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Kayaking PFDs
A personal flotation device (PFD) should be worn when you’re out boating or kayaking. Think of it as a rule that you should learn to live with. Now, that being said, a PFD may not be the sexiest thing you ever wrapped around your torso, but they really aren’t that bad. Today’s PFD isn’t necessarily your father’s life preserver.

Most kayakers will wear a US Coast Guard Class type III PFD in either a vest-style or a pullover style. The PFD should be designed for paddlers and feature large neck and armholes and narrow shoulder straps. It should allow for good freedom of movement through all paddling motions. Although there is a breaking-in period to a PFD, the right one should feel pretty good the first time you try it on.

Your PFD should have a variety of adjustable straps at the waist, shoulder and armholes to provide a proper, snug fit. Most are typically waist length to compliment a sprayskirt. Make sure you get one with lots of neat pockets — you can always use them. Some manufacturers are making gender-specific models which may help you get a proper fit.

PFDs come in a variety of colors and styles, so get something you like and you will never feel the urge to go without it.

Terrific online gear retailer.

Cascade Outfitters
Online gear retailer.

Chesapeake Light Craft
Kayak kits and accessories.

Colorado Kayak Supply
A top-notch paddle sport specialty store.

Maker of Extrasport and Swiftwater personal floatation.

Float-Tech makes an inflatable lifejacket that zips into an outwear windbreaker, providing a comfortable, versatile, and functional life jacket.

Harmony Gear
Full line of PFDs, Helmets, clothing and miscellaneous gear.

Produces lightweight flotation, bouyancy aids and accessories.

Lifejackets UK
Life jacket, vest and pfd retailer and mail order specialists.

Mountain Equipment Co-op
Canadian online retailer.

North Woods Canoe Company
Small line of PFDs.

Northwest River Supplies
Online gear retailer.

Old Town Canoe Company
Maker of kayaks, canoes, paddles and accessories.

Online paddling gear retailer.

Pacific Wave Kayaks
Online gear retailer.

This outfitter offers kayaks, paddling accessories and other outdoor gear both online and through their New Jersey store.

Outdoor clothing and gear manufacturer and online shop.

Prijon/Wildwasser Sport
Maker of kayaks, paddles and accessories.

Their stores and online store both carry a great assortment of personal flotation devices.

SEDA Products
Maker of kayaks, folding kayaks, PFDs and accessories.

Sun-protective clothing and flotation.

Starrk Moon, Inc.
Online gear retailer.

Steans, Inc.
Manufactures PFDs and accessories.

Stohlquist Waterware
Maker of watersports equipment and accessories.

Walden Paddlers, Inc.
Maker of kayaks, outrigger canoes, paddles and accessories.

Wasatch Paddle Sports
Online gear retailer.

Water Ventures Watersports
Inflatable kayaks and PFDs.




PFDs and swimvests
Patagonia offers an excellent line of paddling gear such as this Rio Grande classic front-zip, two-pocket swimvest.



REI Garage for paddling gear



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