PFD's with no back padding

I am looking for a PFD with little or no padding in the back for my girlfriend. I have looked at a couple companies but can find nothing. Any ideas??? Thanks.

Lotus Mildwater
A very small amount of padding in back at shoulder level (the rest of back is mesh). Keep in mind that this PFD has to have a minimum amount of flotation to be rated as a Type III, so all the foam taken out of the back is shifted to the front.

As above
and NRS has them on sale :slight_smile:

We use them
My wife and I both have mildwaters. They are much cooler in the summer. That extra padding seems like it would bother you when you first try it on. But, once you start to paddle it great. Very comfortable.

However if a woman is large on top the double layer of foam in the front of the jacket might be a little snug on her.

10’s and 20’s
I just picked up a new PFD from MTI for about $60, I believe that it was called a sport or paddle sport or something like that (the only modle to NOT have the name on the inside). It is very comfortable, but the extra foam is in the front, and does feel just a little bit big. The back is part foam and part netting. Extrasport makes a nice one in the $60-75 range. This one has foam in the whole back, but it is thinner at the bottum.

What I noticed this year as I was upgrading my PFD was that pockets and “options” come in ten dollar incoments. Comfort comes in twenty dollar incroments.

In a few years, I may have to bump it up another $30 (more comfort and a cooler pocket or something)

Also extrasport
has a thin back panel, made for kayak use.

has a model similar to the Mildwater.


They call it the “Baja Back”. That was my other choice. I think it might have been better…so that the front padding would be lighter.

(the other problem is that it was yellow…and so is my boat, and i am not a big fan of yellow. All that matching in a colour I don’t care for…eeewwwwwww)

ones ive found
Lotus Mildwater

Lotus Quietwater

MTI Orleans

LLBean Comfort Mesh Back PFD

One consideration for women
I am not real familiar with some of the PFD’s suggested, but would mention one consideration. As above, regardless of where it is any Type III PFD has to have a minimum amount of floatation, and if there is nothing in the back the front may get very thick.

For most women, paddle-float self-rescues or other manuvers that require getting yourself over the rear deck require proportinately more strength than for guys because we are pulling our biggest weight center up or over the boat. Technique alone doesn’t make this difference go away. It gets much more difficult with tall rear decks, or extra thickness on our chest. Stirrups can help a lot, but there are good reasons to be concerned about entanglement.

I don’t know what the paddling environemnet will be for the person in mind, but if it involves open water and the possibility of rescue you should make sure that a PFD with no rear floatation doesn’t compromise the ability to get back into the boat. (including at the end of a pddle when someone may not be at the top of their game)

Yellow/black, yes!
Some of us here prefer our yellow. It’s bright and sunny, easy to spot on the water and draws flying company when near shore. I’m thinking of how I might attach wings and a stinger to my Yellow and black Mildwater PFD to become more like one of the crowd. I bet that crazy Canadian woman, Linda will back me up on the yellow thing. Bet it’s still frozen up there, too.


Check out several models they carry with the Baha back i think they call it. I have one and the lower section of the back has a very thin padding and the upper portion of the back is thicker. I’ve used it for two years now and i’m happy with it.

inflatable pfd
I’ve a Stearns inflatable pfd. Haven’t had to use it yet, but plan to test it out soon. I don’t do whitewater, just flatwater (lakes, rivers, creeks) and the yak shop that sold me the pfd DOES NOT recommend them for whitewater. But, here in Texas, it gets very hot in the summer and the Stearns inflatable has no back. Its very comfortable and cool. Mine has pockets on the front, but you can get it without and its much cheaper.