My girlfriend needs a different PFD. She has a mild shoulder issue and needs a PFD with good freedom of movement for paddling. We canoe, not kayak. Paddle solo and tandem with a single blade and solo on occasion with a kayak paddle. She stands 5’9" and weighs 140. The obvious answer is to go try on a bunch of different ones but I thought I might start here. I’m sure we are not the first to ask this question. Thanks
try the Astral V-8
I’m female and my favorite PFD is the Astral V-8 for comfort for both canoeing and kayaking. I already owned two good PFD’s (another Astral and a Stohlquist) when I spotted the V-8 in REI and tried it on impulse – it felt so good I bought it on the spot. It is cut low in the neckline and armpits so it does not bind, it fits a woman’s shape well, the foam is ventilated and flexible so it is comfortable even on hot days. I am barely aware I have it on. It seems to be stocked in most L. L. Bean and REI stores if she wants to check it out.
What Willow said ^^^^
REI - out of stock
Just checked. It’s out of stock at REI, but available from Amazon.
that’s the one
The orange is what I have – it’s actually nice, more of a pumpkin, good visibility but not garish. She would probably be OK in the size M/L. I’m 5’ 5" and 150 lbs with 40" chest and am at the top end of the size adjustments in the M/L. $105 is a decent price – I paid that much for mine 5 years ago.
I just bought this one from LL Bean. Decent price, nice and comfortable, especially after the "unisex" one I'd been using for years. I like the ventilation in the back. I'm 5'7", about 145 lbs, and bought the S/M size. I solo canoe with a double bladed paddle, and this has plenty of freedom of motion. I also like LL Bean's lifetime guarantee....you can wear this for a week, decide you don't like it, and return it if you need to. I also live about 10 minutes from the store in Maine, so that's convenient...
My current fave. Lighter and cooler than the V-8, though better suited to canoeing due to lower flotation placement on the back.
This Is Not A Joke
When it comes to PFDs breast size matters. The only way a woman should buy a PFD is to try them on. Just like you would with footwear.