Women's Pfds

-- Last Updated: Apr-16-07 9:06 PM EST --

I just tried on a chica and a mona lisa today and hated them both. It seems to me that even the unisex astral(tempo I think) was more comfortable. The chica and mona lisa both mushed my chest and didn't account for my waist being smaller than my ribcage. I've heard a lot of women say they like their unisex pfds but none of them mention their shape. I'm built real short, small waisted and curvy (5'1, 32D ).

The features I really like are wide arm holes, getting the waist tight, not squishing the chest, elastic shoulders like astral has, room for a water bladder and a big pocket to use as a holster (I live in Baghdad on the Bayou Louisiana).

I've seen a lot of praise for the Betsea and the Stohlquist women's Motion looks like it has nice pockets. Does anyone wear a Stohlquist Kitty? I'm also considering an MTI Diva. The Locean, Orbit and Ronin look good, like they might ride low enough to leave my chest free, but the Lola looks like it has too much padding in the upper chest as does the Msfit.

I really appreciate any help you can give me, the more comfy the pfd I get the more likely I'll wear it.

kokatat misfit
is pretty popular with the fairer sex crowd

Try the MsFit. It looks like it has a lot of padding up front, but the top is cut ‘anatomically’ correct. I don’t know if I can describe it, but there is thick padding below the chest, thinner padding at the chest. hmm… just try it out…

Orbit Tour (for the pocket)
will keep you completely free if you like to let it all hang out. They’re very comfortable, very adjustable, but do need to be cinched down to keep them from riding up. Very comfortable PFD that gives completely free range of motion.


2nd for Orbit Tour
This kokatat pfd fits my short torso well and very open for plenty of movement though fairly bulky since there is less jacket. Good pockets but the disadvantage to me is that it is a pullover style which needs to be loosened and tightened every time you remove it/put it on.


kokotat msfit
I wear and like the Kokotat MsFit. I’m 5’3" - short torso, about 135 pounds, if that helps you with the comparisons. I like that, in addition to the front zipper there is a buckle under the zipper. It helps if you accidentally unzip it while crawling around the deck doing a re-entry. Quite comfortable and doesn’t restrict my paddline.

Astral Wonderjacket
I am short waisted, shorter in height and “curvier” than you and have found that an adult size extra small to medium Wonderjacket works for me. The label says it fits chest size 30"to 42". Recently, I was pleasantly surprised at the fit of a Lotus, which zipped up the side, I don’t know the model.

Good luck!

Orbit vs Msfit
The back waist length of the Orbit is almost 2" longer than the Msfit. It is great for long waisted narrow chested shapes. The Msfit fits short waisted and curvy people better than the Orbit.

If you like pockets, get the Tour version of either of them.

OP should defintely try the Msfit and not the Orbit.


Don’t sell the MsFit short without trying it on. I am also short, with a short torso, and I’ve found that it fits fine. There is a buckle at the very bottom that can cinch around the waist as well as a buckle under the zippered padded part. Sounds odd, but it works. I often paddle with the zipper open for ventilation, but the buckles keep the jacket in place.

Go Astral!
Same designer who originally founded and designed the pfds for Lotus is the owner and designer for Astral. Go with the Wonder Jacket or the Wonder Vest. Might also check out the Abba.

Some of these are out on eBay! stores.

See you on the water,



Hyde Park, NY

My wife has one. She is busty and says the BetSEA fits real well. She did not fit well with the others metioned.

Try a few on to see which works for you.


Thanks for everyone’s input. I’m going to Baton Rouge tomorrow to try out more astrals, mtis, and extrasports. Unfortunately, that’s it, we’re not very gear rich over here. Chances are I’ll order online sight unseen. Again.

Anyone else that has any input, please post.

Well, I went shopping today, and tried on a bunch of Stohlquists (hated them all, even the betsea), a Lola (didn’t like it), and some lovely Astrals. I’m in the process of picking between the Wondervest and Wonderpro. I only got to try on the Abba, but if the other two only fit as good as the men’s astrals, I’m still going to be very happy. The two I’m looking at don’t have zippers which is good because I’ve come to hate zippers during this shopping trip and I’m sure I’d destroy them quickly. I’ll probably go with the wondervest (I can get it for $100 cheaper than the wonderpro)and have to strap on a fanny pack somewhere to stow my gear.

Thanks for your help everybody, I’ll let you know how it works out in the end.

stohlquest betsea
REI carries a Stohlquest Betsea. This is a womens vest. I am 5’1 and 104 lbs, chest size 32B. I tried on many vests, unisex and womens and this was the best I have found.