Safety is one of the most important factors of fishing on open waters. When you jump into a boat or kayak, you must feel secure! Imagine if you capsize and don’t have a life vest to help keep you afloat? Even if you are a strong swimmer, you may struggle. Fishing on a lake or a river can be dangerous enough and fishing in the sea or waters with strong currents can be even more so. This is why it is important you purchase an inflatable life vest for fishing.
We know when making a decision, you are confronted with a myriad of options. Different manufacturers make various life jackets and models. Moreover, there are many styles – from simple floatation devices, through fully inflatable jackets. Sometimes it can be overwhelming! We understand this and are here to help! We have fantastic knowledge of angling safety devices such as inflatable vests.
We will share this knowledge in the paragraphs below. As you read on, you will learn about what makes the best inflatable PFD for fishing and the different features these safety devices have.
Inflatable life jackets for fishing
So what considerations should you look at when choosing the best inflatable PFD for fishing? Consider where you will be angling, what category of vessel you will sail in, and what you are comfortable wearing. Furthermore, consider your own swimming capabilities and strength.
Where you fish, has a large impact on the category of inflatable safety vest for angling you buy. For example, if you simply fish at the side of a pond or lake, you will not need a high quality safety vest. Alternatively, if you are open water fishing, your safety device must be high quality – if you fell overboard, you would need a sturdy life jacket to battle against the sea.
Also look at your own strength. If you have little to no swimming experience, you will need a high quality PFD – this is an absolute necessity. On the flip side, if you are a confident and strong swimmer, you may feel comfortable wearing a basic PFD instead. In the paragraphs below, we share more info about the best inflatable PFD for fishing:
Choosing the best inflatable PFD for fishing
PFD equipment has many features. These devices range from simple floatation aids, through complex life jackets with anti-hypothermia protection. Let’s take a look at common features of PFDs including the category, material, adjustability, pockets, and protection:
Type of fishing PFD
Fishing PFDs and life jackets, are split into several categories. The US Coast Guard defines these categories from Type I through to Type V. Understanding the type is required for choosing a PFD.
Type I – You should not need to use a Type I life jacket when fishing. This category of the jacket is usually intended for commercial vessels – it is rarely used for recreational purposes. A Type I jacket has a buoyancy of 22lbs. A Type I is best suited for remote locations and rough waters – this jacket also provides the greatest heat retention for your body.
Type II – This category of life jacket is another you should not need to consider. It has an archaic design – orange padding with a single security strap. These security devices are generally uncomfortable. This is the category of life jacket you will typically see on small cruise liners or other light craft. A Type II can be inherently buoyant (i.e. already inflated), or it can be inflatable.
Type III – A Type III jacket is the most common for kayakers and sailors. This category of jacket has the greatest array of designs and styles. A Category III provides buoyancy of 15.5lbs. A Class III jacket offers more comfort than both Class I and Class II. Common uses of this PFD inflatable jacket is for water skiing, canoeing, angling and kayaking.
Type IV – If you are travelling in a boat longer than 16’,you must have a Type IV life jacket. Moreover, you must also have a PFD that can be thrown. This class of life jacket is not meant to be continually worn – it is merely a rescue device that you throw into the water if someone has gone overboard. If you cannot swim, then a Type IV will offer little security; moreover it should not be used for children.
Type V – Anything that does not fall into the above categories is generally classed as type V. Different categories of PFD type 5 jackets include automatic inflation models, hybrid inflation models, and special use life jackets.
As you can see there is a lot to take in! Don’t feel overwhelmed – once you understand the different categories of PFD inflatable devices you can easily make a choice. You just have to consider which vest category is most suitable for your angling venture. Generally speaking, Type III jackets are the most common for angling. As you will see below, fishers usually favor a Type II vest with plenty of pockets for their equipment.
Life vest for fishing materials
The material a jacket is made is critical. The single most important material consideration is how waterproof it is. Why would you consider buying an emergency inflatable life vest that isn’t waterproof? This goes against the concept and point of this device.
Waterproof inflatable angling jackets are typically made from Neoprene, nylon, and foam. The outer material is usually a webbing or mesh made of neoprene and nylon. This provides excellent protection from the elements and most importantly, water. The interior and padding is usually made from foam. This foam may be made from polyethylene or PVC. The foam is meant to keep water out, and also to help with buoyancy. Aside from the main fabric and foam, a life vest usually has either plastic or metal straps too.
When choosing a PFD, ensure it is made from buoyant and waterproof material for your own safety!
Adjustability of inflatable fishing life vest
When choosing a vest for fishing, it must be adjustable. By adjustable, we mean it should have straps that you can alter in length and tightness. Moreover, we mean whether the vest is inflatable or not. Generally, fishers avoid an inflatable life vest – these vests can restrict movement. Furthermore, it can also prove too bulky when inflated. This is why a non-inflatable vest is preferred. These vests have padding and fit better – it will still provide buoyancy too.
In terms of adjustable straps, you need flexibility. Your vest should have straps that can accommodate your body. Moreover, the straps should be much longer so you can adjust them if necessary. As a rule of thumb, the more straps a life vest has, the more suitable it will be. More straps means more security.
Pockets in inflatable life vest for fishing
When angling, you must have a vest with pockets! Why? Well how else can you carry your angling tackle and accessories? The best fishing life jackets have ample pocket space. Moreover, the pockets should be high quality, well-placed, spacious, and have quality fasteners. These are all things to consider when analyzing pockets. How many pockets does the life vest have? Where are these pockets placed? How much room do the pockets have? Are the pockets fastened by zippers, buttons, or Velcro?
Take a good look at the pockets your chosen best fishing PFD vest has. Also, consider what angling tackle you usually take with you – bait, hooks, spare line, etc. How much pocket space do you actually need? Pocket space should never come at the expense of security or functionality – it is still important, however.
Hypothermia protection of inflatable life jackets for fishing
If you are angling in cold waters, give heed to hypothermia protection. Hypothermia is one of the biggest killers of people who are submerged in cold water. Our body can rapidly lose heat and our core body temperature can drop quickly which can cause it to shut down, and hypothermia to set in. Hypothermia doesn’t take long to set in – you could be in cold water for 5 minutes and lose much of your strength.
Type III inflatable life jackets for angling generally have hypothermia protection. Moreover, they allow sufficient movement so you can get into the HELP position (Heat Escape Learning Posture). Ensure if you are angling in cold waters, that your life vest for angling has appropriate protection and will minimize the risk of hypothermia.
Top-10 best inflatable life jackets for fishing
When fishing in open waters, safety should be one of your top concerns. You have a great deal to think about when angling such as attaching bait, reeling in your catch, and paddling in the right areas. You should not have to worry about your safety too! This is why it is important to choose an excellent quality life jacket that will keep you safe in an emergency. There are many safety devices and selecting the right one can be a nightmare. We understand this, and the importance of safety. This is why we have selected 10 excellent safety jackets for fishing for your benefit:
Sloueasy Inflatable Life Jacket – best inflatable life vest for fishing
Sloueasy produces and sells a whole range of products including a brilliant range of safety devices. Their Sloueasy inflatable product is both fun and safe. Inflation can be completed within 10 seconds, and it can withstand pressure of 210 lbs for 12 hours.
– Extended crotch strap with additional security
– Adjustable belts and straps
– Soft fabric around the arms and neck to reduce discomfort
– Suitable for snorkeling, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and more
– Can inflate and deflate in 10 seconds
– Can adjust the inflation level using the mouthpiece
– Is easy to put on and remove
– Self-inflating – no automatic mechanism
This is a simple design, but it is effective and causes minimal discomfort. You can easily wear the device and secure it in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, it offers excellent buoyancy and comes standard with a carry bag.Check on Amazon
Eyson Life Jacket Inflatable PFD Adult – best inflatable pfd for fishing
Eyson provides a range of safety products such as waiste bags, vests, and waits for rings. This device is made from durable Oxford Nylon and filled with TPU Foam. It can provide 330 lbs of pressure and uses a cartridge based inflation system. Furthermore, it has a plethora of features that improve the security and usability of this device. The following are some of the main pros and cons:
– Automatic inflation in 3-5 seconds
– Metal buckles and adjustable straps
– Reflective strips for improved visibility
– Comes with a whistle and spare cartridge
– Superb automatic system with replacement cartridges
– Bright and visible design
– Universal fit with adjustable straps
– Suitable for adults and children
– Have to keep purchasing new cartridges
– Manual inflation is much slower
Overall, this product provides a quick and easy to use solution. Furthermore, the design is robust and has some nifty features such as a care label and whistle.Check on Amazon
Dazhengyang Portable Inflatable Snorkeling Diving Vest Life
Dazhengyang offers a myriad of outdoor equipment such as lighting and storage – they also sell safety devices. Their Portable snorkeling diving vest is a superb and simple device. It is suitable for a myriad of water sports including fishing and canoeing. The product is suitable for beginners as it is easy to use but anyone can benefit from its safe design. The following are some of the features and pros and cons of this inflatable fishing PFD:
– Adjustable crotch and waist straps
– Small footprint, easy to fold up and carry
– Inflated size: 50x40x10cm
– Available in two colors: luminous green or orange
– Extremely easy to deflate in a short period of time
– Easy to put on and take off due to large holes and straps
– Material is waterproof and resistant to UV damage
– Basic design: could ride up
– Manual inflation reliant on breathing
This design is similar to the Sloueasy model and offers similar features. We like the bright, vibrant color and the adjustable crotch strap. For your money, this really is an effective device that has a no-nonsense approach to security.Check on Amazon
ONYX A-24 Red In-Sight Auto Inflate – best inflatable life vest
ONYX has an excellent range of safety devices such as static PFDs and wetsuits for canoeing. The ONXY A-24 is a self-inflating device that inflates on contact with water. It also has oral inflation that you can inflate and deflate with ease. The neckline is made of neoprene, and the main body is made of nylon – this gives extra comfort and security. It also has a simple “jerk to inflate” handle that makes automatic inflating easy. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons:
– Both automatic and manual expansion for fail safe
– Uses a red/green system so you can tell if it is expanded or not
– Adjustable straps to fit any type of build/size
– Extremely comfortable and non-restrictive
– Auto-expansion is efficient and works in an instant
– Reflective strips for great visibility
– Does not come with spare cartridges
– Rearming kit must be purchased extra
The ONYX A-24 is simple and easy to use – you can rest assured the automatic expansion feature will keep you float and secure in an emergency. We like the jerk handle which makes expansion a doddle. We just felt that the rearming kit should be included as standard.Check on Amazon
SALVS Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket – best inflatable life jacket
The SALVS automatic device offers a traditional and simple design that is fit for purpose. It is suitable for use when kayaking and fishing. Moreover, it is suitable for both male and female usage. This item has a manual/automatic expansion system you use by pulling a handle and chord. It is also available in a myriad of sizes for both women and men up to size 4x. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons:
– Red tab manual boosting system that enlarges in a matter of seconds
– Lightweight materials that offer both comfort and security
– Can be used multiple times simply by installing a new CO2 kit
– Travel bag included in the standard package
– Adjustable straps for extra comfort
– Nylon is lightweight which provides minimal stress
– Can provide flotation for more than 48 hours
– Does not come with a spare CO2 canister/kit
– Color is not the most visible
The standard package comes with a whistle, reflection bands, cylinder, blow tube, and the device itself. We like the comfort this product provides and the extra features it offers too.Check on Amazon
KUYOU Inflatable Snorkel Vest Adult Life Jackets – top rated inflatable life jacket for fishing
KUYOU specialize in sports gear and equipment such as kayak helmets, kneepads and inflatables. The KUYOU snorkel vest is a brilliant product suitable for snorkeling, paddling, and fishing. It can accommodate a safety load of up to 220 lbs. The design offers an “over-the-neck” style that is easy to wear. Moreover, the expansion method is manual – you must blow through a mouthpiece. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons of this inflatable life jacket for fishing:
– Over-the-neck style for easy access
– Made from resistant TPU that has a long shelf life
– Quick release buckles
– Vibrant green or orange color
– Self-expansion system is easy to use and requires little effort
– Straps can be adjusted
– Provides excellent buoyancy
– Might not be suitable for taller people due to limited clip sizes
The durable material makes this item a superb purchase. It will last for years providing you take care of it. We also like the bright orange or green colors – you can easily be spotted in the water in an emergency.Check on Amazon
Eyson Slim Inflatable PFD Life Jacket – pfd for fishing
This is our second Eyson entry in the top 10 list and another fantastic choice. The Slim PFD is perfect for adults to use on fishing trips and when kayaking. It is CE certified and SOLAS approved which is always an added bonus. The material has reflectors, and the bright colors are highly visible. The buoyancy has a rating of 150N up to a total weight of 330 lbs. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons of this best fishing pfd:
– SOLAS approved and CE certified
– The material is washable and easy to dry
– Gas canister inflation system
– Available in several bright colors
– Adjustable belt and straps for universal fitting
– Made from nylon and neoprene for comfort and resistance to damage
– Lightweight design that allows for movement
– Only comes standard with 1 gas cylinder
– Loses buoyancy after just 24 hours (most vests last for 48 hours)
The standard package is well equipped although it doesn’t come with a spare cylinder. You get a whistle, reflection bands, blow tube, and 1x gas cylinder. The design is simple, the inflation is effective, and being CE certified is a big plus.Check on Amazon
Promate Snorkel Vest Jacket – most comfortable fishing life vest
Promate is a company that provides a range of outdoor gear and sports equipment plus some amazing quality PFDs. The Promate Snorkeling vest is an exceptional quality product that has a simple design. It is a type III item and is suitable for adults while snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing. It is available in four different sizes ranging from junior through extra large. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons of this most comfortable fishing life vest:
– Horse collar style allowing for easy and comfortable usage
– Dual straps on waist and crotch
– Available in 4 different size options
– Available in two bright colors
– Simple but effective design
– Quick and easy self-inflating system
– Can cope with a load of 320 lbs max
– Plastic valve has been known to break on occasion
– Need to look at the size guide on the website
This is one of the most simple designs on our list, but it certainly does the job. If you just want a cheap but effective model then the Promate Snorkel vest is a great choice – it is one of the best value for money pfds on our list.Check on Amazon
Eyson Inflatable Life Jacket Belt Pack – best inflatable pfd for fishing
This is the first ring we have featured and certainly one of the best pfd for fishing. It has a simple ring design and is CE certified. It has a self-expanding mechanism and is suitable for use for both children and adults. The device can be purchased in 6 colors – black, blue, brown, red, yellow, and grey. It also has an adjustable belt that can fit around a number of different statures. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons of this product:
– Made from a combo of nylon, tpu, polyester, and neoprene
– SOLAS approved and CE Certified
– Self-inflating mechanism via a pull cord
– Expands in less than 5 seconds to provide buoyancy
– Standard package comes with whistle, reflectors, and a carry bag
– Buoyancy last for 24 hours
– Outer material is waterproof made from Oxford Nylon
– Easy to carry and maintain
– Not a full life jacket
– Does not include a cartridge refills
We like the Eyson ring and its unique design – it offers excellent safety features and is CE certified. You are guaranteed quality with this ring.Check on Amazon
Kingswell Adult Portable Inflatable Swim Vest Life – best life vest for kayak fishing
Kingswell offers a myriad of sports and outdoor equipment such as inflatable pools, swimming gear, and more. The adult portable swim vest is a superb product that is suitable for swimming, canoeing, and fishing. It has a zipper design and adjustable straps that make it easy to wear. It is classed as suitable for kids and adults over 80 lbs. The following are some of the main features and pros and cons of this fishing pfd:
– Zipper style for easy access
– Self-expanding mechanism with value for deflating
– Available in four different colors
– Simple but secure design
– provides security but still allows for movement
– Made from a tough polyester material that is durable
– Not suitable for skinny children under 80lbs
This is a fantastic model for kids and adults. It is easy to use and simple to expand. The only thing we felt was missing was a crotch strap to prevent the model from riding up.Check on Amazon
Frequently asked questions about life jackets for fishing
Now that you have seen our top 10 list, you need to be sure of what you are purchasing. There are many considerations to look at when purchasing a device such as this. You have to be confident in your choice and understand how to use one, and how to maintain it. Life jackets do not last forever, and the self-inflating mechanism can be complicated. To help improve your knowledge, we have listed a series of common questions and answers on this subject below:
What are life jackets made of?
To ensure item is durable and will hold up in water, the materials used are very specific. The two main materials used in the creation of this garment are nylon and foam. Foam is used to pack the interior of the device and to improve buoyancy. Plastic foam is commonly used as it’s cheap to manufacture and still provide excellent quality – usual types include PVC and polyethylene. Nylon is used for the exterior as it is weather resistant and has a resistance to UV damage too.
How do self-inflating life jackets work?
There are two types of self-inflating jackets. The first is one you manually inflate using a pull chord. The jacket will have carbon dioxide gas chambers sewn inside the foam lining. When the cord is pulled, the gas is released – this inflates the chambers and the vest to provide flotation and buoyancy. The other type is a self-inflating jacket that inflates when it comes into contact with water. The gas releases when a dissolvable stopper dissolves upon touching water. Some garments are hybrid devices which combine both self-inflating features and natural buoyancy.
How long do life jackets last?
There is actually no set time period for how long a product such as this will last. A pfd could last as long as 10 years – it all depends on the quality of the material, and how you maintain your device. If you take little care and simply throw your product on the floor in your garage after usage, it will degrade quicker. Alternatively, if you care for it, regularly clean it, and store it properly, there is no reason why it could not last for years. Always wash your PFD, and never leave it in direct sunlight – this can greatly improve the shelf-life of your unit.
What is the best inflatable life vest for fishing?
Best Product: Sloueasy Inflatable Life Jacket
While every item in our top 10 list has its merits, we believe the Sloueasy model is the best inflatable life vest for fishing. The design of this product is ergonomic and well thought out. It has a myriad of useful features that make it comfortable and secure to wear. The extendable crotch strap, for example, provides extra security. Moreover, the nylon exterior is resistant to damage and is also lightweight and comfortable. Finally, the inflating mechanism has CE certification ensuring quality and reliability.
We feel that the above item is the best, but as we’ve said, the other 9 items are fantastic in their own right. Eyson, for example, have the Slim Inflatable PFD, the adult PFD, and the belt pack which are three superb products. The KUYOU snorkel vest and the Kingswell portable vest which are also high quality and comfortable. We can’t forget the ONYX A-24 and the SALVS automatic jackets which have great inflatable features and ergonomic designs. If you pick any of these 10 units, you can enjoy a safe and secure fishing trip!