Water sports can be a lot of fun. Some people do it for recreational purposes while others enjoy it as a sport, kayaking for example.
It is common knowledge (as evidenced by multiple studies across the globe) that the majority of the fatalities concerning water sports are related to incidents where individuals were not wearing a life jacket. To state the obvious, buy the best life jacket before you plan a kayaking trip, it could be a lifesaver!
What is a Kayak Life Vest?
A kayak life vest or a jacket which is also commonly referred to as a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is a piece of attire that you would expect to have on every kayaking boat. This is, perhaps, the most important piece of equipment whilst you are on a kayak. Your safety is paramount and it is important that you ensure you have your own vest that fits you perfectly and is in a serviceable condition.
There are many kinds of kayak life vest ranging from the traditional flotation foam devices to a trendy and newly designed inflatable life jacket. They are meant to cater to different forms of boating activities with corresponding buoyancy, functionality and performance levels.
Life Vest Regulations
In certain countries, a life jacket also needs to meet certain regulatory and coast guard specifications (particularly for kids or those under 13). Always make it a point to check those and whenever in doubt, always consults officials, coast guard members before purchasing your jacket.
Recommended Life Vests for Kayaking
Why is a Kayak Life Vest Necessary?
There are compelling reasons why these pieces of equipment should be worn and that is to prevent any mishaps if you accidentally find yourself in the water (and are drowning) or when your boat breaks down or gets physically damaged. There are no guarantees that this won’t happen. At worse, you may not be a swimmer and in such a scenario, your chances of drowning are pretty high. In these situations, your only fall back is to cause and ensure that you purchase and wear (at all times) the best life jacket possible.
Attributes of a Good Life Vest
Best kayak jackets are also lifesavers once you are stranded in the water and are awaiting help. In such cases, a highly visible life jacket that has a number of pockets with distress flares and radio is effectively ensuring that you get a new lease of life and get rescued by the coast guard.
A good quality standard life jacket, when worn appropriately, is created to ensure that it flips an unconscious person who is face down to rotate and face towards the sky whilst in the water on their back. This will allow this person to breathe normally.
PFD’s are designed for recreational boating. You can find them to be generally smaller in size, not very bulky and much more comfortable than a standard life jacket. However, for reasons mentioned, such jackets do not have much buoyancy and as a result of which, may not assist you in flipping you face up if you are in an unconscious state.
Every human body (irrespective of their fitness and skill level) has an endurance level of staying afloat in water, once you are away from your boat. Add to it the unforgiving effects of being submerged in cold water (which can be all year round) or the unfortunate possibility of having an accident and hitting your head leading to unconsciousness or getting dazed. That is where a life jacket comes in to protect your life. With regards to cold water, those who are not accustomed to it can totally lose their control over their breathing, once they are immersed in water without a life jacket.
Put on Your Vest!
Also, it is quite commonly observed that people keep their life jacket in their kayaking boats or next to the kayak seats but not wear it. If you get separated from your boat, you lose your jacket too. Accidents happen in a flip of a second and that they don’t give you a chance to put your jacket on which, don’t forget, needs to be fastened and adjusted properly for it to save your life.
To sum up, buy a comfortable and good quality kayaking life jacket that is a perfect fit for you, which does not decrease your freedom of movement too much. When you go out in the water, always ensure that your life jacket is properly fastened and adjusted at the right adjustment points. This jacket is meant to save your life and shouldn’t be an ‘added piece of gear’ on your body when you find yourself in testing times; which really defeats the purpose of putting it on in the first place!
Types of Kayak Life Vests
What is a paddle vest? Paddle vests are PFDs that are commonly opted by recreational kayakers and related water sports enthusiasts. These life jackets are designed like vests and are stuffed with foam or similar floatation material which helps a person stay above water.
The best life vests do not require much maintenance. You need to clean them as you would any other jacket and ensure that you dry them out in the sun when out of use. The floatation mechanism is automatic and starts working from the moment you put this life jacket on. It is a multipurpose life jacket that can be used for a variety of water sports including kayaking of course due to its freedom of movement. You can also expect quite a few pockets with these standard PFD jackets which can help you keep, snacks, sunscreen, tools and other emergency gear handy, which is something that you don’t find in inflatable jackets.
These paddle vests can be bulky in shape and not the most comfortable whilst kayaking or moving your body. Moreover, they are well insulated and can be warm during the summer months.
Inflatable Life Vests
Inflatable life vests, as the name, suggests include vests with additional waist packs or belt bags and are frequently used for kayaking and other related water sports. They are designed in a slim style and are generally comfortable to wear as compared to the paddle vests.
These inflatable life vests come with two functionalities: manual as well as automatic. In a manual life jacket, you need to pull a cord which will trigger a carbon dioxide cartridge within the vest, causing it to inflate and start functioning. On the other hand, the automatic vest is designed to activate the jacket as soon as it is submerged in the water. Most of the kayakers prefer manual life vests given the likelihood of exposure to the water.
Inflatable life jackets are designed to provide you with maximum flexibility while you move your body during kayaking or similar sports activity. They do not cover a lot of your upper body and fairly airy in texture, which is ideal for hot summer days.
However, the manual inflatable vests are not buoyant by design and will require to be inflated before they can offer any buoyancy. This is problematic if you are involved in a kayaking accident and are injured or unconscious and will not have the chance to inflate them beforehand. These jackets also require regular maintenance for optimum functionality and the carbon dioxide cartridges require replacement after each time they have been inflated.
Inflatable vests are also not a good fit for everyone as they cannot be used by those involved in high-impact activities, for example, whitewater kayaking or waterskiing to name a few. These may also not be suitable for individuals aged 16 and under or those who cannot swim.
The Differences Between a Life Jacket and Life Vest
A good and well-fitted jacket with the right functionality can make all the difference between life and death when you are out in the water on your own. As discussed, these jackets are designed with different aims and you need to decide which works best for you, given your preferred sport and cost constraints. You must understand the difference between these life jackets before you decide to purchase one.
Quite often, a life jacket or a life vest is also referred to as a PFD but there is a remarkable difference between these. You should not confuse a PFD for a life jacket. A PFD will keep you afloat but will not flip you over for continued breathing on your back. This can be a costly confusion!
The best kayak life jackets (with more padding at the front of the jacket, and less at the back) are meant to hold the person face up if he gets unconscious in water or rotates you towards the sky if you have lost consciousness facing down in the water.
In certain countries, there are strict restrictions on each individual requiring them to wear only a life jacket or a PFD (not torn or worn out) when getting onto a boat, failing which, you could be subjected to a heft fine.
Life jackets are the bulky vests commonly found in orange or red colors and are more vests than jackets (with some having oversized collars as head support) when it comes to looks.
Water sports experts, members of the coast guard suggest life jackets for children and non-swimmers as it gives them more buoyancy and hence more chances to survive an accident.
Characteristics of a PFD
You may be wondering that it is best to buy a life jacket rather than a PFD. However, PFD has its own unique benefits and some of their features that you may want to consider, prior to your purchase, are:
- They are not very bulky and are generally more comfortable to wear. The reason for this is that PFD, generally speaking, have their buoyancy mechanism at the back of the jacket.
- They provide you with more flexibility and a range of motions whilst conducting the activity.
- PFDs can be bought for specific water sports activities, e.g. kayaking, paddle sports, and snorkeling with specific features that cannot be found in your standard life jacket.
Suffice it to say, when you buy a life vest, make sure you wear it too, at all times, particularly for kids and those who aren’t really swimmers. Whatever you call it or wherever you buy it from, it is only worth it if you wear it.
Best 6 Kayak Life Vests
Here are some of the best pieces of equipment that we recommend:
NRS Chinook Fishing PFD
This fishing PFD is ideal for anglers and has ample storage with seven pockets in the front which allows you to store your personal accessories. These are perfect for those planning any kind of fishing expedition such as kayak or fly. Mesh lower back provides excellent ventilation if the weather is warm, given its great design on high-back seats. The spacious front entry design has eight adjustment points which give you maximum range of motion, best comfort levels, and security. It also comes standard with Soft PlushFIT foam which adapts to your body when you put it on for great padding and comfort. It also provides you with a coil tool retractor for clipping various fishing-related items or tools, including a D-ring on its back to attach your net. Not to forget, a strobe holder loop too in case of overcast/low light weather conditions.
Price Range: $140 – $160
Available Colors: Black, Orange, Green, and Charcoal
Kokatat Ronin Pro Rescue PFD
This Ronin Pro PFD brings together comfort and practicality for whitewater as well as ocean paddle sports fans. It is designed with a trimmed-down profile and internal harness, Thermo foamed padded shoulders which are adjustable. It has an internal grip panel and a low profile design giving you full spinal protection. It also has reflective accents that provide the user with top visibility and increased safety. It is made with GAIA-PVC free foam and is also CE and Transport Canada approved. It also has large duplex pockets with attachments of lanyard with stretch mesh sleeve.
Price Range: $194.25 – $259.00
Colors Available: Yellow, Red, and Mantis
Kokatat Ronin Pro Buoyancy (lb/oz): S/M (16/05) L/XL (17/05) XXL (18/00)
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic
It features a carved, flexible foam design, unlike any other brand. The vest conforms to your body and stays in contact even if you are paddling or fishing. The vest is designed in such a way that it feels very comfortable in all instances.
Don’t be mistaken by its flimsy outlook as this vest features a heavy-duty nylon fabric. The nylon not only provides strength but also resists tears and punctures. As a result, you can assure that this product can last long even in the roughest conditions.
The good thing about this model is that it’s available in dual sizes. You can opt for either size to easily accommodate your body type. Moreover, the unit features mesh ventilation panels located on the front and lower back. These panels allow adequate airflow and keep you cool even in the scorching heat.
Most traditional vests offer dull colors that can be hard to find in an emergency. Meanwhile, the SOLAS reflective material of the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic ensures it is fully visible. You can also enjoy the expandable zippered pockets of this model, as it allows you to carry small accessories.
- Features mesh ventilation on the front and back for breathability
- The mesh panel can lodge most kayak seats
- Offers six different adjustment straps for a comfortable fit
- Uses SOLAS reflective material for visibility
- Includes an extendable zippered pocket with mesh for easy water drainage
- It is a bit bulky
- Might be small in size for some adults
Stohlquist Canyon Lifejacket
This model is a type-V commercial-grade life vest that promises high-flotation to its users. The universal design of the product is ideally made for whitewater or recreational boating. With its increased buoyancy of 26 pounds, the life vest assures you stay afloat in water.
The vest also promises high mobility as compared to standard models. Its non-restrictive cut, along with a simple four-buckle entry, makes it an attraction for most people. As a result, the ease of use makes it highly suitable for amateurs.
Moreover, its top buckle provides additional safety to the user. While some vests might weigh you down, it ensures you can swim easily in water.
Also, the durable build quality of this product makes it a safe investment. It’s made using Denier 240 mini-ripstop shell along with 210 Denier oxford liner. Consequently, it keeps the vest protected from wear and tear and ensures long-lasting operation.
- Offers high mobility and a simple front entry
- Perfectly designed for a whitewater or recreational boats
- Commercial-grade PFD that promises a universal design
- 26lbs of buoyancy rating ensures your safety
- Very durable with 240 Denier Mini-Ripstop Shell and 210 Denier Oxford Lining
- No other sizes available
- It is only designed for adults
Onyx 100400-200-004-16 Adult Type I Vest Style Life Jacket
Vest-style life jackets are some of the most commonly used models nowadays. Their effective design and ease of use make them a perfect choice when going in the water. But that is just the tip of the iceberg!
The Onyx vest-style life jacket is a PFD that you can always rely on. Whether you are paddling in a kayak or swimming in the water, it ensures your safety at all intervals.
This is a type-l adult life vest that is specifically designed to meet the modern user’s needs. It’s a U.S Coast-Guard-approved life jacket that features a bright orange color. It allows you to be easily spotted in case of an emergency.
The best thing about this life jacket is its adjustable design. Traditional vests usually come in a standard size that doesn’t offer you a custom fit. However, with this model, you can assure a snug fit with its adjustable straps.
Furthermore, the jacket promises a greater minimum buoyancy when compared to its rivals. Its 32 pounds of buoyancy helps you stay afloat even in very rough conditions. Meanwhile, the sturdy fabric of the product ensures that it lasts for long.
- U.S Coast-Guard-approved life jacket offers optimal user-safety
- Includes adjustable straps for a secure fit
- Offers a high buoyancy rating of 32 pounds
- Promises great visibility due to the bright orange fabric
- Perfect choice for boating or other recreational activities
- Some users complained about its large size
- It is quite bulky for kayaking
The Stohlquist Trekker is considered as one of the best PFDs available. Its comfortable design is where this life vest shines bright. Conventional vests fail to deliver the comfort you need during your fishing expeditions. Such vests can get itchy when worn for a longer duration.
However, we assure you that this model won’t disappoint you when it comes to comfort. This recreational PFD features an exclusive graded size and mesh-top design that ensures a comfortable ride while boating. Also, the graded size offers a more customized fit for a vast audience with different body sizes.
Additionally, the reflective 3M fabric of this unit offers great visibility, even in rough conditions. Its ergonomic design, backed with a wrap-shaped torso, further adds to the comfort of the user. Meanwhile, the chest restraint harness ensures that it doesn’t come off your body.
Stohlquist Trekker is a recreational PFD that is well-known for its comfort and functionality. The 16 pounds of buoyancy it offers helps you stay afloat if you find yourself in water. You can always rely on this PFD to maximize your safety and comfort during watersports.
Talking about durability, this model offers a 400D Shell fabric and 200D nylon lining that adds to its strength. Consequently, its lifespan increases while keeping you safe for longer.
- Very easy to adjust as compared to other models
- Features eight different points of adjustments
- Uses chest strap harness to minimize the risk of riding up
- Offers two large zippered pockets for storage
- 16lbs of buoyancy rating makes it perfect for watersports
- Only available in one color
- It is overpriced
Watersports do require some sort of safety precautions to avoid any mishaps. To ensure user safety, the Stohlquist Rocker is an ideal choice for the fishing community. Its all-round capabilities make it extremely feasible for boating and fishing.
The Stohlquist Rocker packs a handful of features that provide a perfect combination of comfort and safety. Its Wrapture shaped torso offers an ergonomic design that acts as a body wrapping foam. Meanwhile, its self-tensioned shoulders ensure a stable fit for the user. As a result, it offers great balance and comfort.
Moreover, a Gripp-Loc non-slip panel is embedded within the product that minimizes the risk of ride-up. The amazing fact about this PFD is that it also provides great adjustability options. Its six different adjustment areas with side-pulls and front waist closure keep you satisfied during recreational activities.
Sometimes, wearing a PFD can be irritating for users when worn on a warm sunny day. Foreseeing this, Stohlquist offers a low-cut front-zip entry with a ventilated lumbar pad. It ensures adequate airflow to your body that keeps the heat at bay.
The unit also promises 16.8 pounds of flotation and great comfort. Its padded shoulder straps not only provide additional protection but also keep you comfortable. Also, it features a large main pocket for storage while its reflective fabric delivers high visibility.
- Features a ventilated lumbar pad that provides better air circulation
- Ergonomic design that ensures maximum user-safety and comfort
- Cross-chest harness promises a snug fit
- Uses Gripp-Loc interior to prevent riding up
- Padded shoulder straps promise maximum comfort and conform to the user’s body
- Shoulder straps do not adjust
- Might not be suitable for skinny people
Mustang Survival – HIT Inflatable Work Vest for Adults
If you’re looking for a PFD that you can wear for long durations, then consider buying the Mustang Survival work vest. It is tailor-made for constant wear situations when you seek a reliable solution for hot and humid climates. It also acts as a perfect choice if you seek high mobility.
The Mustang Survival is an inflatable work vest that is first of its kind. It combines a highly comfortable design with a low-profile fit. This inflatable vest provides increased mobility while reducing heat stress. As a result, you can actively indulge in watersports or other recreational activities without breaking a sweat.
This model’s major highlight is its incredible buoyancy rating of 35lbs, which is almost double than of most standards vests. Its high buoyancy rating means that it provides extra flotation for added safety.
Research shows that fluorescent yellow-green is one of the most visible colors in the water. Keeping this in mind, Mustang Survival features a yellow-green inflation cell that provides ideal visibility. Whether you are an ordinary fisherman or a watersports junkie, this vest keeps you safe at all times.
Also, this model features a Hydrostatic Inflator Technology that promises dependable inflation when required. This technology allows the vest to inflate only when four inches or more underwater. Besides, it also features a SecureZIP closure system that ensures the vest stays close even during intense action.
- Uses Hydrostatic Inflator Technology for 35lbs of buoyancy
- Perfectly designed for constant wear situations
- Offers increased mobility while reducing heat stress
- Utilizes a fluorescent yellow-green inflation cell for better visibility
- Features a SecureZIP closure system that keeps the vest closed during intense action
- Screen printed lettering peels off after some time
- No mesh available on the front and back panel
KENT First Responder PFD
The Kent first aid PFD is simply remarkable when it comes to user safety. Its durable quality and consistent performance make it highly dependable in any situation. Let’s have a look at some of the key features of this model.
The incredible performance of Kent PFD reflects in its soft and lightweight design. The flexibility and reduced weight of this model not only promises a user-friendly design but also offers high convenience for comfortable wear. Its segmented foam design further enhances your comfort level while offering you high mobility.
Its adjustable neoprene shoulders and nylon straps are also worth noticing as they are responsible for a snug fit. Moreover, they add to your comfort and are suitable for individuals with different body sizes. A SOLAS Grade Reflective material is also present on its shoulder straps and rear that provides easy spotting in water.
Furthermore, the contoured foam of this model offers great attraction as it conforms to the body. This allows a perfect fit, unlike traditional vests, that might be wobbly when worn. The great thing about this PFD is that it is also quite durable.
Its 200 Denier Nylon Ripstop and Oxford Nylon lining offer increased resistance against punctures. Besides, you can also find large zippered pockets for storage and a D-ring to accommodate small accessories.
- Tailor-made for people who are 90 pounds and over
- Adjustable shoulder straps allow a customized fit
- Covered front closure provides additional safety
- Uses SOLAS Grade Reflective material for enhanced visibility
- Features two large zippered pockets for convenient storage
- Not convenient to use in warm climates
- The concealed front might affect your mobility
Stohlquist Fisherman delivers a unique graded size and mesh-top design. It also promises a flexible size that fits snugly for a wide range of people. Meanwhile, its robust construction offers the ideal use for paddlers.
The amazing thing about this PFD is that it assures your safety and comfort. It also features EVA pockets that act as folding work surfaces. Meanwhile, its padded shoulders and lower back waist add to your comfort and keep you safe.
You can also find multiple mounting locations that are tailor-made for tippets, retractors, or leader lines. Besides, its multiple pockets promise reliable drainage that keeps you lightweight without the accumulation of water.
If durability is what you admire, then this is just the right pick for you. The 500D Cordura Shell and 200D Oxford Lining ensures it stays free from wear and tear. Also, its 16lbs of buoyancy rating guarantees your safety in the water.
- Features an upper mesh design for a snug fit
- Includes multiple pockets for storage
- Cross-webbing chest harness ensures the vest stays on you during recreational activities
- Provides mounting locations for tippets and retractors
- 16lbs of buoyancy rating for added safety
- Customer support service is incompetent
Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD
The MIT 100 is a premium-quality PFD that targets customers looking for a budget-friendly model. Its reasonable price is backed with many features that make it very attractive for the fishing community.
The stylish design of the MIT 100 offers an attractive outlook that promises ease of use. It uses an inflatable membrane technology which keeps the PFD lightweight while delivering a comfortable fit. Also, the flexible design assures it’s suitable for the majority.
The model also includes an easy access inflator inspection window. It allows you to closely monitor your device before putting it to use. Its one-fold design is also worth noticing. The unit allows you to pack it easily for storage when not in use.
The buoyancy rating of this PFD is 26lbs, which is quite notable as compared to conventional PFDs. It not only helps you stay afloat but also offers a perfect option for boating activities. Also, be mindful that its buoyancy rating is far better than most foam PFDs.
Moreover, the universal design of this model readily fits most adults. Individuals who are over 80 pounds should consider this as a perfect investment for their safety. Besides, a CO2 inflation cartridge is also included within the package.
- Durable build quality made out of 500 Denier Cordura outer shell
- Utilizes inflatable membrane technology for enhanced user safety
- The inflator inspection window is quite easy to access
- Offers easy storage with its one-fold design
- High buoyancy rating of 26lbs makes it perfect for boating activities
- Not an ideal choice for non-swimmers
- No clips or bungees present to attach various fishing tools
Best Kayak Fishing PFDs under $100
The following models are some of the best PFDs for kayak fishing that can be purchased under 100$.
PFDs are specifically designed for those who keep their safety an utmost priority. Whether it’s paddling, fishing, or any other boating activities, these devices keep you safe from mishaps. However, you must own a quality PFD that assures your safety.
The Stohlquist Fit is a multi-use personal floatation device that is suitable for paddling and boating activities. It features molded front and back foam panels that offer comfortable use when worn. Its buckles are also placed strategically, which helps it perform better in watersports activities.
Using their vast experience, Stohlquist designs its products such that they offer a snug fit for people of all ages and sizes. The universal size of this PFD, paired with its high quality, promises you years of lasting safety and comfort.
Furthermore, the unit promises a high-profile cut-away arm design that delivers great mobility. Its lower positioned waist buckle keeps it conformed to your body while the Wrap Around Sides promise comfort.
The Coast-Guard-approved PFD also assures a thin profile that allows minimal seat back interference. It also has a lightweight design of only 0.7lbs and offers easy storage as compared to other bulkier models.
- Promises high mobility with cut-away arms
- Features hang loop for easy drying
- Lightweight design allows easy storage
- Ideally designed for boating and very easy to adjust
- Comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
- Some users reported it as not being comfortable
- It rides up in a kayak
Onyx Youth Paddle Sports Life Jacket
The Onyx Youth Paddle Lifejacket is a U.S Coast-Guard-approved PFD designed for youth passionate about watersports. Its comfortable design and adjustable nature make it one of the best PFDs for recreational activities.
The low-profile design of this model minimizes bulk while offering mobility for paddlers. Its compact foam build, larger armholes, and several other adjustment options add to your mobility. As a result, it is considered a perfect choice for water skiing, PWC, and tubing.
Moreover, the model features a wide front entry that has a sturdy front zip for a secure fit. It also includes an adjustable bottom belt that maintains a high comfort level and safety for youngsters.
The PFD also features thin shoulder straps and larger armholes that play an important role during motion. These features allow it to become extra convenient while paddling or boating. Also, the side adjustment points promise a customized fit that ensures maximum comfort.
You can also notice an extendable zippered pocket with this product. It allows you to store small items or snacks during your expeditions. Besides, the mesh drain found at the bottom of the pockets helps in draining water.
- Promises a lightweight and compact design for high comfort
- Uses high capacity foam back for convenient use
- Easily adjustable using six adjustment straps
- Features neoprene shoulder pads that add to your comfort
- Includes expandable zippered pocketed that have mesh drainage to prevent water accumulation
- Not meant for adults
- It is relatively expensive
Body Glove Men’s Method Life PFD Jacket
Safety and comfort are the two things that the watersports community always seeks to achieve. A high-quality PFD such as the Body Glove Nylon can be a perfect investment for anyone looking to acquire these luxuries. Its ability to keep you safe and comfortable can make a huge difference at the end of the day.
The consistent performance of the Body Glove Nylon life jacket is due to its durable construction. Its outer shell uses a heavy-duty nylon fabric paired with polyethylene foam. The nylon adds strength to the unit while the foam takes care of your comfort.
Another plus point of this model is its secure fit. It uses four durable one-inch belts that allow you a perfect fit. The assembly is further enhanced with sturdy quick-release buckles that make removal a breeze.
Like any premium-quality PFD, this one also provides high mobility. Its large armholes allow you to move freely while involved in watersports. The lifejacket also includes strategically-placed drainage holes, unlike any other model. It prevents the accumulation of water while keeping you lightweight and comfortable.
- Very durable with its heavy-duty nylon outer shell
- Offers great comfort with embedded polyethylene foam
- Features quick-release buckles to easily remove the vest
- Promises large armholes for high mobility
- Drainage holes are placed strategically to get rid of water
- Doesn’t offer great visibility as compared to other models
- The color scheme might not be attractive for some people
Kokatat Women’s UL MsFit Tour PFD Life Jacket
This PDF life jacket is specifically designed with women in mind and provides for multiple point adjustments. This gives them a lot of flexibility and at the same time providing them with comfort and a sense of security. The components used in making this jacket are ergonomic and innovative in nature and include thermo-formed, padded Hypalon shoulders, articulated shell, and foam panels, reflective tape for perfect visibility, CE approved deep cut neck and armholes, GAIA PVC-free foam and modern design look and feel. There is ample space for storage for your gadgets and other personal belongings.
Price Range: $148.50 – $214.95
Color s Available: Mango, Olive, Glacier, and Mantis.
Kokatat UL Guide Glacier PFD Life Jacket
This PFD life jacket is a rescue vest for sea kayakers entailing all the features you would need in a full Type V rescue PFD. It has reinforced shoulders, rescue belts with a strong harness and a great body fit (with an articulated seam) for full-day comfort and great storage pockets (two in the front and one back last tab). The foam used in its making is GAIA PVC free and any CFC ozone-depleting chemicals as well.
Price Range: $224.10 – $249.00
Available Colors: glacier, mango and red
Flotation / Buoyancy: [S] 16lb 5oz, [M] 16lb 5oz, [L] 16lb 6oz, [XL] 16lb 13oz
Baltic Dinghy Pro Buoyancy Aid
An advanced dinghy and buoyancy kayak life vest are commonly relied upon by Olympians and world champions. It has Airex super soft foam which is complimented by laminated polyethylene foam. A combination of these two makes this gear super comfortable. This jacket also features a Mylar pocket in the front and Delrin zip which is durable. Other features include high cut hook and loop with adjustable and reinforced shoulders.
The downside of this jacket is that it only has 1 front storage pocket which isn’t waterproof. Although this gets overlooked by the fact that it does have other waterproof pouches which are good for storing personal items such as keys, coins, and phone.
Price: $72.90 – $94.35
Only 1 color available – black and grey combination.
Kokatat Orbit Tour PFD
This floatation device offers a lot of movement for kayakers. It has two side adjustment straps and covered shoulder adjustments to give you a good looking and comfortable fit once you splash in. There are also reflective tapes on the top of each shoulder strap which provides for great visibility when you find yourself in an emergency. It has 2 front pockets which help you to store various items that you need on the go as well as life-saving equipment too.
Price Range: $148.50-$165.00
Available Colors: Yellow & Red
Flotation / Buoyancy: 15 lb 8 oz
FAQs about the Best Life Vests
Who Approves PFD in the USA?
They are approved by the U.S Coast Guard.
What does PFD Mean?
PFD stands for ‘Personal Flotation Device’. They are more comfortable than a life jacket and can be worn for longer periods. However, they do not offer the same level of safety and protection as a life jacket.
How to Measure for Kayak Life Vest?
In the case of adults, kayak life vests are usually measured on the basis of their chest size and in cases of children, it is usually by means of their body weight. Certain kayaking life vests are designed for women only with shorter torso lengths helping them maintain better balance whilst in water. As a general rule of thumb, a best fitted jacket will feel snuggly on the tighter side (but not restrictive to your body) and will allow you to breathe freely.
How to Wear Kayak Life Vest?
Whichever life jacket you choose, your first and foremost concern should be a perfect fit that can close safely, depending on your body type. The last thing you want is for your kayaking life jacket to be opening or not fitting properly and causing you to panic in the middle of a sea or lake. The best life jackets or PFDs that have adjustable shoulder straps should be your priority as they give you a great fit by customizing the size to suit your body type, comfort and the weather conditions (by loosing or tightening the shoulder straps as needed).
Kayak life jackets are important for your safety and those of your loved ones. This is not a piece of kayaking equipment that you wear as a fashion statement or just ‘put on’ without ensuring a proper fit just to comply with certain regulations or requirements of kayaking sport by a specific body or activity organization.