Are you a kayak fisherman who chooses to not wear a personal flotation vest when you are out on the water because they are so uncomfortable to wear? Well, you should reconsider because it is not only safer to wear one no matter how good a swimmer you are but modern PFD’s are comfortable and come in very handy when fishing from a kayak.
In this article, I will take a closer look at some really great personal flotation devices (PFD’s) that are great for kayak fishing. I will also tell you about some features that make a kayak fishing PFD a very safe and useful item to have on.
Summary: Kayak Fishing Personal Floatation Devices
Editor’s Rating (out of 5.0)
Handy Kayak Fishing Buying Guide
Here are some of the key features to consider when shopping for a PFD to use while kayak fishing:
Most people who disdain wearing life vests of any sort while kayaking do so because they can be very uncomfortable to wear. That is no longer a problem because nowadays kayak fishing PFD’s are specially designed to be comfortable. Look for such features on a kayak fishing PFD as it being lightweight and having extra room in the underarm area to allow for unrestricted casting.
Make sure you size it right too when you go to buy or order your new personal flotation device. You want to order a PFD that is slightly bigger than what your actual chest size is.
- Convenient pockets
Experienced kayakers know that it’s certainly not easy to take a tackle box along with you on your kayak fishing trip. That is where a kayak fishing PFD that has a nice amount of storage pockets can come in very handy. Look for pockets you can safely put lures in, line, sinkers and other necessary fishing gear. It is just so much easier than reaching in a tackle box for the things you need when you are out fishing in your kayak.
If you are going to be using fish hooks, scissors and knives around your personal flotation vest you certainly want it to be durable and abrasion resistant. That means it will have to be made out of a tough material that is also lightweight and will hold up well when it gets wet. Look for a PFD that is made out of a tough synthetic blend material such as polyester or nylon blends that will hold up well for a long period of time.
- Certified Safe
Your PFD should be certified by an authoritative body as to the fact it is an approved lifesaving device. Look for certifications such as US Coast Guard approval in order to know that device will keep you afloat if you end up in the water.
Kayak Fishing PFD Reviews
NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD
There is no better kayak fishing PFD’s than the ones that are specifically made for that purpose such as this one. This product has just about everything you want in a life vest that is made for kayak fishing.
It all starts with its comfortable design that allows plenty of free movement around the arms for paddling. It also features a mesh lower back piece for ventilation and 8 adjustment points so you can get it to fit comfortably and perfectly.
This kayaking PFD has 7 front pockets to store your required fishing gear and multiple attachment points and sturdy d-rings too. Its foam sections will nicely conform to your own body contours when it’s being worn and you also have three different color choices to choose from.
- Ventilated mesh lower back section
- 7 front pockets
- 8 adjustment points
- Body conforming flotation foam
- Multiple d-rings and attachment points
- 3 colors to choose from
- Can be a bit warm on hot days
- No reflective material stitched into it
ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket
Here is a kayak fishing PFD that is not only well-designed but it’s very stylish too. It will make fishing aboard your kayak a lot more enjoyable and you will be safer while doing it too. It features 4 large front pockets that are lined with flees to help warm your hands on colder fishing days.
This is a life vest that’s built for comfort too thanks to its 6 adjustment points and high back with several sewn in mesh panels.
Not only is there plenty of room for storage but it’s made of abrasion resistant polyester fabric too. It even has tabs where you can conveniently hook your knife sheath to or use it to attach other important fishing gear.
- Zippered fleece lined pockets
- Knife holder
- 6 adjustment points
- High back w/breathable mesh panels
- 4 large front pocket design
- Stylish design
- It has a plastic zipper
- Vest will feel a little bulky to some users
Coleman / Stearns Comfort Series Personal Floatation Device
There are very few companies that design products for outdoor use as well as Coleman does and this PFD from them certainly does not disappoint. It’s a model flotation device that is designed especially for fishing but it’s very versatile so it can be used as a safety device for other water activities too.
This Coleman/Stearns flotation vest is also made to be comfortable. It has vented mesh back and shoulder material and also features oversized arm holes for easy paddling. Adding to its comfort are the several adjustable web panels that are built into it.
This is one tough personal flotation device too. It is made out of durable and abrasion resistant 200D nylon-oxford material. It’s a US Coast Guard approved flotation device that comes in a somewhat stylish green color with easy to see orange highlights.
- US Coast Guard approved
- Vented mesh back and shoulders
- Large arm holes
- 200D nylon oxford shell
- Custom fit webbing adjustments
- 2 front storage pockets
- Can feel warm and slightly bulky when hot
- Most people need to order a size up
Stohlquist Piseas Personal Floatation Device
This is a very versatile personal flotation device that is great for any kayak angler too. There is much to like about its design. It’s made out of tough 420 denier nylon material and it has large open sides that make it very easy to paddle and fish when wearing this life vest.
Comfortable features are built everywhere into this PFD model. An example of this is the high position of the back panel float that you will not feel when sitting in most kayaks. It’s also available in both a neutral green color and a higher visibility mango color too.
One of its nicer features is its oversized draw bridge pockets. When lowered they double as a convenient flat working space. There is also built in loops and d-hooks for additional gear handling.
- Oversized drawbridge front pockets
- Float sits high on back panel
- Open sides for ventilation and easy arm movement
- 420 denier shell
- Anchor points and d-rings
- Available in 2 color choices
- No mesh panels anywhere
- A little to the warm side
Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device
Here is another Stohlquist PFD that made our list of the top models. This one is different from item number 4 because it’s made specifically for kayak fishing. It has tons of storage that is specifically designed to hold useful fishing gear.
This personal flotation device is made of very tough and abrasion resistant 500 denier Cardura fabric. It also has comfort enhancing features such as the padded neoprene shoulders that are built into it. There are many d-rings, clips and loops built into it to help secure all you necessary fishing tools too.
One of the things that really set this product apart from other fishing PFD’s is its drawbridge style front pockets. Not only can they be used as a work surface when they are open but they can even accommodate small size plastic lure boxes.
- Designed specifically for fishermen
- Large drawbridge front pockets
- 500 denier Cardura shell
- Neoprene padded shoulders
- Full of fishing tool mounting locations
- Front pockets fit small lure boxes
- Material is very thick
- Takes time to adjust the fit
Which one would I choose out of all the ones that were reviewed? They are all very nice PFD products but the one that stands out to me is the NRS Chinook Mesh Back Fishing PFD.
What do I like so much about it? Well for starters it looks great and has a roomy front entry design. It also has more adjustment points than most life vests (8) and the foam flotation inserts tend to conform to your body when wearing it. The mesh lower back on it will also help you keep cool when paddling.
What really put this product over the top for me is its large drawbridge style front pockets that double as a flat working surface. This is definitely the type of fishing personal floating device that will make any kayak angler happy when they are wearing it.
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