5 Fishing Life Vests With Bonus Features & Pockets for Gear

When it comes to spending time on the water, it’s important to have one of the best fishing life vests to keep you safe in case of an emergency. Fishing life vests are an essential piece of fishing equipment not only because they keep you safe if you fall in the water, but also because they have plenty of pockets so everything you need is close by and within reach when needed. Whether you’re an avid fisher or you’re new to the game, having a high-quality fishing vest will make your next fishing trip even more enjoyable.

In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 Picks

Top Pick
NRS Adult Chinook Fishing Boating PFD Small/...
Runner Up
Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and...
Best Budget Pick
ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Tan
NRS Adult Chinook Fishing Boating PFD Small/...
Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and...
ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Tan
Price not available
$38.98
Price not available
-
-
Top Pick
NRS Adult Chinook Fishing Boating PFD Small/...
NRS Adult Chinook Fishing Boating PFD Small/...
Price not available
-
Runner Up
Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and...
Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and...
$38.98
Best Budget Pick
ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Tan
ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket, Tan
Price not available
-

Last update on 2021-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the 5 Best Fishing Life Vests

Before you head out on your next fishing trip, it’s important to have a high-quality life vest to keep you safe in case you fall into the water.

1. NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

NRS Adult Chinook Fishing Boating PFD Small/...
  • Safety aid and personal tool kit all in one
  • Attachment points for tools and integrated rod holder

Last update on 2021-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are in the market for a new fishing life vest that has lots of pocket space, this would be an excellent choice for you. This jacket features 7 front pockets of varying sizes, ideal for holding onto your fishing supplies. As our top pick, there are several great features that come along with using this life vest. Let’s take a closer look at all of the perks you’ll be able to enjoy.

The most important thing when it comes to finding a life vest is getting one that is going to ensure you stay afloat if you end up in the water. Yeah, pockets are great but your safety is the key thing to think about. The NRS Chinook Fishing PFD gives you 16.5 pounds of flotation without the vest being too heavy. The vest itself weighs less than 2 lbs.

One of the biggest reasons to get a fishing life vest rather than a traditional life vest is that the ones made for fishing have multiple pockets and other perks. The NRS Chinook Fishing PFD is a medium profile type 3 jacket. Featuring 7 front pockets it has plenty of storage space for everything from tools to small tackle boxes. If you’re concerned about the fit, it has 8 adjustment points to allow you to customize the fit. In addition to all of the pockets, it also has rod holder loops, a removable coil tool retractor, pliers holder, multiple D-rings, attachment loops, and a lash tab.

Do you prefer to fish in a kayak? You are in luck! Arguably one of the best features of this vest is that it is very compatible with the seat on a kayak. The bottom section of the back of the vest is mesh and the floatation is located up by your shoulders which is great for kayakers.

Pros:

  • Multiple sizing straps
  • Compatible with the seat on a kayak
  • Has seven pockets

Cons:

  • No reflective materials
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest

Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and...
  • Adjustable suspension system – adjustable shoulder and waist straps, allows custom fit
  • Lightweight material, dries faster and breathes better

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Are you looking for a fishing life vest that is easy to adjust, will keep you afloat, and that has a ton of pockets? You should check out the Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest. This life vest is made to last and a fantastic investment, ensuring you won’t need to buy a new one any time soon. As our runner up, there are several reasons that make this a great choice for your fishing needs.

One of the best things about this vest is that it is very adjustable, making it easy for people of all sizes to wear it comfortably. The adjustable suspension system allows you to customize the fit at the waist and shoulders. The shoulder straps are made with padded air mesh to give you plenty of breathability and added comfort.

While you won’t need a life jacket in the pool in your backyard, there are a few reasons that using one while fishing is beneficial. The Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest is constructed of lightweight, breathable material. The fabric dries quickly, which is perfect if you find yourself in the water at all. It also has 18 pockets, 14 of which are zippered. This allows you to keep a thermometer, fly boxes, and more right there within reach. In addition to all of the pockets, there is a D-ring on the back, a strobe holder loop, rod holder loops, a knife lash tab and many other attachment loops you can use for things that won’t fit in the pockets.

The final benefit you’ll get to enjoy when you try out the Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest is that the back panel is mesh. This is fantastic for those hot, humid days where you want to wear really lightweight and breathable clothing.

Pros:

  • Has 18 pockets
  • Material dries quickly
  • One size fits most

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit smaller people well
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket to take with you on your next fishing trip, this would be a great choice for you! The ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is a fantastic life vest that is made to keep you safe and allow you to store your fishing gear on your body instead of in a tackle box that may not be within reach when you need it. Let’s take a closer look at the features this vest has to offer.

The first benefit, of course, is that this life vest is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. This jacket has 15lbs of lift pressure which is plenty of power to keep you afloat. Most people require 7-12lbs of lift so you can take comfort knowing this jacket will be able to keep you safe in case of an emergency.

The ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is a great choice if you like to use a kayak. The back is made mainly of mesh with floatation material at the top, near your shoulders. This allows you to sit in your kayak without the back of the vest and the back of the seat making you uncomfortable. This is also great because it allows you to have plenty of air circulation on hot, uncomfortable days. Adding to the comfort, the ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket has padded shoulders made from neoprene.

If you are a larger person and often find that the one size fits all life vests don’t fit you very well, then you are in luck! The ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is the best choice for bigger people because it comes in two sizes, universal and oversize. The bigger of the two can fit chests up to 65” and it won’t even cost you an arm and a leg! It also has 6 adjustment straps so you can customize the fit in various areas for the perfect fit.

Pros:

  • Excellent for keeping you afloat
  • Pockets are able to hold all kinds of essential gear
  • Fits larger people exceptionally well

Cons:

  • Plastic zipper
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest

Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack with Water Bladder...
  • STAY HYDRDATED – Includes a 2 Liter water bladder so you can stay hydrated.
  • PLENTY OF STORAGE - Keep your fishing gear and equipment well-organized and quickly within reach.

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When you’re looking for one of the best fishing life vests, most of them are going to have similar features. The Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest stands out from the crowd for a couple of reasons. There are several great features that make this one of the best options available on the market. Anglatech went above and beyond when they designed this high-quality fishing life vest.

One of the ways Anglatech thought outside of the box when designing and constructing their fly fishing backpack vest was when they decided to include a 2 Liter water bladder. This is a great feature because you can keep a backup stash of water right in your vest. You won’t have to worry that you’re going to be stuck without water on a hot day.

Not only does the Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest have more than enough pockets on the outside, it even has hidden inner pockets so you can keep things such as your phone, keys, and wallet safe. Two of the pockets on the jacket are waterproof, keeping the contents inside dry and protected from the water.

If you’ve ever worn a life vest that has a full back, you know how hot they can get. Another great feature that the Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest offers is a mostly mesh back. The flotation portion of the back is located at the top, which allows you to comfortably sit in a kayak or other seat with a higher back, as well as keeping the air moving. You don’t have to worry about getting too hot in this life vest!

Pros:

  • Comes with 2-liter water bladder
  • Back is mostly mesh, allowing for airflow
  • Has two waterproof pockets which would be perfect for your keys, wallet, and phone

Cons:

  • Water bladder is low quality
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. Lixada Fly Fishing Vest

Lixada Fly Fishing Vest with Breathable Mesh for...
  • 👍HIGH LEVEL OF COMFORT: This vest made of high-quality light mesh fabric and premium rips top...
  • 👍MULTI ZIPPED POCKETS: Four generous chest pocket, four zipped front pockets, two side mesh...

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have been shopping around for a new life vest for your next fishing trip and need a budget-friendly option, you are in luck! The Lixada Fly Fishing Vest was made to provide you with storage and safety in an emergency without hurting your pocketbook. There are several great features that this jacket has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at the finer details of our budget pick.

Have you worn a life jacket in the past that you found to be super uncomfortable or that just didn’t breathe well? Those aren’t problems you’ll face when you use the Lixada Fly Fishing Vest! This vest has a premium top-shelf polyester outer shell and the filling is replaceable EPE foam which gives excellent buoyancy and ensures you will stay afloat if you fall out of your boat. In addition to the excellence of the floatation, this vest is super breathable. The sides are open so you can move around easily and to allow air to flow. The back is made from mesh so you don’t have to worry about having a hot, sweaty back at the end of the day.

One of the things that draws people to fishing vests is that they provide the security of a floatation device as well as extra storage. This allows you to keep all of your stuff in the pockets on your life vest rather than needing to lug around bulky boxes or bags. The Lixada Fly Fishing Vest has a total of 11 pockets throughout the entire jacket so you know you will be able to store your gear conveniently on your body.

The Lixada Fly Fishing Vest comes in a single universal size. This is great for teenagers and adults that weigh up to 209lbs. It has adjustable buckle straps so you can customize the fit to be perfect for your body. This universal life vest also has reflectors on the back and shoulder so you can be seen in the dark.

Pros:

  • Open sides and mesh back for ventilation
  • Reflectors on the shoulders and back
  • Adjustable straps

Cons:

  • Not ideal for larger people
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Buying Guide

Before you choose one of the best fishing life vests, there are some key points you’ll want to look into prior to committing to a life jacket.

Low-Bulk

Wearing a life vest is very important when it comes to your safety. The only downside is that they can be on the bulky side. If you are the type of person that hates life vests because they take up so much space, you are not alone. One of the best ways to ensure your life jacket is a low bulk variety is by getting an inflatable one. If you can’t find an inflatable jacket, getting one with thinner foam panels will be much more comfortable.

Pockets and Gear Loops

When you’re out on the water on a fishing trip, having a life vest with lots of pockets and gear loops is beneficial because you can keep all of your gear within reach. The pockets are essentially mini tackle boxes attached to your body. This is convenient because if you need a flashlight, whistle, lure, pliers, or other small but needed item, you won’t have to go over to your tackle box and dig through it. Some jackets even have internal pockets and waterproof pockets, both of which are a good spot to store your keys, phone, or wallet.

The function of gear loops is to allow you to attach tools to your jacket rather than storing everything in a pocket. This allows you to keep your pockets free for smaller items that aren’t able to hook onto the loops.

Inflatable

As mentioned previously, inflatable life jackets are a great way to keep bulk to a minimum. Inflatable life vests are inflated once you already find yourself overboard, most of which have a small tab that you pull to inflate. These are ideal for calm waters and are not available for children.

Back

One of the downsides of using a PFD is they often leave you hot and sweaty. The back of your vest can make a big difference. If you want one that is going to keep you cool, look for one that has a mostly mesh back with the flotation material at the top. This will not only keep you cooler, but it is also great because it cuts down on bulk and makes fishing in a kayak a much more comfortable experience.

Fit

The fit of the jacket is arguably the most important thing to think about. You want something that fits snugly without suffocating you. Most life vests these days have adjustable straps that help you customize the fit, ensuring your jacket will keep you above water if you fall overboard. Most life vests are one size fits most. Some of the vests also have a plus-size option available for larger people. Pay attention to sizing charts so you know if the jacket you want will accommodate for your measurements.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about fishing life vests.

How do you fit a life jacket?

When it comes to buying a life jacket, it is very important that you get one that fits. Sizing for a life jacket varies depending on whether you’re shopping for an adult’s jacket or a youth jacket. Each manufacturer should have a sizing chart available to make it easier to choose the correct size.

Adults’ life vests are sized based on your chest measurements. For a youth vest, you’ll be shopping based on weight.

To figure out if the jacket is the correct fit, follow these steps.

  1. First, you will need to correctly fasten your life jacket. Put the jacket midway around your torso, then buckle it from the bottom up and zip the front zipper.
  2. After buckling, tighten the straps, working in the same order. The last straps to be tightened should be the ones at the shoulder if your jacket has adjustable shoulder straps.
  3. Test the fit of your life jacket by sliding your thumbs under the shoulder straps and pushing up to see if the jacket moves at all. If the jacket stays in place then you are good to go.
  4. Tighten the straps further if your jacket slides up.

Why are life jackets important?

While you don’t need a life jacket while you’re relaxing in the pool in your backyard, you will need one if you are boating, jet skiing, or fishing. Life jackets are an essential piece of equipment you need to have when you’re out on the water. While they can be bulky and seem like they are more of a hassle than anything, if you needed one and didn’t have one, things could turn out badly. If you find yourself in the water, your life jacket will help to keep you warm. It is also beneficial because if you’re thrown out of a boat into rough waters, it will bring you to the surface facing the right way, ensuring you don’t end up face down in the water.

Conclusion

Overall, there are several styles of fishing life jackets to choose from, each of which would be an excellent choice for your next fishing trip, depending on your needs. We’ve done some of the work and put together a great list that has several options for you to choose from.

Our top pick is the NRS Chinook Fishing PFD. This vest has several pockets and is made from high-quality material so you can stay dry and above water. If that one doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, check out the Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest. It has 18 pockets, allowing you to keep everything you need easily within reach. Are you looking for a more affordable option? Our budget pick is the Lixada Fly Fishing Vest. This vest has 11 pockets and fits adults up to 209lbs.

No matter which vest you choose, you can take comfort knowing that you will be safe if you ever fall off of a boat or off of the dock. The rest is up to you! If you want the best fishing life vest, check out our list and pick the best one for you!