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For a wife, make sure it's made for wimmen and that it fits her right. For a kayak, you want a kayak-style vest; one that is high in the back so the user's back fits against the kayak seat. If the PFD is a standard fishing vest, it's likely that the back will cause the kayaker to sit too far forward on the seat, not supporting the back of the thighs because of the back thickness.

Buying something 'that will do' is likely to make the kayaking experience unenjoyable. You wouldn't want to send a new rider out with a cheap helmet 'that will do'. Heck, a new sport usually implies that the safety gear is more likely to be used early in the learning stage.

Get quality and if she ends up not liking the sport, it won't be because poor fitting gear was used. You'll also have much better luck selling quality and getting some of the money back.
 

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