The FX PFD from Palm Equipment has been around in one form or another for years and has been one of Palm’s top sellers throughout its lifetime. The new 2013 FX has really ramped up the design in terms of its looks, but how does it perform? Read on…

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Features include:

• Low profile foam panels
• Slimline front pocket with inner compartment, key ring clip
• 3D anti ride-up waistbelt
• Easy Glide strap adjustment throughout
• Continuous loop failsafe shoulder straps with strap keeper pockets
• Reflective detail on shoulders, front and rear panels

Fabric: Nylon 250D
Colours: Lime, Aqua, Red
Code: BA185

Size options: XXS (55 N), XS/S (60 N), M/L (70 N), XL/XXL (70).

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on one of these since they were first announced last year. I had seen a couple of models in the flesh this year at Northshore Watersports but the sizes available weren’t right for me. I’ve had the FX for a couple of weeks now and have paddled and swam (deliberately I might add) to get a good feel for how the FX performs. I have owned several Palm PFDs over the last 25+ years of paddling, but it has been a while since I owned a low profile now rescue PFD made by Palm.

The easiest change to spot are the super bright colours used on the FX I have the more traditional red colour scheme but even that is nice and bright. The fabrics used in the FX match those used in the dry tops and dry suit range. Nice little touches like the contrasting stitching and reflective piping really makes the FX stand out.

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The FX sits within the middle price range and would be suitable for a wide range of users. It is of a slab design which is put on over the head. The slab is a much better fit than on the previous FX model, as it has been shaped to contour with your torso. A better fit is a safer fit. In addition the low profile design of the FX allows for great range of movement. Adjustment to all of the straps is simple and straight forward. The waist band/belt is coated with a rubber material (3d anti ride up) which helps to keep the PFD in place.

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The belt is also easy to get nice and snug and adjust for fit. An additional, and thicker, belt lies further up the PFD. As a basic ‘Freeride’ PFD the FX doesnt have the facility for a safety belt so is not really suitable for those who envisage doing live bait rescues.

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The front pocket is huge and is easily accessed, inside is a useful clip in point.

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The zip is also easy to spot as it is in a contrasting colour to the rest of the PFD. In the case of the red FX I have the zip is saffron, aka orange/yellow. The pocket and the foam slab it sits on sits low on your body which again gives great levels of movement for paddling and dare I say it, makes swimming pretty easy.

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Palm have made a really good looking and highly functional PFD with the FX. For playboating and non-creeking duties the FX is my go to PFD.