Tom & Athena's PFD Reviews
Tom helps you choose the best gear available on-line for your sit-on-top adventures. In 10 years as co-manager of Honolulu's busy, year-round kayak shop where many developments in the sport were made, and another 10 here at TopKayaker.net, Tom has modified, repaired and outfitted just about every sit-on-top on the market, used and new. If you don't find your questions answered here email him: Tom @ TopKayaker.net
Reviews of a few popular brands of kayaker PFD'S:
RELATED ARTICLE: "Choosing The Right Personal Floatation Device" by Stan Bradshaw
I have selected some PFDs (Personal Flotation Device or "Life Jackets") that we have used extensively or have had considerable experience with. Check out our current selection in our PFD Section at Tom's TopKayaker Shop. Purchasing through the below banner at REI also supports the articles & forums of TopKayaker.net:
IMPORTANT NOTE: When possible try a life vest on in person to be sure of the fit. (Leave room for an extra layer of warm clothing but snug enough to wear shirtless.) So I am hoping that you have had some experience with the life vest you are considering purchasing here with REI, or that you are very confident in your decision. If not, try the vest on as soon as it arrives and send it back if it is not the right size. Test it by snugging it as tight as you can stand and then have a buddy pull up on the shoulder straps. If it comes up to your chin and ears it is too large. I am (male) approximately 160 pounds, about five foot eight inches and I wear a medium (Lotus and Extrasport) PFD in most brands. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR PFD! If you really will not, than consider one of the new coast guard approved inflatable life vest, they are very light and comfortable, but still must be worn to work.
Extra Sport - High to Mid-end in price. Extrasport Old Town
Loon PFD -
The only life vest that I know of that has been designed with the sit-on-top paddler in mind. Sorry folks I have not tried one, and I can not say one way or the other if I would recommend it, but I thought I should mention it here. I really hope to try one soon.
Seaker with Retro PFD -
MTI PFD Economical Life Vests for Adults - MTI Comp II PFD - While working in an educational setting, last summer, my students used this MTI jacket. I only wore one a couple times and found it to have all the features of a quality PDF. I would call this model a very good economy jacket. In my experience you cannot get a good vest for under $50. They are comfortable, made out of soft nylon and supple foam, and they have a nice pocket for a whistle and stuff. Get this one if you are on a budget.
LOTUS PFD - High-end in price - Lotus Rio Grande PFD -
Strait Jacket PFD -
& Children's PFDs - Pets Too:
Don't forget the kids! Find out what size your kids are first before buying. PFD sizes for kids are based on weight. Children's sizes are generally as follows: 50 to 90 pounds, 30 to 50 pounds and zero to 30 pounds. Get the right size for your child. Do not get a size too big so they can grow into it! Even if they are close always stay within the suggested weight recommended on the label. The print is often small and hard to read, so I suggest you use a marker to write the weight range in larger letters near the inside label.
When you are purchasing kids PFDs get a couple extra in assorted weight ranges to handle you children's changing sizes, new additions to the family and your child's friends who may want to join you but not come prepare with their own PFD. Always make kids wear their PFD, set a good example by wearing yours. I'll say it again; double check that the PFD on a child is for the right weight range, it could save a life, and the Marine Patrol and Coast Guard could give you a fine
PET LIFE JACKETS
ON KAYAKING WITH YOU PET
Ladies, we are all so different & just have to try before we buy. Here are some observations I've had that may help as you shop:
MisFIT Tour Front-Zip PFD -
MsFIT Front-Zip Vest PFD -
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