PFDs - importance of waist strap - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-29-2016   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 177
PFDs - importance of waist strap

Shopping for pfds, I've noticed that many that are marketed for whitewater have a strap and fastex buckle around the waist of the pfd that appears designed to prevent the vest from riding up. Others have the requisite CG class and 16lbs of flotation, side adjustment, etc, but not the bottom strap.

How important is this design feature?

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Old 09-29-2016   #2
 
k2andcannoli's Avatar
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 677
You should get a crotch strap, it's the only way to go!
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Old 09-29-2016   #3
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 300
It's what makes it a white water PFD. Class 3 is very broad, many permitted rivers require them to be whitewater PFDs, which usually include the phrase "for paddling or sailing" in addition to class 3. That strap below the padding/flotation is what separates them from class 3 water ski pfds and such.


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Old 09-29-2016   #4
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Good description by wyosam and yes, you want that waist strap & buckle. One thing to bear in mind is that lots of folks get mixed up with PFD designations and call them "class 3" when it should be "Type 3" etc.

The low-profile PFDs you normally see kayakers and many rafters wearing are Type 3 and usually have about 16 - 18 lbs floatation, the more bulky ones with the big pillow on the neck that you see commercial customers typically wearing are Type 5 and generally have about 25 lbs floatation. These PFD designations don't have anything to do with what "Class" the whitewater is ("Class III," "Class IV," etc.).

Whatever you get, be sure to read the label in the PFD and make sure it's for whitewater, or that it doesn't state that it's NOT for whitewater paddling use. Those are things the rangers will look at when you check in on permit runs.

Good luck shopping!

-AH
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Old 09-29-2016   #5
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 150
I am no expert but my view is that over the last several years many of the white water PFD's have gone away from the bottom strap that ensures the jacket catches on your lower rib cage. They have replace this feature with other designs that essentially do the same thing. Don't know which is better but I would think any Whitewater PFD from astral NRS Kokotat or extrasport would be suitable for its intended purpose. Now how well those design features work how comfortable they are or how much confidence they give you is an entirely separate conversation


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Old 09-29-2016   #6
 
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 150
It should be noted that I just retired my lotus designs Lola circa 2004. I replaced it with an astral green jacket. It's still kind of freaks me out that the green jacket doesn't have that waist strap and buckle


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Old 09-29-2016   #7
 
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Thanks. I got the coast guard types, but when you look at type 3s on manufacturer websites they really don't make it clear. Then there are inexpensive ones like the NRS crew that have the right type, the right flotation, the right waist strap, but are marketed for "flat water".
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Old 09-29-2016   #8
 
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 177
"Don't know which is better but I would think any Whitewater PFD from astral NRS Kokotat or extrasport would be suitable for its intended purpose."

So extrasport happens to be a brand I can get a deal on, but almost none of them have that waist strap.
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Old 09-29-2016   #9
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 26
Any new type 3 or 5 pfd is going to be safe. They wouldn't go without the strap of it was truly nessecary.

I love my green jacket
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Old 09-29-2016   #10
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 300
My GJ (a few years old) has a "strap" below the padding, it just isn't exposed- but it performs the function- it's is tightened without padding or flotation between it and the body. Still there, just built into the harness/body of the PFD.


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