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Ape Element PFD – Review

So over the last few years I have been lucky enough to be using the APE Element jacket which I believe practical, comfortable and downright amazing. So I thought I would take some time to talk you through my favourite piece of gear which I have been using in that time: The Ape Element jacket!

Ape Element PFD - Review
Ape Element PFD – Review

First impressions:

When I first saw the Ape element vest, I was very interested and intrigued. It’s a design with perfection and simplicity, for what I truly believe is a buoyancy aid that has everything you need. Without having to own a jacket you love, but wish it had something more…Trust me this is what you desire.


Cordura 200D and PVC

3 adjustments either side and two shoulder Adjustments

Three front pockets

Internal materials holder of the main pocket

Night Refractants

Pre-molded and padded shoulders for comfortable transfer of your kayak

Full-length waistcoat

Plastic lateral impact protections

Internal zipper for washing and re-positioning of the foam

Pre-molded foam for a better fit to the body.

40 mm waist for a better fit

Side entry opening

Tapes for the placement of the rescue harness.

Ape Element PFD - Review
Ape Element PFD – Review

Fitting for you:

The fitting of the jacket is without a doubt topping the game in comfortability, fitting and safety on the market. With a wide range of positions for the jacket to sit on your body without jeopardising any of the above assets, whilst still having a wide range of options depending on your physique and body shape. Personally when I kayak, I like to have it sitting slightly higher up on my body, so it stays out of the way of my spray skirt while maximising movement of the torso. But when I am guiding a raft I have my jacket a touch lower so it’s not in my face, but still securely fitted. With the 6 point cinch tightening system, it means even in the roughest waters the jacket doesn’t ride up under your chin or worse loosen.

Where does your gear go!

There is storage within the jacket for all your safety gear, snacks and of course lip balm. Everything has been spread out with a wide profile so you are left with a clean,flush front to the jacket and not a pocket looking ready to erupt all your gear into the river where it will never be found again. Which you commonly see either when something in the bottom of your pocket is needed or in an emergency situation. This is where the Ape’s clean and organised design makes all your gear accessible. Without having to empty your pockets. This is a real workman’s tool belt. Everything is secure with it’s own place for fast access and usability.

Ape Element PFD - Review
Ape Element PFD – Review

Removable foam (For travel purposes and jacket longevity ):

One of the features that makes the Element jacket phenomenal to me is access to the internal floatation, allowing a longer life for your jacket. I’m sure many people are aware that when flying with your pfd some people choose to take it along as carry on which is fine, as it’s in a pressurised chamber. But if it’s in your check in luggage, this isn’t pressurised so the foam can get damaged. But with the ape you can just take out your internal padding and pop it in your backpack or laptop bag. No need to empty your safety gear or wear your life jacket on the flight. This also means if you need extra flotation or replacement flotation a new jacket isn’t required. Just replace your foam.

Custom jackets for everyone not just the pros: 

Another outstanding and unique service with choosing Ape is your jacket will be custom designed to your requirements. From custom colours or a finished external design, which could be a stitched picture or a material based pattern. Imagine never running into a jacket like yours. Now you can stand out from the crowd and have your own custom jacket, knowing your jacket wasn’t produced on a production line with 10000 other jackets . Your’s was stitched, sewn and designed personally by one of the fantastic members of the ape team. Who are highly skilled, helpful and take a very high level of pride in their work.


Above I have covered a few key features of the Ape Element jacket, which I truly believe to be extremely important features of any safety jacket. Which all come together making a jacket for everyone that is comfortable, safe and truly one of a kind.

Words and Pictures: Zach Bassett

1 Comment

  1. Tom Clare

    Just as a correction – hold luggage in airlines is pressurized to the same level as the passenger cabin in large airliners – it is a myth that it isn’t.

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