I’m torn between the Kokotat Bahia Tour and the NRS Chinook. Not a fisherman, but I like pockets! Anyone have a particularly good or bad experience with either one? Thanks.

One thing to think about when looking
for pockets on your PFD, is that if you carry a lot of ‘stuff’ in them and go over, that “stuff” can hinder your ‘self’ or assisted rescue. Been there, done that.

Good Quality
I have a Kokatat Bahia Tour and it’s a very nicely made PFD. It does ride up on me a little if I’m in the water and because of the pockets I do tend to wear it on outings when there is less chance of taking a spill.

If I’m practicing rescues or on rough water I usually wear an NRS Ninja, which rides up less on me.

You didn’t mention
What do you paddle? It makes a difference, because of your boat’s seat back, or back band and the cockpit coaming dimensions–assuming you are paddling a sit- inside-kayak. I don’t know about the two pfd’s you are interested in; they might well be designed with the back floatation that won’t interfere with your seat back and without side floatation which could rub on your coaming. If you are paddling a sit-on-top, or a canoe, none of that might make any difference.

What I would suggest is that you try on a few high end pfd’s and compare how they feel with whatever you are looking at. Also, consider the material the pfd’s are made from. If you are concerned about durability, consider 500 denier nylon. You won’t be sorry if you go for very high quality in a pfd.

another option

– Last Updated: Nov-27-15 1:30 PM EST –

Not to complicate your choice, but Astral is changing the model of their Ronny PFD so a couple of vendors are selling the current style at a large discount. Both REI and Backcountry stil have some sizes left they are selling for under $70 ($30 under the usual price).

I really like Astral's fit, quality and comfort myself and own 3 of them, including the Abba which is the woman specific version of the Ronny. The Ronny has one quite large pocket (bigger than any on the Chinook or the Bahia Tour) and two small pockets, one of which has a large stretch mesh expanding pocket inside.

Dagger Alchemy 14L
I decided to order both PFDs – will pick the best and return the other.

Does the Ronny fit women well?
I am looking for a decent PFD for my wife for use in kayak with high back support. Will that discontinued Ronny work well for her? Looks like a good deal.

probably fit her

– Last Updated: Dec-02-15 10:19 AM EST –

As I said, I have 3 Astrals. I'm a rather busty 36 D cup and all of them fit nicely (I use the M/L size) though the Camino is a little more compressive in the chest. The Camino is probably the closest to the Chinook in style but the Ronny has the softer and more flexible sealed kapok flotation in the chest area, same as the Abba that I have (which is the "female" version of the Ronny). So I would bet the Ronny would fit a woman fairly well.

Also, the Ronny is made with slightly thinner back flotation to fit highback seats. So it sounds like a good match for your wife's boat.

I like that the Astrals are all cut so that they work well on a shorter torso. My first PFD was a side zip Lotus (some of whose designers went on to form Astral, by the way) and it was cut so high in the front that it practically choked me when I was sitting in a boat.

Better jump on that Ronny deal -- I just copied the catalog links to a friend and noticed they have already run out of some sizes. You can always return them.