It's been three years since we settled on a PFD for our sea kayaking, after traipsing around the world's biggest kayak expo for three days turning all of the big brands inside out. In the period we've been using and selling the Peak UK Explorer Zip PFD, not only has our experience been a very good one, but our customers have gone out of their way to let us know what a great quality product it is, both to wear, and for it's superb functionality.
That period has coincided with a veritable explosion of high visibility paddle gear, lead by the omnipotent Vaikobi Ocean PFD, a bright & minimalist design that has won over grumpy racers who were most perturbed by having to wear a life jacket in their training & racing.
For us, the shift away from the old dull colours in PFD's - 'so the ranger doesn't see us landing & putting up our tent' - has meant that weekly activities like Dolls Point Paddlers, a rough water paddle with anywhere from a dozen to twenty paddlers in high wind & twilight, have become infinitely easier to manage.
The Vaikobi brightness has shifted the goalposts, we now look very favourably upon ocean paddling mates who wear something high vis - a cap or a shirt if not a PFD - and the chances of losing someone, not seeing them wandering off have been greatly reduced.
Up to now the Explorer Zip has only been available in red or blue, both colours we now find unacceptably difficult to see on open water or in low light, so we asked Peak if they'd make us some higher visibility colours. The came up with a brilliant bright orange which they contrasted with lime green straps, and a lime green 'opposite'.
The good news is they've landed, and are everything we had hoped for in colours & visibility, as well as having a few little tweaks improving what was already the best ocean paddling PFD we've ever used. We sincerely believe that in 10 years time, we'll all be in high visibility PFD's, and for that matter will wonder why we ever weren't!
They're available in our store, $235 including delivery nationally. You can order HERE.
There's a detailed review below: