2020 Best Life Jackets For Kayak Fishing, Boating & Water Activities!

I know you love water as much as I do. Sometime we take a fishing trip or go for a excursion on boat in the deep sea or lake, but the water is not always our friend. Water accidents happen all the time, and it is, therefore, wise to prepare for them.

One of the ways of protecting you and your family while out on the water is through wearing life jackets, which will ensure that your head is kept above water in the case you fall in.

 Why You Need To Wear A Kayak Life Jacket

  • Top proven way of saving lives from drowning
  • It is a requirement by the law
  • Multiple pockets offer wide-range storage
  • Boosts your confidence and performance

Things To Consider Before Buying

California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways reported that; in 2009 event where 67 percent of people on board drowned after their boat capsized, 84 percent did not wear life jackets.

Apart from acting as a life saver, fishing life vest are supposed to be well fitting and comfortable wears designed with great features and proper colors. Other important things to consider when buying fishing life vest include the following:

Adjustment Belts

Adjustable kayak pfds are perfect since they are versatile. They allow proper fit and can be customized incase of kids or small bodied passengers. A freely flying jacket can be more dangerous in case of accidents.

Therefore, with personal floatation device with adjustment belts, you are able to tighten the life vest or jacket intact. Which is much safer in ensuring you remain afloat.

Coast-Guard Approved

Statistics show that most unsuccessful rescues from drowning are caused by faulty life jackets. It is, therefore, advisable to go for Coast-Guard approved life jackets always. Do not be part of statistics just because you missed one important point while purchasing your fishing life jacket.

Coast-Guard approved PFD are dependable and completely safe. They are manufactured under the supervision and approval of water life experts, making them not likely to fail.

Universal Size and Fit

Kayak fishing life jackets designed with a universal fit can be used by a wide range of people with different body physiques. In case you are not sure about the size of the user or intending to use the life jacket among several people, it is important to consider purchasing a PFD with a universal fit.

Life jackets from 28-32 inches are small; 32-36 inches are medium and from 40-44 inches are large. You can select the right size depending on how best it fits you.

User Age and Gender

The type of life jacket for kayak fishing you are buying is determined by the age of the intended user. Although, it is not advisable to take along small kids when visiting unpredictable waters.

If you have to, ensure you have life jackets that will securely fit them and keep them afloat in case your kayak capsizes.

Again, gender and age determine the weight of a person. For instance, most children weigh between 25-50 pounds while adults weight up to over 100 pounds.

This explains why their respective life jackets differ in weight capacity and buoyancy.

Colors and Design

The ancient design of orange bulky fishing life vests has been overshadowed lately. In the current market, you are guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for in a PFD or life jacket.

With this, I mean these jackets are designed to look good on you while saving your life at the same time.

They are available in bright and reflective colors, camouflage colors and so much more color ranges.

10 Best Life Jackets For Kayak Fishing

The best kayak life vests that we will describe below have excellent safety features, as well as other convenient accessories that guarantee that your investment is worth it.

1. NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD has been designed with kayak, fly and tour fishermen in mind, with varied inbuilt features that make your fishing experience more enjoyable while keeping you safe and secure.

To begin with, the NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD has seven front pockets which can store different items include tackle boxes and tipper.

This storage ability is supported by 8 customizable attachment points, such as a coil tool retractor, D-ring and attachment loops, rod holder loops, and a knife lash tab.

When it comes to your comfort in the life jacket, you can take advantage of the mesh lower back and soft FIT foam which contours to your body for a plush and excellent fit.

Highlighted Features

  • 7 front pockets for everything from small tackle boxes to tippet
  • The mesh lower back is a great fit on high-back seats
  • 8 adjustment points lets you customize the fit for comfort and security
  • Soft PlushFIT foam flotation conforms to your body as you wear it for unsurpassed comfort
MTI Adventurewear Calcutta Kayak Fishing Angler PFD Life Jacket

The green and gray fisher kayak life jacket from MTI Adventurewear embodies all of the great things we know about the brand.

This PFD has multiple pockets for storage making it perfect for all anglers.

In addition, the life jacket has generous lower cargo pockets where you can fit your spool of line or your reel, as well as front and rear D-rings where you can attach any extra gear.

Multiple front buckle closures also allow for venting as you fish.

Highlighted Features

  • Four front pockets offer ample storage space for fishing necessities
  • Center buckle closure with adjustable sides and adjustable shoulder straps to dial in the perfect fit
  • D-rings front and back for attaching gear
  • Completely PVC Free
  • USCG strength tested at 50 mph
Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants

Children are definitely the most important cargo on board a boat, and it is therefore crucial to ensure their safety throughout.

The comfortable and secure Stohlquist type II PFD is the perfect life jacket for your infant and toddler.

Firstly, the reel foot of the Blade is fully metal with a synthetic encasement, which in turn provides insulation to all anglers in cold environments so that you can fish in comfort for longer periods.

Additionally, the Blade spinning reel has carbon fiber drag washers with 11 shielded stainless steel bearings and precision machined gears.

This entire system works flawlessly together to make sure your fishing is smooth, powerful and efficient.

Highlighted Features

  • Vibrantly colored nylon
  • 2" thick padding
  • 16" wide
  • Grab loop with floating beads allows for quick retrieval in water
  • Double collar supports and cradles head
  • 200 Denier oxford shell and liner
  • Quick release buckle over entry zipper for added security. Adjustable crotch strap.
  • Infant PFD is type II PFD
  • Hand Washable in Soap and Water
Stearns Child Watersport Classic Series Vest

The Stearns Watersport is the perfect life jacket for keeping your child safe while out on the water.

The Stearns Watersport is the perfect life jacket for keeping your child safe while out on the water.

The type III Personal Flotation Device has 1 inch webbing for added safety, nylon construction for durable use, and PE foam for optimum comfort. This Coast-Guard approved vest is the perfect choice for your kids.

Highlighted Features

  • Secure 1" webbing
  • Closed-sided vest
  • Leg strap so vest stays in place, even in the water
  • For children 30-50 lbs.
  • Durable nylon construction over PE foam
MTI Helios Inflatable PFD Life Jacket

The MTI Helios is an inflatable PFD or kayak life vest that makes use of the Yoke style fit to provide lightweight and reliable safety on the water.

This life jacket has an excellent design which keeps you cool even in the hottest environments, so that your fishing experience is not impeded by the discomfort often associated with life jackets.

The life jacket can be instantly inflated with a tag on the ripcord, giving you 29lbs of quick inflation. You can check the connection of the CO2 cylinder using the inbuilt window, giving you peace of mind when you are fishing.

The Helios also sports an interior pocket for a back-up cylinder, a back-up oral inflation tube for added security, a reflective trim for additional safety, and a tethered whistle for added convenience.

Highlighted Features

  • Yoke style inflatable PFD is lightweight
  • Very cool in hot climates
  • Inflates in seconds
  • Inside pocket for back-up CO2 cylinder
  • Boasts reflective trim, and tethered whistle for added safety
  • Backup oral inflation tube, reflective trim, and tethered whistle for added safety
Extrasport Baja Men’s Type III PFD

The Baja Personal Flotation Device from Extrasport raises the benchmark for life jacket comfort, with superior design features that will ensure your safety and security while you are out fishing.

To begin with, the women’s PFD has a type III front zip design that is supported by a curve cut foam, which works to provide you with a comfy wraparound feel at all times.

The trimmed floatation panels also provide extra security while contouring to your torso for a better fit.

Additionally, the Extrasport Baja Men’s Type III PFD has an efficient mesh ventilation system that guarantees the circulation of air for excellent breathability, and padded shoulder straps which can be adjusted to your preference.

The function of the Baja comes in the form of 2 front pockets for storage, and reflective piping for visibility in low light conditions.

Highlighted Features

  • Providing easier movement and reduced life vest ride up while paddling
  • Venting mesh on front and back and space-mesh pods on the inside back panel combine to allow ample airflow providing excellent comfort with a breathable heat managed PFD
  • Two front pockets provide ample storage while reflective piping and logo make wearer visible even in low light situations
  • Womens sizes: XS (32-35"), S/M (37-42"), L/XL (43-48")
  • Adjustable shoulders and sides, and a neoprene-covered adjustable waist belt
  • Baja Back comfort design features a thin lower back section to accommodate canoe and kayak seat backs

Whenever you’re out on the water, safety is always a top priority, and you will get not only that but a ton of convenience with this PFD from Stohlquist Fisherman.

First of all, the material on this vest is heavy duty nylon, so it’s built to last. Secondly, it comes with a ton of pockets and features that make it a must-have out on the water.

What we like most about this vest is that it’s easy to use and it’s comfortable. Using soft Gaia flotation foam, you feel like you’re wearing nothing, but the durable material also seems like it can handle any kind of environment. Neoprene shoulder pads round out the comfort level and provide you with a vest that is both stylish and easy to wear.

As for storage, you have it in spades. Best of all, there are plenty of hooks and straps so that you can manage all of your little accessories like nippers, retractors, and pliers. Never lose them again with this vest. Best of all, the two outer storage pockets have tough liners so that if you have to get back into your boat, you won’t crush anything inside.

Highlighted Features

  • Durable nylon construction
  • 500 denier Cordura shell & 200 denier oxford liner
  • High back flotation for better stability
  • Padded shoulders for comfort
  • Washable with soap and water
  • Two large storage pockets
  • Stiff pocket shells to protect contents
  • Holders for other accessories
  • Easy to adjust straps
  • Side ventilation for better airflow
Stormr Strykr Neoprene Jacket

You might not be able to pronounce its name, but this life jacket has been made for the professional angler.

The jacket uses high stretch Neoprene core technology to provide ultimate buoyancy while ensuring that the jacket is windproof.

Additionally, this jacket has Duratex material which is resistant to abrasion, and when this is combined with the thermal taped seams and the corrosion resistant zippers we have a jacket that will last for a long time to come.

The Strykr therefore establishes itself as the perfect jacket for severe environments, where you are bound to come into contact with harsh weather.

Highlighted Features

  • Non-corrosive Waterproof Center Front and Pocket Zippers
  • Internal Neoprene Cuff Adjustable Waistband
  • Two Interior Cord Locks and Fleece Lined Interior
  • Duratex Abrasion Resistant Material for High Use Areas
  • Glued Blind Stitched and Thermal Taped Seams
Stormr Strykr Bib

The Strykr Bib boasts of the same Neoprene core technology that the aforementioned Strykr Jacket is composed of, allowing it to function flawlessly in harsh weather conditions.

Enter your text here This life jacket which is targeted at pro fishermen is comfortable to wear, with adjustable shoulder straps and waist and ankle cuffs that provide a great fit.

The Stormr Strykr Bib also has convenient exterior pockets and reflective graphics, making it perfect for fishing in cruel conditions.

Highlighted Features

  • Glued Blind Stitched and Thermal Taped Seams
  • Non Corrosive Waterproof Leg Pocket and Center Front Zippers
  • Adjustable Shoulder Straps Waist and Ankle Cuffs
  • Waterproof High Stretch Materials Positive Buoyancy
  • Water Repellant Finish
  • Duratex Abrasion Resistant Material for High Use Areas
MTI Adventurewear Fisher Kayak Fishing PFD Life Jacket

The universally fitting Calcutta fishing life jacket from MTI has been designed specifically with kayak fishing in mind, boasting of a host of features that make your time on the water much safer.

This life jacket can be secured using the 3 buckle closures at the front of the jacket, ensuring that the Calcutta does not come off in the event that you fall in the water.

For additional comfort the life jacket is composed of 2 side adjustments and padded shoulder straps, which ensure slimmer and larger individuals fit well into the jacket.

The Adventurewear Calcutta also has convenient features dedicated to fishing, such as large tackle and cargo pockets, a shell fabric which is resistant to hooks snags, front and rear D-rings, a front lash tab, a front mounted plier sleeve and a retractor holder which can be pinned on.

Highlighted Features

  • Universal size fits 30-52″ chest
  • Three buckle front closure with two adjustments on each side
  • Padded shoulder straps to fit slim to super-sized torsos
  • All adjustment straps have stowaway pockets for strap tails
  • Fishing specific features include generous pockets
  • Includes front lash tab, a pin-on retractor holder, and front-mounted plier sleeve
  • D-rings front and back
  • Five pockets include two big tackle-box cargo pockets with an interior pouch each
  • Extra exterior velcro mesh pocket
  • Reflective trim, hook resistant shell fabric prevents snags and includes hat hanger loop

Final Verdict

The ten best life jackets for kayaking that we have just covered earn my stamp of approval. These convenient, stable, versatile and most importantly secure jackets have been masterfully built to keep you and your family safe.

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David Valle

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

  • David Moore says:

    I was wondering if there was a pfd with a waterproof (dry) pocket (for carrying a cell phone and such). If you know of such a thing please let me know. Thanks in adavance.

  • It still amazes me that so many people still don’t wear life jackets when they are out on the water. They are relatively low cost compared to the benefit you get, especially since they double up as a fishing vest anyways. I have owned a couple NRS life vests and I have always been more than happy with them.

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