PFDs available from REI

I’m looking for recommendations for a foam (i.e., non-inflatable) pfd that (1) doesn’t interfere with a spray skirt, (2) is light (don’t need any bells or whistles), and (3) is available at REI, for use of dividend/20% credit.


I am looking at the Astral Buoyancy V-Eight PFD. It has 17 pounds of flotation, looks like it would be comfortable in a packraft or kayak, cool in hot weather and light enough to carry. I emailed Astral, it weighs 19 ounces. This is the link:

looks good to me

I tried out the MTI Journey (the cheap PFD Roman links to above). The back gets pushed way up with the spray skirt (at least 8"), and it makes it hard to keep the spray skirt up. I’m not sure how much this is inevitable with any PFD, and how much it could be corrected with better technique as to how to fit it all together rather than equipment, but I’m going to look for some other options.

Any thoughts?

I just got the astral nova and it is really low profile in the back, so a spray skirt shouldn’t mess with it.

I use the nova too. its very nice and allows me to wear a small backpack at work (i’m a raft guide)

The V-eight looks really nice.

I have a Stolquist PFD that I’ve used for canoeing for years. Nothing fancy, just a bog-standard good PFD. Like many others, I found that the back got pushed up by the seat, and this tended to push down the spraydeck in the back. No bueno.

I removed the stitching from the bottom back, slid the foam out, cut it in half laterally, trimmed a bit off each side of the bottom piece, reinserted a double layer on the upper part of the back, sewed a double line of stitch below the foam layers, and then sewed the bottom up again. I lost a bit of foam and thus float (and I take voiding the warranty and so forth into my hands), but the resultant hunchback effect mates so much better with the raft.

I can’t recommend the procedure, but it works well for me.