I'm really fat/large/heavy/big-boned/glandular. Will your PFDs float me?
If you are within the chest size chart dimensions, then a Stohlquist PFD will float you. Most adults only need between 7-12 pounds of additional buoyancy to keep their heads out of the water. Stohlquist adult PFDs provide a minimum of 15.5 pounds of buoyancy. The amount of additional buoyancy that you require depends on your body density (e.g. fat or muscle?), lung size, clothing, and water conditions (calm or aerated). As a rule of thumb, the more physically fit you are (e.g. trim and lean), the more buoyancy you need to stay afloat.

Why do some PFDs have mesh in the back?
Several types of kayaks, like Sit-On-Top kayaks have high back seats to provide extra support and comfort. Many of our recreational PFD models are specifically designed with mesh backs that position flotation elements above the "high-back" seats found in today's boats. The mesh back designs also allow for increased ventilation.

What is the best PFD for canoeing, sailing, whitewater, etc.?
The best choice for any type of paddling (or sailing) depends on the conditions you expect to face when on the water. Rescue PFDs are just as useful to canoeists as they are to kayakers. Fishing PFD's have lots of extra storage capabilities, even if you are not going fishing. Whitewater vests offer side-zip entry zippers so pockets may be maximized, and centrally located for quick access and maximum mobility. Please contact us if you have any questions, and we will be happy to help you pick a PFD that best suits your needs.

How long will a PFD last?
The USCG/Transport Canada, as well as Stohlquist, advises checking your PFD at the beginning of each season to check the degree of buoyancy remaining (and for degradation or wear). Proper treatment is the key to PFD longevity.

  • Protect your PFD from extended Ultraviolet light exposure (sun), and the extremes of hot and cold to minimize premature aging. There are many products available that may be used on the exterior of the vest to help guard against UV degradation.
  • Sitting on your PFD or stuffing it under deck rigging will ruin/compress the soft foam quickly. This can lead to premature wear or loss of buoyancy.
  • PFD models with higher denier shell fabrics are the most resilient and wear resistant. All of Stohlquist's top of the line whitewater/touring/and recreational PFDs use highly durable 500D fabrics.
  • A PFD can last you 3 months or 5-10 years depending on use. The average life of a vest, for average paddlers, is about 5 years given normal wear and care.

Is there a PFD that will fit everyone in my family, including my kids?
The O.S.F.A. (One Size Fits All) will fit everyone in your family as long as they are within the chest size range (30"-54") and at least 90 lbs or more. PFDs for individuals below 90 lbs are broken into Youth, Child, and Infant sizes, and are based on user weight not chest size.

Do you sell direct?
To ensure the highest level of customer service, we have chosen to sell only through select retailers. If you have no local dealer, you may make purchases from the Stohlquist website or other online retailers. Simply click the "BUY NOW" button on the Stohlquist site, and the sale will be automatically routed directly through our dealer network for prompt fulfillment and speedy delivery to your door.

Does Stohlquist accept custom orders?
Unfortunately no, we cannot custom make or custom fit any of our products at this time. Some drysuit modifications (e.g. gasket sizes) are available. Please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Where can I purchase Stohlquist products?
Stohlquist products are available at over 500 retail outlets nationwide, as well as through online retailers. For a list of dealers in your area, enter your zip code into our Dealer Locator located in the top right of this page and hit enter.

Pro-Sales and Sponsorship
Stohlquist is pleased to offer our products at special pricing to outdoor professionals who are actively working in the outdoor industry as guides, outfitters, or related industry employees. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.