Our Top 5 Best Inflatable Vests for Fishing – Review and Guide

Every time I find myself surrounded by bodies of water, I always make sure that a life preserver is up for grabs in times of danger. I am aware that my decision can sometimes be polarizing, but when you realize how crucial it is, then you might agree with me.

While I admit that some of them can be annoying and bulky; an obstacle to my movements, which can be quite troublesome, they are still a necessity and there are light and comfortable models.

On the other hand, my troubling days did not take that long. This is thanks to the wonderful creation of the best, inflatable, fishing life vest! These inflatable life vests aren’t just form-fitting; they can be equipped perfectly in your body to give you a comfort feeling.

If you have had enough of your ordinary and at times irritating life preservers, then this article can provide you with relief.

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What to Look For In Inflatable Life Vests?

What to Look For In Inflatable Life Vests

The Three Major Types

When seeking inflatable life vests, there are three important features to consider: oral, manual, and automatic inflation lifejackets.

You are getting the automatic Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) when the jacket relies on a dissolvable bobbin and is equipped with a spring-pin arrangement. The water in it disperses the bobbin while the pin nudges the CO2 canister resulting to inflation.

In the meantime, the spring-pin mechanism touted as the weak link of the system is the underlying cause why automatic lifejackets come with an oral tube and manual cord.

The simplest among the three – the vest’s manual feature can be inflated by pulling a ripcord. To provide more air into it, the manufacturer provides an oral tube. However, an oral tube has two functions: first is its advantageous part in refilling the bladder.

At present, the majority of manufacturers release a CO2 cylinder that could not get the bladder entirely inflated. Normally, these bladders can only accommodate 40 pounds of buoyancy-lifting air with the additional cylinder providing the USGC minimum according to the Type Class with only 22.5 to 34 pounds.

Comfort and Type

In inflatable PFDs, comfort can be determined by their accompanying weight and material. As such, lowered weights are very much recommended because these can be utilized throughout the day. The materials should not be ignored, and they should be perfectly suited particularly in the neck section.

Another thing to consider is the type. In general, all Coast Guard-acquired types can be used in the open water.

The type V vests are currently being recommended by many fishers because they are durable, small, and comfortable; the overhead variants are perfect for   people who frequently snorkel.

Manual or Automatic PFDs

Most fishers prefer the Manual PFD because it only requires you to know about it, and that’s just it: pull the cylinder release, and it immediately inflates. Also, it demands extremely less servicing.

But the Automatic PFD will inflate only once it touches the water. Additionally, only green water can inflate it; an amount of spray could not get the automatic PFD inflated.

Most experts recommended an automatic inflation type-V as it could save your life particularly when accidents such as unintentionally going overboard or being knocked unconscious happen.

With or without Harness

If you are sailing offshore or working on a deck or in a place that constantly gets caught in rough water, an inflatable PFD equipped with a harness is highly recommended. Moreover, it is wise to choose an automatic inflatable life vest if you are an inshore sailor or a power boater.

In contrast, manual PFDs are highly encouraged if you are sailing offshore. The majority of power boaters and solo mariners now prefer an inflatable life vest with harness; the removable harnesses in these PFDs are almost always available.

Is Inflatable PFDs Recommendable For You?

Before you purchase your inflatable life vest, ensure that they would work for your chosen activity. In general, inflatable PFDs have a unique system, making them unsuitable for every type of water sports activity.

They are not explicitly suggested for non-swimmers and as previously mentioned for activities such as white water, tubing, wakeboarding, and skiing.

One more thing to consider is its availability that caters only to adult sizes. You need to be 16 years old and weigh 80 pounds for you to use the inflatable life vest. This is the main requirement often checked for maintenance purposes.

Additional Points to Consider

Additional Points to Consider
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    Cartridge Viewing: When you use the CO2 cartridge, it is important that you check your cartridge's status. When it has gotten low, you need to replace it immediately or else the life vest will not inflate.
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    Buoyancy Weight: If you are the heavy type, this metric needs to be number one on your checklist. In general, the more buoyancy you are getting, the PFD is bound to hold you up more.
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    Coast Guard Stamp: If the Coast Guard doesn't approve your PFDs, then the odds are that these life preservers can only be utilized for light activities such as snorkeling. However, if a vest has a Coast Guard stamp, then these are perfectly safe to use while you are out in the open water along with accidents and other dangerous situations.
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    Price: This vest can protect you from impending threats when water surrounds you. In fact, you can’t put a price on this piece as long as it is rated well. Choose a variety that’s worth your money.

Check out this expert’s advice on choosing an inflatable life vest:

Our Top Five Best Inflatable Vests

Without further ado, I have identified the following fishing life vests to narrow down your choices.

1. Onyx Inflatable Life Jacket

Onyx by Absolute Outdoor is a manual and automatic inflatable fishing PFD for the sea. The Absolute Outdoor Onyx is a US-approved being a type-V life jacket which has a type III performance. The Onyx can inflate automatically and manually. On the right-hand portion of the jacket, the red handle activates the inflation manually. But if the user becomes immersed in water, it will inflate automatically?

With outstanding durability from the 200-denier nylon material, the Absolute Outdoor Onyx is right for heavy use. Its slim design keeps you cool under hot weather conditions, unlike traditional life jackets.

If you are seeking for an unobtrusive life jacket, this life preserver is perfect for your safety on the water. Hopefully, you won’t have to deploy the life jacket’s emergency inflation, but you can be certain that this PFD will work when you need it.

Features:

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    Durable fabric resists punctures and tears
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    Inflates with the T-cord’s manual movement or automatically upon contact or immersion in water
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    Comfortable, lightweight, slender design keeps you comfortably cool in warm weather
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    Soft neoprene neckline for all-day wearing comfort
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    Item is not sold in Catalina Island

Pros : 

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    Small
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    Lightweight
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    Comfortable
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    Allow easy movements without limitations
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    Ready to use
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    Flexible fit

Cons :

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    Cartridges may need replacement after several uses
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    Subject to damages such as tears and punctures
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    May require maintenance

2. Stearns Adult Classic Series

The safety of your kids is most important when you’re out at sea because they will certainly not be strong swimmers. Utilizing an adult life jacket for a kid is unsafe as they are not specifically designed for children.

With three adaptable strap belts and a 50 to 90 pound-weight limit, this life vest is perfect for most babies. However, I would not purchase this vest unless the child has younger siblings.

The majority of kids do not wish to be left out from the other kids in the family. But luckily, Stearns has created several identical life vests for adults and their children, so you all have the same look.

Features:

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    Durable nylon construction
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    Three adjustable chest belts
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    Three buckles; life vest remains secure
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    Specially fitted for children 50lbs to 90 lbs
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    Verify the PDF for size chart details
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    Durable nylon construction
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    Secure 1-inch webbing
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    Open-sided vest
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    Coast Guard-approved
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    PE flotation foam
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    Designed with open sides
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    Stearns boating vest available in red and blue 

Pros : 

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    Customized Fit
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    Has a secure hold
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    Belts are adjustable
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    Durable
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    Fits perfectly
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    High quality for an affordable price
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    Allow easy movements without limitations

Cons :

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    Vest sometimes slide up to face

3. ONYX Adult Universal Type 2 USCG Approved Life Jacket

Another life vest whose goal is to get unconscious users to face upwards is the ONYX Adult Universal Type 2 USCG. When a person is unconscious and is facing down the water, there will undoubtedly be a fatality if nobody is there to assist him.

The ONYX Adult Universal Type 2 USCG is a US Coast Guard-Approved PFD, fitting adults over 90 pounds with a chest width of between 30 and 52 inches. The universal life jacket will fit nearly all body types and offer the users with life-saving flotation.

The ONYX Adult Universal Type 2 USCG life jacket is a first class yet inexpensive vest that comply with the standard laws. However, the downside is that they are rather bulky but still comfortable to wear.

Features:

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    Turns unconscious person face up in water
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    Good to have on board for compliance
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    Minimum 15.5 pounds of buoyancy
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    U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Type II Life Jacket/PFD
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    Youth size fits children 50 pounds to 90 pounds.
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    Youth life jacket; color orange; provides minimum buoyancy
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    Designed to turn an unconscious wearer face up in still water
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    Designed for greater comfort and less bulk
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    Perfect for inland locations
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    United States Coast Guard approved

Pros : 

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    Provides buoyancy on the water
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    Less expensive than other options
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    Easy to wear and take off
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    Multiple size options
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    Made in the USA
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    Ideal for emergency uses

Cons :

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    Sizing can cause issues
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    Only has one set of securing straps
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    Some find it too bulky
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    No place to fasten any additional strap
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    Little buoyancy material compared to other options

4. O’Neill Wake Waterski Men’s Superlite Life Vest

O’Neill Life Vests are a popular product in the clothing and water sports market, and their life jackets are extremely popular. This USCG approved life jacket utilizes closed cell PVC marine foam technology to offer maximum buoyancy.

The material is durable – a nylon that can endure heavy duty activities. Also, thanks to its quick release buckle feature, removing the life jacket is easy and fast.

If you are after a stylish and branded life jacket, then O’Neil is your perfect PFD.

Features:

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    USCG approved personal flotation device
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    Perfect for swimming, tubing, wake sports, and waterskiing
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    Minimal bulk design allows total mobility
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    Lightweight polyethylene foam is comfortable and soft
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    Durable coated polyester shell with a strong exterior
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    Our most relaxed fitting vest, for various body types

Pros : 

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    Soft and comfortable
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    Durable and hold up to years of heavy-duty outdoor use
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    Easy on-and-off
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    Allow easy movements without limitations

Cons :

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    Sizing can cause issues

5. Mustang Survival MIT 100 Auto Activation PFD

The Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. is not your regular, inflatable, fishing life vest. This appealing creation from Mustang has singled out everything in ensuring that the features required are present and functional!


From the Mustang PFD’s Coast Guard stamp down to its original Membrane Inflatable Technology, this vest certainly knows just how to work well.

Features:

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    Automatic inflation will directly self-right wearers seconds after entering the water
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    Membrane Inflatable Technology
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    Easy access flap and inflator window
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    One-fold, easy-to-repack design
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    Provides 28-pound (100 N) buoyancy when inflated - 1.5x regular foam PFDs
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    Includes manual inflation cord

Pros : 

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    Easy to wear and use
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    Comfortable even in hot weather
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    Lightweight
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    Flexible fit
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    Durable

Cons :

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    CO2 cartridge can activate if it gets too weight
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    No pockets

Conclusion

Are these the best life jackets, lightest and most durable inflatable vests for fishing you’ve ever encountered? Don’t they have all the features and functionality you need for nearly every water activity? Yes!

These jackets are designed and made to serve you for a couple of years, so there is no downside to the cost.

Whether you require a life jacket for Jetskiing, boating, or any other water sports, these are the jackets for you. Pick one that will satisfy your needs. There are a variety of color options that match your style. Visit Amazon now, and purchase your very own inflatable vest.

Our Top 5 Best Inflatable Vests for Fishing – Review and Guide
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