Best Sailing Life Jackets (PFD's)

Sailing is a fun and exhilarating activity. Having the best sailing life jackets on board can help you stay safe while you're enjoying the wind and waves.

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Sailing is a fun and exhilarating activity. Having the best sailing life jackets on board can help you stay safe while you're enjoying the wind and waves.

The best sailing life jackets are designed to keep you safe while you're on the water. They're made from high-quality materials that will last for years and include various safety features. Spinlock, Helly Hansen, Onyx, Stohlquist, and Astral make some of the best sailing life jackets on the market.

It is important to wear a life jacket when you are on the water. A boat's safety equipment should include PFDs for everyone on board, but what type of PFD should you buy? There are many different types of sailing life jackets available, and they each have their own set of pros and cons that we will go over in this blog post. We'll also give our recommendations for the best sailing life jackets (PFDs) based on your needs!

Our sailing experts tested several different PFDs and shortlisted the best sailing life jackets that are currently available on the market. This article will help you choose the best life jacket for your next sailing adventure.

Table of Contents

1. Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Inflatable PFD

Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Inflatable PFD
Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Inflatable PFD

The Deckvest 5D is a great choice for anyone looking for extra safety while sailing or kayaking. The inflatable design means that it will automatically inflate if you fall into the water, providing you with buoyancy and helping to keep you afloat. And because it is a chest harness design, it won't ride up over your head and restrict your movement as you try to put on a PFD.

You can rest easy knowing that this PFD has been tested in accordance with ISO 12402-5 standards by an independent laboratory approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). It also meets USCG approval requirements for Type V performance as a personal flotation device (PFD) suitable for offshore use in moderate/rough conditions when worn properly without exposure suits. This PFD features reflective tape so other boaters can see you at night, making sure they know where you are when out on the water after dark!

The Deckvest 5D also has a carbon dioxide generator instead of an oral inflation tube or cylinder that can be damaged easily. The generator will inflate the life jacket in just 35 seconds if needed, though it won't automatically inflate. Instead, there's a ripcord that you can pull to start the process.

And because the carbon dioxide cartridge is replaceable- just like any other smoke detector- you'll never have to worry about being unable to quickly inflate the life jacket because you lost yours or having to go out and buy expensive replacements!

The Deckvest 5D is made of abrasion-resistant nylon for superior wear resistance and durability; these characteristics will ensure that the life jacket stays intact even after spending time scraping against rocks, gravel, or other hard surfaces. The Deckvest 5D has an adjustable fit with two straps and two belts around the chest and hemline of the jacket for added security and comfort. The adjustment points make it easy to achieve a snug fit regardless of your body type or size.

The Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Inflatable Life Jacket comes in four sizes (small, medium, large, XL) and three colors (Black, Pacific Blue, Tropic white). There are two pockets on the front of this inflatable life jacket: one square pocket with a transparent plastic window designed for holding a cellphone or other small items and one zippered pocket. The life jacket also has a drainage plug so that it can easily dry out after being in the water.

Additionally, the Deckvest 5D is built with a high-visibility design that will keep you visible in low light conditions. The color of the jacket can be black, blue, or white depending on which version you purchase; all versions are also two-tone for even more visibility. All varieties feature reflective tape across the chest and shoulder straps.

A reviewer online commented:

"I got this product a few years ago, and it's a terrific PFD. I kayaked off the Jersey Shore and did some white water rafting in North Carolina. Lots of deep, cold rivers. This is not a sit-on-top kayak or canoe PFD, so if that's what you have, get a different type of PFD for it."

Furthermore, the jacket won't accidentally inflate when sprayed with water, meaning that you don't have to worry about it becoming more of a hindrance than a lifesaver when you're out on the water.

The only downside of the Deckvest 5D is that it does not come cheap. This inflatable life jacket will set you back around $300, but for the extra safety and peace of mind that it provides, this may be a price worth paying.

The Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Inflatable Life Jacket is a great choice for anyone looking for an extra level of safety while sailing or kayaking. This life jacket is an inflatable design that can provide additional buoyancy if you fall in the water, which will help keep you afloat while you are waiting for rescue. It won't ride up over your head or restrict your movement, either.


  • Carbon dioxide generator (instead of an oral inflation tube or cylinder)
  • Abrasion-resistant nylon for added durability and wear resistance
  • Adjustable fit with two straps, chest belt, and hemline belt
  • Reflective tape across the chest and shoulder straps for increased visibility in low light conditions
  • No accidental inflation


  • Expensive price point

2. Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race Life Jacket

Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race Life Jacket
Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race Life Jacket

The Sailsafe Race Life Jacket is designed to provide maximum safety and comfort when sailing or racing. It is made from durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions, and it features a number of safety features that help keep you safe in case of an emergency. The jacket includes an auto-inflating system that quickly inflates in the event of a fall overboard. It also offers a built-in harness that ensures you stay safe and secure in case of a fall overboard.

The Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race Life Jacket also includes several convenience features, such as an integrated mesh harness system for improved comfort and mobility, as well as zippered pockets to keep small items close at hand. In addition, this jacket is designed to wear easily over wetsuits or under foul weather gear when out on the water.

There's also a sprayhood, anti-ride-up leg loops, and an emergency light built into the jacket. This makes the Sailsafe Race 170 ideal for anyone who wants a safe and comfortable life jacket that can be worn in a variety of sailing and racing conditions.

The Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race Life Jacket is one of the fastest inflatable lifejackets on the market, making it perfect for those who want to be rescued as quickly as possible. The Sailsafe Race's tested speed for inflation ranges between 12 and 15 seconds. The automatic model has been designed to be quicker than manual pumps, so it can make sure you are safe in an emergency situation without delay or fuss!

The Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race is ISO 12402 certified. The integrated Deck harness is certified to ISO 12401, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking for a safe and reliable life jacket for sailing or racing.

Furthermore, the hammer system's manual inflation and hydrostatic automatic release mechanism keep you from inadvertently inflating in extremely wet circumstances. So if you're caught in a downpour, and the jacket starts to fill with water, it won't automatically inflate and keep you afloat. This is an important safety feature that sets the Sailsafe Race Life Jacket apart from other lifejackets on the market.

A user online commented:

"I am a sailing instructor, and this is the best life jacket I have ever used. It is very comfortable and fits well."

One downside to this great product is its price. At $299.99, it is more expensive than most other lifejackets on the market today. However, if you Factor in the safety features and built-in harness, this lifejacket's price tag may be well worth it to keep you safe while out on the water.

The Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race life jacket provides maximum safety and comfort when sailing or racing. It is made from durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions, and it features several safety features that help keep you safe in case of an emergency. If you're looking for an auto-inflating life jacket that is both lightweight and comfortable, the Helly Hansen Sailsafe Race 170 Auto is a great option.


  • Extremely durable
  • One of the fastest auto-inflating system
  • ISO 12402 and 12401 certified
  • Various safety features


  • A tad expensive

3. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest

If you are not familiar with Onyx, they are a company that specializes in making life jackets for a variety of activities, from sailing to kayaking. The MoveVent Dynamic CGA Life Jacket is one of their newer products, and it is designed specifically for sailors.

It features both front and back reflectors (always important for visibility), removable shoulder pads (in case you don't like them), adjustable side belts (with metal buckles) to fit most adults, two pockets on the chest (a very convenient place to store things if your hands are busy), one cross-chest pocket (again, convenient), and a whistle for attracting attention.

The jacket features a strong exterior nylon fabric, a fairly comfortable mesh interior with reflective stripes, and a typical neoprene collar. The shoulder pads are removable and fairly comfortable, but they might irritate some.

You can adjust the side belts from both sides so you won't have to detach them in order to tighten or loosen them. The buckle locks when secure, which prevents accidental unfastening. The front part of the belt splits into two thinner straps around your chest, helping keep it in place.

Onyx designed this product with great attention to detail, and it shows: all seams are taped waterproof; there's reflective tape on both front and back; the pockets have strong flaps, etc. You can really tell they know their market well since sailing jackets demand a lot of features that might not be necessary in other wearables that Onyx manufactures, but they still include them because sailors need them.

What sets this PFD apart from most others is its integrated front neoprene pocket that allows stowing the jacket when using it in warmer weather conditions. When you want to put on or take off your life vest, that front pocket folds over the belt and zips closed. It's a brilliant design that works very well. It doesn't prevent access to the pockets on the chest, so there are no issues when taking out things from them.

A reviewer online stated:

"I have a problem with most jackets as they are made of a material which chaffs my neck. The neoprene back on Onyx means that there is no contact against the skin, therefore no chafing".

This jacket offers all-around comfort because it's not just soft on your skin but also stretchable enough to offer good flexibility. That could be the reason why even the reflective stripes on its interior are comfortable and don't interfere with movement during exercise or other activities.

Moreover, the mesh fabric allows maintaining body temperature so you won't sweat or shiver because you forgot to take off this jacket before going underway (you know what I'm talking about). And let's face it - if you end up in the water, that thing will certainly save your life.

The Dynamic Sailing Life Jacket is designed to provide buoyancy and protection while sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, or kayaking. It is not intended to be used for other water sports like surfing, rafting, or canoeing.

In cold water temperatures below 50 Fahrenheit, Onyx recommends wearing waterproof clothing underneath their life jackets because they will retain heat less effectively at this temperature than other materials do.

One potential downside of the jacket is that it does not have a crotch strap. This isn't really a big deal unless you do something like white water rafting since the jacket will stay in place pretty well without it. But it's still something to keep in mind. Another thing we don't like about this product is the lack of adjustment for smaller sizes.

Generally speaking, this is a very affordable PFD (69 USD), yet it's made of good quality materials and won't let you down when needed. The zippered front pocket makes it useful for storing things without sacrificing safety (and access to chest pockets). It provides excellent freedom of motion while wearing it and can be turned into a fanny pack-like item if preferred.

This Dynamic Life Jacket from Onyx is an excellent product for a beginner sailor. It has all the features you need and nothing you don't. The integrated front pocket is a genius design and makes stowing the jacket much easier. The fit is comfortable and the fabric strong. It's also available in four different colors (yellow, aqua, orange, purple), so you can pick the one that suits you best. We highly recommend this life jacket for anyone just getting into sailing.


  • Affordable price compared to other PFDs
  • Very comfortable and stretchable fabric that allows great freedom of movement
  • Neoprene comfort pads
  • Four different colors are available


  • No crotch strap
  • Lacks adjustment for smaller individuals

4. Stohlquist Edge PFD

Stohlquist Edge PFD
Stohlquist Edge PFD

When you invest in a product like a personal flotation device, you deserve to know exactly what you're getting. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at what makes the Stohlquist Edge such an exceptional option when it comes to finding the proper PFD.

This life jacket is made with comfort and safety in mind. The snug fit and breathable fabric make it perfect for paddlers and anglers who need a PFD to keep up with their active lifestyle. And, the variety of features – like the pockets – make it easy to stay organized and safe while you're out on the water.

This device is also machine-washable, making it easy to keep it clean and in good condition. So, if you happen to get it dirty while you're using it, you can just throw it in the wash, and it will be good as new in no time.

The Edge PFD also includes plenty of convenient storage options. There are two zippered pockets on the front and a pocket on the chest. This allows you to store all of your gear safely and easily while you're out on the water.

The Stohlquist Edge PFD is a great choice for a whitewater or recreational kayaker. It is available in three colors (red, royal blue, black) and it's suitable for people of all sizes. It also features a front zipper pocket for storing items while underway or underneath a life jacket when not needed. The jacket's outer layer is made out of nylon ripstop material, designed to be abrasion-resistant so that you can use it even in places with sharp edges around.

The outer fabric makes it water-resistant and ideal for use in different weather conditions (rain, sun). However, it doesn't have any kind of reflective elements on the exterior. It comes with a belt, adjustable waist, and shoulder straps, but no crotch strap.

One important thing about this product is that it's very comfortable whether fully inflated or deflated. This means your muscles will feel relaxed and won't get tired from restrictions caused by the PFD itself. You'll always have a good range of motion, which is something most sailors highly appreciate when using their equipment regularly.

A reviewer online commented: "It's a great life jacket at a very reasonable price. It fits well, is extremely lightweight, and doesn't restrict movement in any way".

Like other inflatable life jackets in this review, the Stohlquist Edge has a front pocket that is made of neoprene. The main purpose of the pocket is to keep the jacket rolled up and compact, so it's easy to stow when not needed. You can also store small items inside, such as car keys or sunglasses while boating.

One thing we don't like about this life jacket is that you will need to fully unzip it before deflating if you intend to do that. Since they made the front pocket from neoprene, it's waterproof and difficult to use for draining water from inside. If you plan on taking a swim or fall overboard while wearing it, keep this in mind – it will take some time before all the air is out of the jacket.

Overall, the Stohlquist Edge PFD is an excellent option when it comes to finding the perfect life jacket. It's designed for paddlers and anglers who need a device that can keep up with their active lifestyle, and it provides incredible comfort and safety while you're out on the water. So, if you're looking for a great PFD that you can rely on, be sure to check out the Stohlquist Edge.


  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Machine-washable
  • Includes a belt and adjustable straps;
  • Available with a crotch strap as an upgrade option (for an additional fee).


  • No reflective materials on the exterior
  • Requires unzipping completely to deflate the jacket.

5. Astral V-Eight Life Jacket

Astral V-Eight Life Jacket
Astral V-Eight Life Jacket

Astral is a name well known in the kayaking and canoeing communities for making high-quality, affordable PFDs. The V-Eight Life jacket reviewed here is their mid-level PFD that retails for $140.99. It has been gaining popularity over the last few years due to its ease of use and low price point.

The V-Eight is a Type III PFD, meaning it is designed for general boating use. It can be worn by anyone over the age of 12 and has a weight range of 80-270 pounds. The jacket features eight panels of segmented foam flotation, which gives it a slim profile and makes it easy to move in. It also has two large zippered front pockets, making it perfect for storing gear or taking along snacks on the water.

One thing that really sets the V-Eight apart from other life jackets is its comfort. The soft foam panels contour the body and make it very easy to wear for extended periods. And unlike some other PFDs on the market, the V-Eight doesn't have shoulder straps that can dig into your arms.

A reviewer commented:

"I hate wearing life jackets, but I would rather wear one at all times when on the water. The Astral V-Eight has completely changed my mind about life vests! It is so comfortable and lightweight that I forget I am wearing it. And this is coming from a person who never volunteers to wear anything."

Another thing that makes this jacket stand out from other PFDs is how well it floats you. While most type III vests can handle people up to around 250 pounds, they usually only support the body in certain positions. For example, if someone falls off their kayak or canoe head first, their torso will be supported, but their stomach and legs may still be underwater depending on how the vest fits them.

Another feature is the jacket's bright coloration, making it very easy to spot from a distance. The bright yellow also makes it perfect for low light conditions. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need even more visibility, there is reflective material sewn onto the sides of the jacket and a glow-in-the-dark rescue whistle attached around the neck area.

The only real downside to this product is its lack of crotch strap or belt loops that would hold it in place if one was not wearing a life vest harness, but we found it works fine by itself as well. Since our kayak has an anchor system built-in, we usually wear it without the waist strap but never had an issue with it moving out of place while afloat.

We have been using the Astral V-Eight life jacket for over a year now, and I am very pleased with its performance. It is comfortable to wear, looks great, and provides excellent value for the money. In fact, this PFD has become our primary choice when spending long hours on the water kayaking or canoeing.

If you are in the market for a quality, affordable life jacket, we highly recommend giving the Astral V-Eight a try. You won't be disappointed!


  • Great value for the money
  • Comfortable to wear


  • No crotch or waist strap included

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