10 Best Kayak Fishing PFDs & Life Vests 2021 – Life Jackets Buying Guide

Kayaking and kayak fishing is extremely fun but it comes with a cost, the cost of living! But worry no more. You shouldn’t hold back because fishing with PFDs (personal floatation device) or life jackets provides all the safety you require for kayaking or kayak fishing. The kayak fishing PFDs are approved by the US coast guards to save your life during unforeseen situations.

The fishing life jackets are specially engineered and tailored using certain materials which makes them lightweight, comfortable, and hydrophobic. These life jackets prevent your body from rubbing against the kayak’s seat. Also, they provide maximum flotation to keep you floating face-up in water during some unwanted accident. Listed below are the 10 best kayak fishing PFDs with some amazing features.

Best kayak fishing pfds

Comparison Table (Best Life Jackets For Kayak Fishing)

IMAGE PRODUCT RATING PRICE
BEST OVERALL
Stohlquist Fisherman Fishing Life Jacket
Stohlquist Fisherman Fishing Life Jacket
  • Buoyancy : 16 lbs
  • Weight : 1.9 lbs
  • Pockets : 2+
9.7
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OUR FAVOURITE
NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket
  • Buoyancy : 16 lbs
  • Weight : 2 lbs
  • Pockets : 5
9.5
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BEST BUDGET OPTION
Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Vest
Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Vest
  • Buoyancy : 15 lbs
  • Weight : 1.35 lbs
  • Pockets : 4
9.7
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BEST FOR WOMEN
stohlquist women flo life jacket
Stohlquist Flo Life Jacket
  • Buoyancy : 16 lbs
  • Weight : 1 lb. 6oz.
  • Pockets : 2
9.4
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BEST FOR STORAGE 
Lixacda fly fishing vest
Lixada Fly Fishing Vest
  • Buoyancy : 12 lbs
  • Weight : 1.65 lbs
  • Pockets : 10
9.3
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LIGHTWEIGHT
Lixacda fly fishing vest
Stohlquist Men Ebb Life Jacket 
  • Buoyancy : 16 lbs 
  • Weight : 1 lb 6.5 oz
  • Pockets : 2
9.3
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COMFORTABLE 
NRS Raku fly fishing vest
NRS Raku Fishing Life Jacket
  • Buoyancy : 16.5 lbs
  • Weight : 2.1 lbs
  • Pockets : 5
9.3
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FOR KAYAKS WITH HIGH SEATBACK
Lixacda fly fishing vest
Astral Ronny Life Jacket
  • Buoyancy : 16 lbs
  • Weight : 1 lbs
  • Pockets : 4+
9.3
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DURABLE 200 DENIER CONSTRUCTION
Onyx Movevent sports life vest
Onyx MoveVent Sports Life Vest
  • Buoyancy : 15
  • Weight : 2 lbs
  • Pockets : 2
9.3
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MADE FOR KAYAKS
NRS vChest Fishing PFD
NRS vChest Mesh Back PFD
  • Buoyancy : 16.5 lbs
  • Weight : 1.9 lbs
  • Pockets : 4
9.7
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Best Kayak Fishing PFDs/Life Vests Reviews

1. Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket – Best Kayak Fishing Life Vest

For a better fishing experience, you can optimize with the best kayak fishing life vest and stohlquist is no less than best. This fishing PFD is all about safety, and quality which makes it worth all the money you spend on this product.

This is a perfect PFD for you that comes with graded sizing making it a perfect fit. Besides, it has a high back made with durable mesh that not only makes it durable but also ultra-breathable. Alongside safety, the material of this life jacket is such that it provides ultimate comfort while you enjoy fishing. Not only that but it has got a beautiful design which gives off stylish looks.

What I liked the most about this PFD is that it comes with a lot of mounting areas, which makes it practical. You can mount all the other fishing tools on this life jacket which saves you from a lot of hassle. In addition to that, this fishing life jacket comes with many pockets that are stitched so that they drain water out conveniently.

What We Liked

  • Graded sizing
  • Mounting locations
  • Comfortable
  • Safe to use

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pricey

Overall, there is no exaggeration in saying that it is one of the best kayak fishing PFD due to its wide array of features. It comes with graded sizing which makes it a better fit for a wide range of sizes. Moreover, it comes with padded shoulders and a back that allows for ultimate comfort. Lastly, this PFD provides all the safety that you need due to its standard quality material.


2. NRS Chinook (Most Comfortable & Durable PFD For Fishing)

You can never go wrong with Chinook’s fishing kayak’s life jacket because it boasts a classy design and ultimate safety. You get this life jacket in three amazing colors, and it offers a zippered enclosure that is smooth and durable. It offers a comfortable fishing experience while you are on your kayak as it uses fabric that is soft yet durable.

What makes one of our favorite life jackets is that it provides ample room on the front so that you can move freely while fishing. Besides that, it fits perfectly on the back, which fits most of the kayak’s seats. Also, this life jacket is lined with plushFit foam that will keep you warm, comfy, and safe at all times. It also fits perfectly with most body shapes and sizes.

The most convenient thing about this product is that it has multiple adjustment points, making it a universal life jacket. You can easily adjust the fitting according to your body shape. In addition to that, it comes with multiple pockets of different sizes that help keep fishing tools close and in hand reach.

What We Liked

  • Stylish design
  • Many adjustment points
  • PlushFit foaming
  • Several pockets

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not enough sizes

Overall, this will be your go-to life jacket for a comfortable and safe fishing experience for the features and comfort it provides. It comes with several adjustment points that make it easy to fit properly around your upper torso. Moreover, this PFD has many pockets, big and small, that keep your fishing essentials close to you.


3. NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD – Best Life Jacket For Kayak Fishing

Next from our best kayak fishing PFDs review list is the ultimate NRS cVest Mesh Back life jacket that provides all sorts of comfort and safety. This life jacket provides a flotation of 16.5 pounds which is fair enough. This low-profile life jacket for kayaking is comfortable when worn and provides all the safety you need when you are kayak fishing.

It can be tricky to fit in kayak seats while wearing a life jacket but not with this one. It comes with high back flotation panels that can fit perfectly into almost all the kayak’s seats. What we found the best about this life jacket is that it has a meshed lower back panel that allows for breathability, comfort, and ultimate safety.

Moreover, this PFD has a lot of storage space that helps you keep all the fishing gears readily accessible. For instance, it comes with many D rings, lash tabs, zippered pockets, clamshell pockets, and many more. The durability of this life jacket is unmatched as it is made with nylon fabric. Lastly, it offers customized fit meaning you get your size after adjustments.

What We Liked

  • Customizable fit
  • Durable life jacket
  • It comes with a lot of pockets
  • High padded back

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only offers six size adjustments

Overall, this is an incredible fishing life vest that offers a customizable fit so that you can feel comfortable throughout the fishing adventure. It comes with a high padded back which is compatible with most of the kayak’s seats. This padded high back prevents the seat of the kayak from rubbing against your body. Lastly, it has a lot of pockets to keep all the essentials within reach.


4. Stohlquist Flo – Best Women Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

Why should women kayak fishers feel left out when we have this amazing stohlquist flo life jacket in the market. Stohlquist brand is celebrated for manufacturing top-quality waterware that provides comfort, safety, and durability. It comes in two beautiful colors that match your personality. The size, shape, and build is perfect for women’s vast body shapes.

It has a front zipper enclosure which makes it easy to wear and take off. It comes with a 400 x 200 denier ripstop shell that allows for maximum flotation and safety. In addition to that, this life jacket has a 210 denier oxford liner that provides comfort, breathability, and safety. The front zipper is ultra-durable, making sure it wraps around you perfectly without damage.

Another thing that grabbed our attention instantly is its neoprene waistband. This neoprene padded waistband allows for maximum durability and is resistant to water. It also allows for maximum flotation, keeping you safe in the water. Lastly, this life jacket is easy to maintain. You can wash it conveniently with your hands.

What We Liked

  • Durable material
  • It comes with a neoprene padded waistband
  • Durable zippered enclosure
  • Breathable and lightweight

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not for very short people

Overall, this is an incredible personal flotation device that keeps you safe in the water while you are rafting or kayak fishing. Specifically built for the female body, this life jacket supports multiple body shapes. It is made with top-quality fabric that makes it durable and high-performance. Lastly, this product is lightweight, making it easy to carry.


5. Lixada Fly Fishing Vest (Best Budget Option With Ample Storage)

Safety, comfort, and mobility should never be compromised while purchasing a life jacket, and this fishing vest provides all that. Besides, this is the only PFD with numerous pockets to keep everything you need for fishing close to you. Moreover, the comfort, safety, and convenience this life jacket provides are unrivaled, making it one of the best kayak fishing PFD.

Talking of comfort, this fishing vest is lined with polyester and EPE foam which is extremely gentle to your body. It provides long-lasting comfort and allows for a smooth and safe fishing experience. The fabric quality is such that it absorbs sweat and keeps you dry from the inside at all times. It also has mesh lining on the inner side that allows for maximum breathability.

Adding to that, this life jacket also has adjustable points that allow you to modify the size and fit according to your body type. You can conveniently do that by adjusting shoulder and waist straps. It is a multifunctional life jacket that allows you to go fishing in different water situations with comfort and safety.

What We Liked

  • Fully adjustable
  • Polyester and EPE foam lining
  • Mesh inner lining for breathability
  • Durable

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not for people above 95 kgs

If you are looking for an affordable PFD, then this one is your way to go. It boasts a lot of features, making it one of the best kayak fishing PFD. This life jacket is lined with premium quality fabric and foaming that provides comfort alongside breathability and safety. Last but not least, it also comes with many zippered pockets that allow for a better fishing experience.

Also check out the : Best Budget Fishing Kayaks


6. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

The Onyx Kayak fishing life jacket is all about convenience and safety. It is one of the best kayak fishing life jackets for the amazing features it provides. It is an all-purpose fishing vest that allows you to do secure rafting and fishing. This product is true to size and fits snuggly to your body, keeping you at peak comfort for the ultimate fishing experience.

The product has a fully padded high back that easily accommodates most kayak seats which is amazing. The flamed back relaxes your back against it and gives you a pleasant fishing experience. On top of that, this PFD has a lot of pockets and mounting locations, allowing you to keep all the fishing essentials close to you.

It can be adjusted to fit most body sizes and has six adjustment points. You can adjust the life jacket through shoulder and waist strap to fit it snuggly sound your body. The shoulder consists of neoprene pads that are extremely light and give a restful feeling to your shoulders. Lastly, it has a new lower back that allows for breathability.

What We Liked

  • Adjustable
  • Affordable
  • Comfy neoprene shoulder pads
  • Breathable mesh lower back

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Plastic zipper

Overall, this kayak fishing PFD is best for your fishing experience. It comes with a lot of features that make it comfortable and durable. First of all, it has neoprene padded padding that gives you a pleasant feel while retaining the lightweight feature. Also, you can keep your fishing gears close to you as it comes with many zippered pockets and mounting sites.


7. Stohlquist Men’s Ebb Life Jacket

Another flagship production by Stohlquist is this amazing men’s Ebb life jacket that will elevate your fishing experience in so many ways. It has a low-profile back which accommodates most kayaks. The main highlight of this life jacket is that it is made with nylon which makes it extremely durable. It offers long-lasting services and is resistant to wear and tear.

Moreover, it comes with a 400 x 200 denier ripstop shell, which is extremely durable and hard-wearing. Adding to that, it also comes with a 210 denier oxford liner that also adds to the overall durability. Therefore it is safe to say that it is the most long-lasting life jacket of all. Besides that, it also fits around your waist and shoulders for better movability.

On top of that, this kayak fishing PFD consists of PE foam that keeps you in comfort at all times without adding extra weight to the life jacket. The inner lining is of mesh that allows for ventilation and keeps you cool. The waistband is padded with neoprene that resists water and resists damages making it extremely practical. Lastly, this product is easy to maintain and requires light hand washing.

What We Liked

  • Made with top quality fabric
  • Neoprene waistband makes it hydrophobic
  • PE foaming on the inner side
  • Adjustable

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • The pockets aren’t user-friendly

This is another amazing fishing PFD by stohlquist that has some fantastic features to showcase. It uses different fabric types for its construction that makes it extremely durable. Moreover, it is an internally lined mesh that allows for durability. Also, the waistband is padded with neoprene that resists water, making it safe in the water.


8. NRS Raku Fishing Lifejacket (PFD)

Next up, we have this incredible fishing life jacket that will elevate your overall fishing and rafting experience. The best thing about it is that it has a 5-panel design that allows for a perfect fit. It oroides ultimate convenience with its easily accessible pocket allowing you to put all the fishing gears close by. Moreover, it comes in 2 beautiful colors for you to choose from.

It offers a front zippered entry, and the zipper is ultra-smooth that allows you to wear and take it off in seconds. In addition to that, this fishing life jacket renders 6 adjustment points that fit snug to your body. The different adjustment levels also allow for universality as it accommodates many body shapes and sizes.

Furthermore, this item comes with a plushFit flotation which is not only comfortable but also provides safety in the water. It comes with a thin foamed back that doesn’t rub against the seat of the kayak. Last but not least, it comes with tool holding sites, is comfortable, and doesn’t bunch up, making it everyone’s favorite.

What We Liked

  • Durable built
  • It has many pockets
  • It consists of PlushFit foam
  • Has a thin back

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • A bit heavier

NRS Roku Fishing life jacket is all you need for your fishing experience. It offers some amazing features that will grant you comfort and safety in your fishing ventures. This fishing vest has a durable build making it last longer than you have imagined. Moreover, it comes with PlushFit foam that not only provides comfort but also makes it a safe PFD.


9. Astral Ronny Lifejacket (PFD)

The Astral Ronny fishing life jacket will change your whole kayak fishing perspective with its tremendous features and fantastic durability. It has a beautiful design with meshed back lining that allows air to pass through to offer breathability. It has PE foam inserts that allow for buoyancy so that you can be safe at all times in water.

In addition to the safety, the PE foam inserts also allow for extreme comfort throughout the fishing ventures. You get this fishing life jacket in 4 beautiful colors, and it has paneled stitching that allows for a snug fit. Besides, this life jacket holds USCG type III approval, which means it is safe to be used by adults for up to 15 lbs buoyancy.

The back of the life jacket is made with thin foam, which not only provides restfulness in the kayak’s seat but also prevents it from rubbing against it. This item provides zippered entry, making it easy to wear and take off at any given time. Besides, it is made with heavy-duty nylon, which makes it utterly durable. Lastly, all the materials used in the making of this product are toxins-free making it the best of all in this regard.

What We Liked

  • Free of toxins
  • Made with durable nylon
  • It has multiple pockets
  • Paneled stitching

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not ideal for high back seats

The Astral Ronny Life jacket is the best option for your kayak fishing hobby as it is durable and grants you full security. It is made with toxin-free material, which makes it environmentally friendly and good for health. In addition to that, it is certified by USCG type III, which makes it perfect for kayak fishing.


10. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

The last product on our list is the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle life vest that will stun you with its design and performance. It is one of the best kayak fishing life jackets due to its meshed lower back that allows you to fit in a high back kaya’s seat. This life vest has such a head-turner design that will make you look class apart.

You will find it utterly comfortable with its neoprene padded adjustable shoulder straps. These neoprene pads are hydrophobic that allows for buoyancy, making them a safe life jacket in the water. A unique feature about this kayak fishing PFD is its what became our favorite is its SOLAS grade reflective material.

This reflective material also adds to the safety feature because it allows for visibility when it gets dark. Above all, it comes with zippered pockets that can be expanded and have drainage that allows for water to run through it. Also, the stitching of this life jacket is paneled, which allows for comfort, fit, and breathability. Lastly, it is equipped with lightweight flotation foam, which provides ultimate comfort.

What We Liked

  • Mesh lower back
  • Reflective material
  • Neoprene padding in shoulders
  • Ultra-durable

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • You may face size issues

Overall, this is a nice and comfortable PFD that will elevate your kayak fishing experience. It comes with a mesh lower back that allows for maximum breathability. In addition, this PFD has SOLAS grade reflective material that makes it visible in the dark. Last but not least, it is made with high-quality material making it last longer.


A Guide To Buy The Best Kayak Fishing PFD

A pro fisher would know what role a life jacket plays while he does kayak fishing. It provides all the safety you need while rafting or kayak fishing as it keeps you afloat in the water. It is quite a task to look for the right product as the markets are full of scams. Therefore you need to consider a few factors before purchasing a kayak PFD. Before going deeper into the factors, let us discuss some of the types of kayak fishing PFD.

Types Of PFDs

Life vests are categorized into five considering US Coast Guard standards. Each type of life vest is intended for a different purpose.

Offshore Life Jackets (Type I PFD)

This is the type of life jacket that provides number one safety. If God forbid some unwanted situation happens, this life jacket will save you by turning your face up. It is designed specifically to provide maximum safety. You can use this life vest in rough and deep water where there are many chances of drawing. However, this life jacket is a bit bulkier and does not provide comfort like others.

Nearshore Buoyancy Vest (Type II PFD)

This type of PFD is used nearshore kayaking and provides fantastic flotation. It is made for the water where help is expected sooner if unfavorable situations happen. This type of life vest is a bit lighter than the former one but cannot provide the comfort you want. You cannot paddle properly wearing such a life jacket as it hinders mobility.

Flotation Aid (Type III PFD)

Now, this is the real kayak fishing life jacket that you need for a better fishing experience. This type of life jacket is on the lighter side, meaning you don’t feel bulkier, and you have ample room for paddling. This type of life jacket is also made for shallow water and where help can be reached quickly during some unforeseen situations.

Throwable Devices (Type IV)

This type of PFD is meant for throwing at a person who is in the water or is drawing. It is not meant to be worn and can not be called a life vest or jacket. But you need to keep it while you are in the water as a backup just in case someone else needs it. This type of PFD is not helpful in kayak fishing.

Special Use Devices (Type V PFD)

This is the last type of personal floating device; as the name suggests, there are multiple PFDs meant to carry out different tasks. Each PFD has its own specific task. For instance, some of them can be used for waterskiing; some can be used for kayaking, etc. The only thing you need to consider before buying this type of PFD is ensuring you are getting the one made for kayak fishing.

Factors To Consider

Size

The first and foremost thing you need to consider is the size of the life jacket you are purchasing. It should comfortably fit around your chest so that you can have ample room to move around. Your life jacket shouldn’t be too tight to restrict your movement. Neither should it be too loose around your chest because if it is, it will cause a lot of discomfort. Before you buy, you need to take the measurements of your chest, waist, and shoulders. Also, make sure you get the products with multiple adjustment points for more personalization.

Quality And Material

PFDs are made with different materials, and they are equally beneficial one way or the other. For instance, some of the life jackets are made with extremely durable nylon. Many life vests have neoprene padding, making them hydrophobic, which adds to the safety of the product. Then some use PVC in their construction which is lightweight as well as durable. You can choose any according to your own liking provided it does the job.

Comfort Above All

There is no compromise on the comfort as it can be very agitating when your life jacket keeps you in discomfort. Make sure that the fishing PFD you are purchasing comes with foam padding so that your back doesn’t rub against the kayak seat. Moreover, the fabric of the life vest should be absorbing and breathable to keep you fresh at all times.

Pockets and Mounting Location

If your life vest has storage spaces, then that’s a win-win. Storage pockets and mounting sites on the fishing life jacket play a vital role. You can keep all the fishing gears close by and put everything in the pockets to keep them safe. All of these things allow for a better fishing experience.

Cleaning and Taking Care of PFDs (Maintenance)

Cleaning a fishing vest/life jacket or any other PFD is as simple as it can get. There is no sophisticated method for that. You just need to take care of a few things while cleaning a life jacket. When you clean a life jacket, keep in mind to never put it in the washing machine. Do not dry clean or bring chlorine near to it. Moreover, do not bring your PFD near high heat as all these things can damage your PFD.

All you have to do is take lukewarm soapy water and fully submerge your life vest in it. Gently clean every nook and corner with your hands using a soft brush or a sponge. After you are sure that you have properly cleansed it, rinse it carefully with clean water to make sure it’s not soapy anymore. Then hang it in a fully ventilated area and let it air dry completely. After a few days, your life jacket will be completely dried and ready to use again.

How To Use PFD The Right Way

Many life jackets come with zippered entry; therefore, you need to open the zipper and wear it like you would wear a coat. Before you buy a fishing vest, make sure you have taken your measurements to get the right size. Now once you have worn it, close the zipper and adjust the shoulder and waist straps to make sure it fits snuggly on your chest, and voila!

FAQs

Are life Jackets and vests comfortable when Kayak fishing?

Life jackets and fishing vests wouldn’t be as comfortable as you feel without them. They do come with some discomfort but have many options to choose from. Some of them are more comfortable than others. For instance, many fishing vests contain padded lining at the back, which prevents your back from rubbing against the seat. Moreover, many have mesh linings that make it breathable. Besides, if you get the correct size, then it would be comfortable for you.

What type of life jackets are used for kayak fishing?

For kayak fishing, you will need a life jacket that does not hinder your arm and upper body mobility. For that matter, PFD type III and type V would be the best options. They are lighter and allow for better upper-body mobility so that you can paddle freely.

Are inflatable PFDs good for kayaking?

Inflatable PFDs are not recommended for kayaking as they may not provide as much safety as the non-inflatable ones. There are chances of people getting unconscious when the kayak turns over in heavy gushing or fast-moving water. These life jackets won’t turn your face up in those situations; therefore, they are not ideal for kayaking or kayak fishing.

Final Thoughts

PFD is a must-have when you are kayaking or kayak fishing. Life jackets eliminate the risk of drowning because they use special materials in their construction that make them water phobic. Using a life jacket makes your fishing experience more comfortable and safe. We have listed some of the best PFDs, out of which these three are our top picks.

  • Stohlquist Fisherman Fishing Kayak Life Jacket, for its graded sizing and several mounting locations.
  • NRS Chinook for its comfortable and fit and high padded back.
  • Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Vest, for its neoprene padding, lightweight feature, and ample storage options.

In a nutshell, kayaking in gushing fast water without a life jacket is like giving an open invitation to death. Therefore you really need a PFD while you are kayak fishing to stay safe at all times. The PFDs mentioned above are manufactured but esteemed companies are known for their reliability and authenticity. We hope you find the right product for your adventures.

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