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Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

I have been using the Palm Extrem Vest for the past year as my main PFD. I must admit that from the start I was a little sceptical about the front opening system and did have a debate with myself about whether or not I should have bought the over the head Amp vest.

Palm Extrem Vest PFD - Review
Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

After 12 months of use I am now ready to commit my thoughts to the site.

From Palm:

The Extrem Vest evolution continues, setting new standards in safety and useability. Our flagship front-opening PFD with masses of storage.

Features include:

• Flex Formed Foam panel wraps around torso
• Quad-buckle front entry
• Large, zipped padded front cargo pocket with internal divider
• Chest mounted zipped knife pockets
• Internal rear padded pocket for documents, safety gear or hydration bladder
• Tough grip panels at shoulder for boat carrying
• 3D anti ride-up waist belt
• Easyglide strap adjustment throughout
• Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps tested to 500kg with strap keeper pockets
• Removable chest harness with quick release cam buckle and load spreader
• Welded O-ring with Velcro retainer
• Dual cowtail parks
• Solas reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels

Materials:Cordura 550D/Balistic Nylon/Vent Mesh liner, Gaia PVC-free foam
Colours: Blue/Jet Grey, Red/Jet Grey
Code: BA140
Size options: XS/S (65 N), M/L (70 N), XL/XXL (75 N)

One year down the road and I have to say that the front opening design works really well. Putting the Extrem on is really easy and taking it off is easy. All of the straps are very accessible and easy to do up. Once fully fastened the Extrem feels and offers full protection just like an over the head model . Full marks!

Palm Extrem Vest PFD - Review
Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

The vest sits nice and low when on, which is the feel I like. It feels very similar to my old Astral AV200 vest and my much older Lotus designs PFDs. Adjustments to both the shoulders and main body are simple.

Palm Extrem Vest PFD - Review
Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

Storage areas are plentiful with two zipped pockets near the shoulder straps. These contain a quick release tab system for say your knife and a supplied whistle. Two larger zipped pockets on the front, the largest of the two includes D ring to clip items two and an elasticated pocket divider so you can keep your Snickers bar separate from your camera. Finally there is a hydration system compatible rear pocket inside of the vest.

Palm Extrem Vest PFD - Review
Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

The vest is fitted with a chest harness and has a welded loop positioned on the rear. I have not used this fully on this vest but the system is identical to those that I have used on other Palm PFDs (and most others) so I have no doubt that it will perform well. One feature that I do really like is that the shoulder straps form a critical part of the whole PFD as they are formed with one continuous loop of tape (tested to 500kg). The vest also has two D rings fitted (one front left the other front right) to allow you to clip in and store the end of your cows tail. I initially thought mine was broken as it is split! In reality the split in the D ring is deliberate and allows the cows tail to break way from the karabiner end if it were to become snagged. Ditching the whole of the harness would of course free the other end.

Palm Extrem Vest PFD - Review
Palm Extrem Vest PFD – Review

I have “tested” the PFD on a couple of occasions on grade IV water and it performed well. It did not hinder swimming or rescue and remained in place throughout the “tests”.


  1. Steve Arundale

    good article, just bought an Amp and wondered why the D rings were broken….saved me a trip back to shop

  2. Ashley

    hello I am in search for the Palm Harlequin Extrem RV PFD. Where can i purchase this pfd? I love it!

  3. David Slybacon

    Great article! Since getting this PFD at Christmas I have loved using it on a whole varity of trips from white water to touring, the only problem I have had is the zip tag on the front pocket ( has fallen off… do you know if it is possible to get replacement zip tags? As I am finding it hard to open and close this pocket now, so when I’m on the water I tend not use this pocket anymore.

    • Unsponsored

      Give Palm an email or a ring, they should be able to help you out.

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