Favorite PFD?

#1
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:
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#3
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.
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#4
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.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#5
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.
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#6
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.

 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#7
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.
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.

 
#8
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.
 

BDD

Active Member
#9
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
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.
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#11
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.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#13
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.
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
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.