Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
sam waites
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:28 pm

Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by sam waites »

Just about to splash out on a new PFD for sea paddling and just wondering what people are using and liking / not liking?

I'm looking for a Sea PFD good for multi-day expeds so lots of pocket space, good adjust-ability and comfy

Been looking at the Reed Sea PFD - what are people's opinions of this? At around £95 inc postage certainly looks good value, but what do people think of it?

I'm also looking at the Palm Taupo, Astral seawolf and Peak Adventure Zip - thoughts on these?

So please let me know whats hot and whats not

Thanks in advance

User avatar
JuanChanKane
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:24 am
Location: Bahia Blanca

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by JuanChanKane »

Hi Sam,

I guess the best is to try as many as you can for comfort and it shouldn't touch the spray deck IMO. For me a must have is a flat/low profile chest in order to easily slide into the back deck in case of wet exit. I found pockets do really interfere with a cowboy straddle and I hate it when I struggle for this reason in the water. I'm a huge fan of Peak uk stuff like their Tourlite PDF, that being said, if you must have more front pockets these are best resolved in Kokatat's Ronin Pro.
P&H Cetus HV -Aleutian paddle -Peak UK apparel

User avatar
soundoftheseagull
Posts: 1561
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 5:11 pm
Location: Lives in a Pineapple but NOT under the sea, Prestatyn, North Wales
Contact:

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by soundoftheseagull »

I,ve had the Palm Kaikoura for some time, not on your list but it ticks the boxes for me although it was £100 when I purchased one.
Dave

Rockpool GT

Nick P
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 8:40 am
Location: Looe, Cornwall
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Nick P »

Sam,
I had to replace my BA a couple years ago and after trying several, I settled on the Kokatat MsFit. I believe that this model is aimed at female paddlers, but it fits me and I ain't got moobs! Its made in different sizes, with good adjustability in each size. I find it very comfortable, well designed and well made. I particularly like the H/H VHF pocket which is perfect for my radio and is positioned such that the aerial doesn't poke up my nostrils!
As with most things however, try as many as you can before parting with the hard earned.

N

ian johnston
Posts: 687
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:36 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by ian johnston »

Hi Sam,

The Reed PFD is a comfy, good value PFD with loads of pocket space and fits a hydration bladder nicely in the rear pocket too. As others have said, try several if you can, but none of those mentioned above will disappoint


Kind regards

Ian

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8127
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 19 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by MikeB »

Nick P wrote:Sam,
I had to replace my BA a couple years ago and after trying several, I settled on the Kokatat MsFit. I believe that this model is aimed at female paddlers, but it fits me and I ain't got moobs! Its made in different sizes, with good adjustability in each size. I find it very comfortable, well designed and well made. I particularly like the H/H VHF pocket which is perfect for my radio and is positioned such that the aerial doesn't poke up my nostrils!
As with most things however, try as many as you can before parting with the hard earned.

N
x2 - the only downside is that it doesn't have a back pocket /hydration bladder pouch built in - but one can be bought separately (albeit more spend needed of course).

User avatar
Ceegee
Posts: 1025
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:32 pm
Location: Scotand when not Mallorca North Coast
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Ceegee »

My daughter uses a MSFit with the clip on back pouch and I use a PEAK UK Sea Zip (older model), we are each both very happy with them, although I must admit, the front pockets can snag on the PEAK when doing cowboy rescues, and the side ties are a bit long and can tangle.
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

Owen
Posts: 2181
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 12 times
Contact:

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Owen »

I use the Palm Kaikoura tour, the old model with the crappy zips, the newer ones have better plastic zips. It's ok but a bit May West up front and gets in the way doing cowboy rescues etc.

CharlieS
Posts: 190
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:55 am
Location: London
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by CharlieS »

I'll be buying a new one soon so this thread is really useful.

I wish I'd bought one with a zip (maybe side rather than front): wrestling my current one over my head is a real pain, especially if the pockets are full and I'm in a dry suit with bulky zip across the back.

Charlie

User avatar
The Shiner
Posts: 351
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:22 pm
Location: South Coast
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by The Shiner »

Yak Xipe.
Had mine for over a year now and love it!
Two pockets on the front and a hydration one on the back.
Very functional, but not too bulky.

Rich

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3354
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by TechnoEngineer »

My first BA was the Nookie Delta Explorer; I liked it for having the back pocket. I still use it for night paddling, since the harness I use is suited to that BA.

Not too long ago I started using a Kokatat MSFit Tour BA. It accomodates my moobs quite nicely, although I have a suspicion that it causes chafing under my arms. I tried putting my VHF in one of the pockets, but it had a tendency to change channel, so I now use the VHF on the shoulder strap, and it pokes my nose from time to time. Also the foam on the back section interferes with my towline bag.

Recently I saw someone using the Kokatat Bahia Tour BA - it has the lower back section cut out, providing space for a towline bag, which seems like a good idea. It's a model I'm considering for the future.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3354
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by TechnoEngineer »

TechnoEngineer wrote:Recently I saw someone using the Kokatat Bahia Tour BA
Oops - actually it was the SeaO2 model.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

k1orange
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:40 pm

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by k1orange »

http://www.roughwatergear.co.uk/shop-now/

This is a lovely buoyancy aid, very soft, pocket front and back, bright, reflective. I have them in stock so can dispatch ASAP.
Contact Nigel 07766504752

Fast Pat
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:16 am
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Fast Pat »

k1orange wrote:http://www.roughwatergear.co.uk/shop-now/

This is a lovely buoyancy aid, very soft, pocket front and back, bright, reflective. I have them in stock so can dispatch ASAP.
Contact Nigel 07766504752
Nigel

I am a bit confused the BA says it has ISO 12402 approval, which by definition is "the safety requirements for buoyancy aids with a buoyancy of not less than 50 N used in sheltered waters with help and rescue close at hand under such circumstances where more bulky or buoyant devices can impair the user's activity".

So by definition this should not be used on the sea?

blurpup
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:05 am

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by blurpup »

I believe ISO 12402-5 (50N) is the standard accreditation that most BA's we use will have been tested against. The next level up is 100N which is a significant amount of buoyancy. For example the largest (XXL) Peak adventure BA has 70N flotation.

User avatar
alanshunter
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: NORTH BERWICK

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by alanshunter »

Hi
This is an interesting topic for me as I have just changed over from a reed which for me always felt a bit restrictive and was especially so with the pockets brimming .
I was in the market for a change last on a rescue re entry in ripped the mesh pockets at the front .
Choice for me was the palm Kaikoura which was top of my list although I wasn't mad on the bright colour .
A friend mentioned the astral seawolf and the more I looked at it the better it looked to me.
So now I have one and if it was up to me you all would :-).
Its mega comfortable to wear .. You really don't know its on , its slim for re entry work but holds everything in the drop pouch and two side pockets .
Has a pocket for hydration and extra loops so that you can incorporate a rescue tow line system .
Its the best bit of kit that I own now and it cost only £120 .
Look it up on YouTube or on astrals site .
Oh and by the way Reed xl in blue for sale slight pocket problem :-)

Seadog
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 12:08 am
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Seadog »

I too have a Palm Kaikoura which is pretty good on most counts. It is comfortable, has good adjustment and well thought-out storage. However, and this is a serious problem it is rather "Mae West" (juts out in front) which can get in the way doing a wet "cowboy" re-entry

blackdog
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:32 am

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by blackdog »

Seadog wrote:I too have a Palm Kaikoura which is pretty good on most counts. It is comfortable, has good adjustment and well thought-out storage. However, and this is a serious problem it is rather "Mae West" (juts out in front) which can get in the way doing a wet "cowboy" re-entry
I looked at the Kaikoura but felt that it was very "Mae West" even with the (many) pockets empty. The individual pockets are also quite small and awkward to access; too many zips and lanyards and poky corners. So I'm buying a Kokatat Ronin.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14106
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 71 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jim »

Anyone using an Astral Seawolf?
Looks like it has most of the features I want/need and is the same as the Green River but with the rescue harness removed (Available as an option, or transfer from my existing BA).
The main thing that puzzles me, does it have a lash tab on the front pocket and is it set square or diamond? My current BA (Lotus, same designer, set up Astral after Patagonia takeover) has a lash tab in diamond orientation and it is a royal pain for attaching my VHF to (well I don't use a knife at sea) - a square mounted one low down would be ideal (feed a tape through and clip the radio to the tape.

Different photos on Astrals website show it with and without a lash tab. To be honest I really ought to just sew a piece of webbing on in a suitable orientation and height and not worry about the lash tab, which gets me back to the original point - anyone know what's like to wear all day?

I only intend to buy 1 BA and use it on the river, the sea and in canoe.

Actually, if anyone knows a canoe specific one I might buy 2! C1 slalomists used to have them with one strap, but the modern thing seems to be 2 straps well away from the buoyancy and spread the buoyancy out over more of the torso than for K1 versions.

Jim

User avatar
Kayaks'N'Beer
Posts: 802
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:12 pm

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

TechnoEngineer wrote:My first BA was the Nookie Delta Explorer; I liked it for having the back pocket. I still use it for night paddling, since the harness I use is suited to that BA.

Not too long ago I started using a Kokatat MSFit Tour BA. It accomodates my moobs quite nicely, although I have a suspicion that it causes chafing under my arms. I tried putting my VHF in one of the pockets, but it had a tendency to change channel, so I now use the VHF on the shoulder strap, and it pokes my nose from time to time. Also the foam on the back section interferes with my towline bag.

Recently I saw someone using the Kokatat Bahia Tour BA - it has the lower back section cut out, providing space for a towline bag, which seems like a good idea. It's a model I'm considering for the future.
+1 for the Delta explorer. Mine is so old it's probably got about half a newton left in it but it's comfy and warm and has a big hydration pack pocket in back. What else do you want from a BA?

User avatar
alanshunter
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: NORTH BERWICK

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by alanshunter »

Jim wrote:Anyone using an Astral Seawolf?
Looks like it has most of the features I want/need and is the same as the Green River but with the rescue harness removed (Available as an option, or transfer from my existing BA).
The main thing that puzzles me, does it have a lash tab on the front pocket and is it set square or diamond? My current BA (Lotus, same designer, set up Astral after Patagonia takeover) has a lash tab in diamond orientation and it is a royal pain for attaching my VHF to (well I don't use a knife at sea) - a square mounted one low down would be ideal (feed a tape through and clip the radio to the tape.
The Seawolf is a great PFD its been well designed from the start, and I have only had it for about 4 weeks but Its really comfortable to wear and it has ample storage.
No lash tab on mine but I clip my radio on the loops in the shoulder straps and it works well as it directs the ariel away from your head whilst still keeping it close enough to use.
The back has an area to store a hydration pouch so thats good , the only think about that, is it stores it next to your body so it tends to warm the water a bit.
I have introduced a belt onto mine for the towing system and also added a couple of carbines and 6' of high quality climbing tape and that all stores in the side zipped pocket to the right .
Ill still have to play around with the setup but at least everything is tidy and easy to wear and can be ditched in an emergency .
All in all this is a well developed bit of kit that allows for unrestrictive movement and great buoyancy .

User avatar
Kayaks'N'Beer
Posts: 802
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:12 pm

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

Whoah! It's got a pocket for keeping your purple rubber octopus in. I'm sold.

User avatar
alanshunter
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: NORTH BERWICK

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by alanshunter »

Kayaks'N'Beer wrote:Whoah! It's got a pocket for keeping your purple rubber octopus in. I'm sold.
Get back to work :)
I never go on the water without one !

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14106
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 71 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jim »

That's a great presentation (even with the rubber alligator and octopus) it explains a whole bunch of features that the website doesn't (odd that I never spotted the video on the website, maybe I was looking in the wrong place). Looks like it could be adjusted to suit anyone, almost convinces me I don't need to try one, but I will, I just have to stop myself jumping in the car and driving to SKO right now! It's going to be a few weeks before I get a chance but I definitely will!

User avatar
PeterG
Posts: 858
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:36 pm
Location: On the water, or in the woods
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 23 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by PeterG »

A serious thread this since you spend such a long time in your BA. I find all the models I've tried so far with a couple of pockets on the front and one on the back are long in the body, so they tend to sit on the deck and spraydeck. Obviously I have a short torso, but so must many other people. The Kaikoura does have a short body and I use one for long trips, but it is just too bulky for everyday wear.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14106
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 71 times

Re: Sea Kayak Buoyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jim »

PeterG wrote:A serious thread this since you spend such a long time in your BA. I find all the models I've tried so far with a couple of pockets on the front and one on the back are long in the body, so they tend to sit on the deck and spraydeck. Obviously I have a short torso, but so must many other people. The Kaikoura does have a short body and I use one for long trips, but it is just too bulky for everyday wear.
That is going to be the trade off - to get the same buoyancy on a short torso BA it is going to have to be thicker. I think this is why there are so many odd ball designs with a stupid looking blob of buoyancy front and back and minmal straps/cloth to the sides and around arms to maximise freedom of movement of the arms. Like you, I'm not convinced that this entirely suits my paddling style the buoyancy just seemd to be in the way.
I basically don't like of any of the UK made stuff I have seen - I probably have missed a gem somewhere though. The Astral Seawolf is the only thing on my to-try list at the moment.

Post Reply