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Old 05-20-2016   #1
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 337
PFD recommendations/thoughts

Ok, here's the deal... since last year I have dropped 100lbs. I was 300lbs and now I'm just under 200lbs, probably still going to lose 20 more pounds before I stabilize at around 175lbs.

I've been rafting for several years and have always used something like the NRS Big Water with the head bolster thing on the back. I really like that PFD but it bites me in my arm pits when I'm rowing. But I've always used it because 1 - it fit me and 2 - it floated my big azz pretty well.

Now, I'm looking to buy a new PFD. I still want lots of float, I don't like the idea of sinking. But now that I'm 1/3 less in size I can look into other designs/options that are maybe more comfortable.

The Kokatat Maximus has been recommended and I've tried one on and it felt pretty good. But I'm new to these designs of PFDs so I'm asking for some recommendations. Yeah, I know, like asking what beer you like, but I would like some of your thoughts.

As I said, 175-200lbs, I'm 5'10" tall and I will use it for rafting on the Green and Colorado rivers.


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Old 05-20-2016   #2
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
Stohlquist Drifter or NRS big water guide- I have both and they've been excellent.

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Old 05-20-2016   #3
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 298
First off, congratulations. Quite a big accomplishment. As for PFD recommendations, the one that fits is really what your looking for. I have had many over the years and currently use the maximus. I like it, although I am not thrilled with it. I don't love having to pull it over my head. I think I prefer the zip up. It is a decent slightly higher float option if you don't mind that.
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Old 05-20-2016   #4
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PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 401
any vest designed for whitewater that is comfortable. (you probably need the extra flotation more now, than you did before, I'm 6ft 170lbs and I notice I sink faster than my shorter softer wife) - I think really what it's going to boil down to is whatever you find the most comfortable (the one you don't mind wearing is the best)
"Thats what" - She
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Old 05-27-2016   #5
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
I really like my NRS Chinook, I tend to run 190-195 @ about the same height as you. I have come to greatly prefer the "high-back" vests with mesh at the bottom. They keep you cooler and with the flotation more toward the top of the back, IMO, keeps me floating more like a cork, rather than my back trying to float up to the surface behind me. It seems easier to swim, float on my back and just more comfortable for all day use.

I recommended one to my buddy who is a good deal heavier but similar frame to me(I'd say pushing 275ish?), but he was afraid he wanted more floatation for his size.... so he looked towards the Drifter and the Bigwater Guide. He got the Bigwater, he prefers mine mainly due to the high-back and benefits that come with it.
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Old 05-27-2016   #6
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 39
The Kokatat Maximus Prime PFD Review : Colorado Kayak Supply Blog

i have the maximus prime from kokatat and I really like it. tons of flotation and works equally well in my cat or in my alpacka. sort of a pain in the @$$ to change layers when it's on, since it is a pull over with three buckles and a rescue ring...but the four pockets up front and the comfort, for me, make that more than worthwhile trade off.

FWIW, I am 6'0" (when i'm stretching) floating around 185-190 most of the time...
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Old 05-27-2016   #7
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 39
and on sale now

also on sale now at Colorado Kayak Supply

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