After the first pictures and reviews of the new Nevis PFD appeared on social media end of 2019 there was quite some excitement amongst paddlers in the know as it promised a completely new approach to how the quick release chest harness works.
I received the first box of Nevis PFDs in the second half of March, just before the COVID-19 lockdown started here in New Zealand. No opportunity yet to take it out on the river, but plenty of time to check it out while sitting at home. And it doesn’t disappoint.
First of all, it’s super quick and easy to put on: One strap on either side locks it into position, stopping it from riding up. Then, on the right side, tighten up the Piggyback harness. This one adjusts right under chest high to make the fit 100%. No need to fiddle around with the quick release strap and buckle as this “piggybacks” onto the adjustment strap and will always be ready and safe to use. The concept of this new chest harness is a brilliant stroke of genius by the designer, Barney Caulfield. I’m not surprised that Palm applied for a patent for this as it is completely different and novel compared to how quick release harnesses have been built up until now, and it will eliminate release failures due to bad adjustment.
Storage space: If you ever thought Palm’s PFDs could have just a little bit more pocket space – now you’ve got it! At last count I found seven (7) pockets, giving you ample space to store (and quick access to) karabiners, pulley, webbing and prussicks, flipline, rations for a long day, rescue blanket, PLB, and whatever else you may deem important to have on you when you’re out in the wild. I’ve taken a few photos showing the pockets in more detail:
Next to the side pockets is access to a zipped tunnel pocket that can be accessed from both sides and is suitable to store non-bulky items like a flip line, prussick rope, a SPOT emergency locator, or even more food!.
There is also a pocket on the inside of the front and back panel of the Nevis. The one in the back can accommodate Palm’s 1.5 L hydration bladder, and the front one offers large enough storage for a rescue blanket inside a couple of zip lock bags.
Verdict: It’s a pricey piece of highly technical whitewater equipment but it’s worth every dollar spent. The new Piggyback harness gives peace of mind that an emergency release will always work, without compromising the secure fit of the PFD.
Professional users, guides, expedition paddlers and weekend whitewater warriors alike will appreciate this new rescue PFD concept and its features.