Best life jackets for kayak fishing – (Reviews & Buying Guide)

​Kayak fishing a great outdoor water sport. You get to relax at the same time exercise. According to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, safety is a necessity to all humans.

However, safety when kayak fishing is often overlooked especially for those who are more experienced. It should, however, be your number one priority before anything else. Safety is something a life jacket is guaranteed to provide.

The best life jackets for kayak fishing should provide comfort, safety, and convenience. They're however not the same. All you need to do is choose the best one for you.

Best life jackets for kayak fishing for you

Best Lifejackets For Kayak Fishing Reviews in 2020

With all these considerations in mind, it will be pretty easy to land on the best lifejacket. I have compiled a list of top ten best lifejackets for kayak fishing that all kayakers out there will appreciate.

The features of this NRS Chinook life jacket will knock you off your seat or should I say kayak? It's been made for use for extended periods of time.

This Chinook jacket has 7 front pockets meant for everything from small tackle boxes to tippets.

Best Life jackets for Kayak Fishing

This makes it perfect for kayak fishing, fly fishing, and extended tours. The mesh on the lower back of the jacket is a great fit. Its soft PlushFIT foam floatation conforms to your body giving you ultimate comfort. With the roomy front-entry design, you can customize your desired fit. It also provides ventilation on warm days.


  • ​Designed with7 front pockets to store small tackle
    Designed with7 front pockets to store small tackle
  • ​Suits fly fishing and kayak fishing
    Suits fly fishing and kayak fishing
  • ​Has a mesh lower back with ventilations
    Has a mesh lower back with ventilations
  • ​Features Soft PlushFIT foam flotation that conforms with you
    Features Soft PlushFIT foam flotation that conforms with your body
  • ​Available in different sizes and colors
    Available in different sizes and colors


  • ​ Users say it is bulky and uncomfortable
    •    Users say it is bulky and uncomfortable
kayak fishing

​To save a little money, you can get a lifejacket that's so versatile it can fit everyone in your family. This MTI Calcutta Kayak life jacket is among them.

It universally fits anyone with a 30-52inch size chest. It 3buckle front closure, 4-side adjustments and padded adjustable shoulder straps make this possible.

It also comes with specific fishing features like, generous pockets that offer ample room for your fishing necessities. Additional features like reflective trim, hook resistant shell fabric and hat hanger loop are for your convenience aboard your kayak.


  • Has three fishing pockets to keep your necessities
  • Designed with a reflective trim
  • Hook resistant shell fabric
  • Perfect for fishing and paddle sports
  • Designed with front buckle closure and side and shoulder adjustments


  • It is too small

If you're an angler, this MTI Fisher Kayak lifejacket was designed for you. It has 4 front open-access pockets that offer ample storage space for your fishing necessities. Its lower cargo pockets are big enough to reel or spool of line.

With its center buckle, adjustable sides and adjustable shoulder strap, it allows you to customize the life jacket for a perfect fit. The D-rings in the front and back allow you to attach your gear. 

This life jacket is completely PVC-free. It's also USCG strength tested at 50mph for jet ski, water ski, and general boating use.


  • The life jacket is completely PVC free
  • Has four front pockets that provide ample storage
  • Designed with D-rings front and back for gear attachment
  • Has a center buckle closure with adjustable sides and shoulder straps
  • Available in green and gray colors


  • The design doesn’t suit kayakers.

If you want to train your child the art of kayaking, this Stearns Child Watersport vest will ensure your child enjoys watersport activities.

This life vest is meant for children that weigh 30-50lbs. This falls in the range of any sized kid. With the durable ​nylon construction over PE foam, your kid will enjoy using this vest for a very long time.

It has a secure 1inch webbing which ensures your child's comfort. This closed sided prioritizes your child's safety. It comes with a leg strap that helps the vest stay in place even in water.


  • Perfect for kids from 30-50 lbs
  • Designed with a durable nylon construction
  • Has a leg strap to keep the vest in place
  • Features an adjustable crotch strap and two large armholes to facilitate faster movement
  • Has adjustable chest belts


  • Doesn’t suit toddlers

The hot weather is perfect for kayaking. Heavy duty lifejackets can be very inconveniencing. That's why you need this MTI Helios lifejacket. It's a Yoke-style inflatable PFD that's lightweight but cool in hot weather. It inflates in seconds providing up to 29lbs of instant flotation.

With its built-in window, it allows for visual confirmation of the CO2 cylinder connection and readiness. You can use the zippered front pocket to store a wide range of necessities. For added safety, it comes with a back-up oral inflation tube, reflective trim and tethered whistle.


  • Lightweight and keeps you cool in hot climate
  • Takes little time to inflate
  • Comes with a backup oral inflation tube
  • Designed with a reflective trim and tethered whistle for added security
  • Built-in window to allow visual C02 cylinder connection


  • No cons so far

For the paranoid kayakers who like taking extra caution, this Stormr Strykr Bib is exactly what you need. It nearly offers head-to toe protection. Its adjustable shoulder straps and vented back panel offer you with the ultimate safety as you get to customize the fit you want. Its 2fleece-lined chest hand-warmer rests are for withstanding harsh weather conditions.

It comes with 2splash proof exterior pockets, non-corrosive zippers and 2cargo style gear pockets for convenience. For added safety, the Bib has an abrasion-resistant knee and seat reinforcement. For durability the jacket has glued, blind stitched and thermal taped seams.


  • Designed from 100 percent polyester
  • Has adjustable shoulder straps for a custom fit
  • It is waterproof
  • Features a non-corrosive splash proof zipper


  • It is expensive

This Astral Buoyancy life jacket is the world's first breathable PFD. If you want to look and feel evolved, you need this life jacket.

It's suited for recreation, touring, kayak fishing and sailing. Its ​airescape technology is a revolutionary air flow system that eliminates excessive heat buildup and perspiration.

This maintains a comfortable core temperature perfect for warm weather. The mesh back of the life jacket makes for a great fit for high seat backs. For you to keep your necessities dry and at arm's length the life jacket has large front pocket plus one interior storage sleeve.


  • Large front pocket and interior sleeve to keep your items
  • Available in different sizes
  • The mesh back provides a great fit for high set backs
  • Suits both men and women
  • An a revolutionary airflow system to eliminate excessive heat buildup


  • It’s a small size

If you're searching for a life jacket that will snugly fit your torso, this Stohlquist Trekker life jacket is perfect for the job.

The back side of the lifejacket has a half floatation/half cool mesh. This makes it fit comfortably above the seat backs found in today's rec-tour and sit-on-top boats.

It features a front zipper entry pocket you can use to store your necessities. Its adjustable shoulders and cross-chest cinch harness guarantees safety for you. With its ventilated shoulder and back pad, you will remain cool even when the weather's hot. It comes with hand wash soap and water.


  • Has a front zipper entry
  • The padded shoulders are adjustable
  • Features roomy zippered pockets
  • The back is designed with floatation/half cool mesh


  • The shoulder straps are not comfortable because they itch

The best life jackets for kayak fishing shouldn't interfere with your activities. One of them is the NRS Ninja PFD life jacket. With it, water sports are guaranteed to be enjoyable.

The Ninja athletic design won't interfere with paddling, rowing or swimming.

This makes it perfect for boaters with short torsos who have a hard time wearing more conventional life vests. The soft PVC-free foam floatation panel is shaped for comfort, 4 side adjustments and 2 shoulder adjustments provide for a customized fit. A floating front panel adjusts to your body shape giving you a warm place to put your hands when it gets chilly.


  • Perfect for rowing, swimming and paddling
  • Provides users with custom fit
  • Designed with comfortable and soft PVC-free foam floatation
  • Has a floating panel that conforms to your body
  • It is lightweight


  • It rides up a lot hence floating on your chin

Things To Consider When Buying ​ Best Life jackets for Kayak Fishing

A life jacket is a very essential component that you should carry when you are going for fishing to avoid accidents. It is advisable to choose the best jacket to save your life in incidents of accidents on the water. Here are few considerations you should think about when buying a life jacket or tactical accessories belt  for kayak fishing.

Color And Design

There are so many accidents that have taken place simply because the person could not be spotted. When you are picking a lifejacket for kayaking, you should ensure that it is visible from far. Select a jacket with a bright color so that it will be easy to save you.


There is no a single kayaking life jacket that can suit all users, however, you can get some universal models if you are not sure of the size especially if you are buying it for a friend. They are designed in different sizes to suit different users. You should pick a jacket that gives you a nice and comfortable fit. The jackets are available in different sizes such as small, medium and large sizes.


Even with life jackets, there are still so many cases of people drowning because poor jacket functionality. To be on the safe side, you should look for life jackets that are approved by Coast-Guard because they are very safe and reliable.

Adjustments Jackets

These are life jackets that provide a lot of versatility, and they are easy to adjust for a custom fit. The jackets are designed to fit all people regardless of their body size or shape. When you fit an adjustment jacket well, it allows you to float on water in cases of accidents and this keeps you very safe.

Age And Gender

These are other important things that you should also consider. There are jackets that are designed depending on the age of the user.  For instance, if you are taking kids for a kayak fishing trip, you should ensure you have life jackets that will suit their age as well as provide a comfortable fit.

Final Verdict

Never ever go out to any water body without a lifejacket. All of the above discussed have been tried and tested to make sure you're safe, and you feel safe when you go kayak fishing.

You need to consider the size of the lifejacket. Don't go for a large one when you're relatively small it will be puffy and uncomfortable. Also, consider how lightweight the life jacket is as it will determine your movement aboard your kayak.

Lifejackets are very versatile. You can use them for a range of activities like canoeing and swimming. Don't put your life on the line. Get a life jacket as soon as you can.

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Barry Robinson

Hi. This is Barry J. Robinson. I love to fishing, kayaking and blogging. I start fishing & kayaking when I was at the age of 18. I love to write about my fishing & kayaking review and parts review. Regularly writing about fishing and kayaking for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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