Life jackets are your lifeline in the middle of the sea. If your lifeline isn’t good and strong enough then there’s no use of putting it on or even using it. Everything we do in this world has risks at some stage. It is up to us to take precautionary measures well beforehand. Similarly, fishing has its own risks.
In simple terms, a life jacket is a sleeveless jacket which inflates itself when the person is afloat in water. Common problem fishermen face is, they do not have space to keep their gears in. The answer to this is simple- life jacket with pockets.
Whether you’re fly fishing, kayak fishing, fishing in a float tube, or just on the dock a life jacket is a must. It will keep you organized, comfortable and the most importantly safe.
Following below are the best 10 life jacket reviews and a buying guide which will give you a little thumbs up.
- The Best Life Jackets for Fishing
- 1) ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket
- 2) Maxcatch fly fishing life jacket
- 3) Lixada Fly Fishing Life Jacket
- 4) Stohlquist Fisherman PFD
- 5) NRS Chinook Fishing PFD
- 6) Extrasport Osprey fishing vest
- 7) MTI Adventurerwear life jacket
- 8) Stearns comfort angler vest
- 9) Autovox adult inflatable life vest
- 10) Onyx M-24 Manual inflatable vest
- Best Life Jackets for Fishing Buying Guide
The Best Life Jackets for Fishing
1) ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket
ONYX Kayak’s life jacket is one of the best and comfortable jackets designed for fishermen planning to stay on board for a long duration. The basic zippered, fleece-lined pockets have hoops in the front where you can store small items such as clippers, scissors, cutters, sunglasses etc.
At the bottom of the jacket are two big pockets that can be easily open via a single button press avoiding the struggle to find items. It opens like a tray, hence the name tray pocket. You can store your essential books or box in there. Although ONYX doesn’t have enough range of pockets as compared to the other jackets, it still has plenty of space.
The vest comes in two sizes, universal and oversize. Universal fits chest measurements from 30-52 inches while an oversize jacket has chest measurements from 40-60 inches.
The life jacket has 6 adjustable straps providing you with the perfect fit and securing you from any accident, but also to account for boat or kayak seat height. The shoulder straps are well padded. The back of the vest is heavily padded for better seat clearance while the bottom of the jacket is for superior breathability. It also has a mesh, making the jacket light and breathable.
• Six adjustable straps
• Two big tray pockets
• High level of comfort
• Pockets aren’t waterproof
- Six adjustment straps to cinch vest up for a snug fit
- High foam back accommodates high back seats
- Pockets designed for your essential gear
- Breathable mesh lower back
2) Maxcatch fly fishing life jacket
The life jacket is a pocket monster with a lot of pocket options, having plenty of storage space. With so many pockets, it does make the jacket a bit bulky but still, it’s comfortable. It does not restrict the arm movement making it easy for you to move around your arms while fishing.
It has a zip pocket. The pockets are spacious making it easier for you to store any big or small important tools. A few pockets also come along with mesh expansion. Despite having so many pockets and space, the jacket doesn’t weigh in much. It just weighs 24.5 pounds (11.1 kg) in total.
You do not have to worry about the quality of the jacket as it comes along with 1-year warranty.
The jacket is made of very light material with breathable fabric making you feel comfortable. The back of the jacket is covered with mesh making the ventilation through your vest easy.
It comes with a collection of few dark colors. Two adjustable straps are over the shoulders and two on either side of the jacket with a zip-up in middle.
• Variety of pockets
• 1-year warranty
• Although it’s equipped with many pockets, its lightweight
• Comes in just one size
3) Lixada Fly Fishing Life Jacket
This life jacket comes in a range of variety of colors. It comes in universal size with adjustable straps but can only withhold the capacity of 209 pounds and nothing beyond it.
The life jacket is very spacious and has many pockets to store in all your important tools and equipment which will come in handy. It has 4 spacious chest pockets, 4 zipped pockets in front and 2 mesh side pockets. Additionally, there’s a mesh pocket around the back.
The back of the jacket is covered with mesh making it breathable and comfortable. It also adjusts the body’s temperature. It does not affect the mobility with its open sides favoring those looking to fish while kayaking.
It has adjustable buckles on the sides and shoulders to fit you in easily. Make sure you adjust yourself perfectly.
• Color options available
• 11 different pockets
• Allows full mobility
• Universal size. Weight is limited to 209 pounds
- SIZE: Universal Adult Size (Fits for the person who is less than...
- PREMIUM TEXTILE & EPE: Crafted with a premium rips top polyester shell...
- MULTI ZIPPED POCKETS: Four generous chest pocket, four zipped front...
- BREATHABLE MESH: Mesh on the back and mesh fabric inside deliver high...
4) Stohlquist Fisherman PFD
This life jacket is dream come true for all professional fishermen. The jacket is equipped with many pockets and pockets within pockets to store and secure small objects. There are two large front pockets with stiffened front panels that unzip. With so many pockets in the jacket, it makes the vest bulky.
The built and material is neat and tough. It gives a higher rate of buoyancy. The material is made of Cordura, with a softer oxford lining for comfort. The back of the vest is raised high supporting your back and neck especially when you kayak. The shoulders are padded with neoprene for comfort.
The vest is sleeveless not limiting your hand/ arm movement to a limitation. Although due to heavy pockets and bulkiness, there are chances for the fisherman to scratch his body, so it’s preferred to wear a full sleeves t- thick shirt underneath.
Two adjustable straps on either side of the jacket and one each on the shoulder for a perfect fit.
The jacket comes in a very famous cactus green color which won’t distract the wildlife. It also comes in bright yellow color and is best suited when you are in open water.
• High backrest- perfect for kayak
• Plenty of pockets
• Padded shoulders
• Not suitable for fly fishing
- 500 dnier Cordura shell & 200 denier oxford liner
- High-back flotation rides above back rest.
- Neoprene padded shoulders and lower back waistband and open sides for...
- Hand wash soap and water
5) NRS Chinook Fishing PFD
It is one of the most comfortable fishing life vests you will ever put on. It has 7 pockets that are placed at optimal spots for fishermen’s easy access. The vest can be adjusted from 8 different places making no room for any issue regarding fitness.
It is suitable for fly fishing, kayak fishing, canoe fishing basically any type of fishing. People even use the vest for white water rafting.
Chinook vest can be worn even under waders. The mesh at the back of the vest is raised high which serves perfect for kayak.
• Many adjustment straps
• The vest is very comfortable
• Perfect for kayak
• Material isn’t durable
- Designed with anglers in mind, the Chinook features 7 front pockets...
- Perfect for kayak fishing, fly fishing and extended tours!
- The mesh lower back is a great fit on high-back seats and provides...
- The roomy front-entry design with 8 adjustment points lets you...
6) Extrasport Osprey fishing vest
Extrasport Osprey is a US coast guard approved life jacket that doesn’t really look like a vest; it gives a military look.
It has 7 expandable pockets; lots of space for storage. It also has loops in front for easy access of your gear. It has two buckle straps in front across the chest for safety with plenty of room left for adjustment. It has mesh shoulder straps which will keep you cool even during a hot sunny day.
The backrest of the vest is raised high comforting you for kayak.
• USCG approved
• Expandable pockets
• Less comfortable
- Baja Back comfort design features a thin lower back section to...
- Front-zip design with two additional buckles for a secure and...
- Adjustable mesh shoulder straps and adjustable side straps provide...
- Seven expandable gear pockets offer storage for day use items and all...
7) MTI Adventurerwear life jacket
This is a very secure life jacket of MTI Adventurewear which has been approved by US Coast Guard. The jacket has three buckles in front to secure fastening. It is available in three different sizes but only in green gray color.
Unlike other life jackets, this jacket has less storage as there are just two small pockets across the chest and two big pockets at the bottom of the jacket.
The jacket is not just limited for fishing but is a multi-purpose jacket. It can be used for boating and jet skiing. It is highly adjustable and there are D rings present at the front of the backside which helps in attaching gear to it.
• Approved by US Coast Board
• Multi-purpose use
• Secured with three buckles
• Less storage space
8) Stearns comfort angler vest
The life jacket is simply made with good quality and durability. It has a breathable design with two large zippered front pockets for storage.
It is ideal for the boat or shore based fisherman. Since it’s a simple make, it is value for money and can be used for general form of protection
• Big pockets
• Cost effective
- US Coast Guard-approved life jacket
- Large armholes for easy casting and movement
- Large front zippered pockets to store gear and tackle-pockets also...
- Flexible neoprene collar prevents chafing
9) Autovox adult inflatable life vest
Autovox adult inflatable is a lightweight orange or yellow vest. It is easy to put on and off with horse collar style jacket. It can be folded and stored anywhere.
It is a very simple vest with no pockets or storage area. It is best suited for occasional angler or someone considering a boat-based fishing trip.
• No pockets
10) Onyx M–24 Manual inflatable vest
Most fishermen prefer a vest with lots of pockets for storage. But if you are among those fishermen who love to travel light or who are just going for a small trip then this vest is the best for you. It is lightweight, has a waist belt, back straps and two chest traps.
The inside of the right strap has a canister of compressed carbon dioxide. Just pull the T-handle at the bottom of the strap to inflate the vest. The vest makes you feel cool even when you are under the scorching sun.
It is perfect for kayaking and sailing. The downside of the inflatable vest can be used just once. You need to keep replacing the Carbon dioxide cartridge which isn’t too expensive.
• No pockets
• Carbon dioxide cartridge needs to be replaced after each use.
Best Life Jackets for Fishing Buying Guide
Comfort is the most important thing one looks for when purchasing anything. Make sure you purchase a vest of the right size for own comfort. Wearing something loose or too tight will affect your fishing and ruin your mood. If you are planning to fish in a hot climate, you may wear an open jacket with a mesh back for air to pass through.
The life jacket is not like a regular shirt which you can just put it on even if it’s loose or tight. The vests come in different sizes and have adjustment belts to fit you perfectly fine so that it may not come off when you are in danger. That’s when the adjustment belts come in the picture. You can adjust the vest according to the size of the body.
When you are going for kayak or canoe or even fishing, it’s better if your life jackets are US Coast Guard approved. There are five different categories of PFD which are accepted by USCG.
Above reviewed life jackets are all type 3 jackets. This means, all these jackets have enough buoyancy for you to stay out of the water with the assumption that you will be rescued soon as they do not provide enough head support. Also, type 3 jackets leave your arms free for paddling.
User age and gender
Men and women’s life jackets are different so are the kid’s vest different. The above-mentioned vests are for males. Most of the life jackets are designed for men as the majority of the crowd to use them is men.
If you’re a woman and into Kayaking, I recommend you check out my article on the Best Womens PFD’s For Kayaking.
Children vest usually have a strap that goes across their legs. Women can also use the above-mentioned vests but the comfort and fitness won’t be up to the mark. The life jackets which are specially designed for women are more comfortable across the bust.
Fishing jackets are usually confined to dark green colors. The color of the jacket doesn’t really play any role with your safety. You may find a lot of options for normal life jackets but when it comes to fishing jackets your options are limited to few colors.
My name Is Larry Noel, the voice behind BoatCrunch.
I’m a boating enthusiast that loves nothing more than being out on the water. So much so that I’ve acquired a Degree in Marine Biology (MB) as well as a degree in Ocean Engineering (OE).
I’m very familiar with a wide range of different boats and I’ve owned a variety of different boats myself however I have a particular obsession with Pontoon boats. I’ve lived all across the United States and always kept company in the form of boats and now my loving family.