Hi-Float pfd vs Regular Float pfd - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-09-2009   #1
 
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Eagle, Colorado
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Hi-Float pfd vs Regular Float pfd

Hello Buzzards, I am in the market for a new pfd. I am going down the grand in march and need to replace my old pfd. What are your thoughts on hi-floats vs regular pfd's (pros/cons). I am open to any brand and floatation weight. Just wanted to see what other people are using out there and their thoughts. Thanks for your help.

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Old 01-09-2009   #2
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My choice was comfort and ease of movement. I would get the PFD with the most flotation that allowed my first two points.

This is the vest I wore on the Grand.

Kokatat Watersports Wear - ProFIT Tour
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Old 01-09-2009   #3
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i've been swimming in huge water on the new in west virginia in both a class v customer pfd and various smaller kayaking pfds and i have to say that there really isn't much difference. when you swim in really big water (30,000cfs+) you get completely pummeled by the big waves and eddy lines. 3 or 4 more pounds of floatation really doesn't matter very much. i'd go for the comfort and mobility of the smaller vest. it actually is much easier to swim aggressively in a vest that doesn't confine your arms.
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Old 01-09-2009   #4
 
Down by the River, Idaho
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MTI Big Buoy Whitewater PFD

This is the jacket I wear. I'm 6'1" 225 lbs. I need all the float I can get. It is way comfortable and it fits just like a lotus rio grande...except thicker. Highly recommend this 1. Especially if you aren't a scrawny little guy or a chica.
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Old 01-09-2009   #5
 
Cisco, Utah
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3 or 4 lbs can make a big difference. Most low profile pfd's have about 15.5 lbs floatation. Most High Float are 22 - 25 lbs floatation. Way back when a study was done by Underwritters Labs i think... It says people weight 14-15.5 lbs in the water. Between negative boyancey of fat and fluids in the body this is mostly skin and bones I guess. So that is what the aim of the minimum floataion 15.5 lbs, make you just better than negative boyancy. This is adequate for most situations. A lot of people feel that the extra boyancy of the high float makes a big differrence in big water. That extra 5 lbs of floatation is 30% more floataion. This can be significant. I've been down the grand 4 times, have always worn the low float and will probably continue to wear the low float. I can tell you however that on a swim in Lava I spent WAY TOO MUCH time underwater. The nature of Big Water means you can also have big downtime. Don't know if more floatation would have brought me up quicker ort not, I was caught in a big ass swirly. Knew the surface was just above my head for 'ever', but couldn't get there. This all being said, there is something to be said for retiring your pfd after a coule seasons. The foam breaks down and the floataion is comprimised. When I was guiding every day I figured every other season.

Bottom line for me is still comfort and freedom of movement. If I was spending most of my time in high volume I might consider high float more.
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Old 01-10-2009   #6
 
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Ola amigo,
I too am going down in March, early march. How about you?
I bring two life jackets. NPS rules are each raft has to have an extra, so I bring a high float for the big stuff and a smaller one for the float days, which are many. Good luck and we'll maybe see you down there. I am one of the boatmen by the way. If you are a passenger, maybe get a bigger one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Mapper View Post
Hello Buzzards, I am in the market for a new pfd. I am going down the grand in march and need to replace my old pfd. What are your thoughts on hi-floats vs regular pfd's (pros/cons). I am open to any brand and floatation weight. Just wanted to see what other people are using out there and their thoughts. Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-10-2009   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafterbrooks View Post
Ola amigo,
I too am going down in March, early march. How about you?
I bring two life jackets. NPS rules are each raft has to have an extra, so I bring a high float for the big stuff and a smaller one for the float days, which are many. Good luck and we'll maybe see you down there. I am one of the boatmen by the way. If you are a passenger, maybe get a bigger one.
As I recall from a recent trip, NPS doesn't require that each boat has an extra PFD. I think it's one extra for each 8 or 10 people. I think for the size of our group (16) we had to have two extras. Check the regs for the exact number. That being said, I think it's anyways good to carry an extra whether it's required or not, especially on the Grand. Imagine the wind blowing your jacket into the water at camp and having it float away and then having to wear an ill fitting, uncomfortable jacket the rest of the trip.
I also like rafterbrooks idea that if you are a passenger, get the high float. I think a passenger has a greater chance of swimming.
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Old 01-10-2009   #8
 
Carbondale, 81623
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafterbrooks View Post
Ola amigo,
I too am going down in March, early march. How about you?
I bring two life jackets. NPS rules are each raft has to have an extra, so I bring a high float for the big stuff and a smaller one for the float days, which are many. Good luck and we'll maybe see you down there. I am one of the boatmen by the way. If you are a passenger, maybe get a bigger one.
My girlfriend and I ran the grand last sept in my 14' vanguard and that is exactly what we did and after a flip in dubendorff and lava we were REALLY glad we had the high floats. Can't wait to get back to the grand ... enjoy your adventure!
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Old 01-12-2009   #9
 
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It's one per 10 people, but one per boat is a better idea, they make good pillows

The two PFD idea is GREAT! I've moved to Hi-floats, but always bring my regular float PFD for our spare on multi-day trips. My newer hi-floats fit great, and I haven't switched back and forth, but I like the concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhyman View Post
As I recall from a recent trip, NPS doesn't require that each boat has an extra PFD. I think it's one extra for each 8 or 10 people. I think for the size of our group (16) we had to have two extras. Check the regs for the exact number. That being said, I think it's anyways good to carry an extra whether it's required or not, especially on the Grand. Imagine the wind blowing your jacket into the water at camp and having it float away and then having to wear an ill fitting, uncomfortable jacket the rest of the trip.
I also like rafterbrooks idea that if you are a passenger, get the high float. I think a passenger has a greater chance of swimming.
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Old 01-12-2009   #10
 
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Thank you guys for all of your input. I like the two pfd approach. I think I am going that route. Thanks again and happy boating
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