PFD upgrade advice please

I purchased a genuinely nice PDF (Astral V-Eight) a couple of years ago before I purchased a sea kayak. I picked it because of its breathability, and I tend to run hot. As I learn more and am becoming more safety conscious, I see it does not have the ability to carry many things. I know I have a VHF radio in my future along with other goodies. What do you all like using?

Kokatat Hustler best I have had. Decent pockets super comfortable. Stays down and doesn’t creep up. I’m 6’ 235 in CD Sea kayaks with skirts. I use Kokatat radio pouch for my Standard Horizons HX-300. Pouch is not good for any radio that’s bigger than a 300. I leave my HX 890 on the kayak deck. I had a V-8 but thought it was not so good for comfort and useful storage. Internal pockets were so tight you could only store a razor blade in them. I don’t have a hour glass figure 38" waist and it stays down. Nice arm opening with nice material and radiuses on edges.

Google Photos

I have more pictures or can take more if you want. They have regular and rescue Hustler best. My partner has one too. First jacket she liked in 10 years after buying 5.

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So the HX890 does not fit into the pocket? That is the radio I was looking at.

I’ve use the Kokatat MsFit for quite some time now because of the storage space and the women’s cut which I find more comfy. It is cut for a shorter torso which I find is a good thing for me. Not that I have a short torso but it allows plenty of space between the spraydeck and PFD for my tow belt and doesn’t ride up.

I also have a Kokatat Neptune but it is standard length and doesn’t have near the pocket space as the MsFit. The standard length crowds my tow belt and tries to force the PFD up. The same was true with the Kokatat Maximus Centurion that I tried to use for 2 or 3 years. In spite of all of the accessory pouches/pockets, etc. it didn’t carry as much and really interfered with the tow belt.

So my go-to is the MsFit anytime I want good pockets and will be wearing my tow belt. I’m due for a new PFD soon and will just buy another MsFit when the time comes.

I like the NRS C-Vest. Good number and size of pockets, and I stay cool enough that I don’t notice it on hot days.

NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD | NRS

I have sewn a loop of webbing onto one of the shoulder straps, so that I can carry my radio there, if I feel I might need it. It seems to stay out of the way, yet have better accessibility there.

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6’ tall, 230 pound male who also uses the Kokatat MsFit.

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I use an Astral Blue Jacket and like it a lot, there is some storage but nothing for a radio. My buddy uses a Kokatat with a radio pouch for his vhf and it works great. Kokatat has a few options for jackets with radio pouches.

890 doesn’t fit in Hustler pocket. I left it on my deck. I have a HX 300 on my vest in a Kokatat radio holder. I’ll post pictures later.

Velcro strap on a carabineer that on my shoulder strap.

Love the BlueJacket…I solved the VHF storage by putting it under my arm on one of the torso straps. For me, it is out of the way and handy. Initially thought it might impact my stroke or be in the way of my arms, however I’ve found it is never noticed and a comfortable place to wear.

I can’t visualize radio under my arm?

You don’t wear it under your arm, you wear it at about the 1:30 o’clock position. Wearing radios like that don’t really effect anything. Otherwise Kokatat has jackets that hold the radio at the 12 o’clock position.

My next lifejacket will be an NRS Chinook. Big, bright and tons of pockets. Good for fishing and carrying survival items on your person. Really important for solo trips.

Clipped onto a torso adjustment strap the VHF is out of the way & works really well - I still hear calls. I suggest you try it even if only on the Blue Jacket style PFD.

My current Kokatat Poseidon “fully loaded” with tow rope, belly pocket etc. Not shown is the hydro pack that is in the back. As you can see, it’s quite ridiculous.

My next PFD will likely be this one: Aquatic Pro Buoyancy Aid - Reed Chillcheater

I bought the Poseidon thinking the modular concept would be great. The reality is the picture you see, a mess of stuff all over the place. I would much rather a purpose made PFD with the things I need smartly integrated and not something you add on the exterior as an afterthought. There are better standalone tow belts, better radio attachments, better storage options.

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Three weeks ago I mentioned that I would probably replace my Neptune and my beater MsFit with a new MsFit. I did just that but they don’t offer yellow anymore so I got the “Mantis” color which is that Goat-Vomit-Green that matches my drysuit. I’m a happy but distinctly green boy.

I’ve got an old Kokatat MsFit that I’m looking to upgrade to either the Neptune or the Reed Chillcheater Aquatic Pro, specifically for the hydration options. What’s made you lean toward the Aquatic Pro at this point vs other similar options?

Basically I liked the bungee and pocket design on the back of the Aquatic Pro and also the fact that the guys over at North Sea Kayak use it ( I’m in the US so I haven’t had a chance to try it on or anything, I would have to import it first. The fun part of US Coast Guard regulations is that even though it isn’t US Coast Guard approved, I could still use it as long as I had a US Coast Guard approved one on the boat with me. Not sure if I want to go to all that trouble for a PFD though but I may buy it just to have as a spare and as a comparison with the Neptune or similar like you mentioned.

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Thanks for the thoughts. Ran into a fellow kayaker with the Reed pfd and he let me try on the L/XL. Great fit, nice placement of pockets, etc. for easy access and no inner arm rubbing like I get with the wide pockets on the MsFit. Put in an order from as soon as I got home.
With the USCG regs, I’m going to hang onto the MsFit and take it with as a “spare” when out on bigger waters just in case they raise a fuss, but not anticipating a lot of attention from them on Puget Sound unless I do something stupid to earn it.