The most important factor to consider with any water sport is how to maintain a safe environment while having fun. Whether you plan on your boat or in your kayak, it's never a bad idea to invest in a PFD (Personal Flotation Device).
The best life vest for kayaking can not only save your like, but can keep you from getting in trouble with the law.
Quick Top 5 Life Vests for Kayaking
*Keep reading for full reviews or jump to them
Why Safety First?
For one, having a PFD on hand anytime you're out on the water is not only ideal but often required. Larger boats are required to be equipped with an up-to-code throwable floatation device as well.
Since you are going to be out in a kayak, there's a good chance that you will be just fine wearing only a life vest. Still, the best life vests for kayaking are ones that will sufficiently do the job that they are designed to fulfill.
Virtually all manufactured life vests meet U.S. Coast Guard standards. This ensures that anyone wearing the life jacket will be able to remain afloat until help arrives.
They are called life vests for a reason. Even if you're kayaking close to the shore currents will can it difficult to stay above water while swimming.
Many sit-in kayaks are designed to prevent the rider from falling out if it tips over. In fact, they are designed this way in case the rider ever needs to bail out in the event of dangerous kayaking conditions.
These types of conditions make it difficult for riders to come afloat and make it to solid ground. Even if it becomes difficult to make it to the shore, staying above water is perhaps your biggest priority when your survival instincts kick in. This is precisely why it is important to ensure that you're wearing a life vest.
Other Safety Measures to Take
You can never take too many safety precautions when you’re out on the water, provided that they would work in an emergency. If there is a possibility for a dangerous event to occur, it’s best to take preventative measures to deal with it.
While a life vest may be common-sense safety to take when going out on a lake or in the ocean, there might be other factors that could be detrimental to your safety.
Depending on the speed of the rapids you encounter, you might find yourself in a position where you’re unable to find your way back to your kayak.
Even the best life vests for kayaking can only do so much in the direst of circumstances.
Still, make sure they are directly accessible in case you need to call for help. It’s not uncommon for kayakers to bring miscellaneous supplies with them on their adventures.
Even though we don’t usually consider the risk of losing the entire kayak, it's always a possibility. Before loading your kayak, determine whether it's crucial to have.
Wearing a life vest is the standard regarding your safety when you're on the water. With that said, though, make sure that you decide on a life vest that fits you well and won’t fail you.
Does Comfort Matter That Much?
You wouldn't think feeling comfortable is near the top of your safety
Consider the conditions that you will be kayaking. The best safety vest for kayaking will protect you from other possible obstacles. If you are going whitewater rafting, you might want something heavier and padded to prevent rocks and other obstructions from harming you.
On the other hand, you may want something lighter if you are just going out for a sunny day on the lake. A bulkier life vest will serve as a shield from any rough contact with potential harm. A lighter life jacket will make it easier to paddle and move back to shore.
Depending on the current speed and environment that you're kayaking in, either one may be more suitable for your situation. Just remember that even the heaviest life vest could save you from getting injured.
Making Sure Your Life Vest Fits Right
A good test for picking out the right safety vest sees how far you can hook your thumbs into the shoulder straps. This test ensures that the vest fits securely without limiting your mobility more than necessary.
Bulkier life vests will naturally be heavier and contribute to limited body movement of the wear. It's especially important to make sure that life vests fit when buying them for children.
It the law that children go out in the water properly equipped with a wearable flotation device. If you have a teenager trying their hand with kayaking, help them with buying and fitting their life vest.
As long as you can perform the thumb test successfully and move about freely, your life vest should at least be able to keep you afloat. To prevent wasting money and to ensure your safety, always make sure that the vest it designed for people of your size and that it fits snugly.
Why a Stylish Life Vest Might be Safer
It’s hard to look good when you’re floating around in the water because of an accident. Still, eye-catching designs and bright colors can be life savers if you are a considerable distance from the shore.
Bright colors make it easier for others to spot you and provide assistance. Help is crucial if it gets dark during the time of your accident.
We probably don’t think much of stylishness when determining what the best safety vest for kayaking might be. Bright colors are essential if you think you might be farther away from land than usual.
The sporty look and feel of this vest would be ideal for the adventurous kayaker. This life vest is built for a lightweight feel and wearer mobility.
In swift conditions where no natural obstructions pose a threat, the Onyx MoveVent will keep you feeling safe and comfy at the same time. In the event of water submersion, the reflective coating of the vest makes it easier for others to spot you.
This life vest offers additional options for carrying items. A large front pocket makes it possible for kayakers and fishers to carry their equipment directly on them. The extra-large arm holes allow for easier maneuvering of fishing poles, paddles, or anything else that requires accurate movement.
This life vest has comfortability and customization in mind. A pocket is always a nice bonus for any life vest. Tt's especially useful for those who need to bring food or other equipment with them on the water.
The webbed buckle straps are adjustable and let the wearer fit the life vest precisely according to their size. Whether you are planning for a long day of extreme kayaking, fishing, or slow paddling, this life vest makes any movement more enjoyable and possible for all needs.
This women’s life vest is perfect for those who demand comfort in everything that they wear. The lightweight foam in the back and wide openings in the sides and shoulders provide the wearer with all the ventilation they need.
The nylon material is super easy to wash with only soap and water. Needless to say, it’s assumed that the wearer of this life vest won’t be under intense paddling condition.
For those who are not going on an intense rafting escapade, the need to sacrifice comfortability for unneeded safety measures is made possible with this life vest.
The lightweight design is meant to withstand very little obstruction, after all. This will probably be the safest and most comfortable bet if you are positive that your kayaking conditions permit it.
The Hardcore life vest has all the basic needs of a good life vest at a very reasonable cost. Available in multiple sizes and various neon colors, this life vest provides adequate flotation for virtually all people. While also allowing them to stand out in an emergency.
The life vest is great for anyone taking part in casual water sports of any kind. If you don’t anticipate rubbing up against jagged rocks or kayaking in an isolated area, the Hardcore life jacket provides a secure fit while meeting Coast Guard standards for PFDs.
Keep in mind the simplicity of this life vest is intended for basic paddling conditions. Even in quick-moving waters, this life jacket may still be a practical choice if there are fewer hazards present.
The Stearns life jacket is designed specifically to be oversized. This doesn't mean that they are intentionally meant not to fit. Rather, they are intended to provide added padding and bulk for the wearer.
This extra weight would be ideal for those undergoing extreme kayaking conditions. Not only does this life vest provide mobility with its large arm holes, but it also secures the wearer from
The extra girth of the Stearns life vest is secured using three straps and durable inner foam. The nylon exterior of the life jacket is also safe from possible wear and tear that might occur from being in an accident.
Even if your kayaking abilities are flawless and you can keep this vest in good condition, it has the potential to protect through all of your future kayaking trips.
Want up to date kayak tips, tricks and reviews?