Bouyancy aid recommendations?^

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Jurassic
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Bouyancy aid recommendations?^

Post by Jurassic » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:38 pm

Hi all, I'm planning to splash out on a new BA shortly and was wondering what folks would recommend based on their own experiences? I intend to try on as many as possible and go for one that fits well and it also needs to have a front zip for convenience (my current one doesn't and it often gets stuck on the zip of my drysuit). It'll be used for sea paddling and touring and also while paddling an open canoe. I was particularly interested to hear whether folks think that features like loads of pockets and a drinking bladder pocket are worthwhile or whether to go for a more basic model? It's going to have to last for a few years so I don't mind splashing out (sorry!) on a top end BA if all the extra features are worth having but I don't want to spend extra on features I probably won't use. Thanks for your advice, Chris.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by maryinoxford » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:51 pm

I use a Delta Ranger. Front zip, front pockets and a water bladder pocket on the back. I wouldn't be without that.
Mary
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soundoftheseagull
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by soundoftheseagull » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:18 pm

I have the Palm Kaikoura loads of pockets must confess only use 50% of them its very popular and suits me.
http://www.palmequipmenteurope.com/gear ... g_pfds.php
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Jurassic
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jurassic » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:46 pm

Yes I'm familiar with the Delta Ranger Mary as my friend wears one, seems like a great value option and is on my shortlist. Dave, the Kaikoura was one of the BAs I was most interested in but I did wonder if it was a bit over specced (if you can have such a thng)? The Taupo and Symbiant also look nice options from Palm as does the Peak Adventure Zip. What I'm wondering is if all the "bells and whistles" on the high spec BAs are worthwhile or just gimmicks? Thanks for your comments anyway.

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MikeB
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by MikeB » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:50 pm

I use all the pockets on my Kokatat MSFit. I wanted a radio pocket and a drinking bladder pocket as I wanted to have my vhf and drinking bladder "on me" - two side pockets for the sorts of things you put in side pockets and a cunning pocket hidden behind the zip which could take a flare, but I use for a multi-tool and a knife. All that said, the rear pocket is an extra.

It's also a very good ba.

A pal has just been smitten by a new Palm offering which seems to provide all the above.

Mike

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Jurassic
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jurassic » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:14 pm

I'm off work tomorrow so I think I'll take a run over to Brookbank to poke and prod some of these BAs and see how they fit. In the meantime if anyone has any opinions please post them as you can never have too much advice/info. Thanks.

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Bod » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:16 pm

There was a pretty good review in Ocean paddler not so long ago.

After using a Palm Axis WW bouyo for a number of years, I splashed out on a Palm kaikoura. I didn't think I was that interested in the drinks bladder pouch but I do find that very useful and would not now go back (you only get the pocket - you supply your own bladder; I think the Peak BAs include a bladder). The foam is quite soft and I find it well cut for me.

I find that the pockets are large enough for choccy, VHF (Standard Horizons size), Canon D10 camera, whistle, single Day/night flare, tape, crab, knife; so no problems there. The Right hand pocket has a slot for the VHF aerial to stick up through. It is too narrow for my radio and I reckon for most others too. I actually put the radio in the Left hand pocket so that the zip closes with the aerial pointing out.

The Palm lists at £145, so that would have been £130 from my local boat shop. The Reed Chillcheater BA looks good too and costs less.
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:06 pm

I now hold a water bladder between my legs in an old bum-bag, works quite nicely (well actually on my waist just below the sprayskirt). So no need for a bladder pocket.

I have a Delta Explorer which was great for hooning around lakes in my SOT, but I don't rate it as expedition quality at all. It's similar to the Delta Ranger. In particular there are none of those square "attachment points" that are on more expensive BAs such as the Kaikoura etc. Those attachment points are very useful for lights, strobes etc.

Out of curiosity, where do people put their flares (when carried in their BA)? I ask because I'm also considering a touring BA, I once thought that carrying flares in a back pocket would be the way to go, albeit awkward to reach them, but I'm now of the opinion that a BA with *no* back pocket would be the best option.
Last edited by TechnoEngineer on Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MikeB
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by MikeB » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:14 pm

Flares - day/night in the side pocket. Others are in the boat (rightly or wrongly - - ).

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Sprucey » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:44 pm

Mini rocket flare pack in camelback pouch on rear - tied to bit of string to pull them out when needed.
I tend not to use the camelback bladder on my back - it makes me too top heavy.

Sprucey

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Grahamd » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:14 pm

"In particular there are none of those square "attachment points" that are on more expensive BAs such as the Kaikoura etc. Those attachment points are very useful for lights, strobes etc."

Are these square attachment points designed to take any particular fittings?

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:29 pm

I don't know but you can fit cable ties through them meaning you can mount pretty much anything.
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Scots_Charles_River » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:54 pm

Stirling Canoes is closer than Brookbank. Be aware that open boat paddling your arm comes across to in front of the chest so can catch pockets that are sticking out from the front. Whereas sea paddling has the different action so this does not really effect you.

Having a few small pockets does help but I would avoid anything heavy eg bladders, in your PFD. Also getting back into an open boat, the chest pockets do catch the gunnel.

So the PFD below is a good compromise and has a harness and enough pockets for pin kits etc for WW.

Image

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Pete » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:07 pm

There are some reviews here, from page 54. The Peak Adventure Zip gets some praise as being underexposed and overlooked by the press and in fora such as this.

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Jurassic
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jurassic » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:41 pm

Thanks for the tips guys, keep them coming. I'll check out Stirling Canoes first as it's en-route to Perth anyway. Brookbank have had enough of my cash already so it'd be cool to support another business too. My canoe is a flat water boat (NC Pal) so WW use is unlikely at this stage (hence the emphasis on a touring BA) but I take your point about the pockets Scots Charles River. I'm erring on the side of not having a bladder pocket as a priority anyway (I have loads of different sized drinks bladders from mountainbiking so I could just improvise something). Has anyone any experience of the Palm Symbiant Tour?

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Pete » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:02 pm

If you don't need the rear pocket and are prepared to compromise a little on the durability, the Peak UK Tourlite is great value at £50.

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by OGB » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:20 pm

One of the items on your "shortlist" is for sale here:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... :MESELX:IT

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Jurassic
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by Jurassic » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:27 pm

Thanks OGB, I'm watching it now.

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by active4seasons » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:43 am

I have found over the years that my front pockets have had more and more use but the down side of this is highlighted when trying to re-enter my kayak. I am now moving away from everything in the pockets and now use a deck bag for all the stuff I might need. It is worth considering a bag that can be quickly removed so that you can take it with you if you get split from your kayak?

We are talking about extreme situations here and I understand that not everyone will find themselves in such conditions. All I am saying is practice your re-entries with your pockets full as this is how they will be in a real situation!

Good luck with your search.

Ollie
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by OGB » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:00 pm

active4seasons wrote:It is worth considering a bag that can be quickly removed so that you can take it with you if you get split from your kayak?
I used to have such a thing, but after considering the likely scenarios have put all the "essentials" back in my pockets. I felt that I would never deliberately let go of my kayak if I had to wet exit unless very close to shore, in which case we wouldn't be parted for long. It follows that should I be separated from the boat "offshore" then it wouldn't have been a planned or deliberate outcome and the grab bag would therefore still be on board.
Subsequent experience (observing others) has borne this out.

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by maryinoxford » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:07 pm

Following up this train of thought, could it work to have the "grab bag" velcroed to the back deck, and fixed by a short tether to the back of the BA, so that in a wet exit it would go with the swimmer? Or would that be too much of a trap hazard? I'm wary of attaching ropes to myself when kayaking.
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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by wideblueyonder » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:20 am

Have been able to try several BA for long periods of time as part of ongoing reviews for my site and OP mag and have finally settled on the Peak Adventure Zip as my personal favourite and the one I use day to day. Some reviews that may be of interest can be found here: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/category ... ancy-aids/

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Re: Bouyancy aid recommendations?

Post by swagstaff » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:51 am

I would have to agree with Pete that the Tourlite is good value as is the Stohlquist Drifter and also the Kokatat MS fit and Bahia and the Astral V8 and the Hiko Aquatic. It all depends on your shape & also on the boat you paddle ie how low or high the deck is and even your paddling style, as well what you feel you want to carry on you. All the above in stock at Sea Kayak Oban & you can check out the Palm products at Outside Edge at the same time.
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