So I think (or hope) I got a good deal on a used Perception Carolina 14.5 for $425 in really clean shape. So no I need a PFD. 6’2" 205 lbs. Want something comfotable yet reasonable in price (whatever that means) Suggestions please???
I have been looking at the NRS Ninja. I am a short but stout woman and find others sometimes ride up and also get in way of rowing. The Ninja looks like it gives you plenty of side room for strokes and maneuverability without the bulk. That would be my suggestion. Hope it helps.
Sam’s Club Got $17 - $19 USCG Ones
That I saw last week in different sizes.
Going towards $100 gets comfort
You want a fairly short back, because of the skirt, rather than the longer backed ones canoeists often favor. After that it comes down to comfort and stuff like pockets. After a while the comfort part feels like it was worth paying for.
beware of cheapos
The only PFD’s I’ve ever seen at Sam’s Club are for power boating and water skiing – they are too restrictive and too long in the body to be comfortable for kayaking. Personally, I like Astral vests for comfort but they run around $100 and up unless you can find them on sale: There are reasonably priced paddling type vests by MTI, Stohlquist and Extrasport.
The MTI Journey is a decent vest for around $50:
And the NRS Vapor is on sale for $64:
If you don’t mind orange and grey, Extrasport has some overstock in size XXL in their nicely featured Eddy model for $30 (marked down from $100):
looks like a good deal. I should just put on about 40-50 lbs and it should fit good. Lol
Thanks for the tips. Gonna keep looking for more suggestions but I’m afraid I will end up paying for something confortable. $50 range sounds good to me but doesn’t seem likely.
on this article?
after years of using others is the Astral Sea Wolf. It’s around $150, though.
Try them on
You need to try them on. Ideally while sitting in a kayak, or at least while sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
Keep in mind that differently sized PFDs typically only differ in the length of the adjustment straps.
I have a Kokatat Bahia Tour (lots of pockets to keep stuff in) and an NRS Ninja (just one pocket which makes it easier to scramble back into a boat) so as you can see, and just like kayaks, there are compromises in design.
Astral gets a lot of love around here and my wife likes hers (although she wants to sell her Stohlquist).
Finally, a PFD - designed to save your life - is not something I’d ever consider going super cheap on. I would always want the best fit I could find with price a very distant consideration,
Fit and comfort
is what my priority would be! Been reading since I posted this thread. Looks like the hundred dollar range is where I am headed. More than that I eill have some problems here!
I have a few Kokatat’s PDF’s and love all their products which include drysuit and a lot of others. My favorite PDF is a Solquist Trekker. Super comfortable, pockets could be tad better for variety but not bad. Shorter back is more comfortable than my Kokatat’s. Foam is layered and contours nicely. I do some long paddles 15+ miles and really forget it’s on me. 6-1 & 235 lb. Far from 50 bucks though.
I did the same thing two days ago.
Onyx MoveVent PFD
I'm not familiar with this brand, but they are discounting some colors and sizes (sounds like you would be an M/L size based on the reviews). Look like decent vests for under $50.
is one I am looking into.
The Onyx seems to be available in a number of places in the $40-50 range. Looks good. Have to read some reviews and check out Dick’s Sporting Goods.
My family use the MoveVent Dynamics and love them. Very comfortable and the high back doesn’t interfere with the seats in the kayaks.
Stay away from cheap pfd’s. If they are not comfortable, you will be inclined to not wear it. We never mind putting these on.
A few PFD buying tips
Don’t buy more than you need – there is a temptation to buy a big, expensive PFD with lots of features. Don’t do it - especially if it adds bulk to the PFD. Think about what you need and keep it as simple as possible.
Look for good freedom of movement – the PFD should have a deep neck, large armholes and narrow shoulder straps. It should fit snug yet allow good freedom of movement when paddling. Kayakers also need to consider the seat back, so you might prefer a low profile or high back version.
Adjust it properly – a good PFD will have up to eight different adjustments to help you customize the fit. To fit your PFD, first loosen the straps and put in on. Then, tighten the straps from the bottom up - beginning at the waist and ending at the shoulders.
Test it in the water – I know you can’t do this before you buy, but the best place to test your PFD is in the water. A properly adjusted PFD should stay tight around your torso, and definitely shouldn’t ride up over your chin. When you lean back, your face should stay above the water. It shouldn’t be so bulky in the front that you can’t pull yourself up into the boat in a self or assisted rescue.
I went through the process last year, and even though money was no object, I ended up with a mid-priced PFD from NRS – the Vista. I’m a canoeist, so I wanted a full back, which it turns out is tough to find these days. I needed a tab for my knife, a hook and pocket for my camera, and a secure pocket for my keys. At $75, the Vista was a bargain, and it has worked out great for me.
Don’t skimp too much on life vests. it’s like, your life may depend on it.
The chinook has lots of pockets in the right places and I really like pockets. It’s got the high back also so it’s more comfortable with mesh down low.
Get something that is intended to be used with a kayak. You will find kayak PFD’s are shorter. When you get in that Carolina 14.5, you want the bottom of the vest to clear the seat back. You will be much more comfortable on long paddles.
that there are kayak specific PFD’s. I like to do plenty of research before a purchase. My first kayak experience was 3 weeks ago on a Florida vacation on a Dolphin Bali 10SS. I just drove 2 1/2 hours one way to buy a Carolina 14.5 because of research. I know that there are better kayaks that might fit me better but at 6’ 2" they are not easy to come by used.
Hoping to try some PFD’s on this weekend to get an idea between a $50 fit and a $100 fit.
Try then on, then look around
If you want to be a little uncouth, you could go to a good kayak shop and try them on until you find one you like and then check around on the Internet for a really good deal.
I got really lucky and found a close out on a high dollar rescue vest for $54 (saved $135). I was able to drive down and pick it up, so no shipping. It has been a spectacularly good vest.
If you want one that will last a long time, go for the 500 Cordura fabric. You'll be hard pressed to find a better jacket than the NRS Ninja for the money.