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Palm Kaikoura

Probably the most popular fishing PFD on the market, the Kaikoura is a common sight at kayak meetings everywhere.

The Kaikoura's popularity comes from a combination of excellent front pockets, suitable for a wide range of gear, large, fleece lined hand warmer pockets, and a cavernous rear pocket which takes a large (1.5l) water bladder. Add in the fact that in my opinion its easily the most comfortable PFD on the market, and you're onto a winner.
The PFD is done up by means of a large plastic zip at the front, so should be immune from corrosion problems, and then further secured by means of a waist belt, which if correctly fitted, should stop the PFD riding up if you end up in the water.
Once done up, further adjustment is available by means of shoulder straps and side straps, which give a very snug fit. The jacket itself is filled with a moulded foam insert, which wraps around the body, and this, combined with neoprene lined arm holes makes it very comfortable to wear. For those very occasional days when we get warm weather the PFD features a mesh inner liner, but this also helps in the winter, letting a breathable dry suit work effectively underneath the PFD.
The front of the PFD has a number of tying points, including one suitable for mounting a knife or rope cutter, and there is even a slit in one pocket to enable a VHF radio aerial to poke through, although I never use this facility, just chucking my radio in one of the front pockets with the aerial sticking out of an open zip.
The PFD is trimmed with Solas reflective tape to make it easy to see at night. It comes in a choice of red or blue, and the small size has 60N of buoyancy, while the medium and larger versions have a very good 70N, making it suitable for the larger paddler.
Mine is coming up for three years old now, and quite frankly has been treated appallinglyand seldom washed, while I certainly wouldn't recommend treating a PFD this way, it seems to thrive on this neglect, apart from some slight fading to the overall colouration, the PFD is as good as the day I got it. I've found the extra buoyancy of this model very helpful when it comes to getting back on top of a kayak, and even with fully loaded front pockets I've never had any problems getting back on board. As such, it comes very highly recommended.

Recommended book

Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

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