PDF question

I am interested in a less bulky life jacket and seen several that use a CO2 cartridge.
I usually keep my life jacket in my car. If I get one, I don’t think that will be a option due to the heat in south Louisiana. How do other people store their self- inflating PDF?

Humidity deteriorates a wafer which allows the PFD to be self-inflating. This is good should you swim, but bad because if you live in the bayous or near the the Gulf it means you live in a very high humidity environment. I have had PFDs auto-inflate when I stored them in a sealed hatch of my last motor boat and in my dry, though not climate controlled shed. The year round high humidity of the MS Gulf Coast means they should be stored in a dry environment (indoors) when not in use from my experience.

Yes, I own two self-inflating PFDs (for boating not kayaking) and they stay inside when not in use. I do not like the $24-$36 wafer & CO2 cartridge replacement cost when the one time use happens whether 1) accidentally ashore - thanks ambient humidity, 2) wafer periodic replacement to keep the wafer expiration date (and PFD) USCG compliant, or 3) following intended use .

Now as for use with kayaking/canoeing…personally, I want a paddling life jacket/PFD that is inherently buoyant should I accidentally swim. Auto-inflating PFDs may be more comfortable and are USCG approved, however in time of need, an inherently buoyant PFD works if you are wearing it correctly.

Suggest you go shopping for a better fitting PFD at Pack N Paddle in Lafayette or Everything Kayak in Gulfport - those two shops have the best selection and knowledgeable staffs in the Northern Gulf region.


I was looking at the review for Khimera dual flotation PFD because it was a combination of both. How do you feel about combinations?
I currently have an aging Astral - probably from Pack N Paddle - and it is bulky, but was better than my previous PFD.

Great marketing of the Khimera. It still covers most of the torso (especially the back) while paddling which will not seem to improve wear-ability. The low back will be a negative if you have a seat back or high back band. Nothing about it causes me to want to test it on the water.

I understand the appeal of the auto-inflate PFDs due to lightness and minimal body coverage (pre-inflation) - the Khimera has neither of the benefits. Plus, the cost is double that of a good inherently buoyant PFD which only requires regular washing in soapy water for maintenance. No cartridges to accidentally inflate or change out.

Astral V8 is really light and unobtrusive.

As your life may depend on your PFD, I don’t recommend self or manually inflating PFDs. The self inflating PFDs can either fail to inflate when you want them to or inflate when you don’t. A manually inflated PFD is not something I want to be playing with when I’m in the water, probably in rough conditions, trying to deal with holding onto my boat, paddle, and any other loose gear.

Of the almost 700 members in our Club and three local kayak Meetup groups, I don’t know anyone who does not wear a Type III PFD.

I’m sure that there is a PFD that will suit you out there.

On a peg in the garage. We used to store them inside on a chair back but the puppy started chhewing it

Note in Florida a type v pfd does not count as a PFD unless you are wearing it. .

Self inflating are self defeating during scheduled rolls or other wet work.

Good point about those cartridges. During the last Chicago/Mackinac sailboat race there was a MOB event. He was wearing an inflatable but it failed and he drowned.

My Astral YTV is minimalist and not bulky at all.