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Gear Review

4 5

Full featured mesh back PFD

My main PFD is a Kokatat Sea2o which is the lowest
profile, most comfortable vest ever. That is mainly because it's inflatable either manually or by pulling a ripcord when full inflation is needed but that is another review. What is similar to the Bahia Tour is the mesh back with foam mostly mounted high up. Until I got my Sea02 my PFDs would always ride up to rub my chin.
Resuming paddling rivers with some class three water I wanted a solid foamed vest with the mesh back but with all the pockets and lashtabs I had become accustomed to with touring models.
The Bahia Tour is just such a design. I looked everywhere to see a photo of the back before I purchased it and couldn't find one even on Kokatats website. It does have a thin piece of foam in a sleeve at the bottom of the back below the mesh section, I slit open the sleeve and removed the foam then sewed up the slit to make it more like the fit of the Sea02. Manufacturers warn against modifying PFDs but this has a huge ammount of foam on the front and was rated highest in floatation so the little bit of foam I removed shouldn't be missed for my body weight.
There is so much foam in the front the vest felt awkward when I tried it on but after fooling around with the adjustments got it to fit comfortably and have paddled a few long days on the river in it and it is very comfortable.
This would be best for paddling sit on tops with tall seatbacks or anyone like me who had a problem with vests being pushed up by the seat. If your only paddling big water get the Sea02