I am looking at all the latest hottest inovations in PDFs and am dazed and confused.

! what is that little “bouancy” number and how do i use it.Ok I know what bouancy is but I still do not know how to utilise the number. But I want to get a life jacket with enough of it to keep my fat butt afloat in the correct position long enough for someone to rescue my unconcious body.

And what out of all the bells and whistles are marketing “BS” and what dodads are actually worth a second look.

And as a virgin paddler who just aquired both a canoe and a kayak do i really need two PDFs or is there an inbred Kayoe or Canak option…


– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 2:44 PM EST –

First, a PDF is a computer file format. A PFD (personal flotation device) is probably what you are interested in.

Here is some information on the categories of PFDs:

In general, kayakers wear Type III pfds. It is a trade off of comfort versus function - they are listed as flotation aids, and do that. But they do not flip unconscious people upright (takes a Type I to be assured you would do that - but you probably would find paddling with a Type I on a bit uncomfortable).

When I paddle, I ALWAYS wear my PFD. So getting one that is comfortable is important to me. If I had one that wasn't comfortable, I would be tempted to take it off (legal requirement is only that you carry the PFD on board), but it would then be useless when I did fall over unexpectedly.

Not sure about canoeing, but I would suspect a Type III would be just fine.

extrasport challenger PFD
my favorite. comfortable, reasonable price P F D

some type V will keep you face up.
My yachting Type V vest/harnesses will definitely flip an unconscious person, and keep they’re face clear of the water. So I wonder if the same is true of paddling type Vs, like the Kokatat Sea-O2. I’m not saying that’s an important aspect to me, but if the OP is concerned about it, you might check into the type V vests for type I performance with type III wearability.

Those that will keep your head out of water if you are unconscious are, as in posts above, not the typical paddling PFD. If you want that, you’ll need a specific type. You should also make sure that the one that’ll float you unconscious also has large enough arm/shoulder openings to allow a good range of motion, and you’ll also want it on the shorter side so it isn’t chafing you lower down along the waist with every stroke.

These may be incompatible goals- probably your best bet would be to start with sailing stuff, where the truer rescue PFD’s are more common.

Once that decision is made, I like pockets. At least three. I also require lash tabs (these are plastic bits sewn into the jacket usually) thru which you can clip small lights, a knife and some other stuff.

You’ll find a difference of opinion about the pockets. Some people hate them because it can make getting back into the kayak over the deck a little messier.

I can answer your last question
since I paddle both canoes and kayaks.

All you need is one good PFD (not PDF) which will suffice for either your canoe or your kayak.

You might want to add to your mix a inflateble one.

some of my racing friends use them, and are quite happy with them.



go try some on …
… adjust them up to your fit … don’t go cheap … wear it when paddling .

I recommend the Kokatat MsFit Tour - allegedly for women, but a significant number of men (like me) wear them. They are large-torso friendly, if you get my drift. Pricey but worth it - don’t bother trying to save money on a PFD, you’ll regret it later when you have to buy the expensive one after all (like me).

Thanks guys for all the info on the PDFS er PFDs,Told you I was dazed and confused.

So i am looking for a shorter vest with roomy arm openings,(and i like the idea of pockets and lashing points.)But not going to worry about the face up stuff.As long as I don’t know i’m drowning i don’t really care anyway.And since I am getting a shorter vest I don’t need to concern myself with the supposed higher rear for the kayak seat.

I notice no one mentioned the bouancy numbers some of the ads show.Does that mean its a non issue? I am 6’4’ at 245lbs so i was wondering if they are pretty much one number fits all or what.

Yep, one is all you need
I also paddle both canoes and kayaks, and I use the same pfd for both. No issues if you get one that’s comfortable.