Gear Shed

Q:

The Best Whitewater Life Jackets: Stohlquist Rocker

I’m looking to step up to a better personal flotation device (PFD) for whitewater. What are the big differences between models?

Rocker     Photo: Courtesy of Stohlquist

A:The $140 Rocker feels like a second skin. Named after the fore and aft design of highly maneuverable kayaks, the Rocker has stretchy shoulder straps that follow your movements and an ergonomic shape that hugs the body. A cross-chest strap reduces the ability of the jacket to ride up, and a specially designed lumbar pad provides good airflow. There are lots of places to hook your whistle, knife, or strobe. The one downside? Where many other models come in three sizes, the Rocker has just two, sometimes causing fit problems for those who fall in between.

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