Need feedback about choosing PFD's

I have a 11’6 recreational kayak, and I am trying to make a decision about a solid, or mesh back. My kayak seat adjusts up. I need to know which PFD would be more comfortable, and still provide safety for a 160 lb person.


both will provide safety
All PFDs are designed to hold a certain amount of weight up (slight variations between different classes, but you are most likely looking at a class 3, the standard for paddlesports). So whether you get mesh back or not will not impact that.

But to be most safe, you want one that you will be wearing. And to wear, you want one that will be comfortable. Best would be to try on the PFD while sitting in your boat (with seat in both positions, if you may be using different seat back positions). If you are looking at an independent paddlesports shop, they likely would let you bring you boat (if they don;t have the same boat) and try it out. Less likely to get this benefit from a bog box store, but maybe they have decent returns policies so you can do the test fitting at home.

In my experience
You want one where the flotation will not be between your back and the seat back. Get something where it rides high like most the real paddleing vests do. Do not cheap out and get a “water sports” PFD. Those are for knee boarding and water skiing.