Thank you for the advice! (Pix of my new kayak)

Thanks to y’all, I stopped worrying and bought the boat. I got it out on the lake today. It fits me so much better than the bath tub recreational boat I’d been using. I love it!

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Congrats on the new boat.


Just sayin’


Congrats! But you forgot something. A life jacket. :scream::blush:


Glad you got into a better boat! I am guessing you have a PFD but it wasn’t in the car when you dropped in for your first paddle. You look very comfortable.


Fantastic, enjoy your new boat!

If those are your knees above the deck, you need to move the foot braces out so you have a slight knee bend. You will have better connection to the boat and more control.
Unless you just like that position.

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Thx again, all. My friend is prone to kayak without a PFD, so I did that all summer. But I’m shopping for a one now (and feeling a little overwhelmed). I’d like it if there was a waterproof pocket. Big enough for my keys and phone, but so far, the ones I’ve found seem like they just have draining pockets, not waterproof.

Thanks for the tips on my knees. I’ll see about moving the foot rests out more. I already did it some, but it wasn’t enough.

A dry bag or box will serve you better than a pocket on your PFD, imo. In the event you wind up in the water, stuff in or on your PFD can be a hindrance to self or assisted rescue.
The only thing I carry on my PFD is a rescue knife a friend gave me. I carry a waterproof camera in the pocket. Keys and wallet go in a dry bag.

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Glad you’re shopping for a good paddling PFD. No pockets are waterproof on a life jacket. You can easily find a good dry bag for your phone.

I never liked the idea of taking my keys with me so I had a valet key made for my car (Honda). All it opens is the door. I keep that key (on a lanyard) in my PFD pocket and keep my car/house keys locked inside my car. Or, get a small drybag for your keys

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Yes, you really need a PFD – regardless of what your friend(s) do. Most states require that you at least have one with you (though don’t require that you wear it, which in my humble opinion, is as ludicrous as not requiring you to fasten your seat belt or wear your motorcycle helmet.)

The Astral models tend to fit women well – I have 4 of them. If you are mostly going to paddle in warm or hot weather, their V8 model is very comfortable and well ventilated. The Abba model is another – either runs around $100.

As others have explained, no PFD has waterproof pockets. A small gasketed locking closure soft or hardshell plastic container for your phone and keys, preferably one with a lanyard to tie to your kayak, is the best way to carry those items.

Your legs should be slightly splayed out with knees under the deck tucked up beneath the cockpit coaming rather than sticking up. You’ll have better control of the boat. As the waters and weather get cooler you will likely want a spray skirt, also some warmer non-cotton clothing. It’s a little late in the season already for shorts and tee shirt. Dress for the water temp, not the air temp.

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Dry bags for stuff that can’t get wet, or Otter box. But why in the PFD? In the hatch. You can get dry bags that will hold your phone and hold under the deck bungles if you want it handled. Just make sure to get one with a clip or decently long strap so you can run it thru a bungie.

Your friend is setting a very bad example. Do not emulate her/him. Wear the PFD every time.

Knees should rest just under the deck. They are two of the major points of contact to help control the boat. Otherwise you will just get pushed around by wind etc

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Most of the kayaks I’ve owned have had a narrow space along side the seat. That’s where I keep my phone in a waterproof phone bag - it’s a Geckobrands bag with a magnetic closure from Dick’s Sporting Goods. The bag is touchscreen compatible and I’ve done a test call and verified that I can be heard using the phone in the bag. The narrow space on the other side has a cheap pair of reading glasses in a plastic case, which I need if I want to read anything on the phone :slight_smile:

For a PFD, I always wear one for coastal paddling or inland waters with boat traffic. For smaller inland lakes with restricted motorboats (e.g., electric trolling motors only), I wear an inflatable belt pack PFD. I have one like this, only older. I got it when I was river tripping. It will take a phone, wallet, keys and more. I put it behind my seat back and depending on what I am getting into, I can tie it off.

The leading cause of death in kayakers is the failure to wear a PDF, often in conjunction with cold water immersion. A PFD strapped to the boat is worthless once you are in the water. It is almost impossible to put a PFD on once in the water while trying to hold onto your boat, paddle, and any other loose gear. Many people find a self rescue very difficult without the extra floatation that a PFD provides.

There are many options for keys and a phone on a kayak. For keys especially, you don’t need to keep them on you as opposed to in a hatch in a dry bag or other waterproof container. A sealed waterproof jar works just fine. There are plenty of waterproof cell hone cases as well, but not all of them work with touch screens. Cell phone coverage on open water is questionable as well. Then again, I am one of those very rare curmudgeons that does not believe in an electronic leash to keep me constantly in touch with the wider world and leave it in the car. I rely on a VHF radio for emergency communication.

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To be a bit more specific about your pfd, the priorities you should be looking for is one that is designed for paddling and that fits so well that you won’t even know you’ve got it on. Pfd’s that are designed for paddling kayaks will have the floatation high enough that it won’t rub on the coaming and won’t restrict arm, shoulder, or torso movement.

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Then again, I am one of those very rare curmudgeons that does not believe in an electronic leash to keep me constantly in touch with the wider world +2
The phone only goes in the boat when the boat is going to be gone for a night.

Or if the phone is your primary camera. It’s already been recommended , but an Astral V8 is very comfortable PFD

I opted to buy a stohlquist cruiser. It’s got pockets for things that don’t need to be waterproof and I’ll figure out what sort of dry bag scenario will work best for me for the other things.

My phone is an I phone 11max. It’s my camera. It’s supposed to be waterproof to a degree already, so it might be fine as long as I make sure it’s secure and won’t end up at the bottom of a lake. I have ordered a waterproof container for it though that will allow me to take pictures while it’s in the container.

I’d love to take my real camera on my kayak since it’s got much better lenses and there is wildlife I’d love to snap pix of. I’m just to risk averse though.

Glad you found something!

Some cameras have waterproof cases, might be worth looking around.

Make sure that the case you put your phone in is either tethered to a line on the front deck or is in a case that will float. It gets awfully easy to drop them.

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A Pro in a seminar once said that you can’t make money if you can’t take the shot so insure the camera & keep it out. I’m no pro so the cost of insurance is too high for that & so is the cost of a decent camera. Back in the day before digital I’d take my OM-1 in a Pelican hardside case. Bulky & a bit hard to get out when needed but then again film, developing, and printing was expensive & I’d only have a couple of rolls on a trip.

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