Toss your pole in your kayak and go.
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I have had this jacket since the spring season and have to say it is a solid jacket. I am more of a minimal no side, low profile preference, but I like the stability of this jacket the fit and the design. It does not cut into my paddling, is light and provides a comfortable fit on longer tours. I am 5'10" about 165 lbs and fit nicely into the size medium. The only thing I would like on this model is a little more adjustment through middle torso. Other than that I think this is a solid fit.
Good sea kayaking choice
I bought the Kokatat Bahia Tour PFD for sea kayaking. It is very comfortable and seems to fit better (i.e., does not ride up over my head) than other brands I have tried. I particularly like the pockets on the front and the clip on the bottom (if you clip the bottom, it is very easy to zip up). Although I do not participate in any white water kayaking, I think it would be good for that activity as well.
Kokatat Bahia Tour Life Jacket
Extremely well made and durable. Great for SOT yaks. Enough pockets to fish with. Lots of buoyancy. Reflection front and back. Very adjustable. Fantastic product.
I live in South Florida and had concerns about the comfort of this PFD in the hot and humid climate. I have been extremely pleased. This PFD is so comfortable you forget your wearing it. The movement it allows is amazing. It has convenient pockets which are used for everything from keys to snacks. The clips for my knife are conveniently located in front and back. The adjustments you can make with this PFD make for the perfect fit. If someone else will be using it, the adjustments can be made quickly and easily. The quality of construction is visible and can be felt the moment you put it on. I am expecting years of use.
Kokatat Bahia Tour
2nd PFD from Kokatat and this works well. I spend the majority of my seat time in open coastal water, so my PFD is one my essential pieces of equipment. I found that there is plenty of pockets which enables me to carry a VHF radio, small signal kit, whistle, strobe, with room to spare. The best features are the 2 knife tabs, the one on back serves well for a marker light while paddling at night and the front makes your knife accessible with both hands. The vest also makes use of reflective strips on front and back. The most notable feature is the front zipper, which also uses a set of buckles, this feature allows you to keep you PFD secure while opening the front panel when its hot. Overall this is solid product for serious paddlers that may depend on their gear at times to keep them alive...
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
Not very comfortable
Not the most comfortable PDF and toasty on summer days. I happened to buy a Patagonia Mesh Back and prefer it both for fit and convience, though I am just doing lake paddling.