Skip to toolbar

Best Kayak Fishing Life Vest

What are the Top Life Jackets for Kayak Fishing?

Fishing is fun. So is kayaking. But it can turn into a tragedy if you don’t take all the necessary precautions. Since we never know what may go wrong out in the waters, it would be a good idea to seize every for safety you can get.

Wearing a personal flotation device is actually the best safety precaution you can take when you are kayaking. If, on the other hand, you are fishing, the kayak fishing life vest will also function as your fishing life vest.

Although you might still prefer to use the regular life vest, it might not be as effective as a personal flotation device. The difference is that the latter has more ability to keep you afloat that the former.

So, how do you know the best fishing life vest for kayaks? There are so many products out there and you will have a hard time making a decision. But then, there are some factors that can come in handy.

They include aspects like comfort, the storage space, and the durability of the vest. That said, you might also want to go through online reviews to find out what they have to offer.

In this article, we reviewed some of the best kayak fishing life jackets in the market and came up with the following.

NRS Chinook

Right away, let us look at our first pick. This Chinook personal floatation device is of great performance. To begin with, you will feel comfortable wearing it. You won’t be straining to paddle the kayak as it is not restrictive.

This is thanks to the additional straps that have been included so you get to adjust them till the vest is fitting snugly.

Also, it comes with plenty of storage space. At the front, it has around 7 pockets where you can fit fishing gear that you will be using frequently. Besides, you can also decide to carry your snacks and other small items.

In addition, it also comes with some tackle boxes for extra room. While they will come in handy, it can be a bit strenuous trying to turn around so that you can get to open it. But that has been supplemented by the several pockets.

The back of the jacket has been designed using some mesh such that there is enough circulation of air even on the sunniest days. This is aimed at making the fishing adventure more fun and comfortable.


  • Has enough storage
  • Fitted with some adjustable straps
  • The back is designed from mesh


  • It is expensive
  • Not ideal for active usage

back to menu ↑

MTI Adventurewear

The next personal floatation device that we would recommend for kayak angling is this MTI Adventurewear. Just like the first pick, it has adequate storage space where you can stuff your fishing gear.

This includes 2 large pockets at the top that are not zipped. Therefore, accessing your belongings can be much easier. It also has 2 other large pockets at the lower side where you can load other small stuff.

As for the ease of use, the jacket is open at the front so it is convenient and effortless to put it on. Plus, it also has some adjustable buckles that you can move until the jacket fits perfectly. It shouldn’t be too tight as it might affect your paddling ability.

For more convenience, it has been fitted with some D-loops both at the front and back. Here, you can attach your fishing nets and other fishing gear.

As a type III Personal floatation device, its armholes are huge so that the buoyancy is significantly reduced in the areas surrounding your arms and your shoulders.


  • Has 4 pockets for maximized storage
  • Has 3 buckles
  • Has some D-loops for attachment


  • Can be too short
  • The sizes are limited

back to menu ↑

Stearns Child Watersport

To set the mood, we want to point out that Stearns life jacket has been approved by the United States Coast Guard as having met all the requirements necessary for the safety of the kayak angler.

If you have a kid who loves watersports, you have no reason to doubt this one. First things first. As yo0u can see from the name, the life vest is meant for kids and only kids. However, there is a limiting factor. Only kids who weigh between 30 to 50 lbs can use the vest.

Like the second pick, it also features big armholes to allow enough movement of the arms and shoulders. This is especially necessary for situations that might require immediate action for safety purposes.

As for the fit, it has 3 adjustable belts around the chest area for fastening. This ensures that the vest is fit enough and that the kid remains comfortable while paddling.


  • It is made from a durable material
  • It has some straps for fastening
  • Has large armholes


  • Only meant by kids
  • The size is limited

back to menu ↑

ExtraSport Osprey

To begin with, this Extrasport Osprey life jacket has been approved by the United States Coast Guard regulatory body as having met all the set guidelines. It has been ranked as a Type III PFD.

As per the regulations, the life jacket has a floating capacity of 16 lbs. Further, it has been made from strong ripstop nylon material for maximum durability and longevity. 

As for how dense the jacket is, that can be explained by the fact that it is 300 denier (a measurement is used to denote the thickness). However, that does not mean that it will be uncomfortable.

It has been designed using mesh in some parts such that there is adequate vent8ilation even on the hottest days. There wouldn’t be any point in buying a vest that you will end up not using because it is uncomfortable.

The jacket has about 7 pockets that have been included for maximum storage. You could keep your fishing tools and access with ease.


  • Has adjustable straps
  • Has enough storage
  • Has enough air circulation


  • Easily fades when exposed to excess sunlight
  • Can be a bit costly

back to menu ↑

Stohlquist Fisherman

If you are looking for a kayak fishing life vest that offers you one hundred per cent functionality and effectiveness, then Stohlquist is certainly the best option for you. It contains amazing features that guarantee the very best and nothing less.

The first outstanding feature of this fishing life vest is the fact that it offers you maximum versatility. This is because this is a fishing vest that is suitable for every fisherman, hence it is not only specifically designed for a small group of people.

Moreover, with Stohlquist, you are assured of long-lasting service which is very fundamental. It is made of nylon, which is a very strong and dependable material that is capable of surviving difficult conditions, hence guaranteeing durability.

Similarly, when it comes to the question of comfort, this life vest offers you this and o much more. It comes with a neoprene shoulder that is padded, thereby offering you the maximum comfort you require.

For storage, it contains multiple pockets that provide you with the ample space you need for storing your personal belongings. Further, it straps and hooks that are extremely ideal for storing your fishing accessories.


  • It is extremely comfortable.
  • It is durable.
  • Has ample storage space.


  • It is a little bit bulky hence can make movement difficult.

Buying guide

There are so many kayak fishing life vests in the market. This often leads to confusion, therefore making it difficult for you to find the most ideal brand. Moreover, the fact that most people are usually clueless about the features to look out for often makes this so much harder.

This, therefore, proves that the task of finding the best kayak fishing life vest is certainly no child’s play. It is for this reason that there are various factors that you should consider before purchasing any brand.

These factors are extremely important since they inform you of the fundamental aspects that make a kayak fishing life vest the best in the market. In other words, these factors inform you of the crucial factors that make up the most ideal kayak fishing life vest.

Kayak fishing is indeed an amazing and splendid activity, and the last thing you need is a fishing life vest that is not the most suitable for you. These factors can also be described as the fundamental questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a kayak fishing life vest.

What are you looking for? This is among the necessary questions you should ask yourself when looking for the best kayak fishing life vest. The answers to these questions help to further inform you of the critical features that make up the most suitable kayak fishing life vest.

It is therefore upon you to ensure that you carefully consider these factors before making a choice. Failure to do this will result in you choosing a poor quality fishing vest, only for you to regret when it is too late.

Is it durable?

Durability is an extremely fundamental aspect you should consider before purchasing a kayak fishing life vest. This is because just like with any other product, the beauty of a fishing live vest is its ability to serve for a long while.

The last thing you need is a kayak fishing life vest that is not durable since this often leads to you spending so much money on maintenance and replacements. A durable fishing life vest thereby spares you of these frustrations, making it convenient and ideal.

How then do you know whether or not a kayak fishing life vest is the best in the market? Durability is simply determined by the construction materials. If a kayak fishing life vest contains strong and dependable materials then it is automatically durable.

It is therefore advisable to go for a brand that is made of nylon. Nylon is a very strong and dependable material that is known to be capable of surviving harsh conditions, thereby guaranteeing you long-lasting service.

With a durable kayak fishing life vest, the days of worrying about your fishing life vest succumbing to wear and tear will certainly be a thing of the past.

Moreover, besides the construction materials, various modern technologies help improve durability. For example, a kayak fishing life vest that incorporates Gaia Floatation foam is certainly capable of serving you for a long while since this is an extremely durable system.

The best kayak fishing life vest is that which offers you one hundred per cent durability. Thereby any brand that offers you less is certainly not the best choice for you.

How about the storage space?

If you are planning on purchasing a kayak fishing life vest, then you should ensure that you choose one that offers you adequate storage space. It would certainly be very inconveniencing and unfortunate to go kayak fishing with a life vest that has little or no storage space.

This would interfere with your trip and result in a not-so-successful kayak fishing trip. It is no secret that fishing is a very enjoyable and intriguing sport. However, all this excitement is dependent on whether or not you are capable of completely concentrating.

A fishing life vest that does not provide you with the required storage space is likely to distract you, thereby impeding your concentration hence ruining your whole trip. There is no way you can successfully capture your target whilst worrying about where to store your belongings.

In as far as kayak fishing life vests are concerned, storage space is determined by the number of pockets a fishing life vest contains. Does the kayak fishing live vest you are considering contain pockets?

If the answer is in the affirmative, then the next thing you need to consider is the number of pockets. It is advisable to go for a kayak fishing life vest that contains multiple pockets since this guarantees you ample storage space for your accessories.

Besides the existence of multiple pockets, it is also fundamental to consider the thickness of the pockets. Would you want to be out kayak fishing, only for your accessories to be crushed or damaged inside your life vest pockets?

This would certainly be very unfortunate. You should therefore avoid this situation by ensuring that you choose a kayak fishing life vest that has a thick lining, to not only prevent the crushing of your accessories but also the pocket ripping and spilling your tools.

Furthermore, you need to ensure that the pockets are well designed to store various fishing tools. This, therefore, means that instead of only considering the thickness of the pockets, you should also ensure that they contain straps and hooks.

These are ideal for securing your fishing accessories to prevent any unfortunate scenarios, hence extremely convenient.

It is therefore advisable for you to go for a kayak fishing life vest that offers you enough storage room since this is very crucial.

Is it comfortable?

Would you wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable? If the answer is in the negative, then choosing a kayak fishing life vest that is uncomfortable would certainly be unreasonable. You should therefore choose a comfortable kayak fishing vest.

From the discussion above, it is quite clear that various factors determine whether or not your kayak fishing trip will be successful, and having a comfortable kayak fishing life vest is one of those factors.

With an uncomfortable fishing life vest, all your concentration will be drawn to your discomfort instead of focusing on successfully capturing your target. How then do you determine comfort when it comes to a kayak fishing life vest?

You do this by simply carefully assessing the features a fishing life vest has to offer.  The first aspect you should consider is the shoulders. Are the shoulders padded? It is advisable to go for a kayak fishing life vest with padded shoulders since this guarantees maximum comfort.

Similarly, besides considering whether the shoulders are padded or not, you should also assess the material used on the shoulders. Kayak fishing life vests with shoulders that are made of neoprene are very convenient since neoprene is an extremely comfortable material.

Apart from this, another aspect that determines the comfort of a kayak fishing life vest is its weight. You need to understand that choosing a bulky kayak fishing life vest would be a huge mistake.

This is because the bulkier the fishing life vest, the more difficult it is for you to move. It is no secret that movement is imperative when it comes to kayak fishing, and therefore this would be very inconveniencing.

You should therefore make certain that you choose a kayak fishing life vest that is light in weight since this guarantees easy movement, which extremely fundamental.

The best kayak fishing life vest is, therefore, that which offers you maximum comfort, hence ensuring that you have an extremely easy and relaxing time when on your kayak fishing trip.

How about portability?

Although kayak fishing is indeed an enjoyable sport, it is also true that it can be extremely frustrating and exhausting from time to time. Therefore, the last thing you need is kayak fishing gear that contributes to this frustration.

It is for this reason that you should carefully consider portability before purchasing a kayak fishing life vest. The fact that this is a factor that is often neglected does not negate the fact that it is extremely important.

You deserve a kayak fishing life vest that is easy to transport and carry around. The first aspect that determines portability is the weight of a kayak fishing life vest. A heavy fishing life vest is not suitable for you since the heavier the life vest, the more difficult it is to handle and transport.

It is therefore advisable for you to choose a kayak fishing life vest brand that is light in weight. This is because such a fishing life vest is extremely easy to carry from place to place, as well as to transport.

Besides the weight, another very crucial factor that informs you of portability is the size. Just like with weight, the larger the kayak fishing life vest, the bulkier it is. This, therefore, makes it difficult to handle and transport.

Kayak fishing is a sport that goes on for so many hours, and you are therefore often really fatigued and exhausted afterwards. Therefore, being forced to carry heavy kayak fishing equipment off the boat would certainly be very frustrating.

The best part is that you can simply avoid all this by ensuring that you choose a kayak fishing life vest that is highly portable.  This not only guarantees you easy portability but also easy movement and maneuverability, which are very key aspects.

Thereby, you should spare yourself all the unnecessary stress and frustration by choosing a kayak fishing life vest that is lightweight and not bulky since this guarantees high portability, which extremely crucial.

Bottom Line

If you enjoy fishing, then you most probably love kayaking too. For a safe time out in the waters, you may want to take necessary safety precautions. One being using a fishing life vest for kayaking.

We have discussed some of the factors that make a good kayak fishing life vest to help when shopping from the available products. We have also looked at some of the best products available in the market. 

Is that all you will need to determine what works best for you? Your preference is a guiding light and should point you to the kind of features you cannot forego. All that said, I would like to recommend to you the NRS Chinook.

It is comfortable to wear and has straps for adjusting. It also comes with plenty of storage space. At the front, it has pockets where you can fit fishing gear. Its tackle boxes provide extra room. You may also love it for the sufficient air circulation it provides.

There is no reason why you should not add this life vest to your kayak fishing experience. Buy the NRS Chinook today!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Surf Kayak
Enable registration in settings - general