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Old 12-13-2013   #1
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
Women's PFD recommendation

Hi folks- I'm shopping for a Christmas gift for my GF. Top candidate right now is the MTI PFDiva SE..... although I have to admit to not being impressed with MTI's stuff when I've held it in hand. Light materians, questionable stitching?

This one gets good ratings and reviews online- what do the ladies of the Buzz have to say? She tried on a Betsea and it fit horribly. Not understanding that design at all?! Squeezed her pups out the sides- and the stiff foam was really uncomfortable. Help me play rafting Santa!

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Old 12-13-2013   #2
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Kokotat MSfit is what I use. Fits well, comfy, good amount of pockets, lash tab for knife, nice adjustable shoulder straps. PFDs are pretty personal for fit. I tried on a few before I found this one. They are currently on sale on
Good luck River Santa!

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Old 12-14-2013   #3
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 129
I got my wife a womens specific stolquist a while back, not the betsea, but womens specific white water. I don't think she ever wore it before we returned it, and got her an Astral Wondervest. She really likes it, fits her well, and gives her very good movement. Much less brick like than the stolquist too.
good luck.
"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 12-14-2013   #4
-, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 101

My wife loves her Astral ABBA. Good quality. Seems well made. I have an Astral Greenjacket I like too.

She loves the fleece lined handwarmer pockets too.
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Old 12-22-2013   #5
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 165
Looking as well. I am a bit more specific and am looking for PFD for her without a zipper. We boat the southwest rivers and silt and muddy water are hard on zippers. Any suggestions? I have looked and looked. Thanks
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Old 12-22-2013   #6
Brotorboat's Avatar
Right near the beach...BOYEEEEE, Brahbrobrahdo
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 442
I have a good bit of experience in this department...
If it's anything other than an Astral w/Kapok (and not all of them have it) than you should definitely have her try it on, if you can. Kapok is much softer in comparison to what everyone else uses. This equates to the jacket having an already broken in feel to it that women seem to really like. If she is going to be very active in the jacket (rowing a lot, paddling, SUP action), I would recommend a design that is shaped with kayaking in mind. These styles work great for both men and women and are usually much more functional, without sacrificing storage or buoyancy.

The main thing to consider here is that if she has to wear it for more than 5 minutes, she better be comfortable in it. Women usually only sacrifice style for comfort and you're not about to see anyone rockin' them at the club.
Wear shoes in the Safety first, then teamwork.
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Old 12-23-2013   #7
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 276
My wife has been really happy with the the Astral Bella.
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Old 12-27-2013   #8
-, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 101

I boat the same rivers. Zipper silting is, I think, more of a problem in zippered boats (AIRE) and not so much a problem on PFD's. I have never had a PFD zipper silt up in 20+ years of boating SW rivers (San Juan, Grand, etc.)

I don't think limiting to non-zippered PFD to avoid silting is worth losing out on so many good PFD designs.....

my $0.02
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Old 12-28-2013   #9
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 71
x2 for the ABBA. The Kapok is VERY comfortable. She HAS to try it.

But, if you're hard set on a no-zip entry, the YTV is a great pull-over and is pretty comfortable. Simple, low profile design and is non-restrictive. The Green Jacket would be a good Type V pull-over option.
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Old 12-30-2013   #10
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
We went with the Abba- The Kapok was a big hit compared to the stiff foam that she'd complained about in other brands. Only complains is their sizing- S/M and L/XL is pretty weak- "Would you like it a little too small, or a little too big?"

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