Read reviews for the NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD by NRS as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
Whether paddling our sit-on-top or our sit-inside kayak, it was quickly apparent that a mesh-back vest was going to be an improvement over the life vests we currently owned. Our previous life vest purchases had been made before we got into kayaking. They were the type most often used for boating and water skiing, and the back flotation reached all the way to one's waist and under the arms on both sides. That made for uncomfortable paddling, with the back causing a problem wiht seat-backs, and the underarm flotation portions causing chafing.
I chose the NRS cVest for a number of paddling-related features, including the mesh back, no underarm flotation pads, and pockets for all the incidentals one might want to hand when paddling. As there is also a fair amount of powerboat traffic from fishing pangas, seadoos, and "banana boat" rides here in San Felipe, the available high-visibility orange color was a plus.
I'm on the water in an Eddyline Equinox as many days each week as sea-conditions allow, paddling anywhere from 3-6 miles each trip. The NRS cVest has been comfortable in all conditions in which I have used it, making it no hardship at all to wear. The various pockets on the version which I own (which is somewhat different from the new 2018 version) provide space for items like a whistle, a signalling mirror, sunglasses and snacks. The radio pocket works well for a handheld FRS or Marine radio. My particular vest is a L/XL size, and there's a ton of adjustment available even for guys significantly larger than my 6 feet (183 cm) and 195 pounds (88.5 kg).
The rear flotation pad sits high on the back, and the absence of side flotation means there's nothing to chafe while paddling. It's easy to adjust the vest, unassisted, once it's on. The mesh area of the back provides for plenty of clearance for a variety of seat types. The only thing that was 'missing' in this version was padding under the shoulder straps, but that's a minor quibble, as I'm not finding that the straps chafe or dig in. When correctly adjusted I haven't found the cVest to ride up in front while out of the water, even for an old guy like me who has developed a bit of a gut.
In my informal "pool test" of the vest, there's a slight tendency for it to ride up a bit in the front. Other than that, it felt very secure, aided a good floating position and it held me up nicely. Buoyancy should be even better out in the salt water of the bay.
I haven't yet tested using the 4-way lash-tab attachment point on the front, nor the beacon attachment point on the rear.
I would (and have!) recommended this vest to friends.
The new (2018) version of the vest has significant differences in the pockets, added a number D-rings and now includes some padding under the shoulder straps. It's also lost the bottom front buckle, and gone to a different style of lash-tab. I'm sorry to see there's no designated radio pocket. The basic design of the vest is, overall the same. I expect it will perform equally well.