A lot of inland and inshore paddlers overlook PFDs for various reasons, whether it’s comfort, utility, apathy towards the necessity, or for whatever reason. However, coming from an aquatic rescue background prior to joining ACK, I’m here to say one thing: PFDs save lives.

The number one cause of drowning is medical emergencies, and a proper fitting PFD could be the difference in making it home alive or not making it home at all. For that reason, I decided to write a blog about how much I enjoy my PFD of choice, the NRS Chinook.

A PFD Made For Anglers

Two weeks ago, I had a chance to fish with one of our district managers, and even he admitted he should wear his PFD more often. (I wear one on the water 100% of the time.) That being said, comfort is probably the most common complaint I hear from people who don’t wear a PFD. To address comfort, the NRS Chinook is lightweight and has large cutaways near the arms so the PFD doesn’t restrict your range of motion when paddling or casting. I wear mine while fly fishing and still have no issues with hot spots or discomfort. This PFD is made specifically with kayak anglers in mind, making it adjustable in every dimension. It even has a high foam pad in the back so it doesn’t interfere with the new high-back seats of most major kayak brands.

Utility wise, this lifejacket is unparalleled. With a myriad of pockets on either side utilizing both Velcro, elastic and zipper pouches, I can carry bags of plastic artificials, a mini flybox, a selection of tippets, my compass, whistle, cell phone, a spare knife… you see where I’m going with this. It even has a retractable tool holder (for my nail clippers) and a rod loop.

Until our NRS Representative came to our store one day I was doubting I’d ever use the rod loop to hold my rod, but once I went out to do some “product testing” on my Go Play Day, I decided to try this feature and quickly realized I had been missing out!

Being able to re-tie with both hands free of holding the rod is a great feature that allows the angler to focus on the lure and knot without having to support the rod and reel. Having these features strapped to your body is what makes the Chinook my go-to PFD when hitting the water.

“So besides the fact that it could potentially save my life, the NRS saves me time on the water. Time on the water saves my sanity, which in turn saves my life and my wife’s sanity.”– San Antonio Store Manager, John Henry Boatright

Thank You, NRS

A huge shout-out to the NRS for focusing on the kayak angler and doing their part to ensure this PFD is comfortable and utilitarian.