The Astral Layla lifejacket was designed for women, but is popularly sold as a unisex PFD. The quarter zip side entry makes this style famous for its comfort. Adjustable webbing on shoulders and waist keep the PFD well fitting and secure.
Organic Kapok foam panels create an incredibly flexible jacket that moves with you. The hinged princess seams, and boob cups create a special fit that women of all sizes appreciate.
- Environmentally friendly Kapok foam flotation
- Polypro webbing
- Short torso and princess seams in front for true female sizing
- Adjustable shoulders atop neoprene pads
- Adjustable side and neoprene waistband
- 1/4 zip side zip entry
- Front pocket with buckle
- Weight: 1.76 lbs
- USCG approved Type III Personal Flotation Device
Small / Medium: 31-37 in
Medium / Large: 38-44 in
Large / Extra Large: 45-51 in
|Recommended Use||Dinghy Racing|
|Material / Fabric||Nylon fabric. Organic Kapok, PVC Free Gaia and PE Foam|
New this year and just arrived at the shop from Astral Designs is the Layla life jacket. It’s a women’s lifejacket that is perfect for anyone who wants a traditional foam PFD to wear while on the water.
Whether you are sailing your dinghy or a small keelboat, coaching, or kayaking the Layla will keep you safe without getting in your way. Even though it’s made specifically for women – it’s also great for men too. I’m personally very excited about it because it’s based on the design of my favorite life jacket (and the favorite of many other sailors out there) – the Lotus Lola.
If you’re like me, you are probably still have your Lola lifejacket in your closet. First let me tell you that it’s likely not very safe to use it – the foam in your life jackets and the materials are not made to last forever. It’s always wise to replace your lifejacket anytime you start to see signs of sun fading in the outer material – that lets you know that both the outside, and the critical flotation inside have given up the ghost. Given that we sold out of our last remaining Lolas over a decade ago – it’s pretty safe to say that if you’re still using yours it’s probably time to consider replacing it.
My old faded Lotus Lifejacket
It’s obvious there are lots of similarities between the Layla and the old Lola. This is in large part because they were designed by the same person. The founder and owner of Astral Designs was also the owner of Lotus way back when they made the Lola. Lotus was later sold to Patagonia, but he just couldn’t stay away from making awesome lifejackets, so later on he started Astral.
Construction and why its great -
One thing you die hard Lola fans might not know, is that the Lola was also a women’s lifejacket. It just turned out that the style was a great fit for sailing. It caught on and started being widely used by both women and men. I’m betting the same will be true about the new Layla. As far as fit and sizing – it’s really the shaping of the foam that makes it "designed for women." The sizes are identical between men’s and women’s lifejackets.
The most noticeable thing about the Layla when you try it on is how thin it feels. It is made from several different types of foam – combining soft and flexible Kapok foam with more traditional foam to ensure a comfortable fit that keeps you free to move around in the boat easily. The lifevest is also a little longer in the torso than some other models. It’s a small change that you don’t even notice – it’s still very comfortable to sit down in and fits well above your waist, but the longer length means the foam is spread out a little more allowing Astral to make it thinner. This is particularly noticeable on the front of the lifejacket which feels way thinner than a lot of other jackets out there.
The Layla has a side quarter zip entry, the same as the Lola did. This means that you have to put your head through the two shoulder straps to put it on, but the zip makes that easy to do regardless of how much gear you have on. It also has a pretty roomy front pocket to store granola bars, sunscreen or a safety knife.
Tape up your shoulder straps-
One of the few downsides to the Layla PFD, which was an identical problem on the Lola, is the buckles for the shoulder straps. On a keelboat or a kayak they’re likely not a problem, but if you’re going to use your lifejacket for dinghy sailing, you may find they have a tendency to catch on the mainsheet as you cross the boat. If you are dinghy sailing, especially on a Laser or similar boat, I’d highly recommend making a similar modification to my Lola – using some highly advanced materials (electrical tape) to cover up the buckles once you’ve figured out what fit you want.
Taping the straps is still a good idea for dinghy sailors.
So if you’re a woman in need of a new life jacket, I highly recommend you check out the Astral Layla. It offers a great fit designed for women. If you’re a guy in need of a new lifejacket, I also highly recommend you check it out. Anyone out there still wearing their Lola – this is your opportunity to take a step forward for both fashion AND safety and upgrade your lifejacket without sacrificing the fit you love.