The 5 Best Kayak Fishing Life Vests in 2020

Staying safe out on the water should be at the forefront of any fisherman’s mind. It’s so important to not only ensure you have enough supplies for your trip but also, that you’re equipped with a suitable life jacket (also known as a PFD). These days, there are a number of life vests made specifically for fishing that come equipped with lots of useful pockets for storing gear and making them easily accessible for when you need them quickly.

In this post, we’ve reviewed what we think are the best kayak fishing life vests in 2020 so check them out below.

Best PFDs For Kayak Fishing

Best Rated Kayak Fishing Life Jacket Reviews

Here’s our list of the best life jackets for kayak fishing along with our review of some of the features that make them a perfect choice to keep you safe on your next fishing trip.

#1. Stohlquist Fisherman PFD

In at number one is the US Coast Guard approved, Type III, Stohlquist Fisherman PFD. It’s made from a high quality, durable, long lasting nylon and most importantly for fishing, loads of pockets! It’s a great place to store all the small things that can easily get misplaced or fall overboard when out on a kayak.

Each of the two tool pouches at the front at padded with stiff outer EVA – a plastic that gives the effect of feeling like rubber to keep everything protected. The stiff nature of the pockets also means when they’re open they act as mini work stations, a useful feature for the fiddly parts of fishing.

It’s well padded, with open sides for added ventilation, while maintaining a sea level buoyancy of over 16lbs. Our only complaint is that it can feel a bit bulky, but doesn’t restrict paddling at all and considering the comfort and storage capacity we think it’s still well worth the money.

#2. NRS Chinook PFD

In at a close 2nd we have the NRS Chinook PFD, another Type III like jacket perfect for fishing on a kayak. Like the Stohlquist, it also delivers just over 16lbs of buoyancy and is certified by the US Coast Guard.

Made out of quality PlushFit™ foam and featuring a high back design, it’s incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. With mesh padding it and loads of ventilation, it’s a great life vest to wear on a hot day. The zips are all good quality and it offers a number of adjustments so you can make it fit just right.

As you’d expect on a life jacket for kayak fishing, it comes with a number of different pockets for keeping everything organized out on the water. On the front it has two large zip pockets that can make good storage compartments for tackle, then there are also 2 other pockets to keep other bits and pieces you don’t want to lose when paddling. We also love that it has a tool holder pocket to keep pliers and other useful gadgets.

#3. ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Oversize, Tan
  • Six adjustment straps to cinch vest up for a snug fit
  • High foam back accommodates high back seats
  • Pockets designed for your essential gear

Up next we have a great fishing life vest from Minnesota based brand, The Onyx Kayak Fishing Vest. Again, as you’d expect, it’s a US Coast Guard certified PFD and is made with a low profile and foam padding designed specifically for paddling a kayak in. This makes it super comfortable and non invasive, you won’t notice you’re wearing it.

When it comes to pocket and storage space, the Onyx Kayak Fishing Vest has a four different spaces for different uses. It has a largemouth cargo pocket that can comfortably fir a VHF radio or pair of pliers, then it has a one button push drop down tray pocket that’s perfect for a tackle box. It also has zippered fleece lined pockets for storing other tools and gadgets so it’s a great life vest for keeping all your essentials close at hand.

A great option for kayak fishing and at a really good price that won’t break the bank. We love the look and design of this one from Onyx and comes highly recommended from us.

#4. NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket

NRS Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket (PFD)-Orange-L/XL
  • USCG Approved: type III
  • Flotation / Buoyancy: 16.5lb
  • Closure: zippered front entry,

In at number four we have another option from NRS, this time the Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket. It’s a Type III, US Coast Guard approved life vest with 16.5 lbs of floatation, ideal for a day of fishing in a kayak. Comfortable to wear with a mesh lower back, it has great ventilation to keep you cool on a long hot day out on the water.

When it comes to pocket management The Chinook OS Fishing Lifejacket has lots of options to give you flexibility to customize your storage. On the front it has storage for lures in the two tackle box pockets. Compared to the original Chinook model we looked at earlier, this one has larger pockets with even enough room for a VHF radio.

With strong zips for extra durability and coming in a high visibility orange color, we love this life vest and can recommend it to anyone looking for something with a bit more storage. The only downside is that it’s probably the most expensive option on our list.

#5. Bassdash Adjustable Fishing Life Vest

Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and Women, for Fly Bass Fishing...
  • Adjustable suspension system – adjustable shoulder and waist straps, allows custom fit
  • Lightweight material, dries faster and breathes better
  • Padded air mesh shoulder straps provide the ultimate in comfort and breathability

And last, but by no means least we have the Basssash Adjustable Fishing Life Vest. It’s the cheapest option on our list but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not any good. With padded air mesh shoulder straps it offers a good level of comfort with good breathability to keep you cool on hot days.

With a total of 18 pockets, it has loads of space for storing your fishing accessories. It has a number of pockets made specifically for storing different tools like thermometers or fly boxes too. Also, we like that it has a D ring on the back to attach your fishing net, paddle or anything else you don’t want getting away from you.

All in all, a good kayak fishing PFD for a reasonable price that deserves a place in our top five.