PFD pocket storage

I can’t find a pfd with suitable pockets. Kokotat’s MsFit is ideal with four but doesn’t fit me well. Is it a dumb idea to use a VERY small fanny pack/ lumbar pack turned around front with the buckle in the back of course as long as there is room and no entanglement risk (I’m in a SOT-no skirt). Anyone using this for storing cell phone, vhf radio, flares, clif bar, monocular, or other things that won’t fit in one or two very tight pfd pockets? Would this arrangement be similar to wearing a tow belt?

I would not carry a cell phone

– Last Updated: Apr-04-05 12:06 AM EST –

on my pfd. get a submersible icom m1V or M88 or...

Two pockets can get you a radio cliff bar backup compass and a couple of small flares in a baggie and a lightweight hood. A small pack on the back of a pfd can hold small swim fins and a hydration pack mayge a bivy bag.

Northwater makes a vest to wear over a pfd that would let you carry the kitchen sink but it probably costs about $100 us.

I am looking fo another maker who supplies the uscg. Maybe some coastie can help us!

Edit found a uscg supplier here is the link

click to enter site then click products then click protective gear and survival equipment. I could not find price but it might be cheaper than northwater

A PFD with pockets full of stuff can
make a wet re-entry very difficult.

The Coast Guard apparently
limits pocket sizes out of the concern that heavily laden pockets will reduce your buoyancy. There are some non-U.S. models with enormous and numerous pockets, e.g. a 5 pocket version made by Palm (last time I saw it was a few years ago, so I can’t guarantee it’s still being made).


Drybag/Belt pack
Found it at Galyans before they became a suburban golf fashion/soccer mom store called Dicks. It’s just the right size for keys, wallet, cell phone. BTW, don’t answer it (the phone, of course.) Just look at the ID to see who called if you have to. It can ruin a good paddle. I have relatives who would talk until I drift into shore if I would let them.


I agree got to ractice with the gear

– Last Updated: Apr-04-05 2:51 PM EST –

you will be using.

The old locean was a good choice for me. Pockets along the side did not get in the way as I put chest to back deck for assisted or paddlefloat rescue. Even the little center pocket on the lola was a pain to me. (Can you say beached whale with no technique?)

You post points out the need to train like you fight, so that if you need to fight it will be like a training session.

I don’t think it’s a safety issue
It may be a comfort issue. You need to check whether the fanny pack buckle is going to be digging into your back and whether the pack is interfering with your legs when you’re sitting in the boat. I use a belt-pack inflatable PFD in my surfski that’s about the same size as a small fanny pack. It doesn’t cause any problems for me, but you need to make sure that whatever you’re carrying doesn’t get in the way of sliding over the gunwale to re-enter your boat.

As others have noted, you want to keep the weight down, but a little bit of gear on your body isn’t bad. My usual load on the ski is inflatable PFD and a Camelbak on my back with my VHF in the pocket. Total weight, with water, is probably in the 3-5# range depending on how full the Camelback is. It’s not an issue either swimming or re-entering.

Whatever you carry, it’s worth taking some time in a safe spot to make sure your gear doesn’t interfere with exiting and re-entering your boat.

A buckle in back
will make itself known in very short order with a solid high back seat or strap on backrest like on my SOT. It’s really a right-front hip pack. I think something similar should be fine on castaway’s SOT. I’ve crawled back on my Scrambler with it, no problem.


That may be true, but…
…it’s perfectly legal to wear a vest over your PFD. In fact, as Peter noted, the Coast Guard does it themselves; they wear mesh gear vests over their standard issue PFDs. When we met with them a couple of years back, they indicated that civilian could do the same.