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PostPosted: October 26th, 2020, 9:16 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Duluth, MN
Hi all,
I'm in the market for a new PFD and have limited ability to go to a retail store to try a bunch on (which I know is ideal).
I'm looking for a pfd that I'll wear all day, even when portaging a pack. I seem to prefer front entry zip style, but haven't really given a fair shake to the newer kayak type overhead-entry-concentrated-flotation pfds (nrs ninja, et al). Would like it to be fairly minimalist, but would like to be able to attach a knife for river travel.
Suggestions appreciated.


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PostPosted: October 26th, 2020, 9:26 pm 
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Joined: August 30th, 2020, 11:42 pm
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Location: Toronto
tom-o wrote:
Hi all,
I'm in the market for a new PFD and have limited ability to go to a retail store to try a bunch on (which I know is ideal).
I'm looking for a pfd that I'll wear all day, even when portaging a pack. I seem to prefer front entry zip style, but haven't really given a fair shake to the newer kayak type overhead-entry-concentrated-flotation pfds (nrs ninja, et al). Would like it to be fairly minimalist, but would like to be able to attach a knife for river travel.
Suggestions appreciated.


I have not seen a pfd which has a mesh back unless it were a fishing type of pfd etc. The kayak/canoe/paddle pfd's have always had foam at back. This foam, I have found, makes carrying (big) packs difficult. It is often thick back there because these pfds often aim to balance buoyancy with range of motion (i.e., removed foam here = more foam there).

Which (often):
1. Puts pack weight farther from you, allowing it nasty leverage on you
2. Puts pack farther from you, stealing length from important tension-ing straps.
3. Rests pack on smaller area (foam patch vs. your back), making pack wobble/unstable.
(where 1 & 3 do make portages more dangerous)

If I was you and you need to carry big packs WITH pfd on, then I would look in hunting, fishing, Walmart, these kinds of stores because (I think) this is where you're getting mesh backs, or thin but wide foam backs (note, this reduces 3 & 1). At cheap prices.

Note, For portaging a canoe with yoke on your shoulders, the paddle pfds tend to work well. Because they tend to NOT have foam up in this yoke area.
Note, non kayak/canoe pfds tend to have foam at front+top shoulders. While portaging canoe your arms are up (often), and this may push said foam into your chin/neck/cheeks.

Curious: What makes you keen on wearing the pfd on portages?


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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 12:39 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
Buy a very comfortable PFD.
My current and my next one will be the Kokatat Misfit Tour (or a close to this as possible).
Pretty sure it's a "princess cut" which is tailored for the female anatomy, but this PFD is so comfortable that I forget I'm wearing it and it float my like a cork.

I have two carabiners on each shoulder strap which hooks on to my load lifters on my internal pack and it hangs of the back of my pack while portaging.

Unless the portage is so short, I couldn't imagine putting a pack over my PFD. A daypack sure, but not a loaded portage pack.


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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 1:55 am 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Mesh Back PFD's are a "thing", although they are not fully mesh, the lower portion of the back is. Although I've never tried one I'm pretty sure I prefer a full back as I do a lot of cold weather paddling

https://www.nrs.com/category/4296/life- ... fe-jackets

Personally I always wear my pfd when portaging, several reasons,
a) extra padding, 115l dry bags have almost none, work well with any barrel harness
b) impact protection for my somewhat fragile torso for those occasions when I go for a tumble.
c) my InReach is in one pocket, a couple of other emergency items in the other pocket
d) one less thing to carry or dangle off of a pack or canoe


When I need a new pfd I will probably get one of these.

https://www.nrs.com/product/40124.01/nrs-odyssey-pfd

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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 7:42 am 
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Joined: August 30th, 2020, 11:42 pm
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Location: Toronto
yes true about the drybags + barrels.

also yes i found some mesh back stuff on paddle jackets with foam as you say at top. this could be a good option.
note, it is often that the pack is LEAST against your back at the highest point, which is precisely where this foam is here. meaning, could be great.

ditto with barrels, hence (for example) northwater harnesses, have huge block of foam at lower back, no where else.

some pics for ideas,
Image
Image
Image

but note, the wide/thin foam backs could be ideal, because they are just like your back.
Image


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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 8:21 am 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 2:59 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Ok so at the risk of opening up a can-of-worms, are these PFD's approved for use in Canada? (Note: US residents who travel here are exempt.) I bring it up as I watched two dudes get tickets?.. from OPP in Kingston, (Lake Ontario) for not having a Canadian (Transport Canada or Coast Guard) approved PFD).


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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 8:39 am 
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Joined: November 2nd, 2008, 11:15 pm
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Location: Collingwood Ontario
Another option for PFD while portaging is an inflatable one. Great while portaging, thin material over shoulders and back, not hot to wear, but of course severely less useful if you actually need to use it as a PFD. You also have to wear it in the boat, not just have it with you. And it is useless as a kneeling pad or sleeping pad leveler. But if your primary concern is just meeting the letter of the law, they do the job.

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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 2:44 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
I’m a big fan of Kokatat MsFit Tour. It’s my go to life jacket for canoe tripping.

In your case, for portaging with a life jacket, I suggest you look at the dual flotation life jackets. I just got one, my thinking is for lightweight.
mustangsurvival.ca/collections/inflatable-pfds/products/khimera-dual-flo

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PostPosted: October 27th, 2020, 4:34 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
tom-o, I can recommend the Salus Angler PFD (not to be confused with the Salus Kayak Angler PFD, sigh) as meeting your criteria.

Front entry, lightweight and uber-breathable, Certified for use in Canada, knife lash tab, and a few other bells and whistles, but best of all, it has no buckles on the shoulders.

Packstraps and canoe carry thwarts sit very well on these PFDs. Canadian made too. I've been using one for years, but have no affiliation with them.

Good luck in your search, cheers.

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PostPosted: October 28th, 2020, 12:49 pm 
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Location: Wakefield, QC
I know this won't answer your initial question, but don't worry about wearing your PFD when you are portaging.
It will always be more comfortable not to wear your PFD while carrying a backpack on your back. Your time is better spent, in my opinion, trying to find the best way to strap your PFD to your pack.

When it comes to PFD I agree that front zippers are awesome and I would add get one with tons of pockets on it! I never have enough pockets on my PFD and I just find it so useful to be able to keep some of my equipment or snacks in my PFD.

cheers,

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PostPosted: October 28th, 2020, 5:29 pm 
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Gotta agree with PereExtreme on this one. Better to set up a easy fastening system to your pack .

Something is out of whack if you make portage trail wearability the #1 requirement of your life vest given the 5% of the day you are on a portage trail.

Like a few others I too like the Kokatat Outfit Tour life jacket - excellent flotation, also good all-around upper body protection during spills in rapids, handy pockets, great insulating layer for cool evenings.

Then again, maybe the kind of canoieng the OP does not require that level of protection and usefulness.

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2020, 12:30 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Duluth, MN
Thanks for the opinions and suggestions. Technically, I'm looking to keep my lifejacket on when I portage my canoe and day pack, at which point I'd take it off to go back for the second load. My current lifejacket is too bulky for that to be an option, and for whatever reason I don't like the hassle of taking it off and securing it for the portage (only has zipper and tie at the bottom). Anyway, thanks. I'll look into the options presented above.


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PostPosted: November 18th, 2020, 3:28 pm 
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Joined: November 20th, 2003, 12:34 pm
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
I must be a weirdo because I often portage with a pack while wearing my PDF. Beyond loosening the pack straps a bit, I haven't had any issues with it, comfort or otherwise. I use a Salus Eddy Flex which isn't particularly compact, but it is well padded. Often I just can't be bothered to remove my PFD. The second I'm out of the canoe I want to get moving. I grab my canoe pack, sling a haversack over my neck, throw my canoe on my shoulders and head off down the trail!


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