best fishing kayak pfd

10 Best Fishing Kayak PFD for Your Next Adventure 2022

Kayak fishing is an exhilarating way to fish as compared to fishing from shore or on a boat, but before you get out on the water you’ll want to be equipped with the best fishing kayak PFD to ensure your safety should things go awry. 

It’s suitable for anyone who has yet to try fishing or kayaking, or even those who may be familiar with only one of the activities.

The best part of kayak fishing to me is that you don’t need to paddle using your arms (they’re for fishing!) so you use leg-powered kayaks to propel yourself along, so it feels more like a full-body workout.

Being so close to the water is exciting but water and weather conditions can often be unpredictable. 

Boating accidents can happen especially if you’re inexperienced on the water, so it is always best to be safe and to have on a kayak fishing PFD vest while you’re out on the water. 

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If you’re feeling a little lost and aren’t sure which one to go with, here are our top 3 picks:

Here are the top ten picks for the best kayak fishing life vest! 

1. Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD

2. NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket

3. NRS Raku Fishing Life Jacket

4. Old Town Lure Angler PFD

5. Onyx MoveVent Curve 

6. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

7. Onyx Pike Paddle Sports Vest

8. Stohlquist Ebb

9. Stohlquist Fisherman

10. Stohlquist Keeper PFD

10 Best Fishing Kayak PFDs

best fishing kayak pfd

1. Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD 

The Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD comprises two large mesh flip-open pockets from which lures can be attached, and also to store any items. Astral PFDs are also eco-friendly and made from non-toxic foam which is recyclable and extremely soft.

Floatation: 16 pounds 

Weight: 1.22 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Excellent ventilation system that eliminates excessive heat
  • Halfback is good for low seats 
  • Lightweight
  • Large pockets 

What’s Not 

  • The back panel is high and may be obstructive for swimming or padding 
  • Depending on fit, mesh on sides may cause arm abrasions so size accordingly
best fishing kayak pfd

2. NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket

The NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket is easily one of the best kayak life jacket for fishing because of its functionality and unparalleled comfort. Its PlushFit™ foam and high back-design guarantee that it will be comfortable in any sort of kayak seat. 

Floatation: 16 pounds

Weight: 2 pounds


What’s Great:

  • Pockets galore with two large pockets, two smaller accessory pockets a fifth tool holder pocket 
  • Roomy for bigger-sized individuals, and the PlushFit™ foam also fits your body type

What’s Not:

  • Sizing seems to run large, so size down where needed
  • Can be pricey compared to other brands and models
best fishing kayak pfd

3. NRS Raku Fishing Life Jacket

Designed with a more traditional fit, the NRS Raku Fishing Life Jacket features a well-ventilated, thin back that promises extreme comfort even when sitting on your kayak for hours and making it one of the best life jackets for kayak fishing. 

Floatation: 14.5 pounds to 16.75 pounds depending on the size of the jacket 

Weight: 2.10 pounds

What’s Great:

  • Flat full-back provides enough coverage for chilly weather
  • Extremely comfortable even when worn for hours 

What’s Not: 

  • The front of the vest can be bulky for some 
  • Pricey 
best fishing kayak pfd

4. Old Town Lure Angler PFD

The  Old Town Lure Angler PFD is designed for performance and has pockets designed to carry as much gear as you might need when out on the water for a fishing trip, giving it a run for the best fishing kayak PFD. 

Despite its bulky appearance, its AirComfort system promises breathability and keeps you cool even while waiting for a catch under the hot sun. 

Flotation: Information unavailable 

Weight: 1.8 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Many pockets! 
  • Zippers are strong and beefy 

What’s Not: 

  • The plastic ring may not be strong enough to attach heavier items 
  • Could do with more clip attachments 
best fishing kayak pfd

5. Onyx MoveVent Curve

The Onyx MoveVent Curve is easily the best fishing kayak life jacket for its price point with its level of comfort, breathability, and mobility – something you don’t quite expect out of a PFD at that price range. Of course, at this price, something’s got to give and in that case – it’s the pockets, but we say it still makes for a very decent entry-level budget PFD. 

Floatation: Information unavailable
Weight: 1.2 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Offers decent mobility

What’s Not:

  • No pockets
  • Runs large so size down where required 
best fishing kayak pfd

6. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

Now that we’ve established that cheap and affordable doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality, the Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is also one for the books when we talk about the best kayak PFD for fishing because it’s not only at an affordable price point but it has four pockets for all your essential gear. 

Floatation: Information unavailable 

Weight: 1.4 pounds

What’s Great

  • Four different pocket designs to hold fishing gear
  • Pockets are zippered and fleece-lined for colder weather
  • One of the pockets is a drop-down tray pocket that is large enough to hold a small tackle box 

What’s Not

  • Sizing runs quite big, even for bigger-sized individuals
  • Brittle plastic zipper
best kayak fishing pfd

7. Onyx Pike Paddle Sports Vest

Suitable for all activities on the water, the Onyx Pike Paddle Sports Vest is the ultimate lightweight vest for kayaking with six zippered pockets and six adjustment straps to better fit the vest on your body. 

Flotation: Information unavailable

Weight: 0.55 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Multiple pockets, pliers pocket, lash tab, and D-ring for small accessories 
  • Multiple adjustment straps to cinch jacket for fit
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

What’s Not:

  • Not able to allow the user to turn face-up in the event of a capsize/water accident 
  • Material not as durable for harsher conditions
best kayakk fishing pfd

8. Stohlquist Ebb

When you think best kayak fishing vest, a Stohlquist definitely comes to mind. The Stohlquist Ebb features Stohlquist’s graded sizing which gives the wearer the best fit no matter the body type, combine that with eight points of adjustment and you can be sure you’d be absolutely comfortable on the water.

Flotation: 16 pounds 

Weight: 0.01 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Two large pockets which can also work as a beverage holder
  • Cross-chest cinch harness technology eliminates riding up of the jacket when in use 
  • Breathable 


What’s Not:

  • Can be bulky 
best kayak fishing pfd

9. Stohlquist Fisherman

The Stohlquist Fisherman fishing kayak life jacket also offers a great fit due to Stohlquist’s graded sizing. The Fisherman is great for multitaskers with its dual front-mounted tool pouch pockets with stiffened outer shells, that not only protect your gear but can also serve as fold-down workstations – talk about efficiency! 

Floatation: 16 pounds
Weight: 1.9 pounds

What’s Great: 

  • Excellent fit with easy adjustment points
  • Highback makes it comfortable for long hours on the kayak 
  • Pouch pockets with protective EVA stiffened outer shells 

What’s Not:

  • Pockets are not as waterproof
  • Can feel bulky
  • Dull color options 
best kayak fishing pfd

10. Stohlquist Keeper PFD

The  Stohlquist Keeper PFD is well-loved as one of the best PFD for kayak fishing due to its soft, thin back panel, graded sizing, and ergonomic Wrapture™ shaped torso (sculpted foam for support and comfort), which promises comfort on a kayak no matter the duration of the activity. 

Flotation: 16 pounds

Weight: 1.9 pounds 

What’s Great:

  • Excellent fit with multiple features for ultimate comfort
  • Easy-access tackle box pouches
  • Warm pockets behind front gear pockets 

What’s Not:

  • Limited colors
  • Can be heavy and bulky given its multiple features

What Is A PFD For Kayaking?

A PFD is an abbreviation for the word personal flotation device and it is meant to provide you with buoyancy to stay afloat in the water in the event that you fall out of your kayak and go overboard. 

You would have probably seen a PFD at some point of time in your life when you’re onboard a boat as most countries do make it mandatory for boats to have at least one PFD for every passenger on board. 

PFDs are divided into five broad categories, from Type I to Type V

Type I PFDs provide the most buoyancy and are suitable for all types of water conditions, whether it’s open, rough, or remote. Type I and some Type II PFDs are also designed such that you can turn the wearers to a face-up position if required, though it is obviously harder to do so with a Type II PFD. 

How To Choose A PFD?

Depending on your activity, different types of PFDs come with different features, so it is important to be aware of these different points before you shop for a PFD:

  • Type of Activity
  • Water Conditions
  • Duration of Activity
  • Frequency of Wear 

After you’ve ascertained these conditions, you’ll need to see which types of PFDs you prefer and make your decision based on these factors:

  • Standard Or Inflated PFDs

Most people still go for the standard ones but the inflated PFDs are good when you want to do stand-up paddle boarding or when you require a PFD that provides you with a range of motion. 

  • Size Of The PFD

It should be according to your chest size and should provide a snug but comfortable fit. Too small and it will be uncomfortable to wear and might restrict your movement, especially in an emergency. 

Too big and it could slip out above your head once you fall into the water.

However, in the event of an emergency where PFDs could be limited, someone who is bigger sized could wear the same PFD as someone who weighs less as buoyancy is more important in such instances. 

But if you do have a choice in choosing and purchasing your own PFD then pick one that provides you with the best fit clearly. 

  • Features Of The PFD

Your choice of the features will depend on the conditions you have outlined above. For example, if you’re looking for a kayak fishing life jacket then clearly you’d need one with pockets and hangers for your hooks and knick-knacks. 

If you’re kayaking in a darker place, you might also benefit from choosing a PFD that is of brighter color and has reflective tape. 

How To Clean A PFD

How To Clean A PFD?

If you haven’t cleaned a PFD before and don’t know how to clean a PFD, don’t worry it isn’t complicated. And yes – you definitely have to clean your PFD – just because it’s wet doesn’t mean it’s cleaned. 

Here are five simple steps on how to clean a PFD: 

1. Start by rinsing your PFD with water to get it clean. 

2. If there are visible dirty sports on your PFD, clean your PFD directly with a cleaning solution and a soft brush or sponge.

3. Soak your PFD in a container with a mix of cold water and cleaning solution, and then clean the whole PFD and straps with a sponge. 

4. Rinse the soapy water out of your PFD.

5. Air Dry your PFD once you have cleaned it and ensure it is completely dry before storing it. 

For cleaning solutions, you can consider using customized items such as a Wetsuit & Drysuit shampoo or just a gentle soap. 

Do You Have To Wear A PFD In A Kayak?

Yes, you do have to wear a PFD in a kayak. If you’ve been on a kayak before, chances are you would have worn a PFD as it is usually encouraged to do so, due to the high likelihood of capsizing. 

Most states and countries do state that there has to be at least one wearable PFD per person onboard a vessel (in this case, a kayak), though the conditions where you need to wear it might vary depending on where you’re at. 

In general, water conditions can be volatile and change at any moment, so even though you may have a PFD on board and may think you have time to wear it in the event of an emergency, it may not usually be the case. 

You may also not know if the water or weather conditions might render you unconscious, so you should always wear a PFD when you have one on hand as long as you’re out in the water. 

Do You Have To Wear A PFD In A Kayak

Conclusion

Fishing on a kayak can be hard work but finding the right kayak fishing life jacket doesn’t have to be. I hope that I’ve helped you out a little as you shop around for the best fishing kayak PFD! 

The next time you’re out on the water, I’m sure that after reading this article you’ll be well-versed in identifying the best fishing life vest for kayaking whether it’s a Stohlquist, Onyx, Astral, or NRS. 

Remember to stay safe, comfortable, and warm on your next fishing trip out with a good fishing kayak PFD and may your trip be an amazingly fruitful one! 

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