This comprehensive guide explains how to choose and fit a PFD so that it’s comfortable to wear and paddle with!

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While fishing is an enjoyable and relaxing hobby and sport, the water is not always our friend. Fishing accidents happen all the time, and it is, therefore, wise to prepare for them.

One way of protecting yourself and your family while out on the water is through the wearing of life jackets, which will ensure that your head is kept above water in the case that you fall in.

However, we all know that not every product that lines the shelves is genuine, and that is why I have looked at an assortment of popular life jackets and determined which of them provide the best value for money.

Read on for some interesting information on the best life jackets for fishing.​

 Why You Need To Wear A Kayak Life Jacket

  • Top proven way of saving lives from drowning
  • It is a requirement by the law
  • Multiple pockets offer wide-range storage
  • Boosts your confidence and performance

Things To Consider

California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways reported that; in 2009 event where 67 percent of people onboard drowned after their boat capsized, 84 percent did not wear life jackets.

Apart from acting as a life saver, life jackets are supposed to be well fitting and comfortable wears designed with great features and proper colors. Other important things to consider include:

Adjustment Belts

Adjustable safety jackets are perfect since they are versatile. They allow proper fit and can be customized incase of kids or small bodied passengers. A freely flying jacket can be more dangerous in case of accidents. Therefore, with personal floatation device with adjustment belts, you are able to tighten the life vest or jacket intact. Which is much safer in ensuring you remain afloat.

Coast-Guard Approved

Statistics show that most unsuccessful rescues from drowning are caused by faulty life jackets. It is, therefore, advisable to go for Coast-Guard approved life jackets always. Do not be part of statistics just because you missed one important point while purchasing your fishing life jacket.

Coast-Guard approved PFD are dependable and completely safe. They are manufactured under the supervision and approval of water life experts, making them not likely to fail.

Universal Size and Fit

Kayak fishing life jackets designed with a universal fit can be used by a wide range of people with different body physiques. In case you are not sure about the size of the user or intending to use the life jacket among several people, it is important to consider purchasing a PFD with a universal fit. Life jackets from 28-32 inches are small; 32-36 inches are medium and from 40-44 inches are large. You can select the right size depending on how best it fits you.

User Age and Gender

The type of life jacket for kayak fishing you are buying is determined by the age of the intended user. Although, it is not advisable to take along small kids when visiting unpredictable waters. If you have to, ensure you have life jackets that will securely fit them and keep them afloat in case your kayak capsizes.

Again, gender and age determine the weight of a person. For instance, most children weigh between 25-50 pounds while adults weight up to over 100 pounds. This explains why their respective life jackets differ in weight capacity and buoyancy.

Colors and Design

The ancient design of orange bulky life jackets has been overshadowed lately. In the current market, you are guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for in a PFD or life jacket. With this, I mean these jackets are designed to look good on you while saving your life at the same time.

They are available in bright and reflective colors, camouflage colors and so much more color ranges.

10 Best Life Jackets For Kayak Fishing

The life jackets that we will describe below have excellent safety features, as well as other convenient accessories that guarantee that your investment is worth it.

1. MTI Adventure wear Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

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The universally fitting Calcutta fishing life jacket from MTI has been designed specifically with kayak fishing in mind, boasting of a host of features that make your time on the water much safer.

This life jacket can be secured using the 3 buckle closures at the front of the jacket, ensuring that the Calcutta does not come off in the event that you fall in the water.

For additional comfort the life jacket is composed of 2 side adjustments and padded shoulder straps, which ensure slimmer and larger individuals fit well into the jacket.

The Adventurewear Calcutta also has convenient features dedicated to fishing, such as large tackle and cargo pockets, a shell fabric which is resistant to hooks snags, front and rear D-rings, a front lash tab, a front mounted plier sleeve and a retractor holder which can be pinned on.

Highlighted Features

  • Universal size fits 30-52″ chest
  • Three buckle front closure with two adjustments on each side
  • Fishing specific features include generous pockets
  • Five pockets-two big tackle-box cargo pockets with an interior pouche each

2. Stohlquist Infant And Toddler Floating Device

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Children are definitely the most important cargo on board a boat, and it is therefore crucial to ensure their safety throughout.

The comfortable and secure Stohlquist type II PFD is the perfect life jacket for your infant and toddler.

3. MTI Helios Inflatable PFD Life Jacket

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The MTI Helios is an inflatable PFD that makes use of the Yoke style fit to provide lightweight and reliable safety on the water.

This life jacket has an excellent design which keeps you cool even in the hottest environments, so that your fishing experience is not impeded by the discomfort often associated with life jackets.

The life jacket can be instantly inflated with a tag on the ripcord, giving you 29lbs of quick inflation. You can check the connection of the CO2 cylinder using the inbuilt window, giving you peace of mind when you are fishing.

The Helios also sports an interior pocket for a back-up cylinder, a back-up oral inflation tube for added security, a reflective trim for additional safety, and a tethered whistle for added convenience.

Highlighted Features

    • Yoke style inflatable PFD is lightweight
    • Very cool in hot climates
    • Inside pocket for back-up CO2 cylinder
    • Backup oral inflation tube, reflective trim, and tethered whistle for added safety

4. Extrasport Baja Women’s Type III PFD

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The Baja Personal Flotation Device from Extrasport raises the benchmark for life jacket comfort, with superior design features that will ensure your safety and security while you are out fishing.

To begin with, the women’s PFD has a type III front zip design that is supported by a curve cut foam, which works to provide you with a comfy wraparound feel at all times.

The trimmed floatation panels also provide extra security while contouring to your torso for a better fit.

Additionally, the PFD has an efficient mesh ventilation system that guarantees the circulation of air for excellent breathability, and padded shoulder straps which can be adjusted to your preference.

The function of the Baja comes in the form of 2 front pockets for storage, and reflective piping for visibility in low light conditions.

Highlighted Features

    • Providing easier movement and reduced life vest ride up while paddling
    • Venting mesh on front and back and space-mesh pods on the inside back panel combine to allow ample airflow providing excellent comfort with a breathable heat managed PFD
    • Two front pockets provide ample storage while reflective piping and logo make wearer visible even in low light situations
    • Womens sizes: XS (32-35″), S/M (37-42″), L/XL (43-48″)
    • Adjustable shoulders and sides, and a neoprene-covered adjustable waist belt
    • Baja Back comfort design features a thin lower back section to accommodate canoe and kayak seat backs

5. Stohlquist Infant And Toddler Floating Device

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The Osprey is another excellent life jacket from Extrasport, combining comfort and function in one secure personal flotation device.

This high-performing jacket uses a classic combination of foam and mesh to provide comfort and breathability for all anglers.

This foam and mesh can be found in the adjustable shoulder straps, side straps, and back section.

Additional features include seven expandable pockets for gear storage, a shell casing holder for fishing convenience, and multiple attachment points to secure additional equipment. All in all, the Osprey has been designed with the avid angler in mind.

Highlighted Features

    • Seven expandable gear pockets offer storage for day use items and all your fishing necessities
    • Shell casing holder and multiple attachment points for your gear or a small motor kill switch
    • Front-zip design with two additional buckles
    • Adjustable mesh shoulder straps and adjustable side straps provide easy adjustment

6. NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD

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The NRS Chinook has been designed with kayak, fly and tour fishermen in mind, with varied inbuilt features that make your fishing experience more enjoyable while keeping you safe and secure.

To begin with, the Chinook has seven front pockets which can store different items include tackle boxes and tipper.

This storage ability is supported by 8 customizable attachment points, such as a coil tool retractor, D-ring and attachment loops, rod holder loops, and a knife lash tab.

When it comes to your comfort in the life jacket, you can take advantage of the mesh lower back and soft FIT foam which contours to your body for a plush and excellent fit.

Highlighted Features

    • 7 front pockets for everything from small tackle boxes to tippet
    • The mesh lower back is a great fit on high-back seats
    • 8 adjustment points lets you customize the fit for comfort and security
    • Soft PlushFIT foam flotation conforms to your body as you wear it for unsurpassed comfort

7. MTI Adventurewear Fisher Kayak Life Jacket

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The green and gray fisher kayak life jacket from MTI Adventurewear embodies all of the great things we know about the brand.

This PFD has multiple pockets for storage making it perfect for all anglers.

In addition, the life jacket has generous lower cargo pockets where you can fit your spool of line or your reel, as well as front and rear D-rings where you can attach any extra gear.

Multiple front buckle closures also allow for venting as you fish.

Highlighted Features

    • Four front pockets offer ample storage space for fishing necessities
    • Center buckle closure with adjustable sides and adjustable shoulder straps to dial in the perfect fit
    • D-rings front and back for attaching gear
    • Completely PVC Free

8. Stearns Watersport Classic Child’s Life Jacket

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The Stearns Watersport is the perfect life jacket for keeping your child safe while out on the water.

The Stearns Watersport is the perfect life jacket for keeping your child safe while out on the water.

The type III Personal Flotation Device has 1 inch webbing for added safety, nylon construction for durable use, and PE foam for optimum comfort. This Coast-Guard approved vest is the perfect choice for your kids.

Highlighted Features

    • Secure 1″ webbing
    • Closed-sided vest
    • Leg strap so vest stays in place, even in the water
    • For children 30-50 lbs.
    • Durable nylon construction over PE foam

9. Stormr Strykr Jacket

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You might not be able to pronounce its name, but this life jacket has been made for the professional angler.

The jacket uses high stretch Neoprene core technology to provide ultimate buoyancy while ensuring that the jacket is windproof.

Additionally, this jacket has Duratex material which is resistant to abrasion, and when this is combined with the thermal taped seams and the corrosion resistant zippers we have a jacket that will last for a long time to come.

The Strykr therefore establishes itself as the perfect jacket for severe environments, where you are bound to come into contact with harsh weather.

Highlighted Features

    • Non Corrosive Waterproof Center Front and Pocket Zippers
    • Internal Neoprene Cuff Adjustable Waistband with Two Interior Cord Locks and Fleece Lined Interior
    • Duratex Abrasion Resistant Material for High Use Areas
    • Glued Blind Stitched and Thermal Taped Seams

10. Stormr Strykr Bib

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The Strykr Bib boasts of the same Neoprene core technology that the aforementioned Strykr Jacket is composed of, allowing it to function flawlessly in harsh weather conditions.

Enter your text hereThis life jacket which is targeted at pro fishermen is comfortable to wear, with adjustable shoulder straps and waist and ankle cuffs that provide a great fit.

The Bib also has convenient exterior pockets and reflective graphics, making it perfect for fishing in cruel conditions.

Highlighted Features

    • Glued Blind Stitched and Thermal Taped Seams
    • Non Corrosive Waterproof Leg Pocket and Center Front Zippers
    • Adjustable Shoulder Straps Waist and Ankle Cuffs
    • Waterproof High Stretch Materials Positive Buoyancy
    • Water Repellant Finish
    • Duratex Abrasion Resistant Material for High Use Areas

Final Verdict

The ten life jackets that we have just covered earn my stamp of approval. These convenient, stable, versatile and most importantly secure jackets have been masterfully built to keep you and your family safe.

So select your favorite, and make your purchase before the hour is done!