What is the Most Minimal Bouyancy Aid

This is a quote that was on a sign:

A life jacket wont ruin your tan

as much as a body bag will…

I want to switch it around and say

A PFD wont ruin your float as much

as a body bag would…

I’ve seen that, too, but…
…did you have to hold onto a kayak and a paddle while doing it?

When push comes to shove, breathing trumps all else and survival skills become key, but you don’t want to get into that situation if you can avoid it. Ditching your boat and paddle in favor of putting on a PFD is a choice you don’t want to have to make, as it leaves you largely helpless, especially if you don’t have a VHF radio on/in your PFD.

I got an Astral V-8 for Christmas.
Very comfy and minimal. Have not worn it paddling yet but supposed to be cool in hot weather.

Thank you very much
I have a much better idea of what is available now. I have been off canoes for years so had no need for anything but my mae wests and water skiing vest, but now that I have my solo canoe and just bought a sunfish, I really need a nice pfd that is cool and not bulky.

Personally I am well aware of how dangerous and deadly hyperthermia can be. I live in New England and it is a big safety issue around these parts.

The state I live in requires a pfd type l, ll , lll, V or V hybrid. They must be worn from Oct 1st to May 31st.

I did the jean thing during Red Cross lifeguard training at age 15 lol I have just about lived in the surf, lakes and pools all my life. I think I have a petty good idea of my limitations ( and they have gone downhill with age lol )

The reality is that
hypothermia doesn’t kill that many people because those who aren’t wearing PFDs will drown well before hypothermia would cause them to go into cardiac arrest.

Google “Cold Water Boot Camp” and watch the 10 minute video for more info. Pretty interesting stuff.


Manual 3F Inflatable PFD
I love my Mustang Survival inflatable. Very comfortable and cool in the summer.


Big PFDs
The below NRS site has a collection of PFDs to compare. The biggest problem I have is properly carrying all my safety gear.


How about this:

Enjoy your paddling experience

in a PFD not a body bag.

Can you answer yes to the following questions?

I have skills so I will never drown.

I can always inflate my PFD so I will never drown.

I will never cause someone to lose their life trying to rescue me.

If so make sure your name is on the Darwin’s Awards list.


That’s exactly why the navy had the sailors wear bell bottoms.

Minimal PFD
The most minimal PFD is decomposition body gases collecting in your gut. I don’t recommend that you use this type of PFD. Find one you like and wear it.

If you wear it every time you paddle, regardless of the season, after awile you never notice it’s on and feel uncomfy in the boat when it’s not on. Proper fit makes all the difference.

It’s a CG requirement that you have one in the boat it’ll do no one any good at all having it attached to the boat or stuffed into a hatch, if you need it, you need it on.

Bill H.

Why would you want minimal? For what its worth (ok, not much!) I started wearing a NRS Anti-gravity shirt that gives you 10lbs of flotation. BUT - I wear it UNDER MY PFD for a total flotation of 26lbs!

Not to mention - it gives me that “Batman” body armor look that will make my gal happy! heheheheh


– Last Updated: Feb-24-10 2:10 PM EST –

We have quite a few rivers around that don't freeze over so hypothermia is a problem. LOL try swimming in really cold water with a current, it just saps your strengh in no time. Floatation, at least, gives you a fighting chance.
However,no matter with or without pfd, if you get out of the water the cold air and wind is most likely to finish you off.

that looks like it is cool and comfortable


Back to topic if you please…

– Last Updated: Feb-25-10 12:03 PM EST –

Thank you all who gave helpful answers. I have finally located a retailer for the kokatat orbit but it won't be in till April. Most retailers around my area have put stock away till spring. I don't dare order online without knowing how it will fit.

LOL lot of opinions on whether or not to use a pfd.

Based on my experience panic and lack of training is the biggest contributor to problems in the water. This is for mild to moderate current or open water situations. Of course no amount of swimming skill can help in the case of blunt trauma from rocks or being thrown through the air.

Studies that use a controlled environment aren't worth a hill of beans. The participants know they are not in a life threatening situation and will not behave in the same manner as a real life/death situation.
Training does give you the confidence to deal with real world situations and minimize risk. General rules for pfd's or anything else encompass the general populace and the usual lack of training.

These are neither here nor there, I was just asking for suggestions for a comfortable and mimimalistic bouancy aid, nothing more lol
Peace and thank you all who helped with answers.