Reasons to get yourself a fishing life jacket
Clearly, the most obvious reason why you should get yourself a fishing life jacket is to provide your safety in the event you either do not know how to swim or if your boat happens to capsize, and you end up in the water. However, unlike regular life jackets that are much bulkier and insulated, the benefit of a fishing life jacket is that they are compact in size and don’t tend to get in your way when you’re fishing. Another reason why you’ll want to invest in a fishing life jacket is the number of pockets it comes with. Depending on the type of fishing you prefer, the pockets can come in handy as you’ll need to store plenty of things in them. These pockets help to keep all your items organized, so you don’t need to carry an extra bag with you. Lastly, there are also legal reasons as well as to why you need a fishing life jacket. Fishermen or people who board a boat or any vessel that takes to the seas is required to have access to a life jacket of some sort. And if you plan on fishing, why not wear yours? They are comfortable to use and don’t restrict your movements.
How to pick the best fishing life vest?
When picking the best fishing life jacket, it really depends on what you’re looking for and the type of fishing you do. There are lots of great features in fishing life jackets, and we’ll touch on each of them to help you with your final decisions. The key things we’ll explore are the type of life vest, its size, the materials it’s made of, its floatation, its weight, design, how comfortable it is, any extra features worth mentioning, and finally, its price.
According to the US Coast Guard, there are five different types of fishing life vests. Here is a summary of each class.
Type I life vests tend to be much bulkier and have more buoyancy, and because of this, you could be out in the water for quite a long time before you’re rescued. It should be okay because this type of life vest is designed to keep you afloat for a long time.
A Type II life vest is the right choice for those who plan on being closer to shore because these are less bulky and are meant for calmer waters.
A Type III life vest is designed for any water activities where you need more mobility, and thus these life vests are less bulky. However, they do a good job of keeping your face above the water.
A Type IV life vest is more of a throwable life vest. It is more commonly used to toss it in the water when someone needs help and does not have a personal floatation device.
Finally, a Type V life vest is meant for active water sports like waterskiing or windsurfing.
Generally, the US Coast Guard recommends a Type III or V if you plan on fishing on the lake.
The size of the fishing life vest is very important because it determines who will be able to wear it. Generally speaking, the best life vests, when it comes to the sizes, are those that offer a universal fit. Universal models are great in that they can be used by a wider range of people. Thus, whether you’re body physique is slimmer or larger, universal-sized life vests should be able to fit your body type. The ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket and the ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx M-24 are both good options that offer universal sizes.
Fishing life vests also can be worn by children and women as well. For children, there is an extra strap that attaches under their crotch area, and that straps into the back of the life vest for extra support. Many of the fishing life vests come in various sizes as well, ranging from extra small to XX-large. Women should be able to find a size that fits their body type snugly from this range of different sizes. Here, you can see how sizing works: for small, chest area will be 28-32 inches, for medium – 32-36 inches, and for large – 40-44 inches.
In terms of the materials used to construct the fishing life vests, we see that most manufacturers use some form of nylon fabric. Denier is a measurement of weight that you can usually find in the description, and the higher the number is, the stronger the material will be. This tends to be the most common fabric used in life vests because these nylon or polyester materials are quite durable and long-lasting.
Many of the fishing life vests also use some sort of nylon mesh material that is located either on the shoulders or on the back. Having this mesh material is good because it provides your body with proper ventilation.
Sometimes when you’re out fishing under the sun for hours on end, without a mesh layer, the heat would get trapped in your life vest. With the mesh, it allows the heat to leave your body and to help keep you a bit cooler.
When it comes to the floatation, buoyancy is often the term that is used to describe it. Buoyancy refers to the level of force that is needed to keep your head above the water. There are a few factors that go into buoyancy.
For starters, it depends on your body weight and type. You must know that not all of the fishing life jackets are the same and have the same buoyancy. The US Coast Guard has made it easy for people to understand the different classification of these life jackets by splitting them up into five categories. For each class, the model will have different functionality. As a general rule, anything above a Type III is a great choice for fishing.
The fishing life vests are incredibly light and very comfortable to wear while you’re fishing, and you’ll be able to tell this upon first glance. These life vests need to be very easy to maneuver around in because you don’t want something on your body that is bulky and heavy, and that can easily distract you while you’re fishing. What you’re looking for is something that is genuinely light yet effective, and that’s what the best fishing life vests bring to you.
It’s almost hard to believe that some of the lightest life vests, including the Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device and the Extrasport Sturgeon Life Jacket, weigh only one pound! In contrast, the heaviest life vest on our list is our Editor’s Choice, the NRS Chinook Fishing PFD, which barely is heavier than the lightest ones at 2.15 pounds. Overall, these life vests are very light pieces of equipment that you can wear comfortably for hours.
When it comes to the design of the best fishing life vests, they all tend to vary depending on the features they have. As for the color, it can differ as well. You can find charcoal, black, tan, blue, and even cactus models on our list. Some of the life vests also come with reflectors, which is a good safety feature to have in case you prefer fishing when it is dark out.
The best fishing life vests are also known for the number of pockets they have. These pockets are usually zippered ones, and they are great for people who fish as they can carry lots of different things you’ll need to help you fish. Furthermore, these life vests are secured either via a zipper down the middle of your chest or are secured using the waistline buckle.
In terms of the overall functionality, fishing life vests are great at keeping you safe and providing you with plenty of pockets to help you transport and carry the tools you need for fishing. They are also very light and sturdy and are meant to not limit your movements.
The best fishing life vests are extremely comfortable and versatile, so you will be able to adjust them as you need. A large part of the comfort comes from the fact that these life vests are very light and are not overly bulky. Moreover, fishing life vests are different from regular life jackets because they are designed to be worn for hours on end while you’re in your kayak or boat. Bulky life vests or jackets can severely hamper your ability to fish by limiting your range of motion, which is what these fishing life vests do not do. In fact, it’s very easy to adjust your fishing life vest if you feel like it is getting in the way of your fishing. Usually, there will be an adjustable strap that you can tighten or loosen so that it is comfortable for you.
Some of the best fishing life vests also come with a few extra features that give them more value and added benefits. Some products have reflective stripes on them. This enables people who wear these types of vests to be seen in the dark. If you feel like some of the life vests are a bit too tight or you don’t feel like you have sufficient space to maneuver around in it, there are models that come with open sides that give your body a bit more space. Or you could just opt for the ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Vest, which comes with two panels that run down the front of both shoulders. Lastly, not many of the best fishing life vests have this, but some like the Lixada Fly Fishing Vest allow you to remove or add the foam.
As with any product, the prices vary quite a bit. Generally speaking, the price of a fishing life vest is quite low, and seeing how they are meant to protect your life while out on the water, it’s a worthwhile investment to make. Starting with our Best Value selection, the VGEBY Fishing Life Jacket, this product will cost you approximately $35, which is a fantastic price, and we ranked it as our second best fishing life vest. On the other hand, the most expensive fishing life vest on our list is the Stohlquist Fisherman, which costs approximately $170. In between these price tags, you’ll find other models, including our Editor’s Choice, the NRS Chinook Fishing PFD, which will set you back only about $125.