but keeping you bobbing at the surface belly up. The inflatable horseshoe collar styles work better for moving/swimming around the surface.

A (previously known as Type III) pfd like the Astral V-Eight would work very well.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


– Last Updated: May-11-15 3:04 PM EST –

Stick with a traditional pfd; you'll probably be much happier in the long run.

Astral Designs, MTI, NRS, and Stohlquist make some very good pfds with a very good variety of shapes, sizes & proposed useage. A poke from a sharp stick or piece of mental won't leave them virtually useless, if/when the time ever comes when you "really need" it. Anything that inflates can deflate.............


other brands
I would add Kokatat and Extrasport as makers of good quality PFD 's.

Life Jacket
The Kokatat Misfit Tour was originally designed for women, giving them a slightly different cut.

Many men have found the same cut less restrictive and very comfortable for kayaking. I have been using one for over 10 years. No, I don’t know Bruce Jenner and never have discussed life jackets with him.


Do not make the mistake of thinking that any good pfd will work fine for paddling. Look only at those that are designed specifically for paddling and also those that are more specifically for kayaks. Be very sure that you pick a pfd that has no flotation on the sides. This is particularly important if you are planning to paddle a sit inside kayak.

Unless you find a really good deal somewhere, you might as well figure on paying close to $80, or more. Be sure you try it on before you buy. You should familiarize yourself with the range of materials that pfds are made from. Generally, the higher quality and more durable vests will be made with 500 denier Cordura nylon.

I would add MTI and NRS to the list of brands to shop.

Also look at Salus


Second the MsFit
In all other aspects I’m a regular manly man but when it comes to my PFD I’m not ashamed to use the MsFit. It’s most comfortable.