12 Best Life Jackets for Kayak Fishing 2023 [Reviewed with Buyer’s Guide]

Kayak fishing is one of the most exciting activities that you could ever take part in. Sitting in the vessel fishing while enjoying the sun can be a very exhilarating experience.

To get the most fun out of this activity, you need to ensure that you come back home at the end of the day in one piece. This means that your safety should be your top priority.

Besides the vessel being in good condition, you also need a life jacket as you head out in the open waters to be prepared for any eventuality.

However, it is crucial that you get the ideal life jacket that would not let you down when it is called to task. There are many models available in the market, and some, unfortunately, are sub-standard products.

Luckily, for you, we came up with this article to help you get the best life jackets for kayak fishing. For instance, we shall discuss some of the factors that you need to focus on in your search, including:

  • The construction
  • Presence of reflective material
  • Necessary regulatory certifications
  • Comfort, among others. Keep reading to learn more.
Best Life Jackets for Kayak Fishing

Best-Rated Kayak Fishing Life Jackets: Comparison List

We have also gone a step further by analyzing some of the best life jackets in the market to help you narrow down your search.Let’s check them out.

1NRS Chinook Fishing PFDS/MBlack
2Stohlquist Fisherman PFDSmall/MediumCactus
3Onyx Curve MoveVent Paddle Sports PFDMedium/LargeYellow
4Onyx Kayak Fishing Life JacketOversizeRed
5ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life VestXL/2XLOrange
6Stohlquist Men’s Ebb PFDSmall/MediumSteel Green
7Maxcatch Fly Fishing VestBackpack V-pop
8Onyx A/M-24 Deluxe Inflatable Life Jacket
9Lixada Fly Fishing VestRed With Foam
10Extrasport Osprey Kayaking PFD
11Kylebooker Fly Fishing VestBlack
12Extrasport Sturgeon PFD

1. NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

The NRS Chinook may be a pricier option, but once you read our brief review of the product, you should understand why.

For starters, the jacket is versatile and suited for various activities besides kayak fishing, such as fly fishing, as well as a host of other water sports.

Then, the fact that it is constructed out of a blend of nylon and other materials means that you should be quite comfortable in this life jacket.

On top of that, the NRS Chinook jacket is designed to conform to your body, with eight adjustment points to ensure that you get the appropriate fit.

Also, it has a zip plus a mesh lower back for ventilation so that it does not get uncomfortably hot.

What’s more, are the seven pockets of different sizes that you can use to store any item that you deem necessary for your expedition.


  • Comfortable
  • Well-made
  • Easy to wear


  • Expensive

2. Stohlquist Fisherman PFD

There are several reasons why we believe the Stohlqusit fisherman PFD would be a reasonable investment for any angler.

For instance, it comes with ample storage options, including elastic bands, D-rings as well as two large pockets.

Then, it is constructed from high-quality nylon that makes the jacket comfortable and durable.

The sides of the jacket are open for adequate ventilation and to ensure that you remain comfortable since it would never get too hot.

Let’s not leave out the neoprene padded shoulders that ensure the life jacket is effective when it comes to floating.

You should also appreciate the various mounting options that you can use for holding vital fishing accessories such as pliers and tippets.

The high back floatation means that you can sit down comfortably with the jacket on.

Lastly, it is easy to maintain and is hand-washable.


  • Easy to maintain
  • Ample storage
  • Well-ventilated


  • The pockets make the jacket too bulky

3. Onyx Curve MoveVent Paddle Sports PFD

If you are looking for the appropriate life jacket for all paddle sports, the Onyx Curve Movement vest is here for you.

First, it features a mesh lower back and open sides, which allow for unhindered mobility during paddling.

Then, it is well-ventilated, at the front, the sides, and the back, to ensure you do not heat up too much.

What’s more, is that the jacket is designed to conform to your body, plus it features adjustable straps to ensure that it fits different body types.

The jacket is crafted from 200D nylon that makes it sturdy and lightweight at the same time.

Lastly, this life jacket is approved by the USA Coat Guard as having met the required PFD standards.


  • Well-ventilated
  • Sturdy construction
  • US Coast Guard approved


  • No pockets or D-rings

4. Onyx Tan Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

The Onyx Tan is available in two models, namely Universal and Oversize, and is designed with safety and comfort at the back of the manufacturer’s mind.

It features a high foam back that makes it comfortable to sit with on high back seats. Further, it features a mesh lower back to make the jacket breathable, and this adds to its comfort.

The jacket includes four pockets, including a large mouth cargo pocket, a drop-down tray pocket, zippered pockets, and a chest pocket.

What’s more, is that the jacket features six adjustment straps to ensure it can be used for various body sizes.

Another useful feature that we should mention is the safety whistle that would be of great help in case of an emergency.


  • Breathable
  • Has several pockets for holding essential accessories
  • Comfortable


  • There is a price variation in the models

5. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

The Dynamic Paddle Life jacket by onyx offers the perfect balance between comfort and safety. It is designed to contour to your body shape plus is flexible for a comfortable fit.

It has sufficient ventilation to regulate to help you in keeping cool.

When it comes to comfort, this life vest has several features that ensure this is catered for. They include the adjustable neoprene shoulder pads and the bubble foam in the inner back.

Let’s also discuss the zippered pockets with mesh construction that you should find handy for holding useful accessories.

In case of an emergency, the jacket comes with a whistle that would be of great help for getting out of such a situation.

Lastly, the device is available in different sizes.


  • Features enough pockets
  • Comes with a whistle for emergencies
  • You have various sizes to choose from


  • Pricey

6.  Stohlquist Men’s Ebb PFD

One thing that would give you peace of mind with a particular product is by knowing that it meets all the safety and regulatory requirements.

Well, that is precisely what you would get with the Stohlquist Men’s PFD. It is a Type III life jacket that is US Coast Guard-approved.

Other than that, the life jacket possesses several other handy features. For starters, the exterior is made of nylon to give it flexibility for easy movement of the arms and shoulders.

When it comes to the interior, it is filled with PE foam to give the jacket buoyancy. There is also the mesh lower back for ventilation purposes during the hot days.

You should also appreciate the pockets that allow you to bring with you vital accessories for your expedition.

The reflective graphic on the jacket helps in enhancing the jacket’s visibility.


  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • US Coast Guard-approved


  • Not for rough waters

7. M Maximumcatch Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Are you looking for a versatile yet comfortable life vest? If you are, your search should stop at the Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest.

First, it functions as both a backpack and a vest and would be the perfect vest to wear on your fishing trip.

Also, it is made out of water-resistant fabric plus is lightweight to ensure that it does not turn out to be bulky and uncomfortable.

Then, the meshing allows for sufficient air circulation that would minimize the chances of excess heat.

What’s more, are the storage compartments in the form of two molded pockets and three zippered compartments. This means that you have enough space to carry anything you deem useful for the trip.

Lastly, it is adjustable and can fit people of all sizes.


  • Lightweight
  • Has sufficient air-circulation
  • Ample storage compartments


  • The zippers are not durable

8. Onyx A/M-24 Deluxe Inflatable Life Jacket

Well, the Onyx A/M Deluxe is a one-of-a-kind life jacket whereby you can set its inflation mechanism to either auto/manual or manual only setting. Therefore, besides kayaking, it is also ideal for various other water activities.

The soft neoprene neckline aims to maximize the jacket’s comfort while the side pockets ensure that you have reliable storage for any gear that you may need for your trip.

What’s more, is the USA Coast Guard-approval that should assure you of the jacket’s quality.

The jacket is designed to be durable and serve you for many years to come. On the other hand, it has air mesh for ventilation purposes.

Lastly, it is lightweight to add to its comfort.


  • Ample air-circulation
  • USA Coat Guard-approved
  • You can convert the inflation from manual to automatic


  • Expensive

9. Lixada Fly Fishing vest

If you are looking for a life jacket that would be easily visible in case you get lost in the open waters, the Lixada Fly Fishing vest would be a reasonable pick.

It is available in five vibrant colors, plus it has reflectors on the back and shoulders for ultimate safety.

When it comes to the construction, the Lixada vest features a polyester shell for easy movement. Further, it is filled with a lightweight foam that makes it buoyant and thereby enabling it to float with maximum ease.

You should also appreciate the multiple pockets, including the side, front, and back pockets, that will be of great help for holding any gear you may need for the trip.

The vest is available in a universal adult size and can fit both men and women of up to 95kg.


  • Available in reflective colors
  • Features multiple pockets
  • Has replaceable padding


  • Is not USA Coast Guard-approved

10. Extrasport Osprey Kayaking PFD

Another USA Coat Guard-approved life jacket is the Extrasport Osprey, which is available in different sizes to suit different anglers.

It features wide armholes for unhindered mobility while the front zip and buckle help in securing the jacket to your body.

If you are one who likes carrying personal stuff with you to your fishing trip, then you should appreciate the seven expandable pockets for holding your stuff.

Also, there are holders and attachment points that you should find handy for holding your keys and tools.

The mesh adjustable shoulder straps aim to give you the fit that you desire.

Lastly, it is designed to have a thick back for comfort as you paddle your kayak.


  • USA Coat Guard-approved
  • Features adjustable shoulder straps for a customizable fit
  • Has seven pockets for holding personal items


  • The color is a bit too dull

11. Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Another versatile vest that you should consider acquiring for your kayaking trips is the Kylebooker vest.

It carries the convenience of a pack as it features multiple pockets to allow you to carry all the accessories that you may need for your trip plus to place them within reach.

On top of that, the vest features a large mesh back pocket as well as an extra zippered pocket for holding more items.

The vest is constructed out of sturdy and breathable material to offer you comfort and durability at the same time.

Then, the vest is designed to fit individuals of different sizes, and we can attribute this to the adjustable shoulder and waist straps.

We should not leave out the breathable mesh back that makes the vest well-ventilated to keep you cool all through.

Lastly, besides fly fishing, this vest is also ideal for trout and fly bass fishing as well.


  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Features multiple pockets


  • Flimsy zipper

12. Extrasport Sturgeon PFD

The last item on our list is the Extrasport Sturgeon, which is designed to give the angler the ability to adjust the fit with a single pull from the side straps.

This life jacket features four large front pockets that would be handy for holding any necessary items for your trip.

The product is well-ventilated courtesy of the mesh lower back, sides, and shoulders. Further, this mesh design helps in keeping you comfortable on the kayak seat.

We should also mention an adjustable waist belt, which is neoprene-coated and is crucial for a secure and comfortable fit.

For security purposes, the Sturgeon PFD features reflective shoulder straps, which increase the jacket’s visibility whichever time of day.

Lastly, this Type III PFD is USA Coast Guard-approved.


  • Well-ventilated
  • US Coast Guard-approved
  • Features reflective shoulder straps for visibility


  • Extremely bulky

The Buying Guide

As we mentioned earlier, there are several aspects that you need to place particular emphasis on if you want to boost your chances of acquiring the appropriate life jacket for kayak fishing.

We are going to analyze some of these factors briefly.


This should be the top quality that you need to look out for in any PFD. An ideal life jacket should not be so uncomfortable to limit mobility while it is on.

It would be a big loss to acquire a jacket that you would be leaving at home due to its restrictive nature.

The Construction Material

The material used in making the jacket is what would determine its durability. In most cases, kayak life jackets are made out of ripstop nylon, which is relatively sturdy.

The denser the material, the more durable the jacket is likely to be.

Coast Guard Certification

If you have a life jacket that is Coast Guard-approved, then you can have confidence that it is of high-quality and would not compromise your safety.

Such jackets are likely to be pricier, but in the end, you would have gotten value for your money, plus you would save your life.


We advise that you go for brightly colored jackets with reflective patches as this would come in handy in case you get lost in the open waters. The search and rescue teams would have an easier time in picking you out in the messy environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Check out the following common queries and responses, and this should boost your knowledge about the best life jackets for kayak fishing.

Between inflatable and foam PFDs, which is the better choice?

Well, in this case, it all depends on your preference as both have their advantages and disadvantages. The foam life jackets float automatically and are easier to maintain. However, they tend to be bulkier.

Inflatable vests, on the other hand, are more comfortable and lighter, but they tend to be too high maintenance.

Are there Special vests for inexperienced or non-swimmers?

When it comes to weak swimmers, you need to get them life vests with sufficient buoyancy to ensure the head is not submerged in the water. You should check the buoyancy rating to ensure you get the best one for weak swimmers.

Is the age of the user an essential factor to consider before acquiring a life vest?

Yes, it is.If you intend to take your kids with you to your kayaking trip, ensure you get a vest with a snug fit to ensure that they stay afloat in case they fall into the water.

The Best Overall

In the end, we have settled on the Onyx Curve MoveVent Paddle Sports PFD as the best of them all. Not only is it comfortable, but it is also USA Coast Guard-approved to give you peace of mind that you are dealing with a reliable and genuine product that would keep you safe when the need arises.

Final Thought

Safety should be your top priority in any kayak fishing expedition that you may be taking part in. A life jacket would help you achieve that goal. Therefore, we hope that this article has been of great help in enabling you to get the best life jacket for the job.

Check our reviews and the buying guide to ensure that you make an informed choice in the end.

Leave a Comment