PFD of choice?

I know I will probably be overwhelmed with opinions, but what are the PFD’s of choice for the day and extended kayak touring enthusiasts among you?

Looking at updgrading myself and would like to hear what everyone thinks.

I am 5’9 200 lbs and falling.


The brand is not as important as how well it fits, and feels.

Mine is a K—.

I normally wear a medium. The rep suggested a large, womens model.

Large you can make smaller to fit, and big enough for some extra clothing during the cooler weather.

Womens model is more articulated in the front panel, and is more comfortable for me.

Try it on !
What he said . Several years ago, Lotus would have dominated the replies here . And they still make a decent product - when you can find it, since their delivery has been pretty horrendous from what I hear . But many other manufacturers have caught up with, or even surpassed them in some areas - Kokotat, Stohlquist, Extrasport . Go to a shop with a decent selection and just like boots , try a bunch on . Move around in them . Go with what fits the best and pay whatever it costs . The better it fits, the more likely you are to wear it . It is a small price to pay for something that will last a long time and possibly save your skin .

I’m same size
and have a 2002 or 2003 Lotus (Lola Pro?) that fits great. Forget it’s on when paddling. Good pockets, features, etc. Maybe overkill in some ways (top 'o lon with tow belt, etc. - but I’d rather have features and not use much than not have and want them) but I got a good deal.

They seem to change every year. Got to try on as others have said (even though I didn’t - like I said, got a good deal).

No regrets - but next PFD I will think about going back to center zip.

I’m slightly heavier but the same height
and I wear a Kokatat Pro Fit. Good pockets but most importantly is that it is comfortable for me to wear.

Try the different brands on and you’ll know what feels good and what options you need.


I like center zip and
lots of pockets.

The Lotus Strait Jacket has treated me very well.

I prefer the early models and the good news is they are still available on sale at:

No affiliation other than being a regular customer. :slight_smile:

Pleasant waters.


Try em
I just bought one yesterday! They had a whole rack of all the heavy hitter brand names and styles. Unfortunately for the clerk, I tried them all.

I’m 6’3, 220, athletic build. I found the Stohlquist Drifter to be the most comfortable. Free moving for my arms but a nice snug fit everywhere else. The padding is very nicely distributed. Didn’t feel bulked up in one area like some of the others I tried.

Surprisingly, I didn’t care for the fit of the Astral’s they had.

retroglide Sabre , front zip , 3 pockets , lash tab , d-rings in 2 pockets , accepts tow belt , makes a alright pillow.

Looked long and hard
Had a Lotus Rio Grande that kept hitting me in the chin. Finally decided on the Lotus StraitJacket and have been very happy. I’m 5’9" and 210.

Lotus Mildwater
It fit properly (6’2" 205 lbs). The price fit my budget and the two pockets on front give plenty of storage space. Very comfortable with the mesh back and the PFD still offers 16 lbs of flotation.

Another Extrasport
I have a Extrasport Retro Joust which is fantastic. It provides a lot of bouyancy but with a nice low cut that never impedes my stroke nor does it hit my chin. I did have a Lotus L’Ocean which I did like but it hit my chin while in the water. I’m nit-picking here plus that was the old design. The new Lotus L’Ocean is very similar to my Extrasport. In addition, my g/f has an MTI (forget the model name) but it is also a great design. All three of these were very high quality. Try out as many as possible until you find that one that is simply perfect for you. Good luck in your search.



about a dozen different women’s models–some Lotus, some Extrasport, and the new Astral models. None were quite right, mostly because I’m extremely short-waisted. What I ended up with is an MTI Discovery, women’s model, from L.L. Bean. Short enough, comfy enough, and didn’t break the bank.

Like someone else said, though, you gotta try it on.

Right on JuJu…
I just checked my g/f’s MTI and it is a Discovery. She is quite tiny and I got lucky on this one. I believe I got it from REI on closeout and it only cost $38. Gotta love clearance sales. My estrogen levels must be running high…(just kidding)…