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NRS Ninja PFD Review

Posted by on December 1, 2012


“The low-profile NRS Ninja PFD is so comfortable, you’ll forget you have it on. Designed for freestyle kayakers and other active boaters, this compact life jacket gives you total freedom of movement.” – NRS

The Deets:

  • PFD Type: USCG approved Type 3 (Flotation aid)
  • Style: Side-entry, Unisex
  • Designed flotation: 16.5lbs
  • Pockets: x1 front pocket
  • Sizes (Chest): S/M (33”-40”), L/XL (38”-46”), XXL (42”-50”)
  • Colors: Red, Black, Green
  • MSRP $129.95

The Review:

The NRS Ninja is a super low-profile PFD designed for the athletes amongst us. The low-profile cut of the Ninja is reminiscent of the Kokatat Orbit but provides a little more coverage and sits higher on your back. Shorter paddlers who find that full-length lifejacket are too long will especially appreciate the Ninja. This PFD provides for an absolutely unimpeded paddling motion thanks to its comfortable shoulder straps and large arm holes. I found that the neoprene-like lining material locks the jacket onto your body and allows it to move in concert. Side entry buckles and four-point adjustment makes the Ninja easy to get on and off while allowing for a secure fit. At first, I found the thick front panel to be stiff against my chest but it became more comfortably contoured as it broke in over time. Some women may not appreciate the flatness and stiffness of the front panel.

I was especially impressed with the accessory features found on the Ninja. The most innovative feature on this PFD is the large hand-warmer pocket. The front panel is essentially sliced in half like a pita pocket and lined with a soft, neoprene-like material. This pocket is very warm and large enough to fully accommodate both hands! The size of the front mesh pocket, on the other hand, is entirely underwhelming and is hardly large enough to accommodate the bare essentials. The knife lash point is conveniently located below the front pocket and reflective piping further accents this stylish PFD! The USA Olympic White Water team was outfitted with Special Edition Ninja PFDs for the 2012 London games. Select sizes of this special edition PFD are still available to purchase.

Overall, I found the Ninja to be a very comfortable and functional PFD. I really appreciated its super-low profile and athletic cut. The front panel felt a bit flat, bulky, and stiff at first but became more comfortable and contoured over time. I was blown away by the warmth and size of the hand-warmer pocket but slightly underwhelmed by the small front pocket. Finally, the endorsement by TEAM USA doesn’t hurt!

Pros: Comfortable, low-profile fit. Excellent hand warmer pockets. Endorsed by TEAM USA

Cons: Feels a little bulky in the chest, Very small front pocket

Kayak Dave Rating:


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