The basic principle in what I carry in my pfd is, if I was seperated from boat either at sea or on the rocks, what would I need to survive long enough to be rescued or to ensure a rescue is carried out quick enough to save a fellow paddler thatI may be giving CPR to. I always carry dye, strobe/torch, mirror, knife, water and epirb. The epirb is especially importnat in the event of being washed on to rocks, or in Australia, being bitten by a snake or other venoumous creature.I have never had a problem carrying these items plus foodbars, sunscreen etc. The only rescue item I dont carry in the PFD are flares as they are too bulcky and heavy. If I had personal flares I probably would carry at least one.