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Choosing a PFD

Written by Matt Charette on May 13, 2020

Safety is not something to take lightly when venturing into the outdoors. A PFD is your lifeline on the water and choosing one that fits right and will be comfortable for long days on the water is key. There are hundreds of models to choose from so how does one make that decision?

There are a few key things that make kayaking PFD’s unique in the world of Personal Floatation Devices. Kayaking unlike boating is a physical activity, so kayak specific PFD’s are designed to be breathable. Kayaks also do not have as many places to store stuff as boats, so kayak anglers are often looking for a PFD with pockets and lashing points to help them organize their important items.

With the introduction of framed seats in kayaks also came some discomfort associated with the low back padding on many traditional PFD’s, the kayak industry came up with a solution in the form of high backed padding that sits above the seat frame, so this and paper thin back padding are also something to look for if you are looking for that all day comfort.

PFD’s like the NRS Chinook are popular amongst kayak anglers as well as recreational kayakers, the high back and copious storage makes it a winner. A great option in a women specific design is the MTI Destiny. It offers pockets and a comfortable back like the Chinook, but it also features women specific features such as the adjust-a-bust padding to better support a woman’s anatomy.

The difference between a quality PFD and a “traditional” PFD is features that that make you WANT to wear it. And a PFD is only useful if it is worn. Find one that has the feature set that you want and is comfortable to you. If you can shop local for one, try sitting in a kayak seat while trying on the PFD, this will help you get an idea of whether or not you would be comfortable wearing it all day.

No matter what you choose, wear it, and be safe out there!

No Drama. Just Adventure.

Photo By: Brackish Coast Outdoors 


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