Getting my kids interested in water sports is as easy as handing them the gear, as evidenced by the workout they’ve been giving the C4 Waterman Moana Kids’ SUP. With kids in the outdoors, safety is a priority for me, and, while my kids are good swimmers, Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are a must. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s a Coast Guard law that PFDs are required for SUP on Lake Michigan.
In any case, finding the Onyx Outdoor Youth Paddle Sports Life Jacket was perfect. With two boys needing PFDs, I couldn’t spend too much, but I didn’t want to skimp on performance either. Since this is a U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type III Life Jacket, this Onyx PFD fit the bill on both counts.
These are a pretty low profile and lightweight design (the claimed 14.4 ounces was matched/belied by the 10.3 ounces on my home scale). Comfortable neoprene shoulder pads with large arm holes mean the kids don’t mind wearing the PFD – they actually kept them on for regular water play – apparently it’s a lot of fun to try to dive deep while wearing a PFD. (Actually I know it is, as I do it all the time, haha.)
Even though the boys are 3 years apart, I was hoping that the one size would fit them both, since they are in the recommended 50-90 pound performance range. Six adjustment straps meant we could either cinch the vest up to fit snugly for the smaller one, while loosening the straps kept it comfy for the bigger son.
Both boys thought the expandable zippered pocket with mesh drainage was one of the best features, with rocks stored and plans for safety whistles, knives, and all sorts of other ephemera discussed.
These turned out to be a good choice, due to the reasonable price and good performance. The only change I’d make is to sew in a handle at the top of the vest – this is a good grabbing point in case of emergency and also perfect for hanging up when not in use.
Besides paddling PFDs, Onyx Outdoor also makes a complete line of rainwear, inflatable life jackets, fishing/hunting life jackets, pet vests. I’ll keep them in mind for other water gear as needed.