Kokatat MsFit Tour
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $135
Not as flashy or as low-profile as some of the newer designs, but this one won out because it appears more robust and more up to the job when you really need it.
- Rugged, professional
- Five external pockets each with a keeper + one internal
- Buckles AND zipper rather than just one or the other
- Surprisingly nice ventilation when the zipper is open
- High enough in back for sit-inside expedition kayak
- Center entry easier than side entry or over-the-head
- None so far
After 15 years, my old Lotus vest popped the zipper. I took offense at this and decided the new one should not depend on a zipper--it needed to have at least a buckle at the waist AND a buckle higher up. I checked quite a few styles and almost ended up with a tiny, very-light Astral.
The MsFit Tour did not immediately come to mind because it is a women's design (I am male, 5'6" 175 lbs). The knowledgeable salesman at the outdoor store assured me that it was a good choice for men too. His explanation was that Kokatat's original OutFit does not sell as well for men or women because the newer MsFit is so much more comfortable for both sexes. It allows more flexibility because the floatation is formed into a larger number of smaller sections. It certainly fit me well.
This is a front-entry vest, which I find much easier to put on than my older over-the-head, side zip/buckle Lotus. A very important feature is the use of a buckle at the top of front. The vest can be used with only this top and the lower waist buckle or it can be used with the zipper closed over this top buckle. This means you have 'belt and suspenders'--something I would have liked when my Lotus zipper disassembled during a recent kayak trip. The vest has three straps on each side, providing a more secure fit than the simpler Astral YTV.
The 'Tour' version includes five external pockets, each with a keeper and one 'secret' pocket hidden when the zipper is closed. It also includes a nicely-thought-out knife attachment point that allows the knife blade to hide under a flap on the chest strap. This feature means your knife is less likely to entangle during a bad moment.
I had bought the lighter-weight Astral YTV, but after stewing overnight, I returned it and bought the MsFit. It came down to the more-secure feeling the Kokatat MsFit Tour provided as well as the phenomenally good service Kokatat has provided to me over the years. I trust their gear and I know they will stand behind it. I decided that my PFD is not the place to go lightweight.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
Designed for female sea kayakers with a contoured, princess-seam foam cut for superior anatomic fit and comfort. Eco-conscious Gaia(TM) PVC-free foam is soft, flexible and won't break down in a wet environment. Adjustable shoulders with thermal-molded padding and a durable, nonslip surface. Short torso cut allows maximum mobility, minimal ride-up and a great fit. Reflective tape on chest and back, plus a strobe lash tab on back of PFD, improve your visibility. Features stretch mesh side panels with three adjustments per side and a quick-snap webbing closure. 3 front stretch mesh pockets stow paddling essentials (2 bellowed with zippered side entry and 1 vertical top-loader). Deep-cut neck and armholes maximize range of motion; back panel is cut high and wide for added coverage.
On top, the Kokatat Women's MsFit Tour Personal Flotation Device rocks a higher-volume fit which is suitable for women (and which works for guys with muscly pecs as well). Rather than sticking a chunk of foam right where you need to flex, this PFD has articulated shell and foam panels which complement the highly adjustable, flexible fit. An array of small pockets gives you the storage you need for vital safety gear, and the design is USCG, Transport Canada, and CE approved so you're up to spec in the States and abroad.
You won't have to compromise freedom of movement or safety with Kokatat's MsFIT Tour Life Vest that offers protection in the form of anatomically-cut foam panels and individual adjustments.
- Mountain Gear
CLOSEOUTS . Kokatat's MsFit Tour PFD is designed for hardcore aquatic adventure. It's made for maximum buoyancy, durability and mobility, and features easy access pockets for stowing essentials like your knife, food and GPS. Available Colors: BERRY, GLACIER, MANGO, ORANGE, RED. Sizes: M, L, XL, S.
- Sierra Trading Post