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Kokatat Ronin PFD

Kokatat Ronin PFD – Plenty of protection and flotation.
The Kokatat company has a nice following of loyal customers who swear by their gear. This list of customers are typically sea kayakers, flat water paddlers and canoers. With these sort of customers, it is interesting that Kokatat should choose to emulate a personal flotation device (PFD) similar to a popular whitewater PFD. Regardless of what their reasoning in doing this is, the Kokatat Ronin PFD is a great PFD that has some nice features and a more comfortable fit than more tradition flatwater jackets.

The Kokatat Ronin PFD is strikingly similar to a number of personal flotation devices made popular by a company called Astral. The two main difference in the Kokatat Ronin PFD versus many of the Astral PFDs is that the Kokatat Ronin PFD offers a lot more back coverage and that it is only a type three PFD, while a number of Astrals are type five. Being that Im not really a flatwater paddler, I don’t under stand the need for extra back protection, but it can’t really be a bad thing.

What every paddler is sure to enjoy about the Kokatat Ronin PFD is the range of motion it offers. If there is one really great thing about Astral jackets its how wide the armholes are and how slim they are on the rib cage area. The Kokatat Ronin PFD has these features and makes paddling much more smooth and comfortable than older more traditional PFDs. There are also a number of other small features like a large zippered pocket, reflective straps, and lash tabs.

The quick & dirty:

Where you can get one: $155

Why they rock:

  • Eco-conscious Gaia PVC-free foam is soft, flexible and won’t break down in a wet environment
  • Full-length back and internal harness protects paddlers from impacts in challenging conditions
  • Features adjustable shoulders with thermally molded padding and a durable, nonslip surface
  • Features 3 adjustments per side and a quick-snap webbing closure
  • Deep-cut neck and armholes maximize range of motion
  • Reflective tape on chest and back, and a strobe lash tab on back of PFD, improve your visibility
  • Zippered front pocket with lanyard attachment secures valuables for easy access

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 8 out of 10

I have mixed feelings about the Kokatat Ronin PFD. Its not a bad jacket, but it is pretty much a complete rip off of the Astral designs. If I were to buy a personal floatation device of this style, I would have to buy a Astral, but that’s just me. Perhaps the Kokatat Ronin PFD has other features that are better suited for flatwater paddling that I am unaware of since I am looking at it from a whitewater point of view.

Looking to Buy? Check out these sites: $155