Kayak Fishing Life Vests

One can only enjoy kayak fishing if it is done in a safer way. Incidents may even happen if you are a skilled paddler. If you love water adventures then knowing the significance of safety is important. Water accidents are more likely to occur if proper precautions are not taken. That is why it is necessary to prepare for the worst of situations.

The most essential safety precautions to consider before heading for kayak fishing is the fishing vest or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Many states made it mandatory to wear a life vest or PFD that enables you to hold your head above the water’s surface.

There is a slight difference in life vest and PFD. A PFD is more helpful if you decide to go into the water. Whereas, a life vest is usually required if you are not going into the water. A PFD is not buoyant as much as a life jacket is, but is intended to be worn in water-based activities. It doesn’t necessitate inflation. On other hand, a life vest is necessary in case of accidental drowning. It will hold you afloat and is built to do so while keeping your face above the water. It is used in the case of an unintended entrance into the sea, such as falling or being unconscious.

Not only fishing life vest help to save you from drowning but also optimize storage space by providing a lot of pockets where you can take your gear.


There are different types of Kayak fishing life vests according to different purposes and circumstances.

Offshore Life jackets are specifically built for rough seas, oceans, or any other location where your chances of being saved are highly fewer. It helps you when you are unconscious by flipping your face. This is why it is considered the best floating device. It is, however, the heaviest and does not provide the necessary comfort when paddling.

Nearshore Buoyancy Vests are equipped for near-shore use where rescue is probable to occur quickly. It is similar to offshore life jackets in its efficiency. However, it is not as heavy as the previous one and is not suitable for kayaking because it does not offer the flexibility and mobility a paddler needs.

Flotation Aids is the sort of fishing life vests that are easily available and need to be on any kayak. The wider armholes are best to keep the heaviness of floatation away from the arms and shoulders. It also offers kayakers the mobility and stability they require while paddling and casting. Like the previous one, this one is also designed for nearshore use where the chances of getting saved are high.

Throw-able Devices are more familiar ones. They are usually thrown when someone has trouble swimming. Instead of a PFD, it is used commonly used as a backup. Unlike offshore and nearshore ones, it is not going to save unconscious people.

Special-use Devices are intended for particular activities. Some of them are made for kayaking, while some are made for waterskiing, windsurfing, and other related sports. Make sure to buy the one that is specifically built for kayaking.

How to choose the right one

Before looking for kayak fishing life vests, certain factors need to be cleared to select the right vest.


 The first thing you can look for when purchasing a life vest is the size. However, as with any jacket, it is your chest size that counts, not your weight, since that’s where the PFD should fit. It will not be of any use if it is too thin or too wide as it will not hold your weight properly resulting in accidents.

To avoid confusion, look for the one that is adjustable and provided with multiple straps.


The second most important thing to consider is the built material. Usually, three kinds of materials are used to design kayak life vests namely Gaia, Kapok, and PVC. Each one has its own collection of benefits and drawbacks. PFDs made of Gaia are eco-friendly since they are UV-resistant. Furthermore, they are less dense than the other materials.

Kapok is not usually suggested as it is inflammable, but it is more buoyant and robust than other materials. Besides that, PVC is recommended because it is flame, sun, and chemical resistant without reducing quality.


Nothing beats the feeling of being at ease when paddling. To provide comfort, life vests are designed with mesh panels at the lower back. The purpose is to keep kayakers at ease since the majority of the PFD remains above the back of your seat when you’re seated.

Some of the reliable Kayak Fishing Life Vests

Kokatat Bahia Tour

This life vest is made from a material that is lightweight. Your movement will not be limited with this life vest. It is a type III PFD which makes it perfect for kayak fishing. Its adequate storage, which is supported by two large zippers, is one of its most distinguishing features. One is made to carry your pilers, while the other is ideal for your electronics. It’s a good place to keep your GPS, cell phone, VHF radio, and other similar things. The only problem with this fishing vest is the bulkiness.

Stohlquist Fisherman – Runner-up

It is one the most premium quality fishing vest and is built with a 500 denier Cordura shell and a 200 denier oxford liner. This type III PFD is suitable for kayak fishing, and it’s brightly colored to make you stand out on the water. It also has two side pockets, several D-rings, and various elastic bands through which you can slip your knife or string.

It also has neoprene-padded shoulders and back waistbands, as well as high back foam flotation for added support in high back seats. Furthermore, the sides are ventilated to keep you cool in hot weather.

If you want a PFD that is both sturdy and comfortable while still optimizing storage space, the Stohlquist Fisherman is the one to get. Its disadvantages are small in contrast to its benefits.

NRS Chinook

This kayak life vest is a Type III PFD that is provided with three zipper pockets and four Velcro pouches, enabling you to arrange your gear however you like. The velcro pouches come in a range of sizes, giving you plenty of choices. There are eight arrangement points on this vest. It is also verified by the US Coast Guard. If you don’t mind investing a little extra money, the NRS Chinook is a great PFD for experienced anglers because it has many pockets. It’s also extremely easy to wear for long periods of time.

In all, kayak fishing life vests are extremely important to ensure safety and protection while kayak fishing. It is a must-have for any water adventure lover as it helps prevent the worst circumstances from happening. Various types of PFDs are available that work according to their specifications. Fishing life vests should be made from a material that is durable and strong enough to protect the kayaker from drowning. We have mentioned some of the most reliable kayak vests to make your experience incredible.



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