PFD reccomendations?

Okay, you’ve told me about pumps, you’ve told me about skirts. How ‘bout smartin’ me up (and others of us new here) on good personal flotation devices? thnx.

Lots of good ones but Sea Sherman
by Lotus is my favorite and the most comfortable pfd I have worn.

I second that and…
am going back to using mine.

A few days ago we were doing our annual self rescue practice, and I was wearing a new PFD which gave a lot more arm use and seemed like a much more comfortable fit, but I had never been in the water with it.

I was amazed when I dumped myself for the first time and found the PFD up around my head.

I swam into shore and snugged all the straps but the darn thing was so uncomfortable with them so tight that I realized right then and there that what seemed like a good PFD actually sucked.

Moral of the story: When you get a PFD make sure you try it in the water to see how satisfactory it will be if needed.



Yes, I like my Lotus also but I am sure that there are many out there as good. You should heed JackL advice to check it out in the water as that is really the most important. Then, the thing should be comfortable to wear while paddling. My Lotus meets both of those requirements.

Happy Paddling,


I Vote Astral

– Last Updated: Jul-17-06 7:32 AM EST –

Astral Bouyancy is the new company owned by the former owner/designer of Lotus (he sold the company to Patagonia).

They are extremely well designed vests that use Kapok as the primary floatation material, which is both softer and more environmentaly friendly than the PVC foams.

like the looks of the Norge for canoeing
Price isn’t too bad either. 18 pounds of flotation too. This might be the one to replace my worn MTI this winter.

I Second the Vote for Astral
My wife and I both have different model Astrals. Most comfortable PFDs on the planet IMO.

Kokatut MsFit
I like my kokatut MsFit. I didn’t like the fit of the Lotus, which doesn’t mean they’re bad vests, but does mean that you should definately try on a vest before you buy it.

And buy your PFD in the brightest color possible! Mine only came in dark blue, which is a ridiculous color when you want to be seen or found.

I have an Astral Tempo 300 and it’s great for kayak touring. It’s the most comfortable and best fitting PFD I’ve worn, including in the water. An Icom M88 VHF radio just barely fits in one of the two front pockets, but most radios probably won’t fit.

Unless you know someone who owns one of the PFD’s that you want to try, you might have a hard time trying one on in the water. Another good chance would be to demo one at a symposium.

Kokatat MsFit works great for guys that-
-have a chest.

My personal perception/experience is that Kokatat’s line of PFDs for kayaking (sea or WW) are better outfitted that any other line I’ve seen.

My understanding is that the most important thing about wearing any PFD that you happen to be using is to have the bottom strap snugged up under your ribcage so that it does not ride up your torso when you are in the water. It’s even better to have the entire PFD well adjusted to you of course. But if the bottom strap isn’t snug under the ribs for whatever reason (shoulder straps not adjusted to allow it to get that low, etc.), the rest of the adjustments won’t be very important when the PFD is riding up over your head while you’re in the water.

I bought the NRS PFD made out of neoprene and Mystery material. It was the most comfortable of all of the vests I tried on, especially for a women. I tried the Kokatat Msfit, the Stohlquist, the Lotus, and always felt like I couldn’t breathe. The only drawback that I see is that there aren’t enough pockets, so I am creative and I am going to customize it myself. I also have done my wet exit and self rescue practice in it, and it doesn’t float up around my chin when I have it fitted properly.

Another Vote for Astral
Tempo 200 = Mens

Wonderjacket = Women’s, especially longer torso’d

Wondervest = Women’s, especially shorter torso’d.

See you on the water,


excellent advice! thanks everyone n/m

Norge is a nice vest
I have a Wondervest 200 for poling and a Tempo 300 for guiding. They both are great vests with many well thought out small details ie. fleece lined pockets, hydration bag ready backs, and expaning pockets that will hold 2 12oz cans.