Looking for the best life jacket for kayaking? You’ve come to the right place. Unlike other watersports, kayaking and canoeing offer the most unique experience. Not only that, but these kinds of watersports are also the most flexible. You can go kayaking or canoeing in a relaxed mode or sport mode, whatever you like.
Whether you love casual water activities or the most challenging ones, your safety should always be the number one priority. That’s why you need the best life jacket for canoeing and kayaking to keep you safe. This way, you will have peace of mind knowing that you’ll stay afloat even in case of an accident.
Other than just exploring on a canoe or a kayak, you may want to try kayak fishing. Unlike fishing on a boat, fishing on a kayak gives you a different experience. However, even though it seems harmless wearing the best life jacket for kayak fishing is still a must.
So, what is the best life jacket for kayaking? One the list below, we’ll show you the best 13. Planning to bring your kids? Get them the best life jacket for kids. Your fido is coming too? We also have the list of 13 best life jackets for dogs.
How to Choose the Best Life Jackets for Kayaking
Since there are many life jacket manufacturers, it’s easy to find the best life jacket for kayaking. Some life jackets are very expensive, and some are very adorable. You can find great life jackets ranging from 20 USD to 200 USD. There are plenty of options! However, if it’s your first time buying a life jacket, you may not know what to look for. Here are a few things to consider:
There are five categories of personal flotation devices. Different types will feature different buoyancy levels. If you’re gonna go for a casual kayaking time, type-I to type-III life jackets are enough. But if you’re going on a challenging water adventure like whitewater kayaking, type-IV or type-V is the best life jacket for whitewater kayaking because it can handle rough conditions.
Once you pick the right type that’s suitable for your need, it’s time to consider the fitting. The best life jackets for kayaking will offer a snug fit. It just feels right because it’s not too big or too small. Make sure you choose the right size and see the brand’s size chart. Also, it’s better if you buy a life jacket with an adjustable size. This way, it’s easy to adjust the fitting for maximum comfort.
The best life jacket isn’t tied to a specific design. Some designs are simple, and some offer a lot of extra features. If you’re going to go for a fun kayaking time with family, a simple classic life jacket will be enough. But if you’re going to go fishing, you need the best life jacket for kayak fishing because it has more features and offers convenience.
And last but not least, extra features. While it’s not the most important thing about a life jacket, it can enhance your experience. Especially if you go fishing, the best life vest for fishing usually has more pockets and rings to store your fishing gear.
Should you wear a life jacket when kayaking?
Some states require everyone to wear a life jacket when involved in any water activities. However, some other states are looser when it comes to the regulations. But for the sake of your own safety, it’s better to always wear a life jacket even if you’re a good swimmer.
Can you drown with a life jacket?
If you pick the right life jacket type for the environment, something like this is rarely happening. A life jacket with the right buoyancy will always keep you afloat. It needs a very rough weather condition and strong water pressure to drown when wearing a life jacket.
Can you wear a life jacket under a jacket?
Yes! If it’s too cold outside but you still want to go fishing on your kayak, you may wear a jacket before putting on your life jacket. There will be no problem. Also, check out these kayak drysuits to keep you warm in cold weather.
Perception Kayaks Hi-Fi Kayaking Life Jacket
When it comes to the best life jacket for kayak fishing, the Perception Kayaks Hi-Fi Kayaking Life Jacket should be included on the list. It’s an excellent life jacket for a kayak fishing enthusiast like you. Equipped with a high-back design, it allows for a comfortable fit with a variety of seating systems. It’s also optimized for a kayak with seatbacks. This way, you won’t feel any little inconvenience even if you’re sitting on the kayak for long hours.
To store all your fishing gear and essentials safely, there are two self-draining zippered pockets with a front zip design. That’s why we said it’s the best life vest for kayak fishing. It’s packed with many features to make your fishing experience more convenient. And for your safety, there’s reflective piping and trip on the front, back, and shoulders for better visibility.
What We Love
A simple life jacket with a high-back design for maximum comfort.
- Self-draining pockets
- Breathable mesh back and side panels
- Highly visible
- Only suitable for warm weather
Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket
Don’t worry about not finding the best life vest for kayak fishing. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket has come to the rescue. With many pockets and plenty of storage to store your fishing gears, you will never run out of storage anymore. This way, your essentials can be stored safely even when you move a lot on the kayak. The six adjustment straps will cinch the vest up for a snug fit, so it will stay in place no matter what you do.
Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket comes with high foam back to accommodate high back seats. That way, you will feel comfortable even when you’re sitting on the boat for hours. Also with the breathable mesh lower back, it will provide better airflow. You’ll stay cool and fresh even when you go fishing on a bright sunny day! All you need from the best life jacket for kayak fishing! Also, we think you may need one of these kayak fish finders and rod holders to make everything much easier.
What We Love
An excellent life jacket with plenty of storage.
- Comfortable neoprene shoulder pads
- Six adjustment straps
- High foam back
- Mesh lower back for breathability
- Quite bulky
Astral YTV Life Jacket
When you go canoeing, you need a simple and lightweight life jacket. Other than that, the jacket must allow you to move freely. Astral YTV Life Jacket seems to be the perfect answer for those who love canoeing. This life vest is constructed of featherlight material and it will never weigh you down. This way, you can move freely and focus on enjoying the experience without feeling like something is holding you back.
The good thing about this life jacket is that it’s made to last for many adventures. The Astral YTV Life Jacket is made of denier ripstop nylon shell and 200 deniers high tenacity nylon liner. In addition to that, it’s also equipped with PolyPro webbing and heavy-duty zippers with Self Locking Vislon Teeth. Having this durable life jacket means you don’t have to buy a new one every once in a while. That’s why we’re sure it’s the best life jacket for canoeing.
What We Love
A featherlight life jacket that’s made to last.
- Quick access knife tab
- Torso Lock fit platform
- Self Locking Vislon Teeth
- The pockets are too tight
Kokatat Outfit Tour Kayak Lifejacket
If you have the budget, we recommend getting the best life jacket for fishing with the highest-quality. This way, you will end up with a high-end life jacket made of ultra-durable materials and the best features. Kokatat Outfit Tour Kayak Lifejacket may be more expensive compared to other life jackets on the list, but it’s got a premium price for a reason. This jacket is made of 500D Cordura outer and 200D nylon inner shell to create a highly abrasion-resistant and durable life jacket to keep you safe season after season.
Kokatat Outfit Tour Kayak Lifejacket is designed to be tougher than an Alaskan deep-sea trawler and much more comfortable than a Caribbean cruise ship. It’s easily the best life jacket for kayaking. If you get this instead of other generic life jackets, your money is well-spent for the right thing.
What We Love
A flagship life jacket made of the highest-quality materials.
- Conforms to any body shape
- Tough Cordura outer shell
- Large arm and neck openings
- Very expensive compared to other brands
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Life Jacket
This one is designed with the performance kayak angler in mind. Made of tough ripstop nylon, you will never have to worry about it getting ripped. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Life Jacket is the best life jacket for whitewater kayaking because it can handle even the roughest conditions. It’s also built to carry a lot of gears with zippered pockets for secure tackle storage. This way, you can store all your essentials safe even when the weather isn’t the best.
There are adjustable shoulder, waist, and side straps for better fitting. Plus, the high-back construction provides more comfort when you’re sitting on a tall kayak seat. Also with the Lure Angler’s AirComfort System, you’ll stay cool even on the hottest days as it offers unmatched breathability. It’s not wrong if we say it’s the best life jacket for kayaking.
What We Love
An exceptional life jacket with high breathability.
- Stretch mesh pockets
- D-ring attachment points
- Made of durable 240D ripstop nylon
- The straps aren’t that sturdy
Airhead GNAR Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Vest
Be the center of attention by wearing the Airhead GNAR Kwik-Dry NeoLite Flex Life Vest. It’s the best life jacket for canoeing that will get all eyes on you. Equipped with a funky design, this life jacket is unlike any other. We’re all tired of generic life jackets with basic and boring designs. It’s time to upgrade your life jacket and actually buy one that can enhance your style. This new life jacket from Airhead is made in the USA and it’s the life jacket you’ll be proud to wear.
Constructed with Kwik-Dry Neolite fabric, you don’t have to deal with a wet vest anymore. It dries easily as soon as you get out of the water. Not many manufacturers can offer this kind of advanced quick-drying technology. That’s why this life jacket is still the best life jacket for canoeing. It’s funky, lightweight, and comfortable to wear.
What We Love
A lightweight life jacket with a funky design.
- Zipper closure with 2 adjustable belts
- No pocket
Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler Vest
Stearns has been manufacturing high-quality products for more than a century. This brand is one of the most legendary brands in the watersports world. If you buy a product from Stearns, you know the quality is always highly reliable. Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler Vest is one of the latest releases from this brand. It’s the best life vest for kayak fishing. There are large zippered pockets to store all of your fishing essentials. Two tackles pockets can work as hand warmers, helpful for when you go fishing on a cold day.
Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler Vest is the best life jacket for fishing because the features are all optimized for kayak fishing enthusiasts. Constructed with large armholes, you can move freely without any limitation. The flexible neoprene collar will prevent chafing. Also with the mesh shoulder panel, it provides ventilation on breezy days.
What We Love
A ready-to-wear life jacket for kayak fishing.
- Durable 200D nylon oxford shell
- Flexible neoprene collar
- Mesh shoulder panels
- Large front zippered pockets
- A little oversized. Consider ordering one size down
Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket
Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket is designed to fit you and provide the highest comfort. Featuring Wrapture foam and graded sizing, this jacket offers you unparalleled mobility and maximum comfort. This is one of the most versatile personal flotation devices for all watersports enthusiasts. Not only is it the best life jacket for kayak fishing, but it’s also perfect for recreational, whitewater, touring, and sailing.
With the Wrapture foam, you can feel free as it provides a close and low profile fit with pre-curved and beveled foam edges. The natural shape contours to your body, allowing for optimal comfort. It’s the best life jacket for kayaking as it offers security and a comfortable fit without the restrictive feeling of a generic life jacket.
What We Love
A revolutionary and versatile life jacket.
- Sheathed shoulder straps
- Pre-curved and beveled foam edges
- 3M reflective accents
- Ergonomic Wrapture torso
- Not unisex
Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket
The Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket is the best life jacket for kayak fishing that comes with an elegant vintage design. Wearing this life jacket will send you back to the good old days, along with all the beautiful memories. This is the perfect life jacket to make your fishing session more special.
Not only does the Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket come with a beautiful vintage design, but it’s also designed for utility and comfort. Made of durable 200D nylon, it will last for many adventures. It’s the best life vest for kayak fishing and it’s built to carry a lot of gear. This vintage-style life jacket features two zippered pockets for secure tackle storage, two slip pockets, and an envelope pocket for holding a GPS. Talking about GPS, you may prefer these GPS watches instead of the normal GPS.
What We Love
A vintage-style life jacket with plenty of storage.
- Transport Canada certified
- Adjustable shoulder, waist, and side straps
- Thin-back construction
- There are no other color options
NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD
NRS is the king when it comes to watersports gear. The latest and greatest product from the brand is the NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD. It’s the best life vest for kayak fishing because it’s packed with features to make your kayak fishing time much more convenient. This life vest is designed to be safe and comfortable at the same time. With a high-back flotation panel, it can accommodate most kayaking seats for better comfort. And with the mesh lower back, you’ll stay cool even when it’s hot outside.
NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD comes with plenty of storage. There are two large zippered pockets, two small pockets, and dual-entry clamshell pockets. It’s also equipped with two lash tabs for easy access to your fishing gear. Since it’s the best life jacket for kayak fishing, getting one will be a great investment. Need even more storage? Check out these kayak deck bags.
What We Love
A safe and comfortable kayak fishing life vest with plenty of storage options.
- Dual-entry clamshell pockets
- 6 adjustment points
- Mesh lower back
- Pretty big and bulky
Stohlquist Fit Life Jacket
Spending the holidays canoeing with family and friends will be the most unforgettable memories in your life. As relaxing as it seems, your safety is still the number one priority. Stohlquist Fit Life Jacket is the best life jacket for canoeing available on the market today. It’s an ergonomic life vest that performs brilliantly. Now you don’t have to worry about anything anymore since this life vest will keep you safe wherever you are.
This is a high-mobility multi-use personal flotation device. Not only is it the best life jacket for canoeing, but it’s also suitable for many kinds of watersports. Now you’ll be more confident while performing all your favorite water activities. Just get into the water and do all the things that make you feel free. This life jacket will bring you peace of mind.
What We Love
A thin and easy-to-use life jacket with high buoyancy.
- Convenient hanging loop
- Sculpted foam paneling for higher mobility
- Three buckle front entry
- The jacket may ride up when in the water
NRS Chinook OS Lifejacket
There are many great life jackets for kayak fishing, but the perfect one? Not many. NRS Chinook OS Lifejacket is the perfect life jacket every kayak fishing enthusiast is looking for. It’s definitely the best life vest for kayak fishing. Who doesn’t want to wear a life jacket with a stylish fit?
NRS Chinook OS Lifejacket is great for both professionals and beginners. It offers easy access to fishing equipment while paddling on a kayak. The best thing is, it provides you with tons of storage. Store lures and line in the small and large tackle box pockets on the front. There’s also a rod holder loop for added equipment storage. It makes sense why it’s the best life jacket for kayak fishing.
What We Love
A stylish life jacket for kayak fishing with tons of storage.
- Great breathability
- Quick access to fishing equipment
- 2 strobe holders for visibility in the dark
- 1-year warranty
- Not many color options
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest
Have you been wondering what is the best life jacket for kayaking? Well, this is where you get the answer. Nothing can beat the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest and it’s the perfect choice for kayaking enthusiasts like you. If you always love exploring around the water on your kayak and never want to take a break because that’s your life, this life jacket from Onyx is the perfect option for you!
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic is the best life jacket for kayaking for many reasons. It features a ton of features to enhance your kayaking experience. This excellent life jacket comes with a sculpted flexible foam design that conforms to your body and will stay in place when you’re padding. It’s also designed using heavy-duty nylon fabrics, that’s why it’s super durable and tear-resistant. And with the SOLAS grade reflective material for high visibility, your safety is always guaranteed.
What We Love
An exceptional life jacket with top-notch features.
- Expandable pocket with mesh drainage
- Lash tab
- Heavy Duty Zipper
- High Back Mesh
- No waist strap