When you’re on vacation, spending time on the water usually comes with the equipment necessary to be safe. Rentals for boats, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) tend to include personal flotation devices, also known as PFDs or lifejackets. But not all outfitters keep their gear up to snuff, and you might be getting a very old and crusty PFD with your inexpensive rental.
It’s usually not worth the money for you to have your own PFD unless you spend tons of time on the water every year, or own a water vessel (or several, like me). But if you are shopping for one to keep you afloat, you should definitely look into the Mustang Survival Khimera Dual Flotation PFD.
The Khimera has a slim profile without sacrificing safety, making it much easier to move around than it is with a bulky traditional foam vest. That, plus the wide arm slots make it especially ideal when you’re paddling and need the flexibility of free movement. Adjustable shoulder and waist straps make a custom fit, and the side attachment points only fit with its dedicated mate, so you don’t accidentally cross straps and tangle them up.
By far, the best thing about the Khimera aside from the slim profile is its total buoyancy potential: 20.5 pounds. Of that, 7.5 pounds (foam) keeps most bodies neutrally buoyant, and 13 pounds off additional buoyancy is available when you inflate the inflation cell. A CO2 cylinder helps inflate the cell, and all you have to do is pull the silver handle near the waist of the PFD. It’s also possible to inflate the cell by blowing into an inflation tube tucked into the inside front neck area. To deflate, just squeeze the air out of the inflation cell and replace the CO2 canister for next time.
A front pocket is roomy enough for you to fit a few essentials (as well as an extra CO2 canister), and reflective patches are up in the shoulder area for ease of visibility.
The Khimera Dual Flotation PFD comes in azure, red, and admiral gray, and lists for $199.99 on the Mustang Survival site.