Best Kayak Fishing PFDs: Top 12 List

Wearing a life jacket is a necessary precaution in case you fall into the water. But for kayak anglers, it can also serve as extra storage for some of your gear

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Wearing a life jacket is a necessary precaution in case you fall into the water. But for kayak anglers, it can also serve as extra storage for some of your gear. So if you've been looking for the best kayak fishing PFD that will keep you safe, comfortable, and organized, this article is for you.

Your safety and that of your loved ones is, unquestionably, the most important thing when kayaking, fishing, or in whatever you do. When out on the water, mishaps and accidents are inevitable. That's why Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are of great importance. PFDs can save your life by keeping your head above the water when the inevitable happens. They are not only a safety precaution but you're required by law to wear them. So before venturing out on the water for kayak fishing, it's important to go for the best kayak fishing PFD.

If you're just kayaking, a simple PFD will do the trick. But if you're kayak fishing, you should invest in a PFD that also works as a fishing jacket. In addition to safety, some other vital factors that should influence your choice include comfort and storage. A proper kayak fishing PFD should have pockets for additional storage and be comfortable enough not to restrict your movement when reeling in or fighting your catch.

Having a good quality life jacket is of great importance. Unfortunately, there are so many PFDs out there that choosing the best one for you can be quite challenging. To make it a lot easier for you, we've rounded up the best kayak fishing PFDs that are currently available on the market.

Let's look at the best kayak fishing PFDs currently available in the market.

Table of Contents

‍1. NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket

If you want a life jacket that can make your kayak fishing adventures more secure and effective, the NRS Chinook OS Fishing Life Jacket is meant for you. Specifically designed with kayak anglers in mind, this type III PFD is stuffed with foam to make it extremely buoyant.

It comes with seven pockets where you can put your gear. It also has an integrated rod holder, as well as attachment points for various tools. In addition to its effectiveness, this PFD brings forth unmatched durability, comfort, and utility. The back of the vest is structured perfectly for kayak fishing seats. The vest's lower back has a mesh section but the floatation is higher up in the shoulder area to ensure that you have comfortable seating.

This is, without a doubt, a high-quality and affordable PFD from a well-known brand and offers efficiency and great value for money.


  • Designed with kayak fishing in mind
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Loops for holding other attachments
  • Eight adjustable straps to fit any shape and size


  • It's bulky and can't be used by most children

2. Stohlquist Fisherman PFD

Like other good kayak fishing PFDs, Stohlquist Fisherman PFD provides you with safety, comfort, and plenty of storage. This vest comes with all features that are designed to protect you in case a mishap happens and also to keep your essential tackle close at hand. It helps you organize your gear conveniently so that you don't have to fumble around in your kayak looking for an essential gear that should have been close at hand.

This PFD is designed with high-quality and durable nylon known as 500-denier Cordura shell. It's a fully waterproof fabric that's durable but also lightweight, which is an integral feature of a good lifejacket. The vest is also designed with ventilation to make you cool and to minimize discomfort.

So if you're looking for an angler-friendly life jacket that gives you superb cockpit management and allows you to conveniently place and organize little things that might otherwise get lost in the yak, Stohlquist Fisherman PFD is the right choice.


  • Great ventilation
  • High-quality and durable
  • Plenty of storage pockets
  • Made with eco-friendly material
  • High-back flotation
  • Can be hand-washed and dried


  • A bit uncomfortable when you're seated

3. Onyx Kayak Fishing Vest

Are you on a tight budget but still want a functional PFD with excellent features and generous storage? You'll love the Onyx Kayak Fishing Vest. This lifejacket is not only manufactured with a well-known manufacturer, Onyx, but it's also designed with a kayak angler in mind. That's why it has different pocket designs to help you conveniently carry your essential gear and to make your angling adventures a lot easier and fun.

These pockets are well-designed with compartments and tap loops, as well as six adjustment straps for a snug and comfortable fit. If anything, this PFD is so comfortable you might forget to take it off even after you're out of the water.

If you're in the market for a USCG-approved life jacket that's perfect for kayak fishing, offers generous storage space, is comfortable, and is of great quality, the Onyx Kayak Fishing Vest is an excellent option.


  • Loads of storage options
  • Well designed and constructed
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable


  • A little bulky
  • The zippers are a letdown

4. Astral Women's Layla Life Jacket

We all agree that women too are taking up kayak fishing and would it be better to find a PFD that is ultimately suitable for them? This is a lifejacket that's specifically designed to conform to women's curvy bodies. It is designed with boob cups and super soft organic kapok to create special fits that women usually crave.

It comes with a comfortable and soft zipper that makes the PFD a lot easier to take on and off. It also has ventilation holes to ensure that air flows through your body more freely. This means that your sweat will evaporate, your body heat will escape, and you'll be feeling cool throughout your fishing adventures.

This can be a superb choice if you look for a PFD that works great on women.


  • Breathable and comfortable
  • Designed with eco-friendly materials
  • It fits perfectly
  • Great for women
  • It has many adjustable straps


  • Only meant for women

5. Kokatat Bahia Tour

Do you want a PFD that's not cluttered with several features? The Kokatat Bahia Tour is a simplistic vest that's lightweight and streamlined to prevent it from feeling stiff and restrictive. It has two large zipper pockets that offer plenty of storage for carrying your essentials when fishing.

One of its unique features is the lumbar support around the lower back. This is to ensure that the vest can move freely and work perfectly well with high-backed kayak seats. Although having numerous pockets, clips, and elastic bands are the trend when it comes to kayak fishing PFDs, it sometimes feels cluttered. Fortunately, the Kokatat Bahia Tour goes against this trend and offers a PFD that's more streamlined to minimize bulkiness, while maximizing comfort.


  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • Offers enough storage space
  • It is more streamlined
  • Offers a good lower back support
  • It's very flexible


  • Some parts aren't very durable

6. MTI Adventurewear Reflex Paddling PFD

Designed with a durable polyester shell fabric with reflective strips and several differing pockets, the MTI Adventurewear is designed for avid anglers. The large lower pockets are essential for storing larger gear such as the spool or a reel while the open-access top pockets are great for smaller gear, as well the D-rings in the front and back to enable you to attach more gear.

This vest has USCG strength testing of 50mph for water sports. This means that your safety is its main priority. So if you're in the market for the best kayak fishing PFD, this is an excellent option to consider.


  • Fully adjustable
  • Very Comfortable
  • Comes with bright colors and reflectors
  • Very durable


  • Not perfect for high-back kayak seats

7. Astral Ronny Life Jacket PFD for Kayaking

If you've been looking for a PFD that is perfect for the big guys and high seats, Astral Ronny Life Jacket PFD for Kayaking is for you. Thanks to its steam vent design and multiple pockets, this PFD is designed with the utmost functionality and comfort.

With a buoyancy rating of 16 pounds, this type III jacket will ensure that you remain afloat even if your boat capsizes. Its back panel is designed with super-thin mesh and foam to keep you cool and allow you to lean back more comfortably, especially when using high seats. This is USCG-approved that's perfect not just for kayak fishing but also for other recreational activities. It will ensure that you stay cool and comfortable during your fishing escapades.


  • Super-thin foam to allow heat to escape
  • It has plenty of storage pockets
  • Comfortable
  • It's available in various sizes


  • The zippers can get stuck
  • The foam needs to be upgraded

8. Stohlquist Piseas Personal Floatation Device

This is an amazing PFD that features a high back design with a large mesh panel to provide ventilation, and eight straps that can be customized to fit you accordingly. The PFD's large pockets offer plenty of storage space, which makes it appropriate for your fishing and storage needs.

The Piseas has almost the same features as the Stohlquist Fisherman PFD but it's a low-cost alternative. It's designed to offer the utmost comfort, safety, and practicality. It's so comfortable that you'll even forget that you have it on you. And it's not just about comfort; this PFD has all the essential features that you may need in a kayak fishing life jacket. With a buoyancy rating of 16lbs, it offers excellent flotation. So if you want a lifejacket that's functional, versatile, and can save your life in case of a mishap, the Piseas won't let you down.


  • It's versatile and functional
  • It's quite affordable
  • It offers plenty of storage
  • It's comfortable
  • It is USCG-approved


  • It has no reflective markings
  • It's fly-fishing specific

9. Stearns Child Watersport Vest

If you have a kid and he/she is an adrenaline junkie who will tag along when you go out fishing, the Stearns Child Watersport Vest is the ideal lifejacket. It is designed to ensure that your kid has a comfortable and enjoyable day out on the water. As a USCG-approved PFD, this vest is designed with three chest belts that can be adjusted for a perfect fit.

It also has a crotch strap that is adjustable and two large homes to ensure that your kid doesn't move from position. This PFD is not only secure and comfortable but it's also durable. It's specifically designed for kids weighing less than 50 pounds. It's also close-sided and will stay in the right position to ensure that your kid is safe and secure in case there's an emergency. This is a must-have if you want to take your kids with you for a water adventure


  • It's very secure thanks to its adjustable straps
  • It's comfortable and durable
  • Specially designed for kids


  • The size may only be limited to small-framed kids

10. NRS cVest Mesh Back PFD

When in the market for the best kayak fishing PFD, you have to check out the NRS cVest. This PFD has outstanding features such as bright lime reflective that will allow you to be seen from miles away. It is designed with 400D Ripstop Nylon Fabric, which is durable and essential for providing ventilation and breathability.

The high-back floatation panels can be used in most kayak seats and are designed to ensure that you're very comfortable during your fishing escapades. In terms of storage, this PFD has numerous pockets that allow you to conveniently store your tackle and gear. As a type III USCG-approved lifejacket, you'll love this vest thanks to its amazing features.


  • It's comfortable and has high-back floating panels
  • It's durable
  • It has plenty of storage space
  • It has 6 adjustable points
  • It is highly reflective


  • The attachment loops aren't sturdy

11. Kokatat Leviathan Life Jacket

This is another superb type III style PFD that's designed with floatable foam to ensure that you stay afloat in case of an emergency. It is designed with kayak anglers in mind and offers great flexibility to ensure that you can easily and comfortably carry out a wide range of activities such as paddling, casting, fighting, and landing fish.

That's not all; this PFD has a high-back panel to ensure that it doesn't interfere with the kayak's seat while ensuring that you're comfortable when fishing. When it comes to storage, this PFD has ample storage pockets to ensure that you conveniently and safely carry your essentials.


  • It's very comfortable
  • It's durable
  • It's great for high-back kayak seats
  • It has ample storage pockets


  • It doesn't have reflective lights

12. Onyx Curve MoveVent

If you've been looking for a superb PFD that lets you move freely without impeding your mobility and actions when kayak fishing, the Onyx Curve Movement should be top of your priority. This PFD is not only durable and affordable but it's also designed to give you complete freedom when paddling, casting, and landing fish.

This life jacket has adjustments that help you hug the body tightly while still designed with ventilation to keep your body cool when involved in kayaking, which is, of course, a physically exerting activity. This is a fairly comfortable PFD as it has a superb floatation foam and back panel that's structured with neoprene pads.


  • Comfy design
  • Lightweight
  • Fits well
  • Keeps you cool


  • It only fits huge anglers

So no matter the type of PFD that you choose to go with, make sure that you wear one. It may seem like a minute device but it will save your life when the unexpected happens.

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