My husband is constantly complaining about how hot his PFD is.

Any suggestions on ones that might not be quite so hot in the summer?


No comment

GK, you probably would have a comment
… if you weren’t so damned skilled a kayaker.

Lesser paddlers (like me) who have come out of boats regularly and in a variety of conditions, and with a variety of responsibilities relative to boat, gear, people and situational management often have comments and opinions on PFDs that are at variance with those much greater skills and training.

As for the question at hand, I don’t have any specific recommendations. But have seen fishing PFDs with a good deal of mesh.

One Option…
…is the inflatable collar-style floatation device that friends of ours use. These can be self-inflating, or filled via a breathing tube; both are said to work well.

I’m not sure about American laws, but it does not meet Canadian PFD regulations; to comply with our laws, you must still carry an approved PFD.

some advice

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 11:38 AM EST –

Clarion is right on a few counts. There are lighter, more minimalist PFDs with mesh and much less coverage than your average PFD.

He's also right that sometimes when you don't think you need one, you probably still should have one. If you shop for one with heat in mind, he'll mind wearing it less and wear it more often.

It goes without saying that your skill level and paddling conditions can determine the type of PFD as well as when you wear it and when it's just strapped on deck.

Here's a nice one:

and here are some more:

Just to give you an idea of budget and options.

Finally, I have one with less coverage. I paddle often in 90 degree temps and I'm so used to it, as I am wearing a spray deck, that I just always wear it.

use natural cooling
When I get hot, I use some of the natural cooling we have available around us - namely water. For minor cooling, I splash myself. Or soak my hat in water before putting it back on.

For more major cooling, I grab a cohort’s bow and half flip myself (only works if you are wearing a spray skirt - otherwise you would flood your boat).

Thanks - the fishing vest is a good idea


as conditions warrant
I only wear mine when the probable outcomes of particular conditions make wearing a PFD a desirable option.

For instance, when running the whitewater sections of a river we buckle up before the rapid and take the damn things off for the slackwater portions.

The problem, however, is where to put them when you’re not wearing them.

Summer In the South
It does get hot. It is not unusual to stay in the 90s with very high humidity for weeks here in SE NC. Everyone has their own cool down methods. I wear a full brim hat, a very light long sleeve and baggy shirt, a skirt, and my pfd. I will occationally dunk my hat and put it on wet or stop and take a swim.


then why waste the time of posting that?

NC is South?
Try keeping cool with PFD and skirt when the air is 90s, humidity is crushing, and water temps get into the mid to upper 80s! Like rolling in soup!

It only recently dawned on me that the temp/humidity has something to do with why I keep a relatively high heart rate (compared to what others report) when paddling (in addition to the extra weight thing)…

Tell him to take the damn thing off
It is absolutely stupid to die of heat stroke.

If cnditions warrant it or if he is a non swimmer, that is a different story



if a pfd is all that stands between you
and not getting heat stroke, you have greater issues.

But seriously
PFDs with mesh back panels are made by Stohlquist, Lotus/Patagonia, and Astral. I notice a big difference between them and ones with wrap-around foam panels.


I should have put quotes around
that sentence.

It was said to me last Saturday prior to a race by a nationally rated C-1 paddler, when everyone, (EVERYONE) was bitching about being forced to wear PFD’S during the ninty degree plus heat, so I guess a whole bnch of other people “have greater issues”

Some time when you have nothing better to do go check out a pro race and see if they are wearing PFD’s.



My Preference
I’ve got this PFD and really like it…

It’s funny
how some paddlers regard paddling without a PFD as a sort of totally irresponsible, even antisocial, act. I was paddling with a group along shore in calm conditions but the sun was intense, the temp around 90 and the humidity about the same. At the lunch break I removed my PFD and stowed it under a bungee on the aft deck. I immediately received a lot of criticism from one of the paddlers in the group, stuff about being irresponsible and setting a poor example for other less experienced members in the group. I argued that I was simply weighing the risks involved and choosing what, in my judgement, was my best personal option, ie risk management. Besides kayaking, I spend a lot of time on a road bike and that is way more dangerous than anything I’ve experienced in a dozen or so years in sea kayaks. John

Sandy…"you got mail!'
If you really love him sell his boat. This is a very, very dangerous sport that requires years of training and practice, properly supervised. If he goes with out a PFD and drowns we’ll all have to listen to “Another paddler drowns without a PFD” story if he has a heat stroke we’ll have to listen to “Another unskilled padddler has a heat stroke” story so please save us all and sell his boat.

I’ll buy it. Some already want to get rid of me, now more will join the group.

Now check your mailbox.


Learn to swim
If you can swim when was the last time you swam a long distance. I’m not young but I swim in the lakes and in the river. I practice swimming in the fast water and through the obstacles so I know what it is like. I explain to all new paddlers on my trips what it is like if they turn over and I speak from my experience and if they turn over I’m physically in the water swimming with them and showing them what to do.


– Last Updated: Jun-28-07 11:07 AM EST –

Get him into a rolling class and buy him a manual inflatable vest.

I should add that a cheap ski vest is much hotter than a low-slung paddling vest, but the inflatables are even cooler. I baked last August. This year I am ready with an inflatable and a roll.