Kokatat Maximus Prime PFD Review

Kokatat Maximus Prime Rescue PFD

Review by Evan Stafford

With the Maximus Prime, Kokatat has finally created a rescue PFD in the mobile category that does not sacrifice flotation. As soon as I slipped it on through the easy side-entry access I felt right at home. It’s incredibly comfortable and the way the shoulder strap and inner adjustment system are designed it’s super easy to get a perfect snug yet non-restrictive fit. After feeling its superior level of flotation while teaching a swiftwater rescue course in Patagonia recently, I felt a lot more confident when I turned my attention to paddling the Futaleufu and the huge water of the Rio Baker. With some new well-designed features and the most flotation on the market I can confidently recommend the Kokatat Maximus Prime as the ultimate rescue PFD currently available.
Kokatat_Maximus_Prime_PFD_Review_EvanS_RioBaker_ScreenShotcourtesySomosdelRio Evan Stafford on the Rio Baker (Photo courtesy of: Somos Del Rio)


  • FLOTATIONWith 17 lbs of flotation and the ideally placed front flotation panel you get the best float of any PFD on the market. Made with Gaia PVC free foam = better for the environment.
  • COMFORT / MOBILITYWith the independently suspended front flotation panel and the fresh design for the shoulder strap adjustments this PFD has an excellent fit and is extremely easy to adjust. It also rides in just the right places so it will not decrease your paddling mobility in any way.
  • SIZING – With four sizes from youth through XL it is easy to get the right fit and flotation for your body type.
  • KNIFE PROTECTIVE COVER – You know when you go for a swim, and you get to shore and you realize, “my knife!” Well, Kokatat came up with a solution for the lost knife syndrome. The front lash knife tab has a protective layer of Cordura that goes over it making it a lot harder for the knife to come free when climbing back onto a raft your getting chundered in a hole.
Kokatat_Maximus_Prime_PFD_Review_Evan_RioBaker_PhotoDavidHughes Evan and the crew scouting a big drop on Rio Baker (Photo credit: David Hughes)


  • KIND OF EXPENSIVE – Costs quite a bit more than a non-rescue PFD, but if you learn how to use it, is worth every penny.
  • DOES NOT INCLUDE A TOW LEASH - must be purchased.
  • DOES NOT HAVE A PLACE FOR A SMALL POUCH THROW BAG – recommended to wear a waist belt throw bag with the vest.
  • KNIFE PROTECTIVE COVER – makes it difficult to get your knife on, but once it’s on, it’s not going anywhere!
  • DOESN'T RESCUE YOUR FRIENDS FOR YOUPlease take a rescue class to learn how to use your rescue vest properly.
Kokatat_Maximus_Prime_PFD_Review_Evan_RioBaker_PhotoDavidHughes2 Another shot of the team scouting the Rio Baker (Photo credit: David Hughes)


As a river rescue and safety professional I can recommend the Kokatat Maximus Prime because I truly believe it offers the best flotation and mobility of any rescue PFD on the market.

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