Favorite PFD?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Matthew Gulbranson, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

    Posts: 1,733
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +47 / 0
    I'm new to the fabulous world of floating down the river in search of our finned friends.

    My question to you all is, "what is your favorite PFD for floating and fishing?" Do you use a type V to compensate for your waders? I've found that when rowing, a more normal style PFD interferes with my rowing stroke. Also, if I have anything in my pockets of my rain jacket, I tend to bulk out very quickly since I'm not quite a toothpick. I would love to hear your opinions!!

    Thanks! :beer1:
  2. WABOWMAN Active Member

    Posts: 439
    Port Townsend,WA
    Ratings: +31 / 0
    Atomatic Inflatable PFD
  3. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +544 / 0
    I have an NRS "Chinook," which is a kayak fishing vest. I bought it on sale at a good price that was cheaper than the other alternatives I was considering at the time I got it. (Some of the others were as good or better, but also more expensive).
    It is comfortable for both paddling and rowing. Has plenty of pockets, so I can carry a couple of small fly boxes, leaders, tippet, tools and a knife and still have room for stashing a Cliff Bar. It is infinitely better than the cheap "comfort vest" that I used to wear.
  4. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,358
    .
    Ratings: +1,208 / 0
    I only use inflatable PFD's on still water, never rivers. (Do a search them and why, lots of posts in the past) If you wanted more floatation than normal Type 3's (about 15 lbs), look for a Type 3 with 22 - 28 lbs of bouyancy. I just bought one with 22 lbs for white water and it is fairly comfortable.

    My favorite and most comfortable PDF is a Kokatat MsFit. It has multi-piece, contoured front panels that move with you and fit most body types well. Technically, it is a woman's PFD, but when I used to sell paddling gear at a retail shop, every guy I put one on, bought it. Well, sometimes once I told them it was a 'woman's' PFD, they insisted on trying others on but once they did, they always came back to the MsFit.
  5. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,492
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,471 / 9
    I use an automatic inflatable. Designed to inflate even if I've fallen and bonked my brain. I have found rowing with the standard vests challenging too. I'll profess my love for fine food and/or cheeseburgers. Extrasport Sturgeon is the standard vest I will use the most, but with it I often will slide my seat rearward an inch or so to allow more rowing stroke room.
  6. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,759
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +683 / 5
    You DO NOT need (or want) the type V PFD's. You'll limit your range of motion. I still have a couple I had when I was running whitewater crews. I never wore them, since I wore a swiftwater vest (very high floatation). Your standard class III's are perfectly fine. I've went for a swim fully loaded and never had a problem with your standard PFD's.

    The one I REALLY love (and one I use most of the time) is the Cabelas mesh vest. Gives good floatation, range of movement, and you can still row/fish with it.

    I have a really old one, but it's just like this.

    [IMG]
  7. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,759
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +683 / 5
    I concur on the PFD too. I just can't do an inflatable on moving water. Even the auto inflates.

    Found this older pic of vest I just put pic of. It's been my go to vest for years.

    [IMG]
  8. Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Posts: 939
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    Ed and Wab, how do you keep the autos from inflating when you don't want them to? On some of the rivers, I have had water come up up and hit me enough that I would worry about it. I use mine on still waters (not as often as I should). One thing to remember, Matthew, get one that will be comfortable enough that you will wear it. Remember: shit happens. ( and in my experience, usually very quickly). NRS has some very good designs.
  9. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,237
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +220 / 2
    Work bought me a Mustang Float Coat years ago and it has been a great product during cooler weather when working out of jet boats. For rowing in rivers, hard to beat the comfort of an inflatable PFD but some folks display a certain amount of caution to them, understandably so.
  10. Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

    Posts: 1,733
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +47 / 0
    Bill, that's exactly what I want. Something comfortable enough that I will wear it, but also will get the job done. I've been looking at the ones on the NRS site, and would probably go with one since some of those look super comfy, but they are pricey.

    On the topic of type III's with more buoyancy: I thought that the type of the pfd was specific to the pounds of buoyancy? Is this not the case? I think that I want one in the 20-25 pound range, given that when you go over, you have waders on, which will severely add to your weight, at least before you can cut your waders off...someone enlighten me.
  11. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,759
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +683 / 5
    Ok. I will say this again. Waders won't weigh you down. You have neutral bouyancy in the water. I've swam in waders WITHOUT a PFD on in current and didn't have a problem.

    Unless you're whitewatering you won't need anything more then a class III. That PFD I put up is comfortable to wear in everything from heat of summer til cold of winter. Can row easily and its kept me floating with rainjacket and full gear on. I'm buying a full set for my new boat.
  12. Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

    Posts: 1,733
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +47 / 0
  13. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,492
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,471 / 9
    Bill, my auto inflate has some hydrostatic firing sytem to inflate. Rain, even heavy hard driving rain has not set it off. I had to get it dunked, and a few seconds later it inflated (stillwater test scenario because I like to really test my stuff this way before my life might depend on it). I'm not saying the auto inflate is the way to go, but it is more comfortable than a bulky vest and I think safer than a pull the rip cord manual inflater. Fall, bonk the brain, auto inflater will still activate. Nothing for me to pull.

    A swift water rescue friend told me that he's never removed a drowning victim from under a sweeper that had on a PFD. I trust that friend.
  14. Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Posts: 939
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    Ed said it all.

    A swift water rescue friend told me that he's never removed a drowning victim from under a sweeper that had on a PFD. I trust that friend.[/QUOTE]

    And Matthew, on the issue of pricey, I got a really good deal on a used parachute once for skydiving. It was already packed, and I figured what the hell and just jumped it. I heard some interesting noises which turned out to be fabric ripping and seams splitting and had a hell of a fast ride down with a bunch of blown panels. Screw "pricey". Whatever you buy, and I trust Ed's and Jerry's judgment, I would not make price part of the decision.
  15. veilside180sx Member

    Posts: 295
    Hillsboro, OR
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I wear an NRS Vista any time on moving water. I'll never trust an inflatable...manual or automatic on a river.
  16. Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

    Posts: 1,733
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +47 / 0
    Bill - agree 100%. In alot of cases you get what you pay for. And I usually like the 'nicer' things, so i'll probably end up getting something that fits me really well and that will last a long time.
  17. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,759
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +683 / 5
    And Matthew, on the issue of pricey, I got a really good deal on a used parachute once for skydiving. It was already packed, and I figured what the hell and just jumped it. I heard some interesting noises which turned out to be fabric ripping and seams splitting and had a hell of a fast ride down with a bunch of blown panels. Screw "pricey". Whatever you buy, and I trust Ed's and Jerry's judgment, I would not make price part of the decision.[/QUOTE]

    LOL. My BIL is a military freefall jumpmaster. I don't think he'd ever jump a chute he didn't know intimately. At same time he doesn't jump in the best chutes on the market either (and no those guys don't have the best money can buy).

    Onto vests expensive doesn't mean good either. Like everything sometimes you pay for a "name" not a product. Especially since companies like Cabelas has their "name brand" products made by some of the bigger manufacturers. I put mine and my kids lives in those vests. That vest in pic I put up has a lot of river miles and was bought quite awhile ago. Still going strong.
  18. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +544 / 0
    Unfortunately, it happens sometimes. I remember when a woman drowned on the Cowlitz a few years ago (early/mid 2000's) when the boat she was in capsized just above a sweeper and her pfd got hung up on a submerged limb, trapping her below the surface. I floated the river with some other guys in their boat about a week later, and the guy on the sticks pointed out the tree as we went by. It didn't look all that hazardous at first glance. Just a skinny Alder sticking straight out from the bank. Was sort of a "sleeper sweeper."
  19. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,552
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,687 / 0
    That's a good looking vest Jerry. I have a SOSpenders inflatable and a couple general purpose PFDs I got at Cabella's. Problem is, I never wear them unless I'm on the Columbia when the wind kicks up pretty bad. Never wear one while floating the rivers and forget to even have one with me, which is a ticket if not an accident waiting to happen. Is a Watermaster considered a PFD like a float tube is?

    Sg
  20. Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Posts: 939
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    Is a Watermaster considered a PFD like a float tube is? Quote

    Salmo, I think it would depend on the fish cop. Some would call it a float tube, but I'd bet the majotity would call it a pontoon boat. I always at least have mine with me. Well, almost always.