I have recently been paddling with the new Yak Rakau buoyancy aid, testing it in kayaks, canoes and on the water during white water safety and rescue courses.
I have been really pleased with it, in all areas.It comes in Red or Green, with a front pocket and a safety harness system, the foam is cut really well so you get lots of body movement.
In a kayak it's cut well for leaning forward and rotation. The neoprene around the chest area is really warm and helps to conceal any excess strap from the shoulders.
On the shoulder straps there is extra padding and a non-slip patch for boat carrying, the side straps have a nice rubbery quick release tab to pull and everything is easily adjustable when on.
The front pocket has 2 internal compartments for things like tape, food ect, and a large pocket for a sling and crab plus a few extra bits. The front has a clean line so getting back into a boat (canoe) is
made easier because it doesn't snag on the pocket. It also has a knife compartment on the front with a rope attachment for easy access but also well concealed.
The harness system can be moved to either side, and is easily accessible for release even underwater, it’s important to make sure the buckle is not tucked in and the strap is easily accessible. When using it, it’s a good idea to make sure the strap is cut so only a handful is left to avoid it getting twisted and caught up in the plastic buckle (make sure you have fed it through all options before you cut it with a hot knife and on a diagonal cut!).
When using the harness, please read the instruction from the manufacturer,
- in the water only use the plastic buckle for releasing
- On the bank with anchors use the metal buckle and plastic buckle together.
- I personally add an extra thread on the metal buckle on Bank anchors for extra friction, again training is important to understand the use and context.
Make sure you use the correct screw gate carabiner on the O Ring on the back of the buoyancy aid so it can’t accidentally clip on the integral straps on the rear of the buoyancy aid making the system unreleasable! I would highly recommend doing a White Water Safety and Rescue course to learn how to use the Harness system safely.
In Summary, the Yak Rakau is a well-priced comfortable white water Buoyancy aid for all boating activities.
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