best womens pfd for kayaking

12 Best Women’s PFD for Kayaking (Personal Floatation Device)

It’s a brand new year and if you’ve committed to starting kayaking as a new sport or activity and are looking to equip yourself with the best women’s PFD for kayaking, I’d say look no further! 

Because I am here with not ten but twelve of the best women’s kayak life vest for you to consider! 

If you never knew there was a difference between men’s and women’s life jackets for kayaking, you’ll be glad to know that there are! There are inherent physical differences between both genders and may affect fit and comfort if you wear a unisex (or usually male) life jacket, even if they are the best PFDs for kayaking. 

DISCLAIMER

Some of the links on here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

To help you make some quick and easy choices if you’re short for time, our top 3 picks are:

Ready? Here are my top twelve picks when it comes to the best women’s PFD for kayaking, grouped according to brand: 

1. Astral GreenJacket Life Jacket 

2. Astral Women’s Layla Life Jacket 

3. NRS Ninja PFD

4. NRS Women’s Siren Kayak Lifejacket 

5. NRS Vapour Kayak Life Jacket 

6. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

7. Onyx MoveVent Torsion Kayak PFD

8. Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD 

9. Stohlquist Betsea Women’s Kayak Life Jacket

10. Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser Lifejacket

11. Stohlquist Women’s Escape Lifejacket

12. Stohlquist Women’s Flo Life Jacket

12 Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

1.  Astral GreenJacket Life Jacket 

Do you know how we ladies get excited whenever we find a dress that has pockets in them? That’s me with the Astral GreenJacket Life Jacket. Not that life jackets don’t have pockets – they do! 

But Astral has one-upped themselves by having a new EVA Molded Central Pocket in this piece, giving you easy and unlimited access to your gear on your kayaking trips. 

Flotation: 16.5 pounds

Weight: 2.9 pounds

What’s Great

  • Clamshell front pocket with multiple compartments 
  • The fit system prevents ride-up while ensuring mobility 
  • Eco-friendly product free of toxic PVC

What’s Not

  • Can be bulky for smaller-sized females 
  • It may be difficult to put on 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

2. Astral Women’s Layla Life Jacket 

What makes the Astral Women’s Layla Life Jacket one of the best women’s kayak life vests is its women-specific architecture with a multi-panel princess hinge and an internally-sculpted bust cup, giving you space and support for your girls. 

The pockets on the Astral are also incredibly well-organized – there’s a front pocket with a divider and a key clip.

Flotation: 16.3 pounds 

Weight: 1.84 pounds

What’s Great

  • Women-specific design minimizes chafing 
  • Front entry zipper for ease of entry and exit 
  • Fits even the larger-busted ladies 

What’s Not

  • Side zipper may cause chaffing when canoeing instead of kayaking
  • Pockets are quite narrow 

3. NRS Ninja PFD

The NRS Ninja PFD may be a unisex jacket but it comes in three sizes and a total of six adjustment points for a customizable fit across genders and ages, giving other best women’s life jackets for kayaking a run for their money. 

In fact, because the flotation on the Ninja is focused on a smaller surface area, it is great for ladies (with shorter torsos) or even kids who have outgrown child life jackets.

And yes, you get a front clamshell pocket with internal organization and the dual entry zippers make it suitable for you to even slip a cold beverage in there. 

Flotation: 16.3 pounds 

Weight: 2.2 pounds

What’s Great

  • Low profile PFD
  • Extremely comfortable for almost all water sports 

What’s Not

  • Bigger-sized ladies may find the small floatation area insufficient for water activities 
  • Only one buckle on the right side with overly long straps, but this can be tucked in quite easily
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

4. NRS Women’s Siren Kayak Lifejacket 

The NRS Women’s Siren Kayak Lifejacket is arguably the best women’s PFD around with its six-panel design of supple foam that not only protects your body but provides an athletic fit for unparalleled mobility. Its narrow back design also provides room for your shoulders to move freely as you kayak. 

Flotation: 16.5 pounds

Weight: 2.15 pounds

What’s Great

  • Full coverage with a secure fit 
  • Comfortable fabric 

What’s Not

  • Little to no ventilation 
  • Secure fit may mean bigger-busted ladies might struggle with spillage out of the top sides of the vest 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

5. NRS Vapour Kayak Life Jacket 

The  NRS Vapour Kayak Life Jacket is a no-frills kayak PFD that promises you comfort at a lower cost, albeit with a few missing features like pockets. The fit is extremely secure and comfortable but this also means that breathability is inherently sacrificed. 

Flotation: 16.5 pounds 

Weight: 1 pound

What’s Great

  • Affordable, high-quality PFD
  • Extremely comfortable 
  • Stylish and sharp even for a PFD

What’s Not

  • Lack of pockets
  • Could be long for those with shorter torsos 
  • Full coverage might mean little to no breathability 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

6. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

The Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest is easily one of the best PFD for kayak fishing around, but it also makes for a great women’s kayaking PFD for the level of comfort, fit, and style for its price point. The XS/S size fits up to medium-sized ladies and the multiple adjustment points also help ensure a more secure fit. 

Flotation: Information unavailable

Weight: 1.7 pounds

What’s Great

  • Affordable
  • Mesh back panel provides great ventilation 
  • Large armholes prevent chafing and allow for mobility 

What’s Not

  • Straps can be too long for ladies with shorter torsos 
  • Sizing runs big so size down accordingly 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

7. Onyx MoveVent Torsion Kayak PFD

As its name suggests, the Onyx MoveVent Torsion Kayak PFD provides excellent mobility no matter which water sport you engage in. Not only does it provide sufficient buoyancy and mobility, but it is also extremely breathable with vented channels. 

There are also multiple adjustment points at the shoulders, sides, and base for a more secure and snug fit. 

Flotation: Information unavailable

Weight: 1.6 pounds

What’s Great

  • Lower-priced alternative 
  • So comfortable it feels like a second skin 

What’s Not

  • Pockets might be too small for essential gear 
  • Might need to adjust quite a bit for a perfect fit 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

8. Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD 

Designed for performance yet with comfort in mind, you’ll feel at ease in the Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD even after a day of kayaking. The high-back construction also ensures that you’ll fit comfortably into even the tallest of kayak seats.

Old Town’s AirComfort system is also not just designed to accommodate a woman’s bust but also keeps you cool in the heat as you kayak.

 We all know how warm it can get out in front on a warm day, and Old Town’s design has that well covered and ventilated, making it one of the best kayak life jackets with a women’s body in mind. 

Flotation: Information unavailable

Weight: Information unavailable

What’s Great

  • Comfortable even for bigger busts
  • Chic colors
  • Front zip for ease of front entry

What’s Not

  • Can be bulky for more petite ladies 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

9. Stohlquist Betsea Women’s Kayak Life Jacket

The Stohlquist Betsea Women’s Kayak Life Jacket features Stohlquist’s signature ergonomic WRAPTURE™ shaped torso that wraps around your body providing a closer yet comfortable fit. 

It also utilises princess seams for a more elegant, feminine appearance, and provides space for your bust with built-in contoured supportive inner cups. 

Flotation: 16.6 pounds

Weight: Information unavailable

What’s Great

  • Extremely comfortable even for long periods out on the water
  • Contoured cups that support and wrap your bust 
  • Fleeced lined side pockets 

What’s Not

  • Pockets can feel small for larger hands 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

10. Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser Lifejacket

The Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser Lifejacket features Stohlquist’s trademark Graded Sizing™ for ultimate comfort and is designed with the female, sit-on-top kayaker in mind.

 It comes in a smaller cup, with a shorter torso, with inner cups for bust support and space. 

When they say they design it with a woman in mind, they mean it. The padded mesh shoulders and lower back waistband were designed for ladies who opt to wear a swimsuit with their PFD, minimising shoulder abrasions and discomfort.

The thought put into this design definitely makes this one of the best women’s PFD for kayaking for me.

Flotation: 16.75 pounds 

Weight: 0.01 pounds 

What’s Great

  • Good function without sacrificing comfort and style
  • Half mesh back, shorter torso, and inner cups make it extremely comfortable for ladies to wear this for long hours 

What’s Not

  • Sizing can be tricky
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

11. Stohlquist Women’s Escape Lifejacket

The Stohlquist Women’s Escape Lifejacket provides a low-profile fit with minimal features at an affordable price. This is good for those starting out in their kayaking journey or who want to try the difference in a women’s PFD before committing to a pricier model. 

Flotation: 16.25 pounds 

Weight: Information unavailable

What’s Great

  • Great fit
  • Easily adjustable 

What’s Not

  • It may not be as comfortable for bigger-busted ladies
  • Thick in the front, and can be obstructive for those who are more petite 
Best Women’s PFD For Kayaking

12. Stohlquist Women’s Flo Life Jacket

Featuring Graded Sizing, the Stohlquist Women’s Flo Life Jacket fits ladies of all sizes, but in particular, this works well for ladies with bigger busts, with the many adjustment straps, providing many fit possibilities. 

Flotation: 16.25 pounds 

Weight: 0.01 pounds 

What’s Great

  • Good for those with bigger busts but also fits the petite ones 
  • Fits comfortable like a second skin
  • Reasonable price point 

What’s Not

  • Snap front pockets which can be cumbersome to access and secure

What Is A PFD?

A PFD is a personal flotation device that helps you stay buoyant in water when you fall off your vessel or capsize. Because it helps you stay afloat, you have a higher chance of getting back to shore or your vessel safely instead of having to tread water to stay afloat – which can be quite a tiring thing to do especially after a whole kayaking session!

As its name suggests, PFDs are devices that help you stay afloat and these can come in various forms, whether it’s a vest or device.

What Type Of PFD Is Best For Kayaking?

Type I PFDs provide the most buoyancy, but kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders often shun Type I PFDs in favor of Type III or even Type V PFDs because these tend to be less bulky and are more comfortable for these activities. 

Do You Need A Life Vest When Kayaking?

Yes, you need a life vest when kayaking. Different locations have different rules when it comes to when and whether a life vest is required when kayaking, but the rule of thumb generally is that there should be at least one PFD per person onboard a kayak – whether or not this is usually worn or not is another issue. 

Do You Need A Life Vest When Kayaking

You may have seen people kayaking without kayak PFDs and their life vests are usually tucked under the seat because kayaking with a life vest can be quite bulky and cumbersome. 

Conditions out on the water can be unpredictable and so can your state of consciousness.

 In the event the water or weather conditions go wrong, you might find that you might not have time to put on your life vest or even be unable to do so – so I would say dear readers, you should always put it on just in case, for your safety! 

Difference Between Male And Women’s PFD

The women’s PFD will usually be smaller in size and there will also be smaller armholes in the PFD to prevent the PFD from riding up when the user raises their arms above their head. 

A Women’s Kayak PFD also typically has contoured cups to accommodate a woman’s bust and also a shorter torso length. 

Generally, most PFDs and life jackets can be unisex and used across genders.

However, if you intend to purchase your own PFD then you may wish to try both and go with the comfortable life jacket for kayaking and not be limited by the gender labels as the fit may differ according to your body type and preferences. 

How To Care For Your PFD

I get it, you’ve spent quite a bit of money on one of the best women’s kayaking life jackets out there and you’re now wondering how to care for your PFD. Fret not, it’s simple. 

After every use, hand wash your PFD using a gentle soap and running water, rinse and air dry it before storing. 

You’ll want to avoid direct sunlight as the UV rays from the sun can cause your PFD to wear out a lot quicker than anticipated as it destroys the synthetic material that most PFDs are made of. 

Another way your PFD could wear out is when you don’t allow it to dry completely before storing it. By keeping your PFDs wet, the buoyant material wears out quicker. Not to mention moisture also causes mold – now, who wants to wear a moldy PFD?

Once in a while, do also check on the buoyancy of your PFD before going out in the water, by checking that you’re able to stay afloat well in the PFD. 

FAQ

What is the difference between a PFD and a life jacket?

PFDs are better designed for comfort and constant wear, while life jackets are more to help the user stay afloat better, and to help others turn them around on their backs if they go unconscious. difference between a PFD and a life jacket

The US Coast Guard classifies PFDs into five broad categories. When one refers to a life jacket, it is usually referring to the Type I PFD which is an offshore life jacket suitable for all types of waters and is the easiest to maneuver, to turn an unconscious wearer to a face-up position. 

PFDs in general is a broader term and can refer to anything from a jacket, vest, to even a device like a ring or a horseshoe lifebuoy. 

Conclusion 

Kayaking is an amazing sport with the ability to burn more than 250 calories per hour, gives you access to some of the most picturesque shorelines, seas, and skies, and also gives you a good dose of Vitamin D. 

What is the difference between a PFD and a life jacket

When you’re out on the water, the last thing you’d want to feel uncomfortable or not at ease about is your personal flotation device (PFD) so I hope my article featuring the best women’s PFD for kayaking has given you some valuable insights on picking a PFD that works best for you.

Remember to always apply sunblock, hydrate, and stay safe on the water, you got this! 

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