Fishing is one of the best and most popular water activities. Imagine going on a boat and heading somewhere to catch big fish. That said, even though fishing doesn’t seem like a dangerous activity, your safety should always be the number one priority. You never know what could happen and it’s better to be prepared. The best life jackets for fishing will save you and keep you afloat in case of an accident.
Wearing the best life vest for fishing is important, no matter what your swimming skill is. Other than saving your life and keeping you afloat in case of an accident, life jackets normally offer some more features. If you buy a life jacket for fishing, it usually has plenty of pockets to store some fishing gear. It makes it easier when you need quick access to your fishing gear. On the list below, we’re going to show you all the best life jackets for fishing so that you can focus on enjoying the experience.
In case you’re planning on taking your dogs on the fishing trip, gear them up with some of our best life jackets for dogs!
How to Choose the Best Life Jackets for Fishing
If you’ve been in the fishing world for a long time, you know there are plenty of excellent life jackets to choose from for fishing. However, the best life jackets for fishing aren’t that easy to find. Even though you have many options, doesn’t mean they’re all great. If you don’t really know how to pick the right life jacket for fishing, here are the most important factors to consider.
First thing first, make sure the life jacket you buy is already certified by the US Coast Guard or USCG. Any life jacket that’s not USCG-approved is highly questionable. You shouldn’t buy it because it will put your safety at risk. And for the type, there are various types of life jackets. Since you’re going to spend your time fishing, a Type-III flotation is perfect for your needs. This type of life vest is suitable for inland water near the shore.
Even though there are life vests that are designed specifically for fishing, it’s okay if you prefer to wear other life jackets that are built for watersports. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to the life jacket’s model. It’s fine to wear a special life jacket for fishing or a simple life jacket that’s normally used for kaya, it’s up to your preference. On the list below, we will also mention the best inflatable life vest for fishing. Just pick one that best suits your style.
Size & Fit
You don’t want to wear a life jacket that’s pressing against your body all day long. That’s why it’s important to get the best life vest for fishing with the right fit. Some life vests offer an all-size option which means it can be worn for various sizes because it’s highly adjustable. Some others come in a wide array of sizes from extra small to extra large. The life vest you choose should ensure a snug fit and feels comfortable because you’re likely to wear it for hours.
Many people may not realize it but storage can make your fishing time much easier and more efficient. This way, you don’t have to reach your bag every time you need fishing gear. Just store it in the life jacket’s pocket for quick access. This is why picking the right life jacket with the right amount of storage or pocket is important.
Can life jackets keep you afloat?
Of course! Buoyancy aid like life jackets is designed to help you swim if you fall into the water in case of an accident. It’s also designed to keep you afloat even if you can’t swim. By wearing a life jacket, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you will not drown.
What is the fine for not having a life jacket?
While not all states will fine you for not wearing a life jacket, it’s better to always check the laws. Generally, children under 13 must always wear a life jacket when they’re involved in some sort of water activity. However, the law may vary in each state. If you violate the regulations, you may get up to a $150 fine.
How long will a life jacket last?
You’d be surprised that a life jacket can actually last for a long time. Foam-filled jackets and other buoyancy aids usually have a maximum lifespan of ten years. Life jackets generally require low maintenance.
STEARNS Hybrid Fishing Vest
Aren’t you tired of buying a life jacket that breaks after only a few uses? If you’ve been having that kind of problem for so long, it’s time to move on from the generic brands and choose STEARNS. The STEARNS Hybrid Fishing Vest is one of the best life jackets for fishing available on the market. It’s made of the highest-quality materials and is already tested for durability. This way, you won’t have to worry about the quality anymore.
Not only does the STEARNS Hybrid Fishing Vest offers a high-durability, but it also provides the best comfort. This life jacket is designed for durability, comfort, and convenience so that you can focus on enjoying the time when fishing. By wearing STEARNS’s life jacket, you will have the convenience and protection you’re looking for.
What We Love
A durable life jacket made of the highest-quality materials.
- Seven front pockets
- Neoprene-lined panels
- Thick zipper
- No large pocket
ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx AM 24
ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx AM 24 is a lightweight and comfortable life jacket that has a slender design to keep you cool in the warm weather. It’s the best inflatable life vest for fishing because it’s simple and easy to use. The soft neoprene neckline is designed for all-day comfort. It feels like you wear nothing on your shoulder while in reality, you’re wearing a fully functional life jacket.
The best thing about this life vest is that it can automatically inflate upon immersion in water. In case of an emergency, you don’t have time to think about the inflation process, this is where automatic inflation can save your life. Even though it can inflate automatically, it still has a T-cord just in case you need to inflate it manually.
What We Love
A lightweight life jacket with automatic inflation.
- Soft neoprene
- Slender design
- Tear-resistant fabric
- Premium price
JKSPORTS Fly Fishing Vest
Buying a life jacket that’s specifically designed for fishing will make your fishing time more convenient because you got all the extra features specifically designed for fishing. JKSPORTS Fly Fishing Vest is one of the best life jackets for fishing because it offers a lot of storage to keep all your fishing gears. There are four generous chest pockets, four zipped front pockets, two-sided mesh pockets, and one generous back pocket all in one vest. In total, you have eleven pockets to store all the fishing essentials. If it’s not enough, you should carry kayak deck bags to store additional fishing gear.
Crafted with a premium ripstop polyester, you don’t even have to question the quality anymore. It’s definitely built to last. And with the EPE foam inside, this life jacket offers superior buoyancy. One thing this brand offers that others don’t is a one-year warranty.
What We Love
An excellent quality life jacket with plenty of storage.
- Accessory loops
- High breathability
- Premium ripstop polyester shell
- Superior buoyancy
- Quite heavy
Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket
We understand, most of the life jackets for fishing look so boring. But finally, you have the answer. Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket is the best life vest for fishing and it’s one of the most fashionable. Who says that a life vest has to be basic and bland? Now it can also be a fashion statement. This vintage life jacket is made of durable 200D nylon with a thin-back construction that fits comfortably. It’s not just about the design. Comfort is also its priority.
The Old Town Treble Angler Life Jacket is built to carry many fishing gears. It features two zippered pockets for secure tackle storage. There are also two slip pockets and an envelope pocket for holding your GPS. This life jacket is designed for utility and comfort. The design fits most sizes and it’s a perfect life jacket for an adventurer like you.
What We Love
A vintage-style life jacket built for utility and comfort.
- D-ring attachment points
- Transport Canada certified
- Elastic shoulder strap
- A slip pocket for GPS
- Only comes in an all-size option
NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket
Looking for the perfect life jacket with easy access to fishing equipment? NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket is your perfect choice. It’s one of the best life jackets currently available on the market. The jacket features bold color and reflective accents as well as two strobe holders for better visibility in the dark. And with the zippered front entry, it provides better security and a snug fit.
With the mesh lower back, it offers better breathability so that you can stay cool on those hot summer days. The best thing about NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket is that it features tons of storage. It’s truly the best life vest for fishing because every fisherman needs plenty of space to store the fishing gear safely. There are small and large tackle box pockets on the front and a rod holder loop for added equipment storage.
What We Love
A stylish-fit life jacket with plenty of rooms for fishing gear.
- Reflective accents for better visibility
- Mesh lower-back for breathability
- 4 side adjustment
- 1-year warranty
- Doesn’t have color options
Eyson Inflatable Life Jacket
Those who don’t like wearing a big and bulky life vest need the best inflatable life vest for fishing. The Eyson Inflatable Life Jacket is a simple and lightweight inflatable life jacket that’s already CE Certificated and SOLAS Approved 3M Reflectors. This is the ultimate answer for those looking for a minimalist life vest. It’s ultra-convenient and comfortable to wear. This lie jacket provides optimum comfort, safety, and peace of mind for all fishing enthusiasts.
Eyson Inflatable Life Jacket is equipped with fast inflation technology. It can inflate in about three seconds after you pull the inflation handle cord. The quick-release buckle makes it easy for taking it on and off. Also, with the adjustable strap webbing, it offers a universal size for everyone.
What We Love
A well-made life jacket with fast inflation technology.
- Heavy-duty nylon fabric
- Reflectors for greater visibility
- Easy to air dry
- Slightly heavier than other inflatable life jackets
Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket
Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket is the type of life vest that everyone wants to wear. This fishing vest features an exclusive graded sizing and a higher mesh back for a better fit with the modern seat back in the fishing boats. It’s one of the best life jackets for fishing because this sturdy jacket is built to last for years. This way, you don’t have to buy a new life best every once in a while, saving you a lot of money to invest in other fishing gear.
The EVA pockets act as fold-down work surfaces and there’s the cross-chest cinch harness for zero rides up. Stohlquist Fisherman Life Jacket comes in a beautiful olive green and orange. Just pick one that best suits your style.
What We Love
A sturdy and minimalist life jacket.
- Multiple pockets with drainage
- High mesh-back design
- Cross-chest cinch harness
- No hook on the backrest
NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD
There are many life jackets for fishing, but not all of them offer the proper features. NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD is specifically designed for fishing enthusiasts like you and it’s packed with tons of useful features to make your fishing time more convenient. Since this life jacket is built for touring, it offers a high-back flotation panel to accommodate most sea kayak seats and a mesh lower back for ventilation since you’re going to be on the water for a long day. By the way, if you don’t currently have a kayak, we recommend checking the best fishing kayak under $1000 or the best fishing kayak under $700.
The best thing about the NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD is its storage. You can maximize all the pockets to store all the fishing essentials. There are plenty of storage options for easy access to your fishing gears. This jacket features two lash tabs, 2 large zippered pockets, 2 small pockets, and dual entry clamshell pockets. There are also reflective patches that double as attachment loops.
What We Love
A proper life jacket for fishing with various pocket sizes.
- Customizable fit with 6 adjustment points
- Front-entry zipper for easy slipping
- Tear-resistant material
- Large arm openings
- Quite big and bulky
Airhead Sportsman Life Vest with Pockets
It can be challenging if you try to find the best life vest for swimming because it seems like all the life vests for fishing look too basic. Don’t worry! Airhead launched the Airhead Sportsman Life Vest with Pockets to make the fishing world more interesting. In fact, this is one of the most sporty life jackets on this list. Not only does it have a beautiful design, but it also offers maximum comfort. This comfy life vest is made of lightweight Poly E-Foam.
Airhead Sportsman Life Vest with Pockets is 100% made in the USA and it’s already USCG approved Type-III. You never have to worry about your safety since this vest will keep you afloat. This life vest also features two large oversized pockets to store all your essentials. Now, it’s time to go fishing in style.
What We Love
A sporty life jacket with sturdy belts.
- Open-sided for a better fit
- Lightweight Poly-E foam
- 2 large oversized pockets
- The size runs small, it’s recommended to order a size up
Bluestorm Gear Cirrus Inflatable Life Jacket
Looking for the best inflatable life vest for fishing? We recommend buying the Bluestorm Gear Cirrus Inflatable Life Jacket instead. This is a US Coast Guard-approved Type-V with Type-III performance flotation device that inflates automatically upon water immersion by utilizing the CO2 cylinder. In case you need it, there’s also a backup oral inflation tube or the “jerk to inflate” cord if it’s failed to inflate automatically.
Bluestorm Gear Cirrus Inflatable Life Jacket is designed to be simple, lightweight, cool, and comfortable. You have everything you need for a fun fishing day with your family or friends. This life jacket features an ergonomic collar and mesh upper-back strap that’s great for all-day comfort.
What We Love
A special inflatable life jacket with an automatic inflation system.
- Spare CO2 cylinder included
- 26lbs of buoyancy
- Ergonomic collar
- Soft flat profile
- Doesn’t stretch
NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket
NRS is the king when it comes to sporty life jacket collections. NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket is the best life vest for fishing and you can trust the quality since it’s 100% made in the USA. This is a comfortable fishing life jacket that’s specially designed to enhance your fishing experience. This way, you’ll have a better fishing experience knowing that you’ll always be safe on the water. With the soft PlushFIT foam, it fits any body type.
We love the fact that NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket is designed to be roomy in the front and a great fit in the back. This way, it has a perfect balance between storage capacity and comfort. It’s easy to carry all your fishing essentials and never feel like carrying something heavy. Equipped with two large zippered pockets, 2 accessory pockets, and 1 tool holder, you have quick access to all of your fishing gear.
What We Love
A flagship life jacket designed for professionals.
- Multiple adjustment points
- Equipped with a tool holder
- Soft PlushFIT foam
- The price is much higher than competitors in the same category
Mustang Survival MIT 100
Another one from this legendary brand. We all know that Mustang has been manufacturing excellent quality products for years and this the quality we all can trust. Mustang Survival MIT 100 is the latest and greatest release from Mustang and all we can say is that it’s truly the best inflatable life vest for fishing. This life jacket is unlike any other. It offers a sporty design, high-quality material, and better buoyancy.
The Mustang Survival MIT 100 features an exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology to create a lightweight life jacket with a flexible fit. And this technology has been field-tested by the North American Fishing Club and the result was fantastic with a rating of 9.5/10. It clearly shows how excellent this life jacket is.
What We Love
An outstanding life jacket that features advanced technology.
- 1.5x regular foam PFDs
- Features the Membrane Inflatable Technology
- Reflective parts for better visibility
- Thicker than the standard inflatable life jackets
Onyx Fishing Life Jacket
There are many reasons why the Onyx Fishing Life Jacket deserves the number one spot among all the other best life jackets for fishing. It has everything you need for a perfect life jacket. This life jacket is built differently. With this durable life jacket, you never have to worry about buying a new one every once in a while. The high-quality material ensures that it will last for years.
Onyx Fishing Life Jacket is equipped with six adjustment straps for a snug fit and better security. Also with the high foam back, it will accommodate high back seats. It’s usually a huge problem for people who love fishing. And with the comfortable neoprene shoulder pads and breathable mesh lower back, you can wear it for hours without feeling the need to take it off.
What We Love
An exceptional life jacket that’s packed with sophisticated features.
- Two extra-large pockets
- High foam back
- Snug fit
- Great breathability
- It’s pretty thick