How do I really know that my fishing life jacket is up to the task? Why should I have a fishing life jacket as I go for fishing? What are the things that I should take into consideration when looking for the best fishing life jackets? These are just a sample of the queries that you ought to have in mind when you want to have the best that there is out there.
Before we delve into detailed info regarding the fishing safety vests, it is worth taking note that as much as fishing might be both enjoyable as a hobby and a sport, it is not always guaranteed that the waters will be friendly.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all the fishing vests that are on the market are always the best; where you purchase your fishing life jackets does matter. Is it of the correct fit? Is it verified as being the best? What is it made of?
How To Get The Best Fishing Life Jackets?
Always be keen when getting yourself a life jacket. Though the main reason as to why they are manufactured is to offer you utmost safety.
Always be careful while getting a life jacket; you don’t want to be caught in a situation that you would consider leaving your jacket at home while going fishing. It should always be as comfortable as it is safe.
What Type of Boat Do You Use?
This is one of the most powerful types of boating that there is out there, and it is recommended for sailboats that are in relatively not only calm but also the warm waters where you will be in need to both comfort as well as freedom of movement.
Depending on the type of fishing that you intend to take part in, you can go for either the belted/ day sailing vests of the inshore inflatable-
If you are going to go fishing in your power boat, then it is best that you always go for the belted vests as these can be adjusted for a comfortable fit regarding the prevailing conditions on your fishing grounds.
Sailors on the other hand can go for flexible or inflatable vests. Other than these two types of vests, you can go for type two vests. These are normally up to the task but on the other hand they are not as comfortable,soe it is not advisable that you go for these as your primary PFD.
Going fishing without your set of fishing tools will be no different from crippling yourself as an angler. So as to be able to carry your collection of leaders, lures etc. it is best that you always go for the vests that come with pockets.
Other than going for the vests that can be able to hold box lures or a sandwich fishing box in their pockets, you can go for the ones with the wide encircling belts that are similar to the ones you would use for water sport fishing. These can be easily adjusted to a snug and secure fit; hence, they will be able to always stay on upon impact.
If you are sailing on a small boat, then freedom of movement and flexibility is something that you should not compromise whatsoever.
Normally, the preferred type has got a zipper that is made from a soft pliable foam and so as to increase the flexibility of the vest, the foam is able to wrap comfortably around your chest with the assistance of the thin strips of foam that are inserted into channels.
To add on to the comfort of the vest, there are deep armholes which will allow for additional freedom of movement of your arms and torso in general.
In some instances, you may need to wear your PFD with trapeze harnesses. It is therefore advised that you always take a harness as you go to shop for a new fishing safety vest.
Dog life jackets
Having in mind that you may not in any way be harmed by the water should also apply to your pet. There are quite a number of different sizes each of which can be able to fit your dog; holding it in its natural swimming position and at the same time will be able to boost the endurance of your pet.
On these is included a low-profile handle which allows you to be able to pull your dog out of the water.
Which Is Your Preferred Type of Vest?
When it comes to making your choice of fishing life jackets, you can either go for the inflatable jackets or if you do not prefer these, an alternative option is an inherently buoyant vest.
The inherently buoyant vests are made of materials such as foam so that they can be able to stay afloat. When it comes to the inflatable PFDs, they have got the inflatable chambers as their name suggests hence they will offer the required buoyancy when inflated.
The good thing about the inflatable PFDs is that they are less bulky as compared to their inherently inflatable PFDs.
When it comes to the inflatable life vests, It is worth taking note that they normally come in a variety of United States Coast Guard defined PFD devises of different levels of performance regarding their different features such as how buoyant they are, the inflation mechanism as well as how good their performance under water is.
Inflatable mechanisms include:
Automatic– this type of inflatable vest works in such a way that when the water soluble capsule attached to the inflation unit pierces the CO2 cylinder, the gas is released once the fishing life vest is submerged. The units that come with the automatic inflation mechanism can as well be inflated with the aid of a ripcord.
Manual– This one simply releases the CO2 gas from the ripcord.
Who Will You Take With You To Your Fishing Grounds?
One fact that can be agreed upon is that keeping small children and infants afloat and simultaneously facing upwards is quite a hard task.
It is not always advised that you take your kid boating at a tender age; it is always advised that you only take them out into the waters after they are more water-savvy.
As they grow older, they will be able to have a better balance and in addition to this, there will also be a number of fishing life vests offering a good fit for them that will be able to offer them better stability as well as buoyancy.
It is also recommended that you go for the inflation vests that come with a behind-the-head floatation collars that have got a grab strap. These are normally the standard for the kid’s vests; for the smaller kids however, you can get the crotch straps on the same.
It is also advised that you go for the vests that have got a high visibility and in addition to this, you should always test the jacket prior to making your purchase only where your kid is safe such as in a pool.
What About The Physical Appearance of The Vest?
When it comes to the looks of the physical appearance of the vest, size is normally the #1 concern of most people.
The inflatable vests are made in such a way that they carter for one-fits-all standard. This means that they can be able to be used by quite a number of people and simultaneously prove just as useful.
When it comes to the inherently buoyant vests, it is always advised that you take your measurements prior to making your purchase. When it comes to the foam vests for kids, they are normally given regarding how heavy your child is.
How To Verify The Safety of Your Vest
Always see to it that he best you are about to purchase has met the U.S coast guard requirements. Upon settling for the PFD devices that are not approved, it is best that you back them up with what the law requires.
Always set some rules pertaining how the fishing life vests are to be worn. For instance, make it mandatory for the kids under the age of 13 should always have their vests on.
How To Select The Best Fishing Life Jackets [Best Fishing Life Vests]?
When it comes to versatility, then the adjustable life jackets take the mantle as the best fishing life jackets. The good thing about getting these life jackets is that they will allow you a proper fit. This in turn makes them one of the best choices for the small bodied passengers or kids.
If the jacket is free flying, then it may compromise your safety just in case of an accident. On the other hand, upon getting a floatation device that comes with adjustment belts, you will be able to tighten the vest or life jacket, which in turn will remain that you remain afloat whatsoever.
How About Safety Approval?
From the statistics regarding drowning accidents, it can be agreed upon that a greater portion of this is as a result of the possession of faulty life jackets.So as to ensure that your angler’s life vest is the best, always go for the coast guard approved jackets.
Briefly, the U.S coastguard is one of the five military services in the USA and their main goal is to protect the personal safety of the people as well as the marine transportation system and the infrastructure.
The coastguard approved safety vests should always be at the top of your checklist due to the fact that they are completely safe. They boast to be manufactured under the supervision as well as the approval of water life experts hence the odds of them failing you are quite low.
The U.S.A coastguard normally demand you to have a single life vest for each of you- these are normally the types I, II, III and V.
Type I– this are normally the large commercial vests having 22 pounds buoyancy hence they are the best for the commercial vessels but not ideal if you are looking for recreational vests.
Type II– these are normally the traditional vests. They come in orange color and in addition to this they only have one strap. Even though they satisfy all the coastguard requirements, they are not the recommended choice if you are looking for the most comfortable fishing life vest.
Type III– these will normally come with 15.5 pounds of buoyancy and in addition to this, they have the best in-water performance. The reason as to why they are preferred by most is that they come in a variety of styles. Due to this, they can be used in a number of boating activities such as kayak fishing life jackets and by sailors among other boaters that indulge in different styles of boating.
Type IV– This is considered as the all-round life vest. They come in such a way that they have a harness which is built for offshore sailing. Be sure to try one out as it might just be what you need regarding your style of boating.
Consider The Fit
Normally, the best fishing life jackets are designed in such a way that they will be able to have the best fit for most body physiques.
In some instances, you may not be quite certain about the fit of the life jacket and if this is so, it is normally advised that you go for the life jackets of a universal fit. This also applicable if you intend to use the jacket that is to be used by a number of people.
Universally, life jackets for kayaking that range between 28-32 inches are normally the small fit, the ones between 32-36 inches are the medium sized ones and those between 36-44 inches are the large ones. Getting the best for you is quite easy, take your size and pick the life jacket that fits you best.
Consider The Design
When you think of fishing life vests, the orange bulky design is the first thing that pops up in your mind. These however have been overshadowed by better designed over the past few years. In the current market of PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices), you can be able to get just what you are looking for.
The best life jackets for kayak fishing normally come in both the bright as well as the reflective colors and more so, you may also get the camouflage colors which allow you to blend into your fishing grounds.
As for the design, the present ones are not as bulky as the orange ones. The present ones normally come with extra-large armholes with a shape that fits, flexible panels, pockets as well as inflatables and in addition to all these, the material from which they are made has got a more comfortable feel.
When it comes to the selection of a best fishing life jackets, it is not all about picking out any life jacket you stumble upon but what sets the line between the best and the worst is paying attention to the details.At the west marine store for instance, you should only pick the jacket regarding on factors such as the type of fishing you intend to take part in, your body size, as well as what type it is. Is it the inflatable or the inherently buoyant life vest?The USCG demands that you have the type I, II, III or V life jacket. Each of these has got what makes them an ideal choice though the type III are and II are the ones that are used by most.Comfort should also not be overlooked when picking your jacket. Have a look at the straps and zippers as well as the safety harnesses.Who you are taking with to your vessel also does matter. If you are taking your son out, then go for the children choice and always have ground rules for their safety- ensure they have them on at all times.”Chuck Hawle
The 8 Best Fishing Life Jackets [Best Fishing Life Vests] In 2023
Having had a look at some of the key things you ought to have in mind in making your selection of the fishing vests, ranging from size to fit, let’s now delve into eight of the best fishing life jackets that we have for you.
1. Stearns Adult General Purpose Life Vest
Stearns Adult General Purpose Life Vest
Being able to offer the necessary safety is not all that it takes for you to have the best fishing life jackets.
With the three adjustable belts that come with the Stearns Adult General Purpose Life Vest, you can be able to adjust it such that it will not be uncomfortably tight and neither will it threaten to come off when you get into the water.
It is always recommended that you go for the Coast Guard approved vests and this just happens to be one of type III. These happen to come with about 15.5 pounds of buoyancy and in addition to this they come in a variety of types hence making them ideal for almost any type of fishing.
As for the durability of the vest, it boasts to come in the 200 Denier nylon oxford shells- with this you are assured of outmost durability of your life vest.
- Comes with Durable Cross Tech floatation foam which adds on to the safety of the life vest
- Owing to the fact that it is USA coast guard approved, you will be able to use it short of any doubts of its safety
- Comes in slightly larger sizes so as to carter for those with a large body size.
- It is only meant for the adults hence this is not an option if you are looking for a vest for your kids.
2. Absolute Outdoor Kent Adult Compliance PFD Type II Life Jacket
Absolute Outdoor Kent Adult Compliance PFD Type II Life Jacket
Safety should not be overlooked whatsoever when you are choosing a life jacket. Considering that one of the things that can result to loss of lives due to drowning is the possession of faulty life jackets.
The Absolute Outdoor Kent Adult Compliance PFD Type II Life Jacket is designed in such a way that it will be able to turn most of the unconscious wearers to face upwards while in the water hence reducing their odds of drowning.
Having a type II life jacket, you do not have to worry about its safety as it is able to satisfy all the coast guard requirements.
This comes with a minimum of 15.5 lbs. of buoyancy which is just enough to be able to keep you afloat. This makes it a good life jacket for you to always keep on board.
- U.S Coast Guard approved type II life jacket hence you are assured of utmost safety.
- Able to turn most of the unconscious wearers face up in the water hence the odds of drowning are cut down to almost nil.
- Owing to the fact that it is a type II life jacket, it will prove quite uncomfortable and a little bit bulky to most people. All in all, it will always be up to the task.
3. Life Jacket Vests For The Entire Family – US Coast Guard approved Type III
Life Jacket Vests For The Entire Family – US Coast Guard approved Type III
It is quite seldom to get a life jacket vest that will prove useful for peoples of all sizes. Well, if you are looking for one that comes in a fit for the whole of your family, then the Life Jacket Vests for the Entire Family – US Coast Guard approved Type III is the best choice for you.
The type III vests are normally the preferred choice of most. Being a type III jacket vest, it not only comes in a variety of sizes but also boasts to have the best in water performance. Another added advantage that comes with this jacket is that it is specifically designed as a life jacket for kayaking.
Durability on the vest is catered for by the polyester construction on it hence you do not have to be worried of it being damaged after only a short while.
- Comes in a range of sizes hence you do not have to worry about what life jacket vest your kid should wear.
- Made out of durable polyester construction meaning that it will not disappoint you anyhow.
- Type III- it’s one of the most comfortable fishing life vests and more so, it can be used on a number of vessels ranging from kayaks to commercial vessels.
- For some kids, one side of the jacket may unfortunately come up to the chin hence an uncomfortable fit.
4. Stearns Child’s Classic Series Vest
Stearns Child’s Classic Series Vest
It is quite seldom for one to get a vest that is specifically meant for kids; if you are looking for one, then the Stearns Child’s Classic Series Vest should not miss out on your shopping list. It is specifically fitted for children around 30-50 lbs.
Being a Coast Guard approved life jacket, you are guaranteed of utmost safety while in the water. Another thing that adds on to its safety is the fact that it is made of a durable nylon construction.
Get your kid one of these and you will definitely be dazzled at how well it will be able to secure your kid. The vest comes with four adjustable straps and in addition to this it has got open sides hence offering a more comfortable fit.
- Comes in a durable nylon construction shell that offers utmost durability.
- Usable in a number of vessels ranging from your personal watercraft to tow sports
- One of the few vests that are custom made for kids. You no longer have to worry about what your kid should have on for safety in the waters.
- Try it on before making your purchase since whereas your kid may be younger, it may not be of the perfect fit.
5. O’Brien Traditional Neo Life Vest
O’Brien Traditional Neo Life Vest
Other than being able to offer you the necessary security, another thing that you should have in mind upon making your selection of a life vest is whether or not it is comfortable enough for you to have on. With the Neoprene outer design, it will be able to snugly fit upon being put on.
Still at the fit of the vest, it is designed in such a way that even though it comes with a zip closure and 2 belts that guarantee outmost security, it will not inhibit the movement of either your arms or your torso upon being put on.
The best way to verify safety on life vests in the USA is by ensuring that they are USCG approved. Having this in mind, it is worth taking note that the O’Brien Traditional Neo Life Vest will not disappoint you in any way. Definitely worth every dime you spend on it.
- Comes with a zip closure & two belts for outmost security
- Just as comfortable as it is secure- this vest will not limit movement whatsoever hence most comfortable feel
- USCG approved- this gives you the certainty that you are using only one of the best in the market.
- It is best that you fit it prior to making your purchase- be sure of the size that you suit.
6. Onyx Kayak Fishing Angler PFD Life Jacket
Onyx Kayak Fishing Angler PFD Life Jacket
Looking for fishing safety vests meant for kayak fishing then the Onyx Kayak Fishing Angler PFD Life Jacket could be the #1 choice for you. Being one of the best fishing life jackets, it comes in a universal size of 30-52 inches.
As for the fit, this fishing jacket comes with two adjustment straps on both sides and in addition to this there is a padded shoulder strap which makes it simpler to fit into the small torsos. In addition to this, all the adjustment straps have a stowaway pocket for the strap tails.
Speaking of kayak fishing life jackets, the Onyx wear comes with generous pockets, a front lash tab, and a pin on retractor holder, a front-mounted plier sleeve as well as d-rings in both the back and front.
Another feature that makes it one of the best fishing life jackets are the two huge tackle –box cargo pockets each of which has got an interior pouch and in addition to this, there is an external Velcro mesh pocket.
- This anglers’ life vest comes in multiple sizes- regardless of the size of your torso, you can always find one that fits.
- Has got plenty pf adjustment straps-just enough to ensure that the fit is snug.
- Plenty of pockets with an exterior Velcro mesh pocket- suitable to keep all your fishing equipment into.
- Not an ideal fishing life vest for hot weather but all in all, it is worthy of every dime you spend on it.
7. Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket
Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket
When it comes to cleaning a fishing life jacket, it can prove quite much of a task especially when it is an infant life jacket. With the Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket you can be able to easily wash off the dirt with soap and water and get it ready for the next time you take your kid out.
With the quick release buckle over the entry zipper, you’ll have an added security and in addition to this, there is an added crotch strap that secures the jacket in place. With all of these on one jacket, your kid is guaranteed to have utmost safety.
Considering that it is of the traditional type II vest, it meets all the USCG demands of the recommended life jacket to have on board. Still on the safety, the life jacket comes with a neck collar grab loop and more so, there is a wrap-around floatation that turns the child facing upwards.
- Wrap-around floatation allows the kid to stay afloat facing upwards
- Front zipper entry with an adjustable crotch that secures the jacket in place.
- There is a grab loop around the neck which makes it simpler to aid your kid in finding his/her way in the water.
- The zipper may chafe the baby’s chin if you are not careful enough.
8. NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD
NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD
Just the ideal anglers life vest that you need- comes with 7 front pockets that are able to accommodate most of your fishing equipment ranging from small tackle boxes to tippet. It is worth taking note that the NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD has been specifically designed for kayak fishing, fly fishing as well as extended tours.
With the 8 adjustment points on it, you can be able to customize the fit such that it will be fit enough for your comfort as well as security. With the Soft PlushFIT foam floatation, your body will be conformed upon putting the PFD on which gives you the best comfort.
If you are looking for an ideal vest for hot weather, then this should not miss out on your shopping list. With a mesh lower back, you will have a great fit for the high back seats and in addition to this, the ventilation is quite comfortable for warm weather.
- Soft PlushFIT floatation offers you the best comfort as it conforms to your body.
- Ample front-entry design with 8 adjustment points which offer fit comfort and safety.
- A mesh lower back offers enough ventilation and provides a great fit on the high-back seats
- Though it may offer you the best safety, it may prove quite bulky to some anglers hence it is best that you try it on first.
After having gone through the above, it can be agreed upon that your safety should not be compromised at all when it comes to the choosing of your fishing life vest. What type of fishing vest best suits you? What about the level of safety you need?
Another thing to take into consideration is what type of fishing you intend to take part in; this should always guide you before you put your money on the line.
Speaking of the type of fishing, consider going for the fishing vests that USCG approved; otherwise, you should go for the ones that meet some of the requirements that are demanded of a life vest from the Coast Guard.
Size is not all about taking the measurement- going for the gender specific fishing safety vests can also give you a head start of the type of vest that is good for you. If you are looking for the most comfortable fishing life vest however, it is best that you consider taking your measurements.
Do you need the inflatables of the inherently buoyant vests? If you need the inflatables, would you go for the automatic or the manual ones? Regarding the type of vessel that you are in and the space that is available within it, you’ll be able to know whether or not you can keep the inflatables, the inherently buoyant or both types.
All in all, it is always recommended that you take your time upon choosing the best fishing life jackets, ensure that every dime you spend is put to use and that you get nothing short of the best.