The Best Fishing Life Vests of 2021 (Buyers Guide!)
Life vests are necessary to staying safe. You probably heard this over and over again. But, it’s still important to put this into your mind. However, you might get overwhelmed by the tons of life vests available in the market. There are things you have to consider when choosing the right inflatable life vest. You have to recognize what your needs are. Also, when you’re looking for the best life vests, correct information is the key. If you want to keep you head above water, then follow safety protocols and wear life vests.
So, maybe you’re here because:
a. You’re new to the fishing scene and wants to prioritize choosing the best life vests
b. You want more idea of the best life vests
If you are, then feel free to continue browsing this page.
We gathered five of the best fishing life vests on the market. With this, we explained the features. This would be easier for you to understand their differences. Moreover, we want you to avoid weaker personal life vests.
If you’re interested in browsing all sale listings of life vests, our shop compiled them all. These are updated daily.
The Best Fishing Life Vests
1. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest
In terms of comfort, cost, fit, and functionality, there aren’t many vests that can compare. This is none other than the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest. It improves comfort with the high-positioned bubble foam on the inner back. This can also accommodate kayak seats.
In line with this, its zero restriction comes with adjustable side belts and open sides. Truly, the ventilation is incomparable.
You can adjust the shoulders which have neoprene comfort pads. The front has a design that is flexible and well-fitting. You’ll forget that you’re wearing the MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest.
In addition to this, you can enjoy these features:
– An expandable zippered pocket with mesh drainage
– Zip assist loop
– Attached whistle
– SOLAS grade reflective material
– Drying loop
When finding the right size, it can be problem for large people. Although those with a small build or large bust seem to be able to fit into the recommended sizes.
“All these features help make it more comfortable and much less hot. This way I am not tempted to take it off ever while on the water. Remember people…You are no good to help your kid or anyone else if you are without a PDF. And it’s no good in the canoe or kayak with you in the water. You won’t expect it…That’s why they call them accidents.” -PaddleSafely
“I bought this vest early this summer for kayaking and jet skiing.
PROS: It’s reasonably priced and delivery was fast. It’s also well-vented and not as bulky as traditional vests that buckle across the chest. The foam placement is also good for high-backed kayak seats.
CONS: No matter how much I tighten it, if I paddle at a pace any faster than lackadaisical, it rides up on me and the zipper winds up right under my chin.” -evilwatersprite
SPECS: Universal sizing fits adults over 80 pounds MATERIALS: Made of durable, ripstop fabric that is tear and puncture-resistant Neoprene neckline is comfortable for all-day wear FEATURES: Inflates automatically when immersed in water or when the user pulls the inflation handle Low profile, lightweight design provides unrestricted movement Reflective piping is highly visible V-back design provides a comfortable fit ReliaPull Guide for predictable inflation and assistance with repacking Reusable mesh carry bag included US Coast Guard approved Type V Life Jacket Not approved for children under 16 years Model: AM24INFLATE
Thanks to its minimalistic and lightweight design, the Onyx A/M-24 Inflatable Life Vest is an industry-leading product. It has /M 24. This means that you will have a Type III performance with a type V life vest.. Certainly, this is perfect for calm and open waters. This belongs to the best fishing life vests because of the amazing vest inflator.
When you submerse in water, you’ll have no problem at all. You can also activate it through manually breathing into the valve. The other way is by pulling the orange spoon handle.
Honestly, the disadvantage for this life vest is that it’s a bit uncomfortable to wear. The fabric on the exterior edge of the vest is rough on your inner arm’s flesh, and the nylon belt can cut into your torso. If you want to wear your life vest without anything on underneath, you might want to choose other life vests. On the other hand, this vest won’t cause you to overheat . This means that you can wear your life vest with light clothing on. Ultimately, this is a great choice for the best fishing life vests.
Doesn’t trap any heat close to your chest
Comfortable to wear over other garments
Nylon strap may dig into bare skin
The backup oral inflation valve is difficult to access
Rough edges of the fabric
“This product is awesome. So glad that’s husband uses this on his boat. It gives a piece of mind that if something were to happen to him he would be safe. Lightweight and comfortable. You hardly know it is there.” -E28546
“I bought this vest for fishing out of my kayak. Easy to convert to manual inflation vs automatic. Didn’t want it inflating any time it got wet. Very comfortable, I forget it’s on. Pricing is comparable to it’s competition.” -Kallys
Here’s an infographic on how to choose a life vest
The NRS cVest Mesh Back Life Vest features numerous attachment points and high-visibility accents for the safety and utility of sea kayakers.
Our next life vest is personal flotation device that has some great features. You don’t often see on other vests. This is the NRS cVest.
First, it has four large pockets that zip shut on the front for necessities. You can store your keys, cellphone, and small snacks. Truly, you can guarantee that it’s worth adding this to the best fishing life vests list.
It also has four d-rings for clipping on things like a safety whistle. There are also six separate change points that allow for a customized fit. No matter what your body type is.
The cVest by NRS has a mesh lower back to accommodate the seat back on your canoe or kayak. For your peace of mind, this vest is a US Coast Guard approved Type III PFD. Also, it includes 3M reflective accents for added visibility on the water.
We like the open sides on this vest that allow for a full range of motion when paddling. The vest itself is from 400 denier nylon fabric for durability even under heavy use.
Users especially love this vest for sea kayaking and kayak fishing. They report that it’s so comfortable they often forget they have it on.
Although this kayak life jacket has multiple pockets, none of them are waterproof. So, you’ll need to keep that in mind if you’re bringing water-sensitive items like a phone or camera.
The NRS cVest comes in two high-visibility colors: red and lime green. It’s also available in three sizes dual sizes, from extra small to XX-Large.
“I’ve bought 2 of these it at REI back in 2018 and love it.
– I love the multitude of pockets. Front pockets easily store phone, sunglasses.
– In does not interfere with arm movements when paddling.
– sides are open – so it is not too hot in summer. at colder weather is keeps me warm front and back.
– And of course – the top notch quality I’ve come to expect from NRS.NRS rocks !!” -Yuri D.
“This is a great vest for when you are in a craft that requires paddling. This vest is the solution to the problem. It works great and very comfortable to have on. The netting on the back is great for being able to lean back in the seat. ” –Jon Ruley
The Stohlquist TREKKer PFD – Life Vest features exclusive Graded Sizing and a higher mesh-back design for a comfier ride in taller seat back rec-touring boats. The Graded Sizing creates a better, more appropriate fit for a wider range of users. Other features include 3M reflective on front and back, Ergonomic WRAPTURE shaped torso, and a Cross-chest cinch harness for zero ride-up. Comfort and functioanlity is the nake of the game with the Stohlquist TREKKer Recreational PFD. Check Fit Guide tab for proper sizing.
Stohlquist’s range of PFDs have a good reputation in the kayaking community. They’re compact and comfortable, and they don’t interfere with paddling. The Trekker is ideal for small craft. You can combine comfort and freedom with good performance in the water.
The outer shell is ultra-tough 500 denier Cordura, which is perfect for wear in a kayak. This is also where abrasion from the cockpit sides can damage lighter fabrics. Obviously it’s also ideal for whitewater rafting. This is where you’re likely to end up scuffing against rocks.
The inner lining is softer 200 denier oxford for improved comfort. The whole vest is easy to clean with soap and water.
The Trekker is well shaped for kayaking or rowing, with the back panel mounted quite high. So, it won’t catch on seats and ride up around your neck. The front panels are close fitting when adjusted and will also stay out of the way.
Two adjustment straps on each side and two more at the shoulders, mean it’s very easy to adjust.
The sizes are snug so it’s a good idea to go up one size from what you buy. But, the good news is the Trekker can be adjusted to fit tall, thin figures as well as bulkier ones.
Finally the Trekker also has some good stowage options. There’s a slotted accessory tab on the left upper back, plus two big front pockets. These are high enough that you can still get into them if you’re kayaking with a spray deck. Lastly, they have plenty space for keys, snacks and so on.
One word of warning – these pockets are not waterproof. So, seal anything delicate in a Ziploc bag or waterproof pouch.
“Very comfortable paddling vest. The back of the vest stays clear of my seat and the arms allow ample movement for any stroke I need. It gives plenty of buoyancy, but support in the water is only marginal — if you get knocked senseless you are liable to end up face down. This is a great vest as long as you are conscious to work with it — good for use on open water.” -Klondike Kid
“You can’t adjust it for different types and sizes but I would definitely measure yourself to make sure you get the right size. It is lightweight comes down to the waistline so it does not get in the way of sitting down it does not get in the way of paddling. He really likes it very much that he’s recommended it to other friends.” -Sherry Lachtrupp
The Astral Buoyancy V-Eight Life Jacket is “The world’s first breathable PFD” with patented Airescape® technology and now features an ergonomic mesh high back. The V-Eight combines Astral’s Airescape® technology (patent pending) with an ergonomic design, and light weight construction. The pre-shaped foam in the front and back provide a comfortable fit for both men and women. The V-Eight features a large front pocket, an interior storage sleeve, quick-access knife tab, and reflective trim so you are visible even in low-light conditions. The high back design makes this a great choice for kayaks with high back seats.
Finally, the last choice for our best fishing life vests. This vest was designed to let you work hard, so it’s ideal for active kayakers and rafters. It has open sides and unobtrusive shoulder straps. This means it won’t cramp your paddling style. Also, it has six adjustment straps – two on each side and two on the shoulders – ensure a perfect fit.
It needs lot of attention to keeping it well ventilated making it a great pick for warmer weather.
The Astral is also quite secure, with a tough zipper and quick-release waist belt. The foam panels flex comfortably as you move, so this vest can be worn all day with no chafing.
The back panel is high enough to clear most kayak seats, and there are a pair of handy pockets too.
A few users have noted the PFD feels a bit bulkier than it looks and pockets aren’t located in ideal position. But for the most part, the Astral Buoyancy V-Eight gets rave reviews.
“This lifejacket is the nicest I’ve ever owned. Durable, fits well even though I’m….of higher mass to height ratio than I should be, comfortable, and breathable. Just wish they were still available. I miss my vest. I’ve been making do with another vest, but it’s not nearly as comfortable and breathable. For me, this is onoe of the best fishing life vests. Think I’ll get orange this time as everybody seems to have blue or green. I would recommend this product” -Bryan P, St. Louis
“I bought a V-Eight lifejacket direct from Astral for kayaking in UAE where temperatures are hot! I like the design for a womans shape. Also good mesh back for comfort in a kayak seat. Fully adjustable fit with accurate sizing. I would recommend this product” -Anita
Here’s a video on the different types of life jackets