Are you heading out for a kayaking adventure this weekend? You have all your gear ready, but do you have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)? Without a PFD, you’re taking a chance, especially if you’re going out to sea. What happens if you find yourself tossed overboard or your kayak sinks? How will you stay afloat until rescue arrives?
A PFD is essential kayaking gear, and we recommend that you invest in one for your safety. There are dozens of kayaking PFDs available from several brands.
We decided to make things easy for you when choosing your kayak PFD. We curated this list of the top kayak PFDs available. You’ll find a flotation device to suit your needs and budget in this review.
- Our Top Picks
- PFDs for Kayaking Reviews
- Best Overall PFD for Kayaking – Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude PFD
- Best Premium PFD for Kayaking – Astral GreenJacket PFD
- Best Budget PFD for Kayaking – Onyx MoveVent PFD
- Stohlquist Edge PFD
- Onyx Kayak Fishing PFD
- Mustang Survival Corp Elite PFD
- Onyx Unisex M-16 Belt PFD
- Stohlquist Kids PFD
- Other Best Selling Options
- PFD Buyer’s Guide
- PFD Activity Categories
- PFDs for Kayaks FAQ
- PFDs for Kayaks – The Verdict
Our Top Picks
- The Best Overall PFD for Kayaking – Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude PFD
The Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude PFD is our choice for the best overall PFD in this review. We love the ventilated design and use of fine mesh in this jacket to improve airflow. You get plenty of storage and a functional but aesthetic look with a full range of motion in the arms for paddling.
- The Best Premium PFD for Kayaking – Astral GreenJacket PFD
The Astral GreenJacket is our top pick for the best premium kayak PFD available. This model comes with a PVC-free design that’s kind to the environment. You get plenty of storage, a vented mesh design for comfort, and plenty of floatation, with a rugged shell. It might be pricey, but it’s the best PFD in the game.
- The Best Budget PFD for Kayaking – Onyx MoveVent PFD
The Onyx MoveVent is our choice for the best budget model in this review. You get a form-fitting PFD with plenty of storage, reflective paneling, and all the features of the top models. However, it comes with an affordable price tag and a high-quality design that makes it our choice for kayaking on a budget.
PFDs for Kayaking Reviews
Best Overall PFD for Kayaking – Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude PFD
If you’re looking for the best overall PFD model for kayaking, we recommend going with the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude. This PFD offers you everything you need in a life vest and more. You get a USCG certified Type III PFD featuring design and construction with durable ripstop nylon materials.
The front and rear floatation panels feature neoprene filling, with the back panel allowing for a comfortable fit when sitting in high-back kayak seats. The comfortable padded shoulder straps secure the vest to you, along with side straps featuring quick-release clips.
- Old Town's Solitude Men's Life Jacket is designed with the performance paddler in mind, with features and adjustments that will keep you comfortable for a day on the water.
- Made from tough ripstop nylon, the Solitude Men's Life Jacket features adjustable shoulder, waist, and side straps, plus a high-back construction that nests comfortably with tall kayak seats.
- Designed for comfort and utility, the Solitude Men's Life Jacket features zippered pockets for secure storage, fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, and D-ring and cord loop attachment points.
- The Solitude's AirComfort System provides unmatched breathability, keeping you cool on the hottest days.
- This life jacket fits a men's 48-inch to 54-inch chest and is a USCG certified Type III PFD.
You get a front-entry zip system, and there are reflective strips on the shoulder pads and rear floatation panel to increase the vest’s visibility. The mesh back keeps you dry when paddling, and Solitude’s “AirComfort” mesh system gives you unparalleled breathability.
The Solitude comes with a design for utility ad comfort, with zippered storage pockets featuring red accents on the zip for easy opening and closing. You get fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, and there’s a Cord-loop with a D-ring system for attached other gear.
Overall, this vest’s features, fit, and utility make it the top choice in our review. Sure, it might have a somewhat heavy price tag, but if you want the best balance of safety, functionality, and long service life from your PFD, this model is the best option in our review.
What We Liked
- Solitude “AirComfort” mesh system for breathability.
- Reflective shoulder and rear floatation panels.
- Plenty of buoyancy.
- Storage pockets.
Best Premium PFD for Kayaking – Astral GreenJacket PFD
If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line kayak PFD, we recommend going with the Astral GreenJacket. Sure, it’s super-pricey, but this PFD offers you the best safety rating and plenty of useful features and loads of utility.
The Astral GreenJacket comes with PVC-free Gaia and PE foam panels for superior floatation and no harmful effects on the environment. The GreenJacket comes with a buoyancy rating of 16.4-lbs, and it’s a USCG Type III Approved PFD that’s ideal for kayaking in all conditions.
- Made for safety: Stay afloat with PVC-free Gaia and PE foam inserts; Buoyancy rating of 16.4 lbs; USCG Type V Approval
- Incredible fit: Two-panel fit system eliminates ride-up and lets you move freely and get in the zone; Pullover style with adjustable side buckles to fit; Weighs only 2.9 lbs
- Durable: Made to last for many adventures; 500 Denier Cordura Nylon shell and 200 Denier High Tenacity Nylon liner; Nylon webbing, heavy duty hardware and zippers with Self Locking Vislon Teeth
- Quick release harness: Clamshell front pocket with multiple compartments and rope storage pockets; Quick release rescuer's harness tack stitched in; Reflective accents for extra visibility
- Nature first: Every product in our line is completely free of toxic PVC; We reuse as many scraps as possible, recycle everything and even compost our coffee beans
The Astral GreenJacket comes with a two-panel buoyancy system designed to eliminate any ride-up of the jacket. It comes with a pull-over style fit and adjustable side buckles and shoulder straps for a secure fit. This lightweight jacket only weighs 2.9-lbs when dry.
The exterior shell of the GreenJacket comes with 500D Cordura nylon construction for ultimate durability and the longest service life. There’s a 200D high-tensile nylon liner with nylon mesh to keep the air flowing through the jacket when paddling hard. All hardware and zippers come with self-locking Vislon teeth.
You get options for a bright red, blue, and yellow color or a stealth black model. The front has a spacious clamshell pocket for your gear and several storage compartments on the sides. We like the quick-release rescuers harness built into the jacket.
Overall, you can beat the functionality and safety you get from this PFD, and it’s the top choice in this review if you have the budget available.
What We Liked
- 500D durable Cordura nylon shell.
- Clamshell front pocket for storage.
- Quick-Rescue harness tack.
- PVC-free design.
Best Budget PFD for Kayaking – Onyx MoveVent PFD
If you’re going kayaking on a budget, you need an affordable, high-quality PFD for your trip. PFDs can get expensive, especially when looking at the premium brands and top-rated models. However, Onyx brings us the MoveVent Dynamic. This model is surprisingly affordable and very functional.
If you’re looking for a Coast Guard-approved PFD at the lowest price point possible, the Move Vent is the best choice in this review. This PFD comes with a 200D ripstop nylon shell featuring mesh siding and a back panel for great airflow throughout the vest when paddling hard.
- 200 denier nylon ripstop and nylon oxford
- Mesh in lower back fits high back seats;
- Shoulder adjustments with neoprene comfort pads
- SOLAS grade reflective material for visibility
- Expandable zippered pockets with mesh drainage
We like the SOLAS reflective paneling on the shoulder straps and the bright orange colors that make it easy for the rescue to identify you in the water. The PFD fits securely, thanks to the front zip entry and adjustable shoulder and side straps with quick-release buckles included.
The front panels also feature drainage pockets for your gear and a clip. The foam filling provides up to 17-lbs of buoyancy, and the mesh in the back fits high—back kayak seats. This model offers you everything you need in a functional PFD at an affordable price, and we think it’s the best value deal in this review.
What We Liked
- Affordable quality.
- Front storage pockets.
- Reflective shoulder straps.
- Fully adjustable.
- Great buoyancy.
If you enjoy taking touring trips along the river or waterways, you need a lightweight PFD with an ergonomic fit that won’t interrupt your paddling stroke. The Stohlquist Edge offers you everything you need in the best kayak PFD for your journey.
This model features an ergonomic “Wrapture” torso that wraps around your body for a secure, snug and comfortable fit. The “Wrapture” foam features curved and beveled edges for comfort and less restriction on movement than traditional foam.
- GRADED SIZING - Stohlquist's Graded Sizing offers the best fit, and lowest footprint possible, for the widest range of body types. We have fine tuned each individual size, and sculpted the foam footprint and foam thickness to provide a better fitting, and more comfortable PFD for people of all sizes
- ERGONOMIC WRAPTURE SHAPED TORSO - The ergonomic WRAPTURE shaped torso utilizes reverse articulated foam & convex interior seams to contour to the natural shape of the body and provide a close, low profile fit. This allows us to fit young, smaller framed paddlers up to larger adults in the same style vest, while offering identical mobility across the size range
- MAXIMUM COMFORT - Padded, contoured shoulder straps; large arm openings; and a low-cut, offset front-zip entry, along with 4 side pulls, and a front waist buckle closure. Mesh sides also offer maximum ventilation
- ULTIMATE FUNCTIONALITY - Large, roomy, top-loading front pocket for secure storage and easy accessibility along with 3M reflective accents for added visibility in any lighting conditions. Its sea level buoyancy ranges from 15 lbs, 8 oz to 17 lbs, 8 oz. Each size features ultra soft buoyancy foam and Graded Sizing to create an even better fit for a wider range of paddlers
- BORN IN THE WATER - Stohlquist products are the result of a lifetime of hands-on paddling and entrepreneurial spirit of founder Jim Stohlquist. Each model we offer follows the lineage of 40+ years of product innovation and refinement to provide our customers with the best WaterWare available today
There’s a large, top-loading front pocket for storing your essentials and a side pocket with a zipper for additional wet storage. The Edge secures to your chest using a low-cut, offset front-zip entry system for easy wearing. You get adjustable sheathed shoulder straps and a front waist buckle with four sides straps for securing the PFD. This model features a mini-ripstop shell with premium foam panels.
Thanks to its extra-wide armholes, the Edge offers you an excellent range of motion. You get mesh sides to improve airflow throughout the PFD, keeping you dry when paddling hard. This Type III PFD offers buoyancy of up to 17-lbs, 8-oz.
What We Liked
- Ergonomic foam panels for comfort.
- Storage pockets.
- Mesh side panels.
- Excellent buoyancy.
- Wide armholes for full ROM.
If you enjoy getting out onto the estuary, lake, or river for some kayak fishing, you need a PFD to keep you safe. Kayak fishing PFDs are slightly different from other models because they focus on storage systems for the vest to keep your gear on hand.
This model from Onyx is a prime example of the best kayak fishing PFD available. You get loads of storage for your gear, including zippered fleece-lined pockets and a zippered chest pocket.
- Six adjustment straps to cinch vest up for a snug fit
- High foam back accommodates high back seats
- Pockets designed for your essential gear
- Breathable mesh lower back
- Comfortable neoprene shoulder pads
The one-button push-drop-down tray holds a tackle box for all your flies and hooks. Above that pocket, you have storage slots for keys, whistles, and sunglasses. If you’re looking for a PFD that carries everything you need to enjoy a day’s fishing, then this model is our top choice.
The Onyx fishing PFD comes with a front zipper, six adjustable straps, and quick-release buckles for a fast, secure fit. You get padded shoulder straps and a mesh back for airflow and less sweating. The high foam back in the PFD accommodates kayak seats, ensuring it’s comfortable to wear.
This PFD meets US Coast Guard standards for safety, with neoprene in the shoulders, back, and chest to ensure optimal floatation.
What We Liked
- The ideal choice for kayak fishing.
- Plenty of storage pockets.
- Neoprene floatation panels.
- US Coast Guard approved.
- Accommodates high-back seating arrangements.
When you’re racing on the ocean or up the river, you need as much range of motion as possible in your paddling stroke. When you’re wearing a PFD, you need a model that keeps your underarms and shoulders free to paddle, or you’ll end up tiring faster than you expect.
This Mustang Survival Corp Elite PFD is the ideal choice for competitive kayakers. This model comes with a shoulder-mounted design, with the floatation tubes running the length of your chest to your abdomen. The rear also contains floatation pads, and there’s a mesh backing to ensure optimal airflow to keep you dry when paddling.
- LIFE JACKET FOR ADULTS - The Elite 28 was built with bass fishermen in mind. The PFD is lightweight and once activated by water pressure, immediately deploys the high visibility flotation device. The Elite 28 can also be manually inflated at any time.
- AUTO INFLATE LIFE VEST - Mustang Survival’s Hydrostatic Inflator Technology (HIT) is industry-leading, and automatically inflates under water pressure. Do not worry about the vest deploying if you get wet or rained on, the HIT technology only deploys once you are in the water.
- FISHING & SAILING GEAR - The Elite 28 is trusted by professional anglers & sailors in competition due to offering a full range of mobility, lightweight build, and stylish design.
- US COAST GUARD APPROVED - At Mustang Survival, we save lives for a living. The Elite 28 has a Type III USCG rating.
- BUILT FOR SAFETY AND COMFORT - The revolutionary construction of the Elite 28 is lightweight and mobility-enhancing. Wide shoulders eliminate neck fatigue, and the wicking mesh liner creates all-day comfort. The intuitive dual-side adjusters allow you to customize your fit and accommodate outerwear
The aerodynamic chassis of the PFD reduces drag when racing, with an ergonomic fit to your shoulders, chest, and back. The lightweight shell consists of design and construction with materials used in the body armor industry, ensuring a long service life and rugged durability in the PFD.
This PFD offers you 28-lbs of buoyancy when inflated. That’s over 1.5X the buoyancy of standard foam PFD models. You get quick-release buckles securing the adjustable straps on the sides and chest. You also have a pocket for storage on the right inflation tube, and there’s a large D-ring for securing other items to the vest.
What We Liked
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- Large chest pontoons keep you floating face-up.
- Storage and D-ring.
- Adjustable straps and quick-release buckles.
- Mesh backing for airflow.
- 5X the floatation of other PFDs in its class.
Standard PFDs that fit around the shoulders can cause irritation and frustration when you’re kayaking, disrupting your paddling stroke. This minimalist Type V PFD brings you the solution to these issues.
The Onyx unisex belt PFD offers you a functional, lightweight PFD that’s comfortable to wear. This model requires you to pull the tab on the right side of the vest to activate the CO2 inflation system. The 16-gram CO2 cartridge release the gas in a matter of seconds, inflating the PFD.
- U.S. Coast Guard Approved Inflatable Belt Pack - Manual Inflation
- 16 gram CO2 charge provides 17 lbs. of buoyancy
- The oral inflation tube can be used by wearer to provide additional buoyancy up to 26.5 lbs.
- Secure Pull – clips to life jacket; allows for quick release when pulled for inflation
- Low profile design does not inhibit movement
It’s a US Coast Guard-approved system, providing you 17-lbs of buoyancy in the water. You also have an oral inflation tube allowing you to increase the buoyancy of the PFD to 26.5-lbs. The secure pull system secures the PFD, enabling quick release when pulling the brightly colored tab.
There’s a D-ring on the right side of the belt for attaching carabiners and other gear. You get a fully-adjustable strap, allowing you to customize the fit to your waist. It’s easy to install and remove the CO2 cartridge from the vest and repack it for your next use.
This model is a great choice for a fast-inflating PFD that doesn’t limit your paddling range of motion. There’s no vest weighing you down and nothing stopping the air from getting to your body when paddling.
What We Liked
- Full range of motion when paddling.
- CO2 charged inflation.
- One size fits all.
- Five color options.
We included this PFD for kids. Paddling around the lake or river with your kids is a great way to bond with them and explore nature. Kids present a huge risk on the kayak because they don’t understand the risks involved. So, it’s crucial for parents sot ensure they have a PFD for their kids before they ever think about letting them out on the kayak for some fun.
This kid’s PFD from Stohlquist comes in bright colors, making it easy to identify in the water during a rescue. The back of the life jacket has a drag handle, allowing you to pull the child from the water. Quick-release buckles secure the adjustable straps on the sides and crotch of the PFD and an over-entry zipper for a secure fit.
- Available in high visibility colors
- Quick release buckle over entry zipper for added security
- Adjustable crotch strap
- Type II PFD with sea level buoyancy of 7 lbs 6 oz
- USCG and Transport Canada Approved
This Type II PFD is USCG, and Transport Canada Approved, offering your child sea level buoyancy of 7-lbs, 6-oz. The design features a large collar ring supporting the child’s head in the water and buoyancy focused to the chest to allow for floating face-up in the water.
You get a ripstop nylon material covering the neoprene floats and a comfortable fit that won’t have your kids tugging at the straps.
What We Liked
- Ideal for kids.
- Secure fit with quick-release buckles and zip.
- Type II PFD.
- Bright colors and drag handle included.
Other Best Selling Options
- Graded Sizing creates a better and more appropriate fit for a wider range of users
- Ergonomic Wrapture shaped torso wraps around the body
- Large, top loading front pocket for secure storage
- Adjustable shoulders, 4 side pulls, and front waist buckle
- Low cut, offset front-zip entry
- BREATHABLE: Airescape patented system eliminates excessive heat and maintains a comfortable temp so you can breathe easy and stay cool; The ventilated 2/3 mesh back integrates with high seatbacks
- DURABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT: Made with 400 x 200 Denier Ripstop Nylon shell with breathable Polyester Mesh liner; PolyPro webbing, heavy-duty Acetyl hardware and zippers with self-locking teeth
- BUILT FOR FISHING GEAR: 2 large mesh pockets, an external pocket for a folding knife, clipping points for line nips and retractors, pliers holster and lashing point on the back for a white light
- MADE FOR SAFETY: Features PE and EVA foam inserts with a buoyancy rating of 16 lbs so you can stay afloat if you end up in the water; USCG Type III Approval; Weighs only 1.37 lbs
- NATURE FIRST: Our entire line of PFDs is made from non-toxic foam that’s recyclable and super soft; We put nature first by reusing and recycling as much as possible
- Comfortable fishing lifejacket provided to make your fishing experience better, while keeping you safe out on the water
- Designed to be roomy in the front with a great fit in the back
- Soft, PlushFIT foam fits to your body type
- Comes with multiple adjustment points so you can tailor it to fit your body each time
- Equipped with 2 large zippered pockets, 2 accessory pockets, and 1 tool holder pocket that let you keep all of your fishing essentials close by
PFD Buyer’s Guide
After reading through our selection of the best kayak PFDs, you might find yourself wondering which one is the right choice for you? Choosing the right PFD requires you to understand what you’re going to do with it out on the water and the inflation style of the PFD.
A properly fitted PFD is essential to keep you safe out on the water. Sure, there’s no law telling you to take one with you. It’s just common sense to do everything you can to limit your risk out on the water. Most people think that they’ll never run into a situation where they’ll need a PFD. However, when your dozens of miles from shore and your boat sinks, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of taking one with you.
A PFD can help you survive unfortunate circumstances. If you’re kayaking and fall overboard and something strikes you in the head, it could knock you unconscious. If you’re not wearing a PFD, you’ll sink to the bottom and drown.
The reality is the PFD is essential equipment, and you need one for your kayaking trip, regardless of your activity. Here is our guide to choosing the best PFDs for kayaks.
US Coast Guard PFD Classifications
The first thing to look for with any PFD is US Coast Guard approval. The USCG reviews all PFDs on the market, and they certify those models that comply with its minimal safety requirements. The USCG classifies PFDs into five categories depending on their compatibility with different water conditions.
Type I PFDs
A Type I PFD has the best buoyancy and is suitable for rough ocean conditions. They have more similarities with life vests, and they typically have a bulky design that keeps you floating face-up in the water. However, they are not suitable for kayaking. The size of the floatation panels is too big, and it limits your range of motion when paddling.
Type II PFDs
A Type II PFD also has a design that flips the wearer onto their back with their face up out of the water. However, they have a classification for use in calm water, not rough ocean conditions. While they are less bulky than the Type I PFD, they are also unsuitable for kayaking due to the large floatation panels in the jacket.
Type III PFDs
If you’re looking for a kayaking PFD, then you’re going to be looking at a model with a Type III classification. This rating suits calm waters in situations where the user is conscious. They can turn unconscious wearers the right-side-up, but they are not as effective as Type I & II PFDs. However, they offer you a great balance of buoyancy and range of motion in the arms.
Type IV PFDs
These PFDs are the life rings or “life preservers” you see sailors throwing from boats when a man goes overboard. You grasp the ring, and the crew pulls you into the boat using a rope attached to the PFD.
Type V PFDs
Technical whitewater rafting buoyancy aids are examples of a Type V PFD. They are for use in rough rapids.
European PFD Certifications
The Europeans also have a system for grading PFDs. You’ll need to look for models with certification from the CE (Conformité Européenne / European Conformity) or ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation). Many of these European models have both CE and ISO certification.
Why Does a PFD Float?
The original PFDs featured design and manufacture from cork. However, technology has come a long way over the last century. Top-rated modern PFDs have several flotation methods and materials used in their design and construction.
Most models rely on closed-cell neoprene floatation pads to provide the buoyancy in the PFD. Look for models offering you ergonomically molded panels for a better fit. Some PFDs operate with CO2 gas-powered inflation. You pull a tab, and the gas inflates a bladder that pulls you to the surface.
PFDs float because the material or gas responsible for keeping you buoyant has a lower density than the water around you. As a result, you float to the surface.
PFD Buoyancy and Sizing
PFDs come with different buoyancy ratings depending on the design and the manufacturing brand. A buoyancy rating supporting up to 15.5-lbs is adequate for individuals weighing up to 300-lbs. Most models in this review average at around 17-lbs of buoyancy.
If you’re buying a kids PFD, you’ll need a model with around 11-lbs of buoyancy. 7-lbs of buoyancy is enough for infants under three years. Your PFD needs to provide a snug fit, and it shouldn’t move around after you cinch the straps. You’ll need to remember that you’ll have to wear the PFD over your other gear.
The PFD Must Not Affect Your Breathing
The cardinal rule of choosing the right kayaking PFD is to select a model that doesn’t interfere with your breathing. Your breathing is the way you maintain your pace in paddling the kayak. If the PFD is too constrictive, it’s going to alter your breathing cycle, and you’ll find you get tired faster than usual.
The PFD should have a good fit, with adjustable straps and quick-release clips for comfort and convenience. Look for models that offer a secure fit but don’t ride up on your chest when you’re in the boat.
We recommend choosing PFDs with front-entry zippers for convenience. If you don’t like wearing a bulky PFD around your chest, consider opting for the belt-style PFD.
Look for Female-Specific PFDs
If you’re a female looking for a PFD, make sure you’re choosing a female-specific model or a universal model. Most PFDs have a special cut for women.
PFD Activity Categories
Your PFD should complement your activities out on the water. The requirements of a whitewater kayaker are different from someone that’s touring on calm lakes. Here are the categories for PFDs. Choose the right model that corresponds with your activity.
Ocean Kayaking PFDs
These PFDs typically feature an ergonomic design to the flotation panels. As a result, you get a snug fit to your body. These models have two or three storage pockets, and they also include reflective strips for visibility at sea.
Dedicated fishing PFDs feature plenty of pockets for storing your fishing tackle and gear. You get easy access to everything you need on the vest and safety from drowning if there’s a capsizing event. These vests will usually include reflective strips to improve visibility.
The whitewater kayaking PFD usually features optimal floatation and buoyancy with bright colors. These models strap to the chest, and they have a high-back design to prevent the floats from snagging on the seat. They come in a range of designs suiting professional or beginner use.
These PFDs are typically suitable for light use in clam water. They’re ideal when you’re with a crowd, and there are people around watching each other. However, they are not suitable for professional use in rapids and whitewater conditions and are not the best option for offshore.
These PFDs usually come with a belt-style design, such as the Onyx model in this review., While they are SUP-focused designs, they also suit kayaking. The waist-mounted design leaves your chest and arms free, so you get maximum paddling performance while staying safe.
These PFDs help kids stay afloat in the water if they jump overboard or they wade too far out into the water. They often feature design elements like drag handles to help you lift the child out of the water and bright colors to make them visible for rescue.
PFDs for Kayaks FAQ
Q: Do I need to wear a PFD when kayaking?
A: No, there is no regulation stating that you need to wear a PFD when kayaking. However, we think adding it to your gear makes good sense, especially if you’re going out onto the water alone. There are plenty of PFD models available for kayaking. Many people make the excuse of not using a PFD because they feel it hinders their movement. If that is the case, we have options like the Onyx belt PFD for you in our review of the best kayak PFDs.
Q: Can I use CO2-powered PFDs for kayaking?
A: Yes, the Onyx belt PFD is an example of this style of kayaking PFD. You pull a tab, and it pops the CO2 canister, inflating the PFD. These PFDs make it possible to carry a compact piece of safety equipment that doesn’t’ interfere with your paddling. However, they require you to be conscious to deploy the pull tab and activate the vest. So, if you find yourself knocked unconscious, you won’t be able to pull the tab, resulting in a potential drowning event.
Q: What is a deep-water PFD?
A: A “deep-water” PFD is not suitable for kayaking, even in offshore waters. The highest-grade PFDs have a Level-275 safety rating, and they suit commercial use only in extreme maritime conditions. Level-150 is for open water, and Level-100 is for use in sheltered open waters. Level-50 PFDs are the same rating as the old Type II PFD buoyancy vest. When you’re buying a kayaking PFD, it will have a 150 to 100 rating.
Q: Where can I buy the best PFDs for kayaks?
A: We recommend you pick up your kayak PFD from the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. Amazon has the best range of kayak PFDs at competitive prices. You’re sure to find your PFD for less money at Amazon than you would at the sports store in town. Plus, Amazon gives you free shipping for Prime members, and they offer you buyer protection for your order, ensuring you receive your PFD.
PFDs for Kayaks – The Verdict
By now, you should have a good idea of the different types of kayak PFDs available. If you already have your eye on a prospective model, that’s great. However, we understand it may be challenging to choose a PFD from so many great options.
If that’s the case for you, why don’t you go with one of our top picks? We have a kayak PFD to suit any style of kayaking and any budget.
- The Best Overall PFD for Kayaking – Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Solitude PFD
- The Best Premium PFD for Kayaking – Astral GreenJacket PFD
- The Best Budget PFD for Kayaking – Onyx MoveVent PFD