Words & photos: Dale Mears
Palm’s new Riff PFD is a multi-disciplinary paddlesports PFD ideal for kayaking and SUP. It is clear to see the evolution from Palm’s earlier range of PFDs but packed with some significant upgrades. We are seeing features and many material upgrades this year thanks to Palm’s forward-thinking design team.
First up, one huge pocket! It’s capable of holding a lot of gear whilst not feeling too cumbersome. Internally there is also a clip and mesh pocket with velcro to keep loose change or items within the pocket. Above the main pocket is a small knife pocket closed by a small popper, with the idea of stashing your knife away, and if needed, there is no need to go rummaging through the main pocket; a great idea.
The second biggest feature, and also present on the Solo PFD previously reviewed, is the side opening buckles. This makes entry and exit of the PFD so much easier over whatever you are wearing. One thing I like is the shoulder straps on this PFD, they are neoprene, and this feels like when on, and will be great for summer paddles when you drop the layers.
The PFD is what Palm calls their flex fit, a wrap-around foam that is shaped and contoured to fit well around the body and packs a low profile. This vest is an excellent fit for all genders due to the cut, and speaking to many female paddlers, they have really enjoyed the fit.
I mentioned the materials, Palm has continued their use of Gaia and EPE PVC-free foam, and to keep the PFD durable and long-lasting, it has a nylon 420d ripstop fabric. There are also some small attachment points on the front above the pocket and the rear shoulder straps, should you need them.
Overall, this is a great PFD and option for SUP, kayaking and other paddle sports.