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How to Select PFDs




A personal flotation device, or PFD, is a crucial piece of gear that provides extra buoyancy to help you stay afloat in water. Every kayaker, canoer, and stand-up paddleboarder should have PFDs.

There are five different types of U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) that have a variety of end uses. This article focuses on the PFDs that are primarily used for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). To help you choose the right PFD for your needs, this article covers:

There are two main types of personal flotation devices (PFDs): standard and inflatable. Standard PFDs are the traditional type that most people think of when they think of life jackets. They’re made of foam and are designed to keep you afloat in the water. Inflatable PFDs, on the other hand, are designed to be more compact and comfortable to wear. They’re usually worn around your waist or over your shoulder, and they can be inflated when you need them.

So, which kind of PFD jecket is suitable for you? If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to try both types to see which one you prefer. 

Choosing the right size personal flotation device (PFD) is important for both comfort and safety. To find your size, measure your chest circumference and refer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart. You want a PFD that fits snugly but isn’t too tight – it should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when shopping for a personal flotation device (PFD). Features like pockets, color and tabs, as well as specifications like flotation and U.S. Coast Guard Type, can help you narrow down your choices and find the best PFD for your needs.

The most important advice about PFDs (personal floatation devices) is to always wear one. PFDs are crucial for safety, and can mean the difference between life and death in some situations. While you’re considering which PFD is right for you, be sure to keep this advice in mind.

Standard PFDs vs. Inflatable PFDs

There are two types of PFDs: inflatable and non-inflatable. Inflatable PFDs are usually more expensive, but they might be worth the investment depending on your needs.Non-inflatable PFDs are the most common type of PFD on the market, but they might not be right for everyone.

Standard PFDs

You’ll see most recreational kayakers, canoers, and stand-up paddle boarders wearing PFDs, which look like vests. They rely on flotation material, often foam, for buoyancy and are labeled as Type III USCG-approved PFDs. these are best suited for best yoga paddle boards as well. 

Inflatable PFDs

This newer subcategory of personal flotation devices (PFDs) includes vests and waistpacks.

PFDs, or personal floatation devices, inflate automatically or manually. If you have a manual PFD, you pull a cord to activate a CO2 gas cartridge and inflate the vest. An automatic PFD will inflate when you’re submerged in water.

When participating in sports that involve water, it’s best to have a manually designed life jacket or personal floatation device because you’re more likely to get wet. This is especially true for kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding.

Hybrid PFDs

A PFD, or personal flotation device, is a crucial piece of gear for anyone spending time on the water in a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board. You’ll occasionally find a PFD that’s a combination of a standard PFD and an inflatable one. These are a specialized best-of-both-worlds solution that provides inherent buoyancy in a compact, comfortable-to-wear package. They typically cost significantly more than other PFDs on the market, but they’re worth the investment if you’re serious about safety on the water.