Inflatable PFDs - vest vs. belt

I was looking to replace my bulky foam pfd in the near future with something less bulky. There appear to be two options - (manually inflatable) vest or fanny pack pfds. Has anyone had experiences with either of these types of products - while paddling or when you actually had to use it? Any preference? Thanks.

Submitted by canadaAM on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 8:22am



I have a couple that I use for my kids and myself. They are manually inflated belt PFDs. I have not had to deploy them in an emergency; I've only self inflated them to check for leaks. While paddling, they are very unobtrusive.

I have the Onyx M-24s. I hear MTI are good also. I got one form craigslist for $40 and the other for $60 on Amazon. Places like West Marine carry rebranded PFD from other mfg and will sometimes have sales that are cheaper than the OEMs.


#1 Wed, 06/13/2012 - 6:41am


CanadaAM, see the link below. reviews by DB and outrigger and SUP paddlers in your area!

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Paddling/PFDs/PRD~5024-673/mustang-inflata...


#2 Wed, 06/13/2012 - 10:11am


I paddled my novice season with the inflatable shoulder/chest ones. They're pretty unobtrusive. Mine tore up my jersey a bit because of the twisting and rubbing. I decided on the shoulder one because I figure normally I wouldn't need it, and if I get into a situation where I do need it, I probably won't be in the proper mindset to put the belt one over my shoulders before inflating it.


#3 Thu, 06/14/2012 - 5:49am


i have the onyx also,waistpack inflatable,use it on the downwind maliko runs,no bother when paddling,just have it in the back,and can slide it around to the front no problem.


#4 Thu, 06/14/2012 - 9:34am


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