Are you looking for the best fishing life vest for kayaking to hold your growing fishing gear? It can be overwhelming trying to find the right fit with so many options out there.
While a personal floating device (PFD) is essential for safety, kayak anglers need functional life vests.
A fishing life vest is a hybrid that combines the safety of a PFD with function and comfort for your fishing adventure. Equipped with pockets and attachments, these fishing life vests make it easier for you to reach out for your tackle and tools.
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If you’re pressed for time and can’t go through all our selections, here are our Top 3 picks!
What Is The Best Fishing Life Vest For Kayaking?
Here are the top 3 of the best kayak fishing life vests to help you make a quick decision.
They are categorized by the Best Make, Best Functional, and Best-Fitting life vests for kayak fishing. These 3 life vests are comfortable to wear while not compromising on safety.
When you need the best kayak life jacket for fishing that prioritizes safety yet makes you look like a pro, get the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest. It is comfortable and most importantly, easy to put on.
The design of the Onyx MoveVent life vest allows you to move easily while kayaking or fishing. Its material includes a mesh in the lower back of the vest along with its heavy-duty nylon fabric and soft-lightweight floatation foam.
It also has an expandable zipped pocket with mesh drainage. This is a plus point for your tackle or tool to dry out while it may be left forgotten in the pocket.
One of the top reasons this life vest is placed as the Best Make is how it prioritizes safety by having an attached whistle. Followed by its SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) grade reflective material. These are the 2 important things that will get you to help quickly – when required.
Best Functional: NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket (PFD)
Taking on the name of a helicopter, the NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket (PFD) is designed for heavy lifting.
With 2 large zipped pockets, 2 accessory pockets, and 1 tool pocket, you would think there is enough storage space for your tool, lure or tackle boxes. But the Chinook has more – exterior attachment points, a rod holder, and a knife lash tab!
The NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket (PFD) has multiple adjustment points to fit your body comfortably, too.
Wearing this lifejacket may well make you feel like a very well-equipped superhuman out to kayak fishing. It tops the list of being the Best Functional Life Vest.
Best Fitting: Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket
Having 3 size options, it is only fitting for the Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket to hold the Best Fitting title for all life jackets.
Being the only PFD to have a Cross-Chest Cinch harness, it is a fit that keeps the vest down and in place – without riding up as you move about.
It also boasts breathability and mobility – it has open sides, adjustable mesh shoulders, and back panels for the best ventilation.
While it seems like the focus is to fit any body size comfortably, it does not lack in its functions either.
It has 2 dual front-mounted tool pouch pockets made with protective EVA. When opened, the pockets work like a sturdy drop-leaf surface. This makes the Stohlquist Fisherman fishing kayak life jacket the Best Fitting life jacket.
11 Best Fishing Life Vest for Kayaking
If you’re looking for the best made kayak fishing life jacket, look no further than the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest.
In addition to heavy-duty nylon fabric and soft-lightweight foam, the Onyx MoveVent life vest has a mesh in the back that allows you to move freely while kayaking or fishing. It also has an attached whistle for unforeseen dire times.
Weight: 1.7 lbs
The most heavy-duty of all life jackets – living up to its name, the NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket (PFD) boasts 5 pockets, exterior attachment points, a rod holder, and a knife lash tab. If that doesn’t scream Rambo, you’ll be a superhuman who goes kayak fishing!
Weight: 2 lbs
If you want to look good while kayak fishing, then the Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket is for you. In addition to breathability and mobility, its adjustable mesh shoulders and back panels give the best ventilation.
Its Cross-Chest Cinch harness keeps vests down and in place, without riding up as you move.
Weight: 2.2 lbs
The front and back of the Astral V-Eight Life Jacket are fitted with pre-shaped foam making it a comfortable fit.
Its Airscape system keeps you cool by eliminating excessive heat and regulating its temperature to a comfortable level.
It may also be one of the most eco-friendly life jackets as it uses recycled scrap materials.
Weight: 1.22 lbs
With a weight of almost a half-pound, the Onyx All Adventure Pike Paddle Sports Vest may well be the lightest life vest.
The vest has six adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit. Its back foam contours to your body.
Weight: 0.55 lbs
Having 7 zipped pockets, the Old Town Lure Angler Life Jacket is designed to carry a load of fishing gear. On hot summer days, its AirComfort System keeps you cool with unparalleled breathability. This may be a cool runner-up to the best fishing kayak life jacket.
Weight: 2.44 lbs
Slightly lighter than its sibling product, the Onyx MoveVent Curve Paddle Sports Life Vest has front and back ventilation to keep you cool.
Additionally, it includes mesh in the lower back, which makes it suitable for sit-on-top kayaks and high back seats. The Onyx brand may be deserving of the best kayak fishing vest title.
Weight: 1.2 lbs
In addition to its highly functional pocket layout, the Astral E-Ronny Life Jacket is built upon industry-first technologies including a thin-vent back design and a certified polyester shell.
Weight: 1.02 lbs
Upon immersion in water or pulling the “jerk to inflate” handle, the Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24 Life Jacket will automatically inflate. Designed to keep you cool in warm weather due to its lightweight, comfortable, and slender design. Its inflation can be converted between automatic and manual only.
Weight: 1 lb
The dual flotation system in the Mustang Survival Khimera Dual Floatation PFD combines the comfort and security of foam with an inflatable’s slim profile. It has a front storage pocket and a slot for an extra CO2 cylinder. It also has front shoulder attachment points for a knife, strobe, and other gear.
Weight: 2.35 lbs
The Coleman Company Comfort Series PFD has 2 front pockets to store tackle and other gear easily. It has comfortable mesh for its back and shoulders to provide extra ventilation. Its large armholes allow you to cast, paddle, and aim easily.
Weight: 1 lb
What Is A Fishing Life Vest For Kayaking And Why Do You Need One?
A fishing life vest has a combination of safety and functionality for kayaking. It will keep you safe while you enjoy kayak fishing. You need to ensure that it can keep you safe should you get thrown in the water accidentally. Your life vest should keep your tool, lure, and tackle easily within reach.
The Different Types Of Fishing Life Vest For Kayaking
There are 2 different types of fishing life vests for kayaking – Standard (Foam) and Inflatable.
Standard (Foam) PFD
The Standard (Foam) in a personal floating device is used commonly in fishing life vests for kayaking. The foam in the vests is segmented to conform to your body. These Standard (Foam) PFD are naturally buoyant and will provide floatation without the need to inflate.
These vests are dependable as they are highly unlikely to disappoint you in times of need.
There are 2 types of Inflatable PFDs; one requires a manual pull on its draw tab to inflate, and the other will inflate on its own when you are in the water. This is the best kayak fishing PFD vest as it provides comfort and flexibility of movement while wearing the Inflatable PFD.
Benefits Of Using A Fishing Life Vest For Kayaking
There are many benefits of using a fishing life vest for kayaking. One thing is for sure, it will be a lifesaver should you fall into the water with the risk of drowning. Besides being a lifesaver, it is comfortable to wear and gives you storage close to your body.
A fishing life vest is comfortable as they are made of light materials to keep you cool while kayak fishing.
One functional benefit is that the fishing life vest gives you easy access to your tools close to your body – without needing to reach out for a tackle box.
This saves you time and lowers any risk of toppling into the water should you fiddle with your tackle box unnecessarily.
What To Look For In A Good Fishing Life Vest For Kayaking
Here is the recommended list of what you should look for in a good fishing life vest for kayaking:
Ease Of Movement
Kayaking requires a life vest with armholes and adjustable straps to allow the upper body and arms to move freely. You should find a good fit where you can kayak fishing easily.
Additionally, to allow for ease of movement, your chosen life vest should also be comfortable for you. You’ll be spending long hours in your kayak and the last thing you want is to get frustrated due to uncomfortableness.
Space For Storage
Having pockets to store your gear close by is helpful. It can be difficult or awkward to reach for your tackle box when there is limited storage, so it is nice to have a life vest with easily accessible pockets.
The material of your chosen life vest should not only be durable, but also perform well against sunlight, fires, weathering, and chemicals. You need to rely on your life vest to keep you safe from any weather situation
Life Vest VS Personal Floating Device
A life vest is a common-man term used for a wearable personal floating device (PFD). A PFD can be either wearable or throwable device. A throwable PFD is that of a ring buoy or a cushion buoy used mainly in offshore rescue where the waters are choppy and rough.
What Is The Best Kayak Fishing PFD?
Based on the highest reviewed product for kayak fishing PFD on Amazon, it is the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest. With over 10,488 global ratings of 4.7 out of 5 stars, the Onyx MoveVent life vest deserves to be the Best Kayak Fishing PFD of 2022.
What Is The Difference Between Type 1, 2, and 3 Life Vests?
Type 1 life vests are offshore life jackets designed for waves or rough waters.
Type 2 life vests are nearshore bulky life vests for calm waters.
Type 3 life vests are also nearshore life vests for calm waters. However, Type 3 life vests are meant for users of water activities. These are the best type of life vests for kayaking.
In the past, these 3 are a part of 5 different types of Personal Floating Devices (PFDs) approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). However, in 2014, the USCG removed the references to the type codes. The 5 type codes are now replaced with 4 performance levels.
The 4 performance levels are further divided into 2 categories;
– Nearshore (calm waters) or
– Offshore (waves).
Along with the performance levels, there are 2 definitions of PFDs;
– Throwable PFD or
– Wearable PFD (which are much easier understood by PFD users)
Thus, the different types of fishing life vests for kayaking fall into the first 2 performance levels:
1. Level 50 Buoyancy Aid
This is recommended for swimmers.
2. Level 70 Buoyancy Aid
This performance level is the best recommended for non or weak swimmers. It is also the most common PFDs worn by recreational users, especially kayak anglers.
The above list should help you find the best fishing life vest for kayaking. While safety is the top priority, comfort and function should also be considered for your best kayak fishing experience.
The best life vest for kayak fishing should give you mobility without weighing you down, and comfort without compromising safety. You will need your fishing gear easily accessible while reeling in your next catch.
With the help of this list, we hope you are ready to gear up with your best fishing life vest to fish your next big catch.
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