Best Life Vest for Kayak Fishing – Top 10 of 2022

// By Leonard Schoenberger
// Updated: Nov. 2, 2022
Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

You love fishing, we know! However, we also know that it’s important to be safe and avoid mishaps on the water.

This is essentially why you must never even think about going out for kayak fishing without a quality life jacket. If you ask professional anglers, they will always say that fishing life vests are perhaps the most vital piece of equipment you can buy. 

However, wearing the best fishing life vest for kayaking isn’t just about staying safe, these products come with additional features such as multiple zippered pockets, which is an important source of storage. In light of this, we’ll be discussing the 10 best kayaking life vests to help you buy the right product.  

Table of Contents:

Best Life Vest for Kayak Fishing Quick Answer List

Vital Factors to Keep in Mind Before Making a Purchase

Review of the Best Life Vests for Kayak Fishing

Conclusion

FAQs

Man on a SUP wearing a fishing life vest
A life vest is crucial no matter if you’re fishing from a SUP, kayak or canoe

Best Life Vest for Kayak Fishing Quick Answer List

1. Old Town Treble Angler Unisex

2. Mustang Survival ACCEL100

3. XPS Platinum

4. Bass Pro Shops Sport Life Vest

5. Old Town Lure Angler

6. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

7. Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24

8. NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket

9. Onyx Unisex Belt Pack

10. Bass Pro Shops Tournament

Vital Factors to Keep in Mind Before Making a Purchase

Versatility and Comfortability 

There’s no use in buying a kayaking life vest if it’s not comfortable to wear, you’ll be too busy trying to make the jacket work for you while fishing. So, to avoid any hassle, try to get one that offers a more customized fit with adjustable straps to allow for better mobility and comfort while sitting in the kayak. If it feels too restrictive, don’t buy it. 

Multiple Zippered and Folded Down Pockets

Storage is another significant factor to consider. As mentioned, the best life vest for kayak fishing offers more than safety, it offers ample storage to help neatly keep your fishing gear and personal items at hand. Always go for a life vest that has multiple pockets at the front and has multiple compartments to hang essential items such as D-rings and a tackle box

Long Term Performance and Reliability

Quality life vests can be a bit pricey but that’s mainly because they’re constructed with quality materials such as high-grade, rip-resistant nylon. Although you could opt for other materials such as PVC, foam, Kapok – nylon, however, is the go-to material for topnotch durability. Also, be sure to check the denier rating on the nylon, the higher the rating, the stronger the life jacket.

Best Life Vests for Kayak Fishing at Different Price Points

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in various affiliate programs such as amazon associates or avantlink. If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!

Old Town Treble Angler Unisex Life Jacket

If you’re on a budget but are looking to get something versatile and comfortable, the Old Town Treble Angler Unisex Life Jacket is the perfect option for you. The kayak vest is made from strong and long lasting 200D nylon with a variety of adjustable features for the waist and shoulders. 

In addition, the Old Town Treble Angler Unisex Life Jacket has plenty of pockets for additional storage – and features two zippered pockets to keep the most vital fishing gear and/or personal items close at hand. The vest also has two slip pockets and a separate pocket to keep your GPS device. You can also easily attach your D-rings and Hypalon tabs on the vest. 

Pros

Lightweight and unisex design 

Fits different sizes 

Great for beginners and learning anglers

Comfortable back construction 

Cons

No mesh construction at the back, which means you may feel hot 

No back foam

Not for experienced anglers

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT OLD TOWN

Mustang Survival ACCEL100 Fishing Life Vest

The Mustang Survival ACCEL100 Fishing Life Vest is designed for veteran and competitive anglers and features topnotch flotation, guaranteeing both versatility and quality. Considered as one of the best fishing life vest for kayaking, the Mustang Survival has been pressure tested at 100-mph to ensure durability and safety. The product is built with high-quality and strengthened 500D Cordura nylon outer shell. 

Moreover, the Mustang Survival ACCEL100 Fishing Life Vest is also built with AirSoft foam, which allows the user to move freely and more comfortably, significantly minimizing any ride-up when you’re sitting. The product also features zippered pockets at the front with a total of 3 rust-proof buckles for easy release and squeeze. There are zippered pockets at the side as well, and you can attach your D-rings and store other vital fishing gear more securely. 

Pros

Available in different sizes

Lots of storage 

Made durable and comfortable materials

Comfortable to move in

Cons

A bit pricey

Not for amateur fishers

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT AT CABELAS

XPS Platinum Series Fishing Life Jacket

The XPS Platinum Series Fishing Life Jacket is another top-rated product that’s designed for nothing but quality and performance. The life jacket is manufactured with durable 200D nylon mixed with a weave of 500D Cordura for enhanced durability and toughness. Moreover, it also incorporates soft foam for more comfort and protection and comes with adjustable side straps for a more tailored fit. 

The XPS Platinum Series Fishing Life Jacket also features 3 zip fronts with buckles and a removeable fleece collar for added comfort. There are also reflective panels on the vest for added safety and you can store your crotch straps in the life jacket’s inner pouch. The XPS Platinum Series comes with 6 big pockets along with an additional pocket to store your tools. 

Pros

Reflective panels for added safety

6 large pockets

Constructed with durable materials

Removeable fleece line collar

Cons

Not for veteran anglers

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT AT CABELAS

Bass Pro Shops Sport Life Vest

The Bass Pro Shops Sport Life Vest is designed for professional and active anglers, constructed with top-quality nylon shell. It features bigger arm holes for a more relaxed and comfortable fit. The kayak life jacket has an open neck design for enhanced flexibility and is built with two cargo entry pockets along with a chest pocket to store your fishing essentials and ensure everything is at-hand whenever you need it. 

The Bass Pro Shops Sport Life Vest has adjustable straps for custom fitting and is constructed with nylon weaves that help prevent rip and tear from overuse. It’s also particularly warmer thanks to its soft polyester inner lining and has a neoprene collar to help protect you against sudden gushes of cold winds. 

Pros

Made with durable materials

Comfortable fitting thanks to larger arm holes and open neck design

Single chest pocket 

Adjustable straps for a more tailored fitting 

Available in different colors

PE foam for added floatation 

Cons

A bit expensive

Not for novice fishers

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT AT CABELAS

Old Town Lure Angler Men’s PFD / Life Jacket

The Old Town Lure Angler Men’s PFD / Life Jacket is the perfect example of a balance between performance and comfort. The product features a raised-back design, helping kayak fishers sit more comfortably, and for extended periods without exhausting their back. Moreover, the life vest also incorporates the company’s AirComfort mechanism, which helps keep the user nice and cool during summer angling sessions. 

The Old Town Lure Angler Men’s PFD / Life Jacket is made with high-quality nylon weave, providing durability and tear-resistance. For added storage and keeping personal items secured, the life jacket has zippered pockets for safe and easy to access tackle-box storage. Plus, there’s also a separate, envelope pocket where you can keep your fishing GPS device. The product also features mesh pockets to attach spools and tippets. 

Pros

High-quality PFD for added safety 

Attachment rings for Hypalon and D-rings 

Cutting-edge AirComfort system for staying cool

Adjustable waist and shoulder straps

Cons

Not for experienced anglers

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT OLD TOWN

Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

When it comes to a durable and comfortable life vest for kayak fishing, the Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is amongst the very best products in the market. The life vest features smooth and easy to adjust waist and shoulder straps and has a mesh design at the lower back. This helps provide comfortable support for sitting on different types of kayak seats for extended periods of time. 

The Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket also features 4 pockets, designed to store an assortment of essential fishing supplies and tools. In addition, the pockets are lined with fleece, and the chest pocket is zippered. You can easily store things like fishing pliers, a GPS device, radios, etc. 

Pros

Raised back design with foam for comfort

Decent storage capacity 

Shoulder pads are made with quality neoprene 

Adjustable straps

Cons

Missing a lot of features considering the price

Not for professional anglers

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT FISH USA

Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable

If topnotch comfortability and safety is at the top of your list of requirements, then you will not be disappointed by the Absolute Outdoor Onyx. The life vest is designed with dual inflating technology, which means it can automatically and manually be inflated. As soon as you make contact with water, the life jacket inflates immediately, perfect for non-swimmers. 

The fishing life vest is made with durable nylon, which also helps keep the product tear-resistant. In addition, the Absolute Outdoor Onyx also features reflective piping for improved visibility. 

Pros

Durable construction, puncture and tear-resistant

Automatic and manual inflation

Immediately inflates as soon as you take a plunge in the water

Cons

Not for veteran anglers

Fitting isn’t comfortable

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT MARINE GENERAL

NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket

The NRS Chinook may just be one of the best fishing life vest for kayaking – and there are a couple reasons why this is true. It’s probably the most comfortable fishing life jacket you could wear on your fishing trip. Plus, there’s plenty of storage pockets for quick inventory access.

Moreover, the NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket delivers a lightweight floatation of 16.5-lbs. With a mesh design at the lower-back area and a raised overall design, the Chinook is both comfortable and versatile. 

Pros

Multiple large, zippered pockets with two smaller zippered pockets for storing pliers and tackle box

Extra pockets for storing attachment points and gadgets

Reflective accents 

Customized fitting

Cons

Not for novice fishers

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT REI

Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

The Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is designed to be flexible and lightweight. However, it’s important to know that the life vest is for less serious kayak fishers and not for professionals.

The Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is not recommended for individuals under the age of 16. But the product is designed with a small PFD. Sure, it doesn’t inflate as quickly as you would believe but it does have inflatable belts to help speed up the process.

Pros

Lightweight 

Comfortable design

Custom fit 

Great for paddling or shallow swimming

Cons

No storage capacity

Not recommended for kayak fishing 

Not for professionals 

Slow air inflation 

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT WALMART

Bass Pro Shops Tournament Fishing Mesh Life Jacket

Manufactured with topnotch rip and tear-resistant nylon with a durable shell for long term performance. In addition, the collar is designed with neoprene and soft polyester for added comfort and flexibility. The upper back and shoulder pads incorporate a mesh design for enhanced air flow during hot summer fishing. The Bass Pro Shops Tournament Fishing Mesh Life Jacket also comes with lightweight buoyancy thanks to the PE foam. 

There are various accessory loops to attach your Hypalon and D-rings along with other fishing gear. There are two large, zippered pockets on the chest along with two fold-down storage pockets to keep GPS devices, personal items, etc. 

Pros

Durable construction

PE foam with mesh shoulder and lower-back design

One inch belts for customized fitting 

Great storage

Cons

Not for novice anglers

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT AT CABELAS

Man in canoe wearing a life vest for fishing

Bottom Line on Fishing Life Vests

In all, these are some of the best life vests for kayak fishing for both novice and professional anglers. What you choose primarily depends on your specifications and the types of features and benefits you’re looking for. The ultimate goal of this comprehensive buying guide is to help new buyers make a more informed decision as searching for the right product in a massive market can be overwhelming. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Life Vest for Fishing

I can’t swim, do I need a different type of PFD fishing life vest?

For non-swimmers, buoyancy is a vital factor when choosing an inflatable life vest for fishing to help avoid mishaps on the water. So, it’s important to select a product that comes with a high buoyancy rating to help you comfortably float on water and reach your kayak. 

Should I use a foam PFD life vest or an inflatable kayaking life jacket?

Because there are different type of kayak fishing life jackets available, it’s hard to say which one is the best amongst all other products. This primarily depends on your requirements and preferences. For example, if you go for a foam personal floating device, you get the added advantage of enhanced buoyancy, it’s easier to maintain, and has a lot of pockets. However, the flipside is, foam PFDs can be a bit more bulkier to wear. 

Is it okay if I choose any Kayaking fishing vest?

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that not all kayak fishing life jackets are built the same. Your selection will essentially depend on the type of fishing activity you’re getting it for and your preferred requirements. For instance, if you choose a typical life vest, not designed for kayak fishing, it may end up feeling uncomfortable and difficult to wear while you fish. 

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in various affiliate programs such as amazon associates or avantlink. If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!