Darwin Vest (product now discontinued)

The new Darwin Kayak Vest from Salus Marine Wear is a super comfy traditionally cut paddling PFD. The foam panels are cut larger that the more techy freestyle vests and are shaped and contoured to allow generous freedom of movement. The liner material is comfortable mesh for hot dry days and the exterior is rugged Cordura. The shoulders are padded for long portages, there is a whistle loop, knife patch and large front pocket. The Darwin is ideal for river running and canoe tripping. Salus vests are made in Canada and are Canadian Coast Guard approved.

Contact Salus at 877-418-9998 for info.

Darwin Expedition Vest

Salus is a relatively new Canadian company that manufactures high quality PFDs. The Darwin Expedition is based on their popular Darwin vest, but with additonal features specifically for rescues.

Both the Darwin vest and the Darwin Expedition use super soft foam with bevelled edges to drape well on the body so you can wear them snug and still be comfortable. With their short cut, huge arm holes and plentiful adjustment points, you almost forget that you are wearing them. For one tester, the vests seemed to ride too high and touch the chin, but they fit well on everyone else.

A unique feature of all Salus PFDs is the use of Dry-Lex, a wicking material, on the inside of the vest. On those hot days when you’re paddling in the minimum amount of clothing allowed by law, it is great to know you won’t stick to the inside of your PFD the way the back of your legs stick to the vinyl seats in your shuttle vehicle.

The Darwin Expedition is a well-designed rescue PFD. The tow system is simple to use and the weight of the towed boat is spread across the whole chest. The QR Belt releases quickly and easily if the rescue goes sour, and the webbing on the back of the vest permits the attachment of a strobe and a hydration pack – a great idea!

Overall, the Darwin Expedition is an excellent rescue PFD!