Attention Grandparents re PFDs

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An upcoming REI “Deal of the Day” is a Stohlquist Infant/Toddler PFD. Deal of the Day priced at $24.73 on Monday 5/16.

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/198176/stohlquist-infant-pfd-infantstoddlers

Fits up to 30lbs. They grow so fast, but like all the baby/toddler stuff a teeny PFD can be passed down to younger siblings, or given away when offspring have finished producing the next generation.

That Stohlquist looks to be a lot better designed that the PFD my sons wore as wee ones. I had to (illegally) modify ours so the front panel wasn’t rubbing the kid’s chin, eliciting a nursing response.

Our 1990’s vintage baby PFD cycled through our sons, friend’s kids and other friend’s kids; it wouldn’t surprise me if it is still going somewhere, it’s not like growing babies wear out their PFDs.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Good heads up on a good deal.

But just one tangent about passing down or using older PFD's—namely, that some/many/most (?) PFD's lose buoyancy as they age and may no longer be at or near their original design buoyancy. They should be tested periodically, somehow. It could be most unfortunate to put an old PFD on small child (or old administrator) that could no longer adequately float him or her.
 
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“um my grandkids are heading to college... Its been a long time since they have seen 30 lbs.”

Er, maybe the great-grandkids ;-)

Or younger paddling friends with a new addition. We’ve given newly purchased infant/toddler PFDs as baby shower gifts to paddler friends; no question who that gift was from. If I could find a crib mobile with colorful canoes I’d think about it.

Oh jeeze, Etsy has stuff that is close.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/122726...Ag1pmqXeE73Ac_rFCcrJ1UZxI6n1RRR0aAgZtEALw_wcB

I don’t like the proximity of that bear to the tent. Probably give the kid camping nightmares that his therapist would finally identify 20 years later.

I might nab one of those Stohlquist kiddie PFD’s on Monday and keep it around for the next paddling niece or nephew who brings forth a new one in the wife’s 40+ and counting clan.

“But just one tangent about passing down or using older PFD's—namely, that some/many/most (?) PFD's lose buoyancy as they age and may no longer be at or near their original design buoyancy. They should be tested periodically, somehow. It could be most unfortunate to put an old PFD on small child (or old administrator) that could no longer adequately float him or her”

Good point. I swim, unintentionally or otherwise, enough to know that my PFDs still have, and in the past have had, sufficient flotation. My most worn PFD is relatively new, 10 years old +/-, but well cared for.

Our original decent quality PFD’s were Herrishoks (sp?), bought in the 1980’s. We wore those regularly for close to 20 years and did family in-water rescue practice in them on summer trips. The kids, being toddlers, then adolescents, tweens and young adults got new PFD’s more regularly. We still have a “Youth” PFD around as a loaner.

Folk old enough will remember those Herrishoks, with the long, narrow foam in pleated folds. The bottom third of that full coverage design could be folded upwards for use in a kayak. Those were relatively “High-float” full coverage PFDs, and still quite buoyant even when old. Also warm as hell; sweaty at times.

Great winter PFD’s. The favorite of adult snowmen.

EK_0012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I gave those Herishoks (one “r” maybe?) to a niece and husband as a wedding gift, along with a tandem canoe they had oft borrowed for canoe camping adventures, some paddles and a dry bag. That was years ago and they have since been to some very interesting places. I suppose I should ask them to do a test swim someday if they are still using those PFD’s.

I think the PFD killers, beyond initial quality, long, hard use and, especially, prolonged UV exposure, may be fabric and foam contaminates from sweat and salt water use. Pool practice in chlorinated water is in its own killer category.

I’ve never done pool practice, more of a WW kayaker roll thing. I probably swim often enough to eliminate the sweat-on-fabric issue, and often use a more breathable, partially-mesh-back PFD to help eliminate excess perspiration, switching to a more full-coverage PFD in winter, when the torso warmth is appreciated.

We always hose rinse our PFD’s, and boats, after salt water trips. Salt is terrible for zippers, and can stiffen straps to un-pliability through ladder lock adjustments.

Actually the boats get washed for dirt, sand, grime and hard to remove after baked-on scum lines, and for potential invasives after most trips; there is one hose-wet on the back deck as I type.

With quality PFD’s running $150+ a pop, and because we have models that have proven comfortable for our various physiologies that are perhaps no longer available in that same design, I want to make our current PDS’s last, and have sprayed them with 303 for fabric for added UV protection a time or two.

I had to try on a bunch of different PFDs to find the one I liked best. Body-shape PFD fit is like shoes, gotta try it on in a store and make faux-paddling motions.

https://www.amazon.com/30616-Marine...373025&sprefix=303+for+fabric,aps,255&sr=8-13

Like everything else that 303 stuff got pricey.
 
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the Herrishoks were great PFD's but some used them for seats or air mattresses they were so comfy. In PFD usage compression is a no no. Wish that design would return.. yes I know they don't fit in ..those things that must not be mentioned.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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It's spelled Harishok. Here is a Cliff Jabobson rant in favor of old-tyme tubular life jackets for canoeists.


I think the best, most flexible and most comfortable were the Seda vests. They were not only tubular, but each tube was was composed of short rectangular blocks of foam instead of one long block. The later models even had some pockets.

Seda Life Jacket.jpg
 
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I think the best, most flexible and most comfortable were the Seda vests. They were not only tubular, but each tube was was composed of short rectangular blocks of foam instead of one long block. The later models even had some pockets.
I'm glad you think that. I'm on my second Seda since about 1978. My "new" one has pockets, and is only about 25 years old. Still seems fine--my old one rotted from sun exposure.
 
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Glenn is correct on old PFDs and serviceability. But how did they get that way? Were they used as seat cushions, or thrown in the bottom of a boat in the wet and got stepped on? My PFD exists to potentially save my life one day. I treat it like it deserves a place of honor, whether it is in my boat (being worn), or in storage in a dry safe place.

My daughter trained and certified as a BSA Waterfront Director at BSA National Camping School. When she got to her assigned camp for the summer, she took a box cutter to all of of the old worn out unserviceable PFDs, as she was taught to do. The camp had to buy new ones to replace them, with the blessing of the Camp Director.
 
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Glenn is correct on old PFDs and serviceability. But how did they get that way? Were they used as seat cushions, or thrown in the bottom of a boat in the wet and got stepped on?

And yknpdlr is correct. It gives me a queasy feeling when I see someone using a PFD as a cushion on dirt or rock, or tossed in the dirty bilge water. Those are often inexpensive big-box PFDs or horse-collars with a rental canoe, and the sitters are probably not butt rested on a rescue knife or whistle.

“my old one rotted from sun exposure”

We haven’t had a PFD suffer from UV exposure in a long time. Better care and preventive maintenance undoubtedly help, but I expect that quality PFDs are made with better fabrics today.

The orange horsecollars from days of old did exhibit UV degradation. The fabric would become near translucent thin and, no longer serviceable, it was time to cut them up.

One of the early 303 advertisements showed a couple PFDs thrown onto the metal roof of an outfitter building, one sprayed with UV protectant, one not. I don’t remember how long it took, maybe a single summer, but the fabric on the untreated PFD disintegrated.
 
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