I hope this is not going to be an oil thread. What is a good PDF for kayaking? I borrowed a CO2 inflatable by West Marine and it was O.K. Price is a consideration

You mean PFD

Lots of room for shoulder movement
A lot of lower end, general purpose PFD’s will chafe you around the shoulders - Lotus, Stohlquist, Kokatat and others make apt PFD’s for kayaking that provide a good amount of room for shoulder movement.

I’m also a big fan of lash tabs and pockets - at any given moment I have the following in or on my PFD and I need them to handle this stuff: signal mirror, laser flare, whistle, compass, ear plugs, nose clips, small medical kit, roofing material for emergency boat repair, a clip-on yellow light, a nut or candy bar, Gu or some other electrolyte jelly beans or similar, camera, dive knife and/or sea snips, small magnifying lens (for reading charts if I lose my sunglasses with a reading lens in the bottom). Sometimes a small roll of duct tape. And I will be adding a VHF by this spring, either finding a way to secure a cheaper Cobra that has to live in a dry case or springing for a smaller, PFD-size submersible unit.

I have an old Kokatat Outfit
you can try out. They do not seem to make it anymore, but it is very similar to their current Bahia.

I can leave it with Ken.


Off Season Sales
There are often sales on kayaks and gear after the peak of paddling season. You might find something you like at Backcountry.com - free shipping is a bonus.

Yeah . . .
. . . if I was dyslexic I would have an excuse.

I was advised to…
…avoid the CO2 models. Was told by an experienced kayaker that they may have a tendency to inflate when you don’t want, or not inflate when you want.

Don’t go for cheap! Go for quality at a reasonable price. It will pay for itself down the line. Most dealers that handle kayaking and canoeing gear have sales at the end of summer of current stock since most people are fair weather paddlers and those in the north and east can’t paddle through ice in the winter.

Things to look for in a PFD are:

l. Plenty of room around the arm openings so

you have ease of movement and don’t chap.

2. A high waist profile so you can close your

spray skirt around your waist.

3. Tabs and pockets are not essential unless

you plan to paddle in remote areas where

you might get seperated from your craft

and have to survive, but they are nice to

have for storing sunscreen, bug repellent,

energy bars, keys, etc.

4. I don’t know how big you are or if you will

be paddling in big water (ocean or Great

Lakes), but a PFD with at least a rating of

15# bouyancy is a must. I am a 225 pound

guy and use a 22# rated model with universal


If you look for the sales NSR, Extrasport, Harmony,

Kokatat, Lotus, Stohlquist,and Stearns all will be on sale for less than the usual $90.+ With luck, you should be able to get a new PFD for about $55-65.

Happy PFD hunting!


Outfit still made
The Outfit is still made and very different from the Bahia.

The Bahia is made with a mesh back for boats with high seat backs and therefore has more foam in front rather than the back.

The Outfit is a full back PFD and fits best men/women who are straight w/o curves. No beer bellies and curvy women. They fit best in the MsFit.


So I got . . .
. . . a Locean by Patagonia (Lotus) from NRS for $100.20 shipped. As much as I have been flopping over I may need it.

You received incomplete advise
The automatic inflatables inflate on contact with water, not exactly a good thing for kayaking, so should be avoided. Manual inflatables require you to pull a cord to inflate. They work well for certain kinds of kayaking and kayak related activities. On flat water, living in Texas, I find my inflatable PFD difficult to beat. Its light and cool and, being of the manual type, reliable…I know, I’ve had to use it.

There is one type of automatic inflatable that may be fine in the same conditions as the manual. The hydrostatic models take full immersion to inflate. But, they’re very expensive. Those models are favored in Texas by our game wardens and are used extensively by professional bass fishermen.

No inflatable is suitable for strong current or moving water such as in the surf. But, the manual and hydrostatic models should be just fine for bays, lakes, and slow moving rivers.

Lotus and Astral make good PFD.
Put it on and get in a boat.Simulate paddling.

Thanks for the correction
Somehow when I looked at the Kokatat site I did not see it. Glad they are still carrying it.


The best PFD for kayaking is

– Last Updated: Sep-28-08 7:39 PM EST –

...Ugh well maybe I better pass on commenting... afer all, what do I know about PFDs?

Paddlin' on

MsFit - OutFit
After I got my OutFit Tour PFD a few years ago, Tom Bergh told me that his folk prefer the MsFit - both male and female coaches.

Subsequently I’ve noticed that the BCU coaches I see with Kokatat PFDs most often have MsFit Tours.

My OutFit Tour is now 5 years old and I’m thinking of replacing it with a MsFit Tour.

I second the Locean by Patagonia (Lotus), lots of freedom and has some nice features and is on sale at nrs.

MTI Adventurewear Orleans works for
me. I’ve been using one for a couple years for both canoeing and kayaking and it allows good arm movement for both styles of paddling. The lower half of the back is mesh and allows for high back seats.

Here’s a great deal: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3572,96347_MTI-Adventurewear-Orleans-Life-Vest-Type-III-PFD-For-Men-and-Women.html

I see that Waltermitty already ordered a PFD, but others may benefit from this opportunity.