MEC Source PFD

Sunday, 25 June 2006
Source PFD A year and a half in the making, Mountain Equipment Co-Op has just released their first MEC branded PFD. Called the Source, it comes in several different colours with slightly different designs for both men and woman.
What sets this apart from the majority of other PFD’s on the market is both design and manufacturing materials. The flotation inside uses a cross-linked Polyethylene foam which is much better for the environment during the manufacturing process then traditional PVC foams. They claim that the PE foam is also more buoyant and better aging.

During the manufacturing process, the front panels are shaped and glued together around a body form to provide a curved fit for both the woman’s and men’s models. The woman’s model has the majority of the foam from the chest moved to the stomach area so help fit better.

The high cut and large arm openings along with aggressively tapered edges, give lots of freedom of movement.

A nice little design feature was a built in knife sleeve that hides the sheath away so it doesn’t get caught on things when practising rescues.

Some elements of the PFD seem a little over engineered though. The designers tried to solve the fit issue for many different body types as well as make the system modular to allow for customisation (hydration pack, front pockets, etc.). With all the panels, material folds and sewn sleeves, a new paddler looking to purchase their first PFD could easily feel imitated in the shop. On the other hand, the discriminating paddler will appreciate the close attention to detail in both fit and design.

Overall, Mountain Equipment Co-Op has made some fine advancement in PFD technology. Sea Kayakers might just have found the "source" for their paddling flotation needs.

  • optional rescue belt, hydration pocket, and left/right front pockets.
  • colours – they look fantastic though the white panels will probably show dirt easily
  • center zipper makes getting it on and off simple
  • lack of reflective piping or patches
  • lots of straps and buckles make things confusing to figure out what their purpose is for

More information, visit Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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