Rank
#1

Stohlquist Edge Adult PFD Life Jacket - Red, Small/Medium - Easy to Adjust Whitewater PFD, High Mobility Ultra Soft Buoyancy PVC Foam, Low Profile Graded Sizing for All Paddlers,QF1630601SMMD

  • GRADED SIZING - Stohlquist's Graded Sizing offers the best fit, and lowest footprint possible, for the widest range of body types. We have fine tuned each individual size, and sculpted the foam footprint and foam thickness to provide a better fitting, and more comfortable PFD for people of all sizes
  • ERGONOMIC WRAPTURE SHAPED TORSO - The ergonomic WRAPTURE shaped torso utilizes reverse articulated foam & convex interior seams to contour to the natural shape of the body and provide a close, low profile fit. This allows us to fit young, smaller framed paddlers up to larger adults in the same style vest, while offering identical mobility across the size range
  • MAXIMUM COMFORT - Padded, contoured shoulder straps; large arm openings; and a low-cut, offset front-zip entry, along with 4 side pulls, and a front waist buckle closure. Mesh sides also offer maximum ventilation
  • ULTIMATE FUNCTIONALITY - Large, roomy, top-loading front pocket for secure storage and easy accessibility along with 3M reflective accents for added visibility in any lighting conditions. Its sea level buoyancy ranges from 15 lbs, 8 oz to 17 lbs, 8 oz. Each size features ultra soft buoyancy foam and Graded Sizing to create an even better fit for a wider range of paddlers
  • BORN IN THE WATER - Stohlquist products are the result of a lifetime of hands-on paddling and entrepreneurial spirit of founder Jim Stohlquist. Each model we offer follows the lineage of 40+ years of product innovation and refinement to provide our customers with the best WaterWare available today
  • Sport type: Kayaking

How To Choose The Best Whitewater Pfd

What Is The Purpose Of A Whitewater PFD?

In order to accomplish this goal, the PFD must fit properly around the wearer's body. If the PFD does not fit correctly, it could cause injury to the person wearing it. Also, if the PFD doesn't fit well enough, it might slip off during a fall. Therefore, proper sizing is critical for safety reasons.

How To Choose A Good PFD For Yourself

There are many different types of PFDs available today. Some are designed specifically for recreational activities while others are intended for commercial purposes. Recreational PFDs include those worn by kayakers, canoeists, rafting participants, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Commercial PFDs are typically required by law for workers involved with heavy machinery, construction projects, and other industrial applications. There are three main factors to take into consideration when choosing a good PFD for yourself.

Size Matters

First, you need to determine whether you're going to be using the PFD for recreation or for work. Recreational PFDs are generally smaller than commercial ones because they are meant to be worn only occasionally. However, there are still differences between these two categories. Recreational PFDs are more likely to be made of neoprene rather than vinyl. Neoprene has a higher level of stretchability which makes it easier to put on and remove. Vinyl tends to be stiffer and harder to pull on and off. Another important factor to consider is the size of the PFD. Most recreational PFDs are sized according to weight. That way, no matter how big or small you are, you can always choose a PFD that fits comfortably. Commercial PFDs are measured based on chest circumference. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you'd probably want a PFD that measures 40 inches across the chest.

Material Matters

Second, you need to decide whether you prefer a hard plastic shell or soft foam padding. Hard shells are sturdier and last longer, but they can scratch and dent easily. Soft foams are softer and more comfortable, but they can break down quickly. Foam paddles are another type of PFD that combines both features. They are very durable and long-lasting, yet they are light and easy to carry.

Comfort Matters

Finally, you need to think about comfort. All of these considerations affect the kind of PFD best suited for you.

The Importance of Purchasing A Quality Whitewater PFD

Whitewater paddling is a great way to enjoy nature while getting exercise. However, there are many dangers associated with whitewater kayaking. One of these dangers includes being hit by rocks and other debris floating down the river.

There are several different types of PFDs available today; however, most of them fall into two categories: inflatable and non-inflatable. In addition to choosing between the two options, you must choose between a full body PFD and a half body PFD. Both types provide excellent coverage, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Inflatable vs Non-Inflatable

There are three main differences between inflatables and non-inflatables. First, inflatables are more durable because they are designed to withstand repeated inflation and deflation. Second, inflatables are easier to put on and take off compared to non-inflatables. Third, inflatables are lighter weight than non-inflatables. While both types of PFDs provide adequate buoyancy, inflatables are generally considered safer due to their durability and ease of use.

Full Body vs Half Body

Another important factor to consider when selecting a PFD is whether you prefer wearing a full body or a half body PFD. Full body PFDs cover the entire torso and legs. They are typically worn underneath clothing and therefore require no additional gear. Because they are so easy to put on and remove, they are ideal for beginners who are learning how to paddle. However, full body PFDs are bulky and heavy, making them difficult to carry around during long trips.

Choosing Between An Adult & Child Size

While children and adults alike benefit from using a PFD, it is especially beneficial for children to wear a PFD. Children are naturally curious and prone to exploring the environment surrounding them. As a result, they are likely to wander away from shoreline areas where they could potentially become stranded. Additionally, children are smaller and lighter than adults, which makes them more susceptible to drowning. Therefore, it is essential that parents teach their children proper safety precautions before allowing them to go whitewater rafting.

Buying Tips For Buying A Good Quality PFD

Before heading out on a trip, it is imperative that you select the right type of PFD for your needs.

Choose a PFD based on your experience level. Beginners should start with a half body PFD. Once you've mastered the art of paddling, you can switch to a full body PFD.

Consider the weather conditions. Choose a PFD that offers maximum buoyancy in cold water temperatures. Also, avoid purchasing a PFD that does not fit properly. Make sure that the straps are snug enough to hold you securely in the event of an emergency situation.

Features To Look For When Buying A Whitewater PFD

The more features a PFD has, the safer it is. However, there are many different types of PFDs available today. Some are designed specifically for kayaking while others are intended for general recreational boating. There are also several different styles of PFDs ranging from inflatable ones to hard-shell models. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Inflatable PFDs are generally lighter and easier to carry around. Hard-shell PFDs provide greater stability and support. If you plan on using your PFD for both recreational boating and paddling, choose a model with enough buoyancy so that you can float comfortably in water up to your chest.

Buoyancy

This refers to the amount of air inside the vest. Most PFDs have two chambers; one chamber contains air and the other holds foam. As long as the total volume of air plus foam equals the volume of water you're floating in, you'll be fine. Generally speaking, the higher the number of cubic inches of air contained within the vest, the more buoyant it is.

Flexibility

Some PFDs are rigid and stiff whereas others are flexible and soft. Rigid PFDs allow you to paddle well but aren't very comfortable. Soft PFDs are great for comfort but might limit your ability to perform certain maneuvers. Flexible PFDs are best suited for those who enjoy paddling recreationally.

Waterproofing

Most PFDs are waterproofed by either coating the outside of the vest with neoprene or stitching the entire garment together. Neoprene is a synthetic material that resists moisture and stains. Stitching creates seams where water could enter the vest. Waterproofing doesn't necessarily mean the PFD is completely impervious to water. Even though the outer fabric is coated with neoprene, the inner lining must still remain breathable.

Weight

Although weight isn't always directly related to performance, heavier PFDs are typically harder to maneuver. Lightweight PFDs are easy to handle and quick to put on.

Durability

All PFDs are subject to wear and tear. Durability depends upon the materials used to construct the PFD. Materials such as nylon, polyester, and vinyl resist tearing and abrasion better than cotton does. Nylon tends to stretch slightly which makes it ideal for paddlers who prefer a snug fit. Polyester is durable and resistant to stretching. Vinyl is lightweight and inexpensive. Cotton is the least expensive option but it wears quickly.

Cost

Price varies depending on the brand, style, color, size, and whether or not it comes equipped with accessories.

Different Types of Whitewater PFDs

The most common type of PFD is called a "wetsuit". Wetsuits are designed to be worn by swimmers who dive into cold water. However, wetsuits aren't suitable for everyone because they restrict movement and limit breathability. For those reasons, there are other options available. Some paddlers prefer to wear a dry suit while others choose to wear a full-body neoprene wet suit. In addition, there are kayakers who wear a combination of both.

Wet Suits vs Dry Suits

Dry suits are more comfortable than wet suits because they allow freedom of movement. However, they're heavier and bulkier than wetsuits so they take longer to put on and remove. Wet suits are lighter weight and easier to put on and take off. Because they cover the entire body, they provide greater buoyancy and warmth. If you plan to paddle in colder waters, a wet suit might be best suited for you. But if you plan to go swimming in warmer waters, a dry suit might be better.

Neoprene Wet Suit Vs Full Body Neoprene Wet Suit

Full body neoprene wet suits are great for warm weather activities where you may encounter waves, currents, and spray. They fit tightly around the torso and legs and leave little room for air circulation. Neoprene wet suits are very durable and long lasting. They typically weigh between 4 and 6 pounds. Neoprene wet suits are ideal for surfing, standup paddle boarding, and kayaking.

Kayak Life Jacket Vs Kayaker Paddle Vest

The kayak life jacket is designed specifically for kayaks. It fits snugly around the waist and chest and has two shoulder straps with buckles. The vest style kayak life jacket is wider and looser fitting. It doesn't have shoulder straps and is meant to be worn underneath clothing. Both styles are lightweight and easy to carry.

Life Jackets Versus Paddling Vests

Both life jackets and paddling vests are good choices for kayakers. Life jackets are generally cheaper than paddling vests. They're also smaller and lighter. Paddling vests are larger and more bulky. They're also more expensive. Most paddling vests include a hood which makes them ideal for cooler temperatures.

How To Choose Between A Life Jacket Or Paddling Vest

It depends on what kind of activity you plan to participate in. If you plan to surf, swim, or play in shallow water, a life jacket is probably sufficient. If you plan to travel farther distances, a paddling vest is a better choice.

Choosing A Type Of Personal Flotation Device

Personal flotation devices are important safety gear for anyone planning to venture into the ocean. There are several different types of PFDs available. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right PFD for you involves weighing these factors carefully.

Rank
#2

Astral Women's Layla Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Sea, Touring Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and Fishing, Eggplant, M/L

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with organic Kapok, PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.3 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • FEMALE FIT: Women-specific architecture with multi panel princess hinge and internally sculpted bust cup in comfortable Kapok foam; Zipper at quarter and adjustable buckles at side; Weighs only 1.76 lbs
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon and Stretch Polyester Lycra shell and 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon liner; PolyPro webbing and heavy duty hardware
  • ORGANIZED POCKETS: Secure front pocket with internal divider and key clip to keep your small gear at hand and organized; Compatible with the Quick Release Belt (sold separately)
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#3

Astral Women's Layla Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Sea, Touring Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and Fishing, Glacier Blue, M/L

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with organic Kapok, PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.3 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • FEMALE FIT: Women-specific architecture with multi panel princess hinge and internally sculpted bust cup in comfortable Kapok foam; Zipper at quarter and adjustable buckles at side; Weighs only 1.76 lbs
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon and Stretch Polyester Lycra shell and 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon liner; PolyPro webbing and heavy duty hardware
  • ORGANIZED POCKETS: Secure front pocket with internal divider and key clip to keep your small gear at hand and organized; Compatible with the Quick Release Belt (sold separately)
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#4

Astral YTV Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Touring Kayaking, Sailing and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Slate Black, M/L

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.5 lbs; USCG Type V Approval
  • SECURE FIT: Torso Lock fit platform is easy to adjust, keeps the jacket in place as you move and is a favorite for freestyle kayakers; Pullover style with adjustable side buckles to fit; Weighs only 1.76 lbs
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon shell and 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon liner; PolyPro webbing, heavy duty hardware and zippers with Self Locking Vislon Teeth
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Featherlight construction doesn't weigh you down; Two front zippered pockets to stash snacks and essential small gear; Quick access knife tab on chest in case of emergency
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#5

Astral BlueJacket Life Jacket PFD for Sea, Whitewater, Fishing, and Touring Kayaking, Cherry Creek Red, L/XL

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.4 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • INCREDIBLE FIT: Two-panel fit system eliminates ride-up and lets you move freely and get in the zone; Adjustable side release buckle makes it easy to put on and take off; Weighs only 2 lbs
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon shell and 200 Denier Lightweight Nylon liner; PolyPro webbing and zippers with Self Locking Vislon Teeth
  • HYDRATION SLEEVE: Clamshell front pocket, internal zippered and slip pockets to stash your small gear; Reflective accents for extra visibility; Hydration sleeve at back with hose route to shoulders
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#6

Astral Kids Otter 2.0 Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Sailing, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Fits Youth 50-90 lbs, Eggplant

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Make sure their water adventures are safe ones; Otter keeps them afloat with organic Kapok and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 11.5 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • INCREDIBLE FIT: Soft Kapok front panels conform to kids of all body types for a comfortable, secure fit; Side adjustments are easy for kids to reach and adjust; Flotection protects ribs and organs
  • HEAVY DUTY: Made to last for many adventures; 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon shell and 200 Denier Lightweight Nylon liner; PolyPro webbing, heavy duty hardware and Non-Corrosive Coil zipper
  • WHISTLE INCLUDED: Two zippered pockets to stash snacks and small gear; Whistle lanyard for extra safety; Weighs only 1.3 lbs
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#7

Astral Ringo Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Sea, Touring Kayaking, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Basalt Black, L/XL

  • MADE FOR SAFETY: Stay afloat with organic Kapok, PVC free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.3 lbs; USCG Type III Approval
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: Soft Kapok front panels cover and fit varying chest sizes for a comfortable, insulating fit; Side quarter zip and adjustable buckles at side; Weighs only 1.98 lbs
  • DURABLE: Made to last for many adventures; 500D Cordura and stretch polyester shell and 200 Denier Lightweight liner; PolyPro webbing, heavy duty hardware and Vislon zipper
  • ORGANIZED POCKETS: Secure front pocket with internal divider and key clip keeps your essentials at hand; Compatible with the Quick Release Belt (sold separately)
  • NATURE FIRST: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
Rank
#8

NRS Vapor Kayak Lifejacket (PFD)-Lime-XS/M

  • Six-panel design constructed with ultra soft foam for a flexible fit that effortlessly wraps your torso and flows with your movements
  • 400 denier nylon ensures season-after-season durability
  • AirMesh inner panels provide ventilation throughout the jacket
  • Features padded shoulder straps, strap garages and reflective accents for low-light visibility
  • The Ion is a Type III, low-profile life jacket designed with 16.5 pounds of flotation and carries the US Coast Guard Certification, through testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
Rank
#9

NRS Women's Zoya Kayak Lifejacket (PFD)-Teal-XS/M

  • USCG Approved: type III
  • Flotation / Buoyancy: 16.5lb
  • Closure: front zip
  • Pockets: 2 front
  • Claimed Weight: 1lb 11oz
Rank
#10

Astral, GreenJacket Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater Rescue, Sea, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Midnight Black, Small/Medium

  • Made for safety: Stay afloat with PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.4 lbs; USCG Type V Approval
  • Incredible fit: Two-panel fit system eliminates ride-up and lets you move freely and get in the zone; Pullover style with adjustable side buckles to fit; Weighs only 2.9 lbs
  • Durable: Made to last for many adventures; 500 Denier Cordura Nylon shell and 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon liner; Nylon webbing, heavy duty hardware and zippers with Self Locking Vislon Teeth
  • Quick release harness: Clamshell front pocket with multiple compartments and rope storage pockets; Quick release rescuer's harness tack stitched in; Reflective accents for extra visibility
  • Nature first: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
*Disclaimer: Captain Bobs Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking. (985914)