looking for new PFD that holds VHF

First off iam 5’8" 165 ;bs. I would like to get as cool a PFD as possable. Right now I have a Astral V-Eight which I really like. But want to get a PFD that has more pockets and a dedicated VHF radio pocket.

Reason iam asking is local kayak shops dont carry a large selection plus I want as cool/breathable like the Astral V-Eight but more pockets and VHF pocket. The cooler it is the better. Or should I try an ad something to currect PFD I have. I overheat easily. Not sure there is some kind of pocket adder I could put on current PFD.I also like to roll so nothing that would impead me from laying back onto rear deck during roll.

Dozens of manufacturers exist

– Last Updated: Feb-14-13 1:05 AM EST –

Some examples of great paddling vest manufacturers
-almost all have pockets and are made for paddlers.
Cool is a relative term, water splashing helps.

Sea Kayaking needs will be different than River Running




Mount the radio on a shoulder strap

– Last Updated: Feb-14-13 7:00 AM EST –

That gives you instant access and you can easily operate it with one hand (either one). Both of these can be important factors if you end up in a situation where you really NEED your radio. In your case, it will also allow you to select any PFD you want.

It's pretty easy to do with most radios, using the standard belt mount block that comes with them (the type that uses a post/button on the back of the radio and requires you to invert it to release it). Attach the mount to the shoulder strap along with a loop of bungee cord that fit's snugly around the radio to keep it from inverting. A short leash from the radio to the shoulder strap will prevent it from getting lost if it does manage to come out of the mount.

What radio model? NM

Astral V-8
My Astral v-8 has a nice pocket which I use for a GPS but should also work for a VHF. My problem is where to place the VHF when I buy one in the spring, I guess the shoulder strap is probably the best option.

tuck it
On the Astral vests that have a single front panel (Willis, SeaWolf, Green Jacket) I like to tuck the VHF sideways into the belly-pouch that hangs between the waist panel and the chest panel. Tie the VHF strap to your shoulder strap, or a short tether, then just shove the VHF into the belly pouch.

It’s totally out of the way, and secure. Yet easy to get at and use. If I am actually using the VHF I just tuck it in between my chest and the top of the PFD for a minute. But 99 percent of the time my VHF is there just in case, so I don’t want it poking me in the ear, or jabbing me in the elbow, etc during the majority of the time when I need to have it nearby, but it’s not in use.

Add on to Brian’s Suggestion
I use Brian’s method with one addition. I use the NRS accesory carabiner as a leash. I clip the carabiner side to my shoulder strap and loop the keyring through the lanyard tether opening on the radio. You may need to buy a smaller keyring to fit your radio.

Here’s a link to the carabiner. Hopefully, you can visualize the rest:



I havent yet bought a radio but will soon. I think I have decided on the Uniden MHS135DSC as it has GPS with the DSC capability. I found it online for $156. I found other radios non DSC in the $80 range but I think I will go with the DSC radio. I guess after reading replies here and other places I will just try and attach it to the upper jacket strap and see how that works. Allthough I did want a PDF with more pockets anyway.

Astral Sea Wolf
As Nate has been writing of, the front chest pouch on the Astral Sea Wolf is spacious enough to hold an Icom M88 and the antenna barely protrudes out if the pouch. The unit your looking at has a longer body so the antenna would extend further. Wouldn’t be a problem as the front pouch on the Sea Wolf has two zippers which would allow you to close it with the radio sitting inside at an angle so as to keep the antenna out of the way. The other route Nate mentioned is just as workable, carrying in the hand warmer sling below the chest pouch on the Sea Wolf.

Also, having a glove box for all your stuff without your pfd looking like a pineapple grenade is not only handy but a heck of a smoother profile.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


NRS Cvest

– Last Updated: Feb-15-13 11:47 PM EST –

NRS has the cVest


I dont own it but it looks similar to a couple of the well reviewed kokatat vests. My vhf fits in my stolquist pocket, but i've been looking for something with a specific radio pocket and this looks interesting.

Anyone here own one that might want to add their input about the NRS?


Sea Wolf + M88 good, but with M72

– Last Updated: Feb-17-13 8:51 AM EST –

not so much. I now happen to an Icom M72. It is very difficult fit in the Sea Wolf clam-shell pocket and can be a challenge to deploy. It will also take up all available space. The M72 is a bit taller than the M88, and you'll likely turn its antenna into a banana. With the Sea Wolf I went back to using Brian's shoulder strap method with a tether. It also allows me to use Sea Wolf's clam-shell for flares, contact tow, lighting, energy bars and a host of other stuff.
Of course ymmv.

Check the Internet
When I was looking for a new PFD, I went to several Internet sites to check on sales. I found one company that was selling off some of their left over vests that were either odd sized, or in the case of the one I bought, it is a rescue PFD and the regular price puts it beyond what most people would pay. I got it for $54–a fraction of the regular price. This jacket is simply fantastic and is far beyond anything I’ve ever tried before. You really do get what you pay for and it’s even better when you get it at a huge reduction.

If you want a PFD that is built to last and has all the right stuff, check out rescue vests. If you can find one at a huge discount–all the better.

The NRS cVest is a nice-looking product - I like my MsFit, but it is getting pretty old, and it would be nice to have a mesh back panel like that. Otherwise the features seem equivalent - of course, you can’t know about the fit without trying it on.

Binocular Harness for Carrying VHF

– Last Updated: Oct-31-14 7:01 PM EST –

Based on my online research (for what that is worth), I also don't trust the "waterproof" ratings for VHF radios over extended usage. I then opted for the AquaPac radio case for protection which then precludes it from fitting into any of my PFD pockets.

I ordered a binocular harness which I wear underneath my PFD with the attach connectors coming out over the PFD shoulder strap area and attach to the AquaPac case/radio. This allows the radio to ride horzontally over the PFD at my upper chest level. The radio can be easily accessed and operated with either hand and the microphone and speakers are close to face level.

I ordered the following harness from B&H Photo for $12. It is made of all nylon webbing (since I didn't think an elastic harness would last in a wet environment). The attach points also snap into the harness via plastic connectors which make attaching and removing the radio easy.

OP/TECH USA Bino/Cam Harness Binocular or Camera Strap (Webbing Version)


P.S. This is a copy of a post I made to another, older, thread also but thought it could be helpful here as well. Apoligies if I am breaking any message board protocols.