10 Best Kayak Life Vests

Best Overall Kayak Life Vest

MoreVent Personal Flotation Device by Onyx

4.8/5

Experts, as well as beginners, benefit from ensuring security while kayaking for a relaxing time. There are many products available, although choosing the best, must take into consideration, the many factors that set apart the best from the acceptable in terms of quality and safety, alongside comfort for the long hours spent kayaking. Kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats are considered to be vessels by the Coast Guards, thereby have stringent safety precautions and regulations to abide by. Keep reading to know about the best kayak life vest available in the market, enabling a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

S.No Product Name Rating Pricing
1. MoreVent Personal Flotation Device by Onyx MoreVent Personal Flotation Device by Onyx [4.8/5.0] Check-button-1.png
2. Ion Personal Flotation Device Jacket by NRS Ion Personal Flotation Device/Jacket by NRS [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
3. Curve MoveVent by Onyx Curve MoveVent by Onyx [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
4. Inflatable & Automatic Personal Flotation Device by Onyx Inflatable & Automatic Personal Flotation Device by Onyx [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
5. Personal Flotation Device or Life Jacket by Hardcore Water Sports Personal Flotation Device or Life Jacket by Hardcore Water Sports [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
6. MoreVent Torsion Personal Flotation Device by Onyx MoreVent Torsion Personal Flotation Device by Onyx [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
7. Fishing and Kayaking Personal Flotation Device by Onyx Fishing and Kayaking Personal Flotation Device by Onyx [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
8. Layla Personal Floating Device or Life Jacket by Astral Layla Personal Floating Device or Life Jacket by Astral [4.7/5.0] Check-button-1.png
9. Watersport Classic Series Life Vest by Stearns Watersport Classic Series Life Vest by Stearns [4.5/5.0] Check-button-1.png
10. Personal Flotation Vest or Life Jacket by Stohlquist Personal Flotation Vest or Life Jacket by Stohlquist [4.4/5.0] Check-button-1.png

10 Best Life Jackets for Kayaking

Here are reviews of the 10 best kayak life vests that you should invest in if you enjoy kayaking.

#1. MoreVent Personal Flotation Device by Onyx

Onyx is well known for its superior quality products in the market for avid and beginners’ level kayaking, canoeing, and other types of vessels for optimum safety. This life vest is one such product with fabulous performance and durability. It is comfortable for long hours, along with the essential reflectors; in this case, SOLAS grade one for enhanced visibility.

5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: Neoprene, nylon and flotation foam
  • X-S/S — 28″- 36″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • M/L — 36″- 44″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • X-L/2X– 44″-56″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs

 

Tip: This is a Type III US Coast Guard approved flotation device for emergencies and rescue operations and are lightweight, requiring the wearer to tilt their head to keep floating.

Why we recommend this product

This is one of the top-rated products by Onyx, renowned in the industry for enabling the utmost security for kayaking. As per regulations, the life jacket comes with SOLAS-grade reflective material for enhanced visibility, with an adjustable strap to cinch at the waist to a secure and snug fit. The expansible pockets are attached to the mesh back, also customized for high backrests, common for most kayaks and canoes.

Info alert: This superior jacket comes with a whistle for emergencies.

#2. Ion Personal Flotation Device/Jacket by NRS

Ion Personal Flotation Device/Jacket by NRS is built for durability and comfort for kayakers. An essential part of kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboard experience, this life vest is made from feather-light foam, allowing the wearer to cinch the strap comfortably and snugly fit their frame. If superior performance and durability are the most important factor that you are looking for then this is one of the best available for safety.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: Neoprene, ripstop nylon, light foam, and fleece
  • XS/M: 30 -42 inches chest
  • L/XL: 42 -52 inches chest
  • XL/XXL: 50 – 56 inches chest

 

Tip: Front pockets are lined with soft fleece for cold temperatures.

Why we recommend this product

NRS Ion is ultra-light and durable and one of the best life jackets for kayaking, making it extremely comfortable to wear for long hours. The high wear areas have been made from ripstop nylon to ensure durability, with a soft lining inside for comfort. It also comes with a unique Cool Flow System for improved ventilation for warmer days. This personal flotation device has shoulder garages with reflective accents for enhanced visibility from afar, as per regulation; this US Coast Guard-certified vest is designed for ultimate comfort and superior fit.

Info alert: This personal flotation device is made for relatively experienced swimmers and kayakers, and designed as such for ease of movement and superior fit.

#3. Curve MoveVent by Onyx

Curve MoveVent by Onyx is a reliable personal floating device, which is moderately priced, without compromising the superior quality assured by the company. This is a fabulous vest, with bright reflectors, making visibility a breeze; not just that, it comes with adjustable side belts, and offers superior cooling technology for ample ventilation during strenuous paddling.

4.7/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200-denier ripstop nylon, and nylon oxfrod
  • X-S/S — 28″- 36″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • M/L — 36″- 44″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • X-L/2X– 44″-56″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs

 

Tip: The size may be slightly smaller for some. It is important to double-check while ordering.

Why we recommend this product

The Curve MoveVent by Onyx is one-of-a-kind and a moderately priced personal flotation device that does not compromise quality. It is durable and lightweight, with adjustable straps on the sides and the shoulder or snug and comfortable fit during kayaking. Onyx is renowned for its superior make of lifejackets, and this one if a prime example of that.

Info alert: There is no warranty on this product, and the seller must be contacted for defects or problems.

#4. Inflatable & Automatic Personal Flotation Device by Onyx

Inflatable & Automatic Personal Flotation Device by Onyx is a great option for automatic inflation technique; in case the automatic system fails, there is a pull handle to jerk and inflate, and if all fails, the normal manual inflation will also work. This is one of the best life jackets for kayaking, completely fool-proof. It is also extremely comfortable to wear, you can almost forget; it is well-padded without being bulky, and also has a pocket lined with fleece to safely store your pair of sunglasses without damage.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200-denier ripstop nylon, and nylon oxford
  • Colors: Blue and pink
  • Minimum buoyancy: 22.5 lbs
  • X-S/S — 28″- 36″ chest suitable for 80 + lbs
  • M/L — 36″- 44″ chest suitable for 80 + lbs
  • X-L/2X– 44″-56″ chest suitable for 80 + lbs

 

Tip: This life jacket is meant for experienced and strong swimmers.  

Why we recommend this product

This unique design of the automatic and manual personal floating device is customized for strong and seasoned swimmers, that know what they are doing, therefore should not be used by non-swimmers. This US Coast Guard-approved product is a Type V PFD that comes equipped with a CO2 canister for hassle-free inflation. The product is priced well, and performs well, as advertised.

Info alert: The CO2 cartridge can last for up to 3 years, although it should be checked thoroughly before using it.

#5. Personal Flotation Device or Life Jacket by Hardcore Water Sports

The Personal Flotation Device or Life Jacket by Hardcore Water Sports is a fabulous product with great floatation. It performs well and is light enough to be comfortable for long hours of kayaking. It is affordable without any compromises to the quality of the product and comes in a standard size, that is adjustable to make it snug and well fitted.

4.8/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200-denier ripstop nylon, and nylon oxford
  • Colors: Blue
  • Universal size — 32″- 50″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs

 

Tip: This is well suited for non-swimmers and swimmers alike.   

Why we recommend this product

This is an affordable, yet reliable personal floating device, which is unbeatable in quality. It is well suited for slim as well as for big built people. It is attractive and not bulky, which makes it ideal to comfortably wear for long hours. With a universal size to fit all, this versatile product can be used when out on relatively calm waters.

Info alert: Any damaged product or ones with defects should be referred to the sellers, as the manufacturing company only supplies the products.

#6. MoreVent Torsion Personal Flotation Device by Onyx

MoreVent Torsion Personal Flotation Device by Onyx is streamlined to perform the best for kayaking, canoeing, and SUP. It is extremely well designed, durable, and comfortable, with ample ventilation at the front and the back. It is very light and provides fantastic mobility for strenuous kayaking.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 400-denier ripstop nylon, and nylon oxford
  • Colors: Red and black
  • X-S/S — 28″- 36″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • M/L — 36″- 44″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • X-L/2X– 44″-56″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs

 

Tip: This personal floating device is best suited for people that require extra mobility, like during kayaking and paddling.    

Why we recommend this product

If you are looking for a moderately priced product, which gives true value for your money, then opting for the MoreVent Torsion Personal Flotation Device by Onyx is the best choice. This is one of the top-of-the-line products by Onyx, offering an extremely durable fabric of 400-denier ripstop and Oxford nylon, which makes it extremely durable and resistant to tear. It performs well and is a great product to invest in your safety.

Info alert: The products comes with a one-year manufacturing warranty.

#7. Fishing and Kayaking Personal Flotation Device by Onyx

Fishing and Kayaking Personal Flotation Device by Onyx can be very well fitted, as it comes with a six-level adjustable strap for a snug fit and safety. The high foam back of the floating device has been customized to suit the most popular kayaking and canoeing seatback. It provides ample drainage and is light and comfortable to wear the whole day on the water.

4.6/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 400-denier ripstop nylon, and nylon oxford
  • X-S/S — 28″- 36″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • M/L — 36″- 44″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs
  • X-L/2X– 44″-56″ chest suitable for 90 + lbs

 

 

Tip: This Onyx jacket has 15 pounds of lift pressure, exceeding the normal of Type III USCG certification.     

Why we recommend this product

Another great personal floating device from Onyx which is easy to use. It is streamlined for use for fishing and kayaking. Well-padded and light, with spacious pockets it is not only suitable for fishing and kayaking, but also recreation use. The jacket has breathable mesh fabric to ensure comfort, while out kayaking.

Info alert: Onyx offers a one-year manufacturing warranty on this product.

#8. Layla Personal Floating Device or Life Jacket by Astral

Layla Personal Floating Device or Life Jacket by Astral has been made only for women and is designed for ultimate comfort and safety at all times on the water. It has been dedicated to voluptuous women who have a hard time fitting the best of personal floating devices. Astral has ensured that women have a specialized jacket that keeps in mind the naturals curves of the body to provide superbly comfortable fitting, with soft foaming for comfortable hours on the water.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200- 400 Denier ripstop nylon exterior, and 200-nylon interior
  • X-S – 27 – 31 inches
  • S/M – 31 – 37 inches
  • M/L – 38 – 44 inches
  • L/XL – 45 – 51 inches

 

Tip: It is not bulky and well suited to hot temperatures

Why we recommend this product

This life jacket is considered the best kayak life vest for women. The jacket is well-padded with organic materials and also has ample ventilation for it to be comfortable on hot days. The cost of the jacket is higher than most of the normal one and this is because it has been specially made for women, deviating from the normal design.

Info alert: Please check the measurements thoroughly before ordering, as the sizes may be different from other brands.  

#9. Watersport Classic Series Life Vest by Stearns

Watersport Classic Series Life Vest by Stearns is best suited for kayaking, wakeboarding, water skiing, and tubing. It is very light and is so comfortable that you may forget that you are wearing one for hours. It comes with PE floating foam and light and resilient 200-denier nylon fabric composition, alongside the one side open design, for extra ventilation and breathability.

4.5/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200-Denier ripstop nylon exterior; light floatation foam made from PE
  • Dimensions: 19.00 x 18.00 x 4.00 Inches

 

Tip: This product has a universal size, meaning that larger people may have trouble fitting into the vest.

Why we recommend this product

The personal floating device by Stearns is made in one size; the universal size is meant to fit all adults, comfortably and snug. The product has been priced well for its performance. It is made from ultra-light foam, which ensures security on the water for extended periods. The vest is made for people weighing more than 90 lbs and is one of the best life jackets for kayaking and canoeing. 

Info alert: It is not very sturdy and should not be used for heavy-duty kayaking or rafting; rather, it does well as a recreational jacket for safety.

#10. Personal Flotation Vest or Life Jacket by Stohlquist

Combining quality, practicality, and affordability to provide ample flexibility in this floating device, the Personal Flotation Vest or Life Jacket by Stohlquist comes with three buckles in the front with a strap for securing well. This is an oversized jacket that is made for extra large people. The back of the personal floating device has been thinned for even resting of the back on the high seatbacks.

4.4/5

Pros

Cons

Product Specs

  • Material: 200-Denier ripstop nylon exterior; light floatation foam made from PE
  • Oversize Universal size (48′-60″ chest) suitable for 90+ lbs
  • Sea level buoyancy: 18 lbs
  • Universal size and suitable for 90+ lbs

 

Tip: This is an extra-large size, which may not fit all.

Why we recommend this product

This Stohlquist oversized personal floating device is great for larger people, which have trouble fitting into regular universal size jackets. It has been crafted superbly with a quality finish that ensures durability even regular use.

Info alert: The product comes with sheathed straps, ensuring no extra-long straps are hanging down to the knees.

Buying Guide for the Best Kayak Life Vest in 2020

These are the top-rated personal floating devices or life jackets, superbly rated for their ease of use and comfort for long hours. The quality of the materials, alongside, if they are inflatable or standard, non-inflatable ones, the size and the fitting for security, and also details such as if they are USCG-approved and the degree of flotation, all impact the final performance at crucial times.

 

Inflatable versus standard

This is one of the most basic questions to ask, whether a regular standard one will work, or if the inflatable ones should be used. It also depends greatly, what type of water body, is chosen, as different brands have a different performance at the lake, ocean, lake, and other water bodies.

A standard jacket is inherently buoyant, easy to maintain, comes with many pockets for convenience, and also very versatile. The inflatable ones and cooler and more comfortable to wear; also, it required manual inflation to perform optimally, and, therefore, it is suited to strong and experienced swimmers. 

Size and fit

The most important factor in getting the right personal floating device is that they have to be of the right size. As these jackets have to fit snugly to the body, it beats the purpose if the jacket is loose, and cannot be tightened.

 

Ventilation

Another key factor to remember is that these will be worn, presumably for long hours on the water, and therefore, requires ample ventilation for it to be comfortable to wear. Ones that are constricting the flow of air or breeze are not the right ones to pick.

Reflective material or tape

This is another crucial factor to ensure superior visibility in case of emergencies and trouble. It is, therefore, imperative to choose one which has a good reflective material that can be seen from far away.

Storage

For anglers, this is an extremely crucial factor; the vest should have ample storage so that it is easy to carry valuables and basic on you, without hassle.

Flotation

As per guidelines set by the US Coast Guards, the life jackets are divide into five categories for the best performance. The ones that are mentioned are all Type II of the USCG guidelines. Type III is customized to avid paddlers and kayakers are made to support fast rescue operations during emergencies. They are airy and allow a lot of mobility and freedom, and are inherently buoyant, whether inflatable or the standard ones.

Our Verdict

 If you are looking for the best kayak life vest with the utmost safety and comfort then opting for the MoreVent Personal Flotation Device by Onyx is the best option. This has been repeatedly reviewed as the best product, due to the durability and comfort the design provide. Also, as it is modernly priced, with superior drainage and ventilation with the mesh back and high visibility with proper SOLAS reflective materials, as specified by the USCG, Type II life jacket, MoreVent Personal Flotation Device is safe and sturdy for use and offers the best experience and security.

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