Why I am so excited about the Palm Nevis
I’ve never been very patient at any point in my life; definitely the child that eats the marshmallow now. So having a chance encounter with a prototype Nevis for a few weeks, two whole years ago was amazingly exciting. The next two years, however, have been painful for me waiting for the finished product to take out and play with.
I had the opportunity to play with the V6 prototype which had the majority of key features: Simon stash, piggyback harness and it was the first one with the Delta fit system.
When I first managed to get hold of the jacket I knew nothing about it. I thought it was an upgraded FXR, for example, the clamshell pocket makes it really easy to store a lot without having to empty it out to get to the stuff at the bottom. This is something I have struggled with on the FXR; a huge pocket but vertically loaded despite the wide zip (This has now been shaped a little more on the re-vamp for this reason).
But then I started finding the other pockets and I quickly realised this was a new Apex Buoyancy aid. Designed to challenge the Extrem, Green Jacket or River Guide.
My feedback regarding the other pockets read:
“The stuff pocket! (Simon Stash) Why has no company done this before!? This is brilliant! It just needs some areas stitching internally so that things can’t find their way out where the belt runs through (only on prototype). Amazing for keeping a sling ready for chase boating or even a map!" -A huge pocket filling the entire front profile of the jacket between the foam layers.
The side pockets are awesome but a bit deep to get karabiners out of the bottom of them. Maybe some split D rings to keep them close to the hand or for a cows tail? Not the end of the world though as they (karabiners) fit really nicely in the clamshell and the side pockets swallow the less used repair bits and bobs, cable ties, pulleys and prussic loops.” -Two Velcro Carabiner pockets either side of the clam shell.
Don’t forget that the Nevis has the same large back pocket as the Extrem does; perfect for keeping personal documents on expeditions, a splint or maps and a new Phone pocket built onto the inside of the front. I always keep my phone in my jacket chest pocket, close at hand and on me personally while hopefully sharing some of my body heat with the sensitive battery. The only better place I could think to keep it would be in a padded pocket lower on my chest and accessible by both hands. Alternatively; a brilliant pocket for ear plugs or similar.
For the eight years up to this I had been paddling with two generations of a different buoyancy aid (rhymes with “mean packet”) and I was totally sold and never going to change, repeatedly telling people it was my favourite piece of kit…. And then I experienced the Delta fit system… and that was that, my favourite piece of kit had to change.
As I said in a meeting with Barney; “if this prototype was on sale now, I would go and buy it right now, on my way home and I'd sell my old BA when I find it in my cupboard in a few years”
I’m always between two sizes regardless of brand so I really struggle to get something that fits snugly without restricting my rotation, but, because the delta fit system is mounted inside the PFD and secures it to your ribcage, it means that you can get a good fit even if you are between sizes and fine tuning dependent on layers becomes really quick and easy.
I happened to be running a white water safety and rescue course during my time with the Nevis and the effort and research that went into the key safety features became clear very quickly and, clearly, this is something that had had a big role in a lot of the early design decisions of this Jacket.
The piggy back harness really goes towards helping reduce the problems that can be encountered in what would be a highly pressured environment. Having one of the key pieces of safety already set up properly, in line with the latest research, means that everyone is just a little bit safer. By having the toggle release in the centre of the front it also helps make the release ambidextrous; if you can’t reach with one hand you probably can with the other.On top of this, the wide padded shoulder straps made the simple things like carrying a boat way more comfortable and the clean and simple profile gives the same ease of movement and flexibility that the FXR is already renowned for. One of the key things that a lot of people forget is that it is really important to be able to swim well wearing your BA. The Nevis’ clean profile and wide arm holes make this easy.
Just like the FXR having the separate knife pocket on the top, so it is accessible without being noticeable, is a brilliant way of solving the ‘quick draw’ problem. Typically in America they like big fixed blade knives attached to the outside of the jacket. This doesn’t lend itself to the ‘clean outline’ principal that British paddlers tend to go for and can be a problem when working with groups of kids. However, there have been very few PFDs that have had a simple system that allows you to access your knife one handed quickly and easily. On the Nevis the pocket is awesomely placed and they’ve even integrated a mounting system for the more American style knives too.
On top of all of that, Barney Caulfield just added bling. Having a continuous webbing system through the shoulder straps is a good idea safety wise and pretty cool (from my gear freak/nerdy perspective) but what’s even cooler is not needing a continuous system because you’ve got custom made 7000 series alloy buckles that are stronger than the webbing itself…
And, in reality I think this is why I am most excited about the Nevis:
How long is it since we’ve had an original buoyancy aid design? Rather than re-thinks and re-models of other brands and own models? Each year the same jackets came out in new colours, a new buckle here, maybe a different type of foam there.Here we have Alloy Buckles, Piggy back harness, Delta Fit system and the Simon Stash – huge storage between foam layers. No one else is doing any of these things. Nothing else is coming close to this next level of designing and out of the box thinking. Game Changer.