Best Life Vest for Fishing: Complete Reviews & Buying Guide

Life jackets are a necessity when out fishing in the rough waters. Considered as one of the most vital gear, a life vest is one such thing you cannot miss.

Best Life Vest for Fishing

If you are on the quest to find the best life vest for fishing, this detailed post will help you with a few considerations. Also, we discuss a list of the best jackets in the market.

Guide to Choosing the Best Life Vest for Fishing

Way before you scroll through websites to find a perfect life vest for fishing, there are a few questions to begin your hunt with. Here are a few:

  • What kind of a fisher are you? Professional or Casual?
  • What are the places you look forward to fishing in? Streams, rivers, etc.?
  • How many gears do you want to carry along?

Besides, there are a ton of things to consider before purchasing a life vest. With our extensive research, we’ve managed to collate a few considerations and prepare this guide. With this post, we are sure that you make the right choice.

Safety Measures

Safety is an essential point to consider before we even start venting about anything like size, color, etc. Selecting a life jacket that has been approved by the local Coast Guard is a huge bonus.

As per drowning incidents reported, defective life vests are what most people fall prey to. Since one has to be assured that they are carrying a sturdy jacket, it is recommended that the US Coast Guard certify the life vest.

The US Coast Guard has segregated PFDs into the following types:

  • Type I: Vests under this category can be utilized in oceans, seas, and other kinds of water. Crafted especially for boating in rough regions, these jackets are generally large and heavy.
  • Type II: Also referred to as Nearshore Buoyancy Vests, these life jackets are made to be used in the still waters. In comparison to Type I, these are a bit lightweight but with the same design. Although not as buoyant as the Type I.
  • Type III: Or Flotation Aids, these types of life vests are used in kayak fishing. As these jackets comprise large armholes, you can effortlessly perform activities like paddling and casting.
  • Type IV: Known as Throwable Devices, Type IV PFDs are utilized in emergencies and are not suitable for non-swimmers. These include ring buoys or cushion-shaped like a doughnut that is thrown into the water.
  • Type V: Also called Special-Use Devices, they are precisely designed, keeping in mind heavy water sports. Some of the activities include water skiing and windsurfing.


A fishing jacket needs to stand the test of time. And to ensure this, you are obliged to purchase something resilient and rugged.

One of the commonly available sturdy materials is ripstop nylon. Several other materials make a vest durable – PVC foam that stands firm against heat, chemicals, and weathering.

Size and Fit

Another vital piece of consideration is the size. For a life jacket to perform well during fishing, selecting the right size is predominant.

If you are purchasing from an online vendor, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Opt for the one that allows you to free your arms and is not restrictive.


Usually, all of the fishing jackets come in green and orange colors. But it is safe to choose a color that is vibrant and visible.

There are a few brands that offer vests with reflective strips. We suggest you go for these. All in all, it is up to you what you need from a jacket; whether you are looking for design or features.

Also Read: Best Fishing Deck Boots: Complete Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Life Vest for Fishing

1. Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Flotation Device

A bit on the heavier side, Stohlquist Fisherman’s Personal Flotation Device is fused with many pockets (a lot of them) and pockets within those too.

Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device

Sporting a design similar to the Navy SEALs, the Stohlquist Fisherman PFD is comfy and a breathable life vest. The two large compartments give you an abundance of options to accommodate all of your essential tools.

Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device backside

This life vest is available in cactus color, which makes it even more adjustable to the environment. It has the shoulders padded with neoprene, offering you an extra level of comfort while resting your back on a kayak.

2. ONYX Kayak

Beautifully crafted with evenly placed pockets, Onyx Kayak is every fisher’s life companion. The Onyx Kayak consists of a lash tab to hold tools like knives, whistles, keys, fishing tippets, and more.

ONYX Kayak

This life vest houses six straps for a snug fit, which can be utilized for adjustments to fit your body size as per the kayak’s height. The jacket’s base includes two giant pockets, allowing you to store large cases/boxes along with other similar-sized items.

ONYX Kayak sideview

The Onyx Kayak is available in two sizes – oversized and universal. The universal one fits a chest measuring 30 to 52 inches, while the oversized one sits comfortably for anyone between 40 to 60 inches.

3. NRS Chinook

Designed to get the best out of every water activity, the NRS Chinook has enough space to store essential fishing accessories.

NRS Chinook red color

The NRS Chinook includes seven pockets and multiple-sized compartments with a knife lash tab and rod holder loops. Built from 200 deniers urethane-coated ripstop nylon, the NRS Chinook offers an additional layer of comfort and durability.

This vest is specially crafted to fit for seats in fishing kayaks conveniently while the lower back is in mesh for better ventilation and comfortable seating.

NRS Chinook

Available in a range of colors, the NRS Chinook blends easily with your boat and fly rods. This life vest certainly does justice for the price it comes with, and is handy when traveling light is your priority.


A brand well-known for providing more storage space, M MAXIMATCH’s Maxcatch jacket is bulky and durable.


A backpack-cum vest, Maxcatch is carved out of breathable fabric and mesh back, which facilitates ventilation all day long. The jacket is ready to don for fishers of all sizes.

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch backside

Furthermore, the Maxcatch comprises two molded pockets and adjustable zippered compartments. This life vest for fishing is available in 7 different colors that go matching with the environment.

5. Extrasport Osprey

The Extrasport Osprey carries the same feel as the military jacket; also is a Type III PFD approved by the US Coast Guard. This life vest abodes a front zip, buckles, and wide armholes.

Extrasport Osprey

Extrasport Osprey includes seven expandable gear pockets, allowing you to store fishing gear with extra space.

Extrasport Osprey backside

This life jacket is available in two colors – khaki and black mesh. This jacket packs a thin lower back section, allowing you to enjoy the ride and stop vexing.

6. Lixada Fly Fishing Safety Vest

The Lixada Safety Vest is affordable and available in a universal size that fits people of all sizes. Comprising of eleven pockets, this jacket has space to store, organize, and protect your tackles and gear.

Lixada Fly Fishing Safety Vest

Developed with a ripstop polyester shell and replaceable EPE foam, this life jacket provides maximum buoyancy. The Lixada Fly Fishing Vest includes a mesh at the rear for breathability; in addition, the adjustable arm straps offer room for casting and paddling.

Lixada Fly Fishing Safety Vest backside

Available in 10+ colors, the Lixada Safety Vest is designed to fit users weighing up to 209lbs.

The Bottom Line

Finding the right vest for fishing is never a daunting task as there is a multitude of those available. But if you settle for the one that does not match this guide, consider shunning the product.

Do you have a list of your own? Write to us in the comments section below.

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