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Your Guide to Choosing a Personal Floatation Device

how to choose life jacket for your rafting trip

Going on a rafting adventure? You’ve put on your sunscreen and shades but there is one crucial thing you’re forgetting – a PFD. A Personal Flotation Device, or PFD, is one item of equipment you should never leave on a rafting trip without. It is an essential part of any rafting trip and needs to be handled properly.

In this blog, we’ll look into the relevance of PFDs, examine the various PFD types, and discuss what makes rafting-specific PFDs unique. Here, you’ll learn how to choose the best PFD for your rafting trip, assuring both safety and comfort with us at RaftOne.

What is a PFD?

So, what exactly is this floatation device? A crucial part of safety equipment for water sports is a Personal Flotation Device, also known as a rafting life jacket. Its main function is to keep you afloat in the water, protecting your safety in the event of an unplanned fall or harsh water conditions. Since PFDs are made specifically to keep people buoyant and avoid drowning, they are an essential component of any water-based expedition.

Types of PFDs

Life Jacket Types Comparison Chart
PFDs come in a variety of styles, each appropriate for a different use and underwater setting. Choosing the appropriate PFD for your particular activity requires a thorough understanding of the differences between these sorts. The U.S. Coast Guard classifies PFDs into five categories and certifies and regulates them in the United States. There are naturally buoyant (foam-filled), inflatable, and hybrid designs among these five categories.

i. Type I: Offshore Life Jackets – In open waters where rescue efforts can take some time, these life jackets are mostly intended for use. They are frequently spotted on commercial ships and are ideal for activities that take place offshore or in remote areas.

ii. Type II: Near-shore Vests – These work especially well in still waters offshore when a prompt rescue is likely. They are less bulky and more comfortable for prolonged wear and are frequently found on recreational boats.

iii. Type III: Flotation Aids – PFDs of Type III are adaptable and suitable for a variety of water sports, including rafting. They are best suited for prolonged use since they provide great freedom for movement.

iv. Type IV: Throwable Devices – In contrast to the previous categories, Type IV PFDs are designed to be thrown to a person in need of assistance instead of being worn by everyone aboard. The two most typical examples are buoyant cushions and life rings.

v. Type V: Special-use Devices – For specific activities, such as whitewater rafting, Type V PFDs are manufactured. For a water adventure, they offer the finest fit, functionality, and safety features. These PFDs frequently have added safety features, such as strengthened grab handles for rescue operations and more padding for defense.

Rafting PFDs: What Makes Them Special?

PFDs come in a variety of types, but you can’t just blindly select one when you go whitewater rafting. The specific needs of this journey are taken into consideration while designing rafting PFDs. They differ from standard life jackets because of features that make them more appropriate for the difficulties of rafting. These include the perfect balance of buoyancy, durability, increased comfort, and additional safety features.

Selecting the Ideal PFD for River Rafting at Raft One

At Raft One, safety is paramount when it comes to rafting. Therefore, we recommend employing Type V PFDs created especially for whitewater adventures because we are aware of the special requirements of the trip. These PFDs ensure you can negotiate the rapids with the utmost comfort, safety, and ease. Also, it is important to consider the nature of your white water rafting trip before choosing the PFDS.

If you are going for a more thrilling experience, Type V PFDS would be the best PFD for whitewater rafting. They offer more buoyancy and durability than the others. On the other hand, if you are going for a more leisurely, or family-oriented trip, you can consider going for the Type III PFDs that allow for better movement.

If you decide to go rafting with Raft One, our knowledgeable guides can assist you in choosing the appropriate PFD based on the difficulty of the trip, providing a memorable and secure experience for your group.

Ensuring the Perfect Fit

vector illustrating different types of  Life Jacket Styles
Making sure the PFD fits securely and snugly is just as crucial as choosing the ideal PFD. Your safety may be affected by an inadequate PFD due to its reduced effectiveness. Choose the proper size by consulting the manufacturer’s sizing guide, and try on the PFD to make sure it fits comfortably snugly but not too tight. As most PFDs include numerous adjustable straps, you can fine-tune the fit to your unique body shape and comfort preferences by adjusting the straps as well.

The Ocoee River Experience

The Ocoee River is a Class IV whitewater river that is popular for its difficult rapids and exciting excursions. A PFD that provides the ideal blend of buoyancy, durability, and comfort is necessary when rafting on this river. A specialized whitewater rafting PFD with safety features like strengthened grab handles and more padding is required because of the unpredictability of the currents and twists. Thus, it is of utmost importance to choose the correct PFD and secure it properly before venturing onto the Ocoee River.


The significance of picking the proper PFD cannot be stressed enough when venturing out on a rafting excursion that is supposed to be memorable and safe. To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, the PFD must be tailored to the unique requirements of your excursion.

When you select Raft One for your rafting trip, our knowledgeable guides can assist you in making the best PFD choice based on the difficulty of the trip, providing an unforgettable yet comfy experience for your group. So don’t hesitate to reach out to Raft One for any questions that you may have, and get going on the next big adventure. Book your trip to the Ocoee today!

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