Yak’s Xipe buoyancy aid is only the second product from the brand we’ve reviewed – the first being Yak’s Kallista which we used in our BA buyers guide, link here: www.sitons.com/articles/buoyancy-aids-pfd-buyer%E2%80%99s-guide/ The Xipe in contrast to the Kallista is a more serious piece of gear and we were looking forward to trying it out.
Rated up to 60N and described as being applicable to numerous paddling environments and scenarios it’s a high cut and slim fit. Adjustable shoulder straps and a concealed 40mm waist belt work in tandem with a buckled cinch belt – the latter stopping annoying ride up.
Detailing is pretty swanky with the demo model we tried coming in burnt orange and fluro blue accents bordering functional pockets. You can store a surprising amount of essentials in the Xipe without this adding too much weight and causing unwanted bulges.
As far as fit goes it moulds to wearer’s bodies – especially around the bottom section. If you’re towards the upper levels of each sizing bracket then we’d recommend trying before you buy. Shoulder straps and around the top half will probably be no trouble but the cinch belt may prohibit actually getting it on – especially if you’re bigger boned. In this instance the next size up may be a better choice.
Having zipped securely, however, it does hug paddler’s. Feeling more like a second skin it allows freedom of movement which is great for distance kayaking, paddling in mellow waves or simply pootling along your local stretch. It’s therefore a good option for everyday kayaking. Some BA’s do tend to restrict movement but we can happily report the Xipe isn’t one.
Yak’s Xipe is a practical buoyancy aid for those who dabble in various areas of kayaking. It’s a step up from basic BA’s and with individual styling is an eye catching piece of gear. Functional features, such as the cinch belt and roomy pockets, are good for storing VHF radios and hydration packs, without adding too much bulge. Check the fit beforehand – especially around the bottom half – but all in Yak’s Xipe is one most paddlers would be happy to include in their kit box.