your favourite PFD's

Santa brought me a fancy new pfd for Christmas, oh joy. there were so many models of well made, well designed pfd’s to choose from, i bet he had a hard time choosing one for me. good thing i kinda laid it out for him…

so what is your favourite pfd and why? doesn’t matter whether you paddle canoes or kayaks.

is there any discontinued models that you think are better than current offerings?

other than really solid design and build quality- are there any truly unique features that make your pfd stand out amongst the rest?

(man do i envy you southern folks right now. -33 is too dam cold to ski {like being on sandpaper} or do anything outside. i’d rather be paddling. anyone have a sticker like this?)

-33 !!! It will be mid-70s and sunny
in northern SC today.

70’s !!
darn, i wish there was some way i could erase your message - =;-/ however, i am corresponding with a realtor in NC =:-)

already sunny and above 70 here.

not to rub it in but also already got my morning paddle in.

I really like the old lotus locean
with the two big pockets for a sea kayaker os someons who needs lots of pockets. still available at some places for about $70

old discontinued Extrasport
a pullover with side torso straps and one waist tie,simple, simple, simple. Something like that again would be nice,minimal and cheap.

Low Drag And…
(not for gearheads with only one center pocket) very comfortable and adaptable fit: Astral 200.


Sing is on to something. The Astral platform is extremely comfortable and stays put in surf or rapids (even when having an out of boat experience) without having to overly crank down on the belly strap.

See you on the water,


MSFit Tour
by Kokatat for us short torso folks. It doesn’t ride up, has room for everything, and you can unzip for ventilation while leaving the straps in place for safety.

It is -5 Fahrenheit here this morning but we would still be paddling if my husband’s drysuit weren’t off being repaired.

We paddle until the water is stiff and right now the river is only stiff along the edges.

is the shortest paddling PFD I’ve found, and that’s just what I needed. Even the ones advertised as being for short-torsoed people were usually too long for me, but the MTI Adventurewear Comp III fits like a glove. They’re not as easy to find as some of the more popular brands, but this one, at least, was worth the hunt.

It’s been warm even for NW Florida for the past week or so–mornings in the 50s, afternoon temps around 70. My dog and I have been paddling just about every day. Gotta watch out for weird debris in the bay and bayous since Hurricane Ivan, but otherwise the water’s been beautiful and the insect-count relatively low.

Keep paddling!


– Last Updated: Jan-05-05 11:45 AM EST –

I've had a MsFit Tour for three seasons now and I still like it a lot, for all the reasons cited. If you have a longer torso, the ProFit Tour is the way to go, though for some inexplicable reason, it has one less pocket than the MsFit Tour.

PNet review
on the MSFit Tour is what convinced us to buy them. Thanks Brian.

About same as my
Lola Pro, which is same thing with a tow belt. Very decent. Mine has the two big pockets - think it’s 2002 model.

Like my Astral 300T better. Front zip, can be worn unzipped, integrated simpler tow belt. More generous range of motion, more comfortable and better arranged soulder straps, etc…

Astral 300T
I had a good vest - a Lotus Lola Pro (Like Locean - with tow belt - 2002? model w. two big pockets down low).

Like my Astral 300T better. Pockets are smaller but adequate and lower profile. Front zip is nicer, and can be worn unzipped for warmer days (hand warmer/extra storage slot also there for cooler days), integrated simpler tow belt. More generous range of motion, more comfortable and better arranged shoulder straps, etc…

Best PFD
I have a Stohlquist modeled for girls, if any gals out there are still using a “guy” type, paddle to your nearest store and try one out. The inside has been modified to actually fit the contours of us girls. It makes the whole thing fit like a roomy bra and is very comfortable for an all day outing. I even sit up straighter (better for paddling anyway).

lotus Grande
used it for years, well over thousand miles. Gone swimming with in the summer and the winter(niether were planned swims ;-(

It has always brought me up, and kept me warm in the winter and hot in the summer. I found it to be comfortable enough that I do not mind wearing it Except when the temperatures get excessive. Mine is actually about worn out and I normally use my sons Lotus Grande As a replacement.

SOSpenders manual belt
BUT… I spend 90+% of my time in water less than 3’ deep. I own a boat so I can fish in our shallow marshes.

hey now!
I had one of them… totally forgot about it… you’re right

Kokatat’s Co2?
I was wondering what everyone thought of the Kokatat’s 2005 C02 SoS-like PFD with adjustable inflation and at-sea recharging?

Although I have never use one, the SoS-like solution has always appealed to me because it seems like it would be much cooler in the blistering heat of summer and other kayak sites have suggested that this style doesn’t ride up on bigger framed individuals as much as some traditional PFD models.

Some of my concerns center around the need to manually inflate the vest; the loss of additional bouyancy resulting from an deflated vest during a roll; and the fact that most of the air is located in front of the vest (although with the Kokatat model that might not be the case–difficult to determine by looking at the catalog picture).

Has anyone tried out the Kokatat model; and if you have, what were your observations?

very interesting
lots of Lotus and Kokatat. MTI the odd duck, never seen one; from Europe i think.

i have a new Extrasport Retroglide that i look forward to using in summer. great pockets for gear and nice adjustments.

never seen the Astrals either but they are getting rave reviews.

we live in the golden age of quality gear, that’s for sure.