Palm PFD Updates: What’s changed for 2020?

While the new Palm Nevis has been all over the social medias and winning awards, some may not have realized that Palm have fully revamped their range of white water PFD’s! While you’ll definitely recognize the names, and they do look quite similar to there predecessors, we thought we’d write a quick blog highlighting how things have been changed and improved.

Changes across the whole line up

There have been a few changes that have been implemented across the whole range of white water PFD’s, so to save repeating ourselves later in the blog here they are.

One of the flagship changes to Palms new PFD lineup, is the easy to adjust chest harnesses. Following research at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) by Dr Loel Collins, Palm have worked with UCLan to develop harnesses that are safer and easier to use, with no need to trim to length.

The UCLan Adjustable Chest Harness works by feeding the chest harness through an aluminium adjustment strap so you can tighten and loosen the harness without having to open the quick release. When using the front opening Extrem you will still have to do this but the length of the harness can be adjusted more easily.

Another noticeable change across the range is the use of both APC easy catch O-Rings, with a 12kN maximum breaking strength, and 7075 aircraft grade aluminium hardware on load bearing adjustment straps. Not only does this increase the stress that Palms PFD’s can endure, the anodized colours look pretty nifty too.

Palm now uses Gaia PVC free environmentally friendly foam in all 4 of its top whitewater PFD’s. Not only is this better for the environment, it also produces a more flexible material, making their PFD’s more figure hugging and comfortable than before. It is also naturally resistant to mould which is perfect for those of you who forget to empty out your kit bag after a session.

Palm FXr

Up first we’ll take a look at how a shop favorite has been re-styled and improved. The FXr was always popular for its low cut fit and simplicity; one pocket, a popper-ed stash for your knife and a quick release chest harness. The premise of the FXr has not changed massively. There is still one large pocket and a knife pocket, however there has been a number of small tweaks. The most obvious, useful change you notice initially is the larger opening of the front pocket, producing a near clam-shell style opening. This makes getting to everything in your pocket that little bit easier when you’re in a rush. The pocket also appears to be fractionally bigger which is always a plus!

The new utility-draw style pocket on the 2020 FXr
The previous FXr with a smaller opening.

Another change is that the front panel has been slightly modified, meaning its a touch flatter to the body and lower profile, yet still has all the storage (if not more) of the previous FXr.

The split rings have been raised in line with both sides of the zip of the pocket

Another tweak Palm have made on the FXr is putting two split rings on the new PFD, one on each side of the pocket, instead of one below the pocket in the centre. This means that you can position your cowtail to be in an easier to get to position for your dominant hand. Personally I find that it helps get rid of some in the moment confusion by making sure you only reach for your cowstail on the correct side (stops you pulling it across your chest!).

Palm Extrem PFD

Pam Men’s Extrem

Since 2010 the Extrem has been at the forefront of white water safety gear. While the Nevis is replacing the Extrem as Palms poster PFD, it is still one of the best options available for those of you wanting a front entry PFD with a chest harness.

Palm Women’s Extrem

At a quick first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that the changes to the men’s and women’s PFD’s were simply aesthetic, however on closer inspection you’ll notice that the Extrem has been refined to make it easier to use, particularly during rescues.

An easy access knife pocket has replaces a zipped pocket on the top left of the PFD

Firstly there is no longer two zip pockets at the top of the PFD, one on each shoulder, as the left one has been replaced with an easy access knife pocket. It is much quicker and easier in an emergency to reach and eliminates the need to fiddle around with any zips.

The Extrem’s new Utility-draw style pocket

The next change is again a pocket change. Gone is the slightly fiddly diagonal front pocket. While this was always good for an extra karabiner or snack bar, it could be a bit fiddly to use as you couldn’t really see what you were doing. Instead palm have made the zip on the main pocket larger, making it easier to access, and have included a utility-draw style segmentation system, making it easier to organise your gear while having it easy to access.

The previous diagonal front pocket has been removed

The last real change is similar to one on the FXr; the split D rings for clipping your cowstail to are now positioned higher up on the PFD, again making it easier to grab in an emergency.

So there you have it! A brief summary of the updates to Palms white water PFD range. As always, if you have any more questions then do get in touch or pop into the shop for a chat. The kettle is never cold.


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