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So I just bought my first kayak and PFD. An Old Town Rush and a cheapo Maui & Sons's neoprene PFD from Walmart (gasp!). Anyways, I love the kayak so far as it seems to fit my needs perfect (lake use almost exclusively for now).

I'm curious if there is any reason why I should upgrade to a pricier PFD? This one is super comfy but I bought it just so I could get on the water that day and it only cost $28. Return policy is great at Walmart too. ;) Only downside I have seen so far is it doesn't have pockets. I'm also unsure of its lifting capabilities. Its a type III PFD.

Anyways, I had been looking at the NRS Chinook as it has the webbed back I was looking for for the high back rec boat seat, bright colors, and numerous pockets for gear/gadgets. Its $71 shipped online.

I had also looked at the Extrasport Osprey as I love all the utility it offers, but the colors are a bit too bland for safety purposes IMO. Olive drab and Tan.

What do ya'll think? Am I at least safe with the cheapie for now? I'm 165 lbs geared up and 6' tall.

Thanks in advance.
 

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As long as it has the neccesary amounts of floatation required by law, you will be fine on lakes. Where you would want the better pfds is when on a river, the cheap one might get sucked off you by the power of a raging hole.
 

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You'll also want a PFD that's designated "For whitewater use" or doesn't say "Not for whitewater use" for any rivers that require permits and have ranger check in (Westwater, Lodore, etc.). Check the permit stipulations if you go on a permit river run.

-AH
 
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