I have recently take on ocean kayaking as both a sport and a hobby. I live in Colombia, so needless to say, there are some gorgeous scenic routes that I have every intention of taking, but I first want to make an investment for a good PFD hopefully with a water pouch/camelback included. Any suggestions on models/brands? I know some people like to buy the pack separately and attach it to the PFD, in this case, what would be the best PFD and pouch to attach? Anyway, I thank anyone who’s willing to share some advice with me.
Their “Tributary” hydration pack is designed to mate to most of their PFDs. Other solutions will work but if you’re shopping for a PFD anyway this is a good choice. When not enough water you can carry extra in a hatch to drink at longer breaks using the hydration pack for quick , on-water hydration.
Everyone Has Their Preferences
And I have a acquired and discarded a wide wide assortment of so called “paddling” pfd’s that are basically a hindrance or detrimental to paddling. The two PFD’s that I like and my family uses exclusively are the S. African Mocke PFD and the Aussie Ocean Paddler PFD. Both PFDs have a rear compartment that will fit a 2 litre plastic water bladder with tubing and mouthpiece. I bought the PFDs from http://www.oceanpaddlesports.com in Costa Mesa, CA. I’ve tested these two PFD’s in open water competition, and have been able to re-mount my kayak without any difficulty in rough water.
I did a 12 mile river race in the desert
in 120 on the water!
Knowing that i’d not be able to pick up my water bottle while racing, I sewed two D-rings to the top straps of my PFD.
Then I took an old camelbak, removed the shoulder straps and added clips to the top where the straps were.
Then I filled the camelbak with sports-drink, clipped it to my PFD, clipped the hose to my PFD shoulder so the tube is close and had no problems.
Of course, the next day I repeated the course on an inner tube so refilled the 'bak with rum-punch…
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think either of those PFDs are USCG approved. That's not a functional issue, but may be a factor for folks in the US who have frequent encounters with marine patrols.
It does sound like a good paddling vest:
You might want to look at the CamelBak Pakteen. It is smaller than a standard (I think 48oz) and is designed for military use so it has nice attachment options. I tied a loop around where each shoulder strap meets the back and attached it to there then used small carabiners to attach it to my side straps on my PFD. I have rolled with mine on w/o any problems. You can find one for about $50 but you will have to look for someplace that sells military CamelBaks since regular outdoor stores don't carry that line.
The Kokatat is way to expensive for what it is, just a bag.
Here is a photo of mine on the water, sorry it's not a closer photo.
USCG Approved PFDs Fall by the Wayside
When compared to other paddling vests specifically designed by and for competitive international paddlers. International paddlers won’t wear them because they hamper performance. USCG aprroved PFDs are for passive use by boaters in case of an accident, where they can float around in the water until fished out. I just wasted almost $200 on both an O’neil and MTI USCG approved paddling vests, which just didn’t measure up in real world paddling activities.
Please let me know if there is a USCG approved pfd out there that I can wear while re-mounting my surfski out in heavy seas without having to jettison it?
but best for OP?
different tools for different jobs
I just spoke with Kevin M at Astral Buoyancy and he says that the Seawolf is compatible with a Camelbak Antidote 50 hydration pouch. This will be my next pfd purvhase.
Good point, but…
…I’m curious if there is anyone here that’s actually been stopped and had their PFD inspected to make sure it’s USCG compliant? I strongly suspect that it just doesn’t happen.
I’ve seen USCG personnel watching us through binoculars on occasion, but since PFD only need to be carried, not worn, under USCG regs, they’re only checking that you have a PFD with you. The impression I got in meetings with USCG personnel is that they’re thrilled that so many kayakers actually wear their PFDs.
It seems to me that if you’re wearing ANY PFD, the USCG will probably leave you alone, as they have better things to do.
The Mocke buoyancy aid has a very loyal following for racing/training use. Among my friends who have one, comments are that the fit is very good, and unobstructive, although with some long-term durability concerns.
I looked around for one last year (for surfski use) but it has been off the market for an extended period while it’s being upgraded to ISO standards. I don’t know if the new vest will meet USCG standards (the previous model did not).
According to Craig at The Paddling Centre, the vests may be available again around September/October.
I’m getting ready to order a Sea Wolf and I’m glad to find out one of my multiple CamelBak’s will fit.
Sea Wolf and CamelBak
Exactly how does the CamelBak work with the Sea Wolf PFD? From the photos I see, there is no rear pocket for a hydration pack …
There is a place
In the back of the Seawolf where the Camelbak antidote 50 will slip up into. There is a hook on the Camelbak and a loop sewn up in the pouch of the Seawolf. It fits very well. I just picked up yhe Seawolf yesterday and will try it on Sat.
I have a Sea Wolf…
and just returned from a 3 week trip with the new vest.
Love the vest by itself but less than enamoured of it as a hydration-compatible device. I’m using the older predecessor to the Antidote 50 and perhaps the newer bladder works better in the Sea Wolf.
I’ll be interested to hear your experience with the combination.
Now I have had the opportunity to use the Seawolf with the camelbak antidote 50. I am very happy with it. It fits the back of the pfd very well. It is easy to fill,place,and remove. I wish that it held a little more water but it will work for me.