PFDs for Women

I am looking for some good recs on PFD’s for women, especially if you have/had a particular model.

Me: 5"2/145 and on the busty side. I have a Native Manta Ray 12 which I use for some fishing, but mostly river/bay paddling. I have a problem with PFDs being too bulky for my frame, and riding up. The front opening invariably chafes my chin and makes it uncomfortable to do anything but look straight ahead.

I am looking for recs from similar sized women (or their hubby’s/SO’s) as to a good fitting PFD. I have tried on the the Astral ABBA and the BetSEA, but they seem really bulky when i am sitting down.

Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!

Kokatat Orbit tour
I use this one and love it although it is still bulky but the arm cutouts are so large, I feel unrestricted (not so great at self rescues because of the front bulkiness) I am same height - a little heavier and have tried many on but cannot find one i like better.

You will undoubtedly receive the option of the Kokatat MS Fit (tour with pockets best) - i have this one also and it is pretty nice but i find the arm cutouts arent big enough for me to feel as unrestricted. This PFD is loved by many!

The ultimate test is that you need to try them on as pictures just dont cut it.

Kokatat MsFit
My wife got an XL Kokatat MsFit last year for her birthday, and really likes it. Good fit, very comfortable, very well made…

This post is too funny too…
as I also just bought a new PFD…I wanted something more “serious” for my trip, not just the lame regular universal one I was using before…I did much research…And even went to a couple different places to try out sizes as no place near me sells the one I ended up buying…Which is this one right here…,2117Y_OBrien-Impulse-PFD-Life-Vest-USCG-Approved-For-Women.html

And I love it! Matches my kayak even! And that price, awesome!

It’s called a “wake boarding” vest but I asked around and as long as it’s a type 3, which it is, I’m good to go they all said. And it fits great! And isn’t too bulky! I am not your size though, weigh a little more but much much taller and not too much of a chest…AND with that said, I had to get the small…So not sure if you’d also be the small or, they do have an extra small.

Astral V Eight
Look at willowleaf’s review.

I second the Kokatat MsFit.

whitewater pullover PFDs
As a female w. a short slim torso and a nice rack, I really like my Palm PFD. Check out their website, they are sold in the U.S. via MTI

Playboaters like/need a lot of freedom of movement so their PFDs are less bulky & often have shorter torsos for that reason.

Pulling a zipper up & over a real bustline can be a PITA. With a pullover style you can completely let out the straps and easily pull it over into position, then cinch the straps as you like. A vest w. three straps on each side (like mine) gives you optimum flexibility for best fit at bust and waist.

No zipper means one less thing to break or get stuck.

Palm, Kokatat, Astral and others do a pullover style.

Try & and see what you think. Wear your usual paddle layer(s), grab a paddle and simulate paddling.

If you still want to go w. a zipper add the Astral Bella and the MTI PFDiva to your list.

5"2/145 and on the busty side
I’m having a hard time picturing that

better post pictures

Re: PFDs for Women
THanks for all the suggestions! I will have to find a place to try them on. Glad to know there are options, considering the stores carry mostly mens/co-ed styles.

REI stocks the Astral V-8
Hi, I think you’ll like the Astral V-8 if you try it (most REI’s stock them). I’m like you, shortwaisted and buxom, and my Lotus Lola always felt like it was strangling me. I bought 3 other PFD’s before stumbling across the V-8 and trying it on a whim (I admit, I was attracted by the nice orange color). It’s got a deeply cut vee in the front and is designed with a lot of perforations so that it is vey flexible and cool on hot days. Its only failing is terrible pockets – one very insecure mesh one and a microscopic inside one, also very insecure. I plan to stitch on an additional pocket – the vest is so comfortable I feel it is worth that effort.