Kokatat MsFit Tour
Current Retail: $123.75-$165.00
Historic Range: $85.17-$165.00
Reviewers Paid: $135.00
S, M, L, XL
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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $135
A great all around PFD for keeping you above water!
- Tough material
- Good quality zipper
- Multiple zipper pockets
- Great range of motion in arms and stomach
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Only comes in yellow and red (as far as I know)
I grew up wearing the typical orange, uncomfortable, and oversized life jacket that everybody pictures in their head when they hear "PFD", but once I first tried this on and tightened it up, It felt like I was wearing a bad ass tactical vest that had the bonus feature of keeping you afloat.
This PFD is great for any activity that involves water. It gives you amazing range of motion in the arms and sits higher above your waist line compared to the average PFD. The reason for having the great range of motion and higher sitting bottom of the PFD is because it is originally designed for kayaking and sitting in a canoe. When you sit while wearing this PFD it won't dig into your upper thighs, forcing the actual life jacket up towards your face.
I am a kayak fisherman and I have a sit on top kayak. While wearing the floatation device I can move around, bend while sitting and cast standing up or sitting without the movement restrictions that the average PFD would have. The zipper that runs up the middle of the front of the PFD is great. It's a "YKK" brand zipper and I have never had trouble with any YKK zipper in any climate.
The material seems to be a very tough and water resistant nylon but I'm not to sure if it's nylon exactly. It has two zipper closed pockets on each side of the PFD and one radio pocket in between (total of 5 pockets) with a small hidden pouch that I like to keep my emergency whistle in. The hidden pouch is awesome because it's big enough for a set of keys and is in a position that it won't be jabbing you in the chest.
Whether you're using this PFD for boating, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, tubing, etc I believe you won't be disappointed and that it will last you many years to come.
Source: received it as a personal gift