When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Stay Safe in the Water Wearing the Best Life Jackets
Last updated: 12 Sep 2022
Sure, it is fun to ride in a kayak, but there are safety hazards posed by the river that you must consider. The top life jackets in 2022 are made to help keep you safe in either rainy weather conditions or if your boat decides to tip over. Get a set of life jackets for the kids too, ensuring they can easily stay afloat on the water in case of an accident or another incident that makes them enter the water directly. Life jackets come with many design options, colors, and sizes, ensuring there is something for everyone. Keep everyone safe during your outdoor trips with the life jacket options that we have shared in this list.
Enjoy the superior protection this kayak life jacket provides. Not only does it help you stay afloat, but it also includes high-grade reflective materials to increase your visibility in the water.
The pockets on this Onyx kayak life jacket are expandable to provide ample storage space. This jacket also includes mesh material in the lower back for improved breathability. Also, it features neoprene comfort pads on its adjustable shoulders, ensuring a good fit and making it very comfortable to wear.
Pockets include mesh drainage
Includes adjustable straps and comfort pads on the shoulders
Comes with an attached whistle for enhanced safety
This impressive safety vest has it all. Fashioned from lightweight, heavy-duty fabric and sporting neoprene shoulder pads, this jacket is the ideal kayak fishing companion.
The jacket offers a high foam back and six adjustable straps that allow you to fit the vest to your body comfortably. One of the front pockets opens with the push of a button to reveal a tray-style pocket, ideal for holding a small tackle box. The lower back features a mesh construction that ensures phenomenal breathability throughout your adventures to keep you sweat-free.
Keep all your items close at hand thanks to the wide array of pockets included on this kayak life jacket. It has 11 pockets throughout the back, chest, and sides, offering you plenty of secure storage space for all your personal belongings.
In addition to pockets, this Lixada kayak life jacket also includes several accessory loops for snapping on hooks and carabiners. Adjustable straps on the shoulders and around the waist ensure a comfortable fit for almost any age. The jacket is made with premium-grade yet lightweight mesh fabric and polyester upper that ensures exceptional breathability. Also, the back features a wide reflector to improve your visibility in the water.
Includes a built-in fishing rod holder
Reflective material on the back for visibility
Design is somewhat bulky, especially when the pockets are full
The six adjustable straps on this kayak life jacket help all family members achieve a snug fit that keeps them comfortable and secure in emergencies. One large pocket on the front of this Onyx kayak life jacket can securely store your phone and other loose items. Padding in the shoulders can enhance your comfort for all-day wear.
The mesh lower back of this life jacket ensures flawless breathability to keep you sweat-free, while the high-foam upper back is designed to keep you comfortable on high back seats. It has a low-profile construction so it does not look or feel too bulky, and is also lightweight enough to not feel like a burden.
This life jacket inflates automatically when submerged in water or can be inflated manually with the pull of an easy-to-reach cord. Additionally, it comes with a whistle and a rescue strap to make it easier for someone to get a hold of you quickly. Plus, it will help you stay afloat for more than 48 hours.
This device uses a quick-release plastic buckle for easy on and off. It’s convenient to repack and reuse since the fabric cover and airbag are attached. You can adjust the fit and size with the adjustable strap, so you get a secure fit, and it’s designed to fit an adult or youth with a chest size from 29 to 62 inches. It also has reflective bands, so you’re easy to spot.
Whenever you're out on the water, it's important to have safety and security in mind. There are many accidents and dangerous situations that can arise while boating, fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, and having a life jacket is essential to reduce the risk of these accidents occurring. This guide will introduce you to the importance of life jackets and help you find the best personal flotation devices, or PFDs, for your needs.
What Is a Life Jacket?
A life jacket, also known as a life vest or PFD (personal flotation device), is a vest-like accessory that can be worn around the torso while engaging in activities on the water, such as sailing or paddling. It is designed to float in water, helping anyone who accidentally falls into the water stay afloat until help arrives.
Do You Need Life Jackets?
Life jackets are absolutely essential when you’re out on the water, and here are just some of the key reasons why.
Obviously, the main reason to use a life jacket and the main benefit offered by life vests, in general, is protection. Studies and statistics show that life jackets can save lives. They help to prevent accidental drowning, and in situations where people fall into lakes, oceans, or rivers, they can help those individuals get back onto a boat or to dry land as safely as possible.
It’s also a simple fact that life jackets are a legal obligation in many situations. Boats and other vessels carrying passengers aren’t allowed to sail without an adequate stock of life vests, and many people aren’t allowed to engage in water-based activities like kayaking and paddling without having a good quality life jacket.
For peace of mind
Another important advantage of life jackets is that they can provide peace of mind. Many people stress and worry about the dangers of water. This stress can prevent them from enjoying water-based activities like paddleboarding and sailing. Having a life jacket can provide you with the peace of mind you need to relax and have fun, especially when traveling with family and children.
Another good reason to invest in life jackets is that they can be used in a wide range of ways, often featuring very versatile designs that are well-suited to activities as diverse as fishing, paddling, and open sea sailing. Some might have pockets for storing your fishing accessories, for example, and others come with special designs to enhance movement and let you paddle with ease.
What Should I Consider When Buying Life Jackets?
One of the most important aspects to take into account when choosing a life jacket is size. The size of the jacket needs to match the size of the wearer. If the vest is too big, it could become loose or slip off. If it's too small, it will feel tight and restrict movement. You have to make sure that any PFD you use is the perfect size for you.
There are a lot of different materials that can be used in the design and manufacture of a life jacket. Examples include polyester, neoprene, and nylon. Nylon and neoprene tend to be regarded as some of the best materials for life jackets because of their durability. Life jackets made from these materials tend to last the longest.
You also must pay close attention to the design and features of your life jacket. They might all look quite similar at first glance, but each one often has unique design features and quirks. Mesh panels are a good design feature, as they add breathability and help jackets dry off more quickly. Strong buckles and pockets can also be helpful design additions.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that color isn't important when choosing a life jacket. This can be a very important factor, as brighter colors like yellows will be easier to see if you do end up in the water and need to be rescued. Color also has aesthetic importance, as some people will want to find a jacket in their preferred color to look their best.
You also must think about the weight capacity of any life jacket. Each one is designed to offer a certain amount of buoyancy, and some are much stronger than others so they’re able to hold up heavier people. Make sure you pick a jacket that is strong enough to support your weight.
How Much Do Life Jackets Cost?
Life jackets can have varying price tags. You can find basic, budget models for about $10. Then there are high-end jackets with premium features like pockets, enhanced comfort, and ease of movement, and you can expect to find these priced in excess of $250. The price you pay will depend on your own budget, needs, and preferences. In general, paying more will get you a more comfortable jacket with useful extras, but there are plenty of budget offerings that are completely safe to use.
How Do We Choose the Best Life Jackets?
When putting this guide together, we wanted to make sure that we recommended only the very best, safest, and most well-made life jackets to our users. We, therefore, took the time to look at a lot of different options, considering key factors like design, materials, and features, as well as consulting user reviews to see what real people felt about these products. This approach allowed us to select a set of highly-rated and widely recommended jackets for a wide range of users.
People Also Asked
What is the lifespan of a life jacket?
There is no official expiry date on a life jacket or vest, but it's important to look after them well if you want them to last long. Jackets that are damaged, with holes and punctures, will need to be replaced.
Can life jackets be helpful for non-swimmers?
Yes, life jackets are very useful for people who can't swim. They make it easier for you to stay afloat without putting in too much physical effort and can be useful when learning to swim in pools.
Do life jackets have an expiration date?
No, there is no expiration date on a life jacket. However, you would need to get a new one if your life jacket develops holes or has been altered.
SAIL Magazine Review Team reports on best-selling products in sailing and boating. The SAIL Magazine editorial staff is not involved in the creation of this content. SAIL Magazine is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.