I have a bad time throwing out gear.  PFDs for instance.

I’ve heard, by the way, that the term PFD is being phased out by government safety offices.  I can remember being baffled, years ago, when asked to call them PFDs instead of ‘Life Jackets’.  It was the Age of Acronym, though, and I got used to it.  Now, apparently, they’ve decided that the word didn’t get around to everyone, so they want us all to say ‘Life Jacket’ again.  Whatever.

I haven’t thrown out any life jackets since I had one of those horrid orange horsecollar ones that you tied with white straps.  Remember those?  My most distinct memory of them is the rental ones you got at the canoe place.  They didn’t expect you to use them, and you didn’t expect to use them except to sit on.  The canoes were old aluminum Grummans, and by the end of the day you’d have a severe case of canoe butt if you didn’t sit on the ugly orange life jackets or the boating cushions they handed to you.

All that aside… look!  Here’s a lineup of all my kayaking PFDs.

The two on the left end there are Extrasport PFDs that my wife and I used when we learned to kayak.  The model was the ‘Quasimodo’ or ‘NoNeck’ or something like that.  I destroyed all the pictures of us wearing them because they’d ride up, perched on your sprayskirt and you looked as though you were shrugging your way down the river.  You didn’t dare hunker down and get a good running start at anything because the PFD would then obscure your vision.  I dunno. Maybe they weren’t really whitewater PFDs, but we were young and extra floatation around your ears sounded good to us.

Then, that third one there?  The one that looks sort of blue/purple?  That’s a Lotus brand.  I don’t remember the model name for it either.  But I call it ‘Blanky’.  I was so happy to have a stylish, comfortable, cool-looking PFD that I kept it around me like Linus with his security blanket.  It was originally purple, but UV tears the &^%$ out of red dye apparently, and so the longer I had it the bluer it got, except where it folded over itself to zip.  Lovely PFD.  I abandoned it when I found out it had the flotation of a weeks-dead fish.

The next two were part of a barter deal.  I got them with a canoe.  So they became my wife and my semi-stylish canoeing PFDs.  The trade name on them is whatever Dagger Kayaks gear brand was at the time.  Who can recall?

The last one- the red one- is my current one.  It’s a rescue vest, only I haven’t tricked it out with all the throw ropes and paddle biners.  Mostly because I’m useless at rescue.  I usually do as much getting-in-the-way as anything else.  I did, however, write on the part of the PFD that’s hidden when all the zips and belts are in place.  So if the PFD is all askew and unfastened, you can see the message “If you can read this, there’s trouble.”


So.  Anybody need to borrow a PFD?