Women's PFD Recommendations

Looking to take advantage of the REI sale, I would like a new PFD. Looking for something lighter since I live in the subtropics of VA, and pocket is mandatory. I’m strictly a flatwater paddler.
User experience appreciated!

you might like something like this

no personal experience with this pfd, astral’s tend to be a bit more expensive than stohlquist or nrs jackets but work well for females and overweight guys with manboobs (myself). They are cut a bit differently and don’t ride up as much when floating than some other brands.

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So this doesn’t exactly fit into the “lighter” descriptions but the Kokatat MsFit is a superb women’s vest. It is cut for women so it is shorter than their standard vests and features “Princess Seams” or darts. It has a ton of usefully-sized pockets.

While it is cut for women it is a favorite for men, too. I choose it for the overall comfort, pockets and length. Every other vest that I have had was cut for men and the length caused it to ride up because of my tow belt and spray skirt. It has way more useful carrying capacity than my Neptune or Maximus Centurion with all of the doo-dahs, bells, pockets and whistles added.

If you’re able to go into the store, the best bet is to try on a bunch of PFDs and see which one feels most comfortable for you.

Remember to sit or squat down into a position similar to when you’re paddling. Lots of people try them on standing up, but unless you use a SUP, that’s not how you paddle.

While I dislike the color options, I ended up buying a Kokatat Naiad PFD because it happened to offer me the best fit.

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Good advice, thanks

I have 6 PFD’s, mostly Astrals and my go-to for lightness and hot temps is always the Astral V-8. Originally they had crappy pockets but that has improved with the new versions. I’m a short waisted female, 36 DD and it fits me very well. My second favorite, though not as well ventilated (has a solid back) is the Astral Abba with the encapsulated kapok flotation. But that model may be discontinued by now. Seems to have been replaced by their Ceiba model which looks nearly identical. The women-specific Astral models tend to be very female fit-friendly. I did try a YTV and don’t care much for it – used it for a loaner to friends now. Found it too constricting in the chest no matter how I adjusted it.

The V-8 is so comfortable that even on hot days I often realize when I climb into the car after loading up all the gear and boats at the takeout that I am still wearing it!

Thanks, this vest does have great reviews and with the sale and my dividends, I got it for free! Whoop!


Which one did you end up ordering?

The V8. I like the mesh back - looks cooler

Yes, the mesh helps. And the front has mesh lined openings that breathe as well. Also makes it more flexible so it fits a curvy upper body better. Sounds like you got a good deal!