Stohlquist is a name we can all trust when it comes to picking a personal floatation device (PFD) or life jacket, and I appreciate that this lightweight nylon one is sleek, with a thinner profile than most. In other words, maybe there’s a chance I won’t end up feeling like a marshmallow waddling around the lakeshore with my PFD in place. Maybe.
The Women’s Flo is just over a pound, and the 400×200 denier ripstop outer shell and softer inner liner is almost comfortable. At any rate, I often forget I’m wearing it. You get high back flotation that fits comfortably above the seat backs found in today’s sit-on-top kayaks. The mesh backing and open sides keeps you cool in humid or hot summer weather, with ventilation galore. Even better: no ride-up with the cross-chest cinch harness. The thinner shoulder straps keep you from feeling like a turtle in a shell, too. I appreciated the large bellow pockets with drainage; perfect for stashing my chapstick, sunglasses, or non-electronic key.
There’s a neoprene padded waistband and the torso of the PFD is 18″ wide and 4″ high. This really does make for a slim profile that you won’t mind wearing on the lake, ocean or river. I have tried out the Flo Life while both paddleboarding and kayaking, and I enjoyed full arm movement with each activity.
The Stohlquist Women’s Flo comes in an earthy orange color (which I think is quite unique in the life jacket category) or gray and purple, and I found it for $92 on Amazon. Sizing is important when it comes to life jackets, and the Stohlquist site recommends the following:
XS/SM 28” – 34”
MD/LG 34” – 40”
PLUS 40” – 46”
I am 5’4″ with wide shoulders but not that well-endowed, and the MD fit me best. The jacket is adjustable on both sides.