Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket


Safety on the water is of the utmost importance. After all, with all the fun of kayak fishing, you must never forget to be aware of your surroundings and must always exercise caution while on the water. One of the easiest ways to do this is to buy a fishing kayak life jacket. Before reading the article below, we suggest that you take a look at our Fishing Kayak Life Jacket Ultimate Guide where we’ve created an in-depth article that goes into great detail about this particular style of life jacket and why we think it is a must for kayak fishermen of all levels of ability.

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: Overview

Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

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This KFC article contains everything you need to know about fishing kayak life jackets and why we suggest that you buy one right away. We’ve organized the content into a number of separate categories in an effort to keep the information presented in an easy to follow manner. We begin by discussing the basics of the fishing kayak life jacket before getting into a list of “Do” and “Don’t” suggestions that will serve as a helpful guide.

Next, we’ve created a short listing of some of the features to look for when evaluating whether you do in fact want to buy a fishing kayak life jacket. Each feature listed includes illustrations of the described component and a brief narrative about why we think the feature is critical for kayak fishing. After that, we’ve added a link to a particular model of fishing kayak life jacket that contains a number of the features that we feel most strongly about – make sure to visit the product page if you’d like to learn more. Then, we briefly describe our own experience with the model we’ve linked to so that you can learn from our real world experience and opinion!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: The Basics

Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

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Shortcut to the Fishing Kayak Life Jacket Review

Any time you are on the water, you need to be mindful of your safety. One of the best ways to ensure your safety is through the proper use of a kayak life jacket. There are all different kinds of life jackets on the market. Some are built for water sports, some are built for the swimming pool, and still others are built for water craft. In this KFC article, we focus on the fishing kayak life jacket.

The fishing kayak life jacket is a very unique life jacket indeed. Not only does it serve to protect you when you are out on the water. It also compliments your fishing abilities by offering a number of features that directly benefit your fishing experience. Let’s face it, kayak fishing involves a bunch of gear. Large gear like your paddles and kayak trolling motor, and small gear like your rod holders and dry bags. We’ll take all the extra space we can get, and the fishing kayak life jacket provides you just that – extra space!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: How to Use Properly

Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

The kayak fisherman shown above is wearing his fishing kayak life jacket properly. Properly using this particular type of life jacket is of critical importance not only because of safety considerations, but also because of the  benefits that proper wear will afford your kayak fishing experience. Simply put,  even the best fishing kayak life jacket isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t know how to use it correctly. We’ve written the short “Do” and “Don’t” list below to help you get on track. Let’s get started:

  • DO make sure that you buy a fishing kayak life jacket that is correctly sized for you. Remember, when deciding what size is best, you’ll want to think about what you are typically wearing underneath the life jacket (if it is cold, for instance, you might be wearing extra layers, which would warrant getting a slightly larger size of kayak life jacket).
  • DO make sure to properly adjust the straps found on the kayak life jacket so that you have a snug fit. You’ll want the life jacket to be tight enough so that it won’t ride up or slide over to one side if you inadvertently fall overboard, but not too tight so as to cause discomfort or harm your circulation.
  • DO make sure that you have the right number of fishing kayak life jackets on your kayak with you. Make sure of this BEFORE you go out onto the water. Many of our readers participate in tandem kayak fishing during which each fisherman will need his or her own life jacket.
  • DON’T overload your jacket with too many different pieces of gear or kayak fishing accessories. Fishing kayak life jackets have a number of pockets and zippers, but you don’t want to overload these pockets and potentially offset the level of buoyancy that the life jacket has been designed to achieve.
  • DON’T store your life jacket without allowing it to dry out completely. Fishing kayak life jackets are designed to hold up to instances of alternating wet and dry conditions thousands of times over, but they should not be left in a wet condition when you are done using them on the water. Allow your life jacket to air dry and then store in a cool, non-humid area for future use!
  • DON’T leave sharp hooks or exposed blades concealed within your fishing kayak life jacket’s pockets. It is easy to forget what you have placed in the zip closed pockets of the life jacket and, if you are not careful, the distraction of reeling in the big one may prevent your from remembering that you’ve left your extra fishing hooks in a particular pocket that you then access while trying to land your fish! Keep your potentially dangerous pieces of kayak fishing gear in a safe location and out of your life jacket pockets!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: Important Features

Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

The list of important features to consider when evaluating whether to buy a fishing kayak life jacket could go on and on. Aside from the general safety ratings and considerations, one must decide if the life jacket is of the particular style and design that is desired and whether it has the features needed to further one’s kayak fishing experience. Rather than list each and every feature, KFC has compiled a detailed list of the top 3 features to look for when deciding to buy a fishing kayak life jacket. Let’s take a look:

  • Rod Holder. The fishing rod is one of the most stylistically perplexing pieces of kayak fishing gear. It is long and slender, but is largely without a logical “home” for storage during times when it is not actively being used. Many fishing kayak life jackets have begun to feature a particular type of rod holder known as a “rod loop” or “rod hanging loop”. Are you familiar with this particular feature? If not, it is certainly easy to miss, even if looking right at the life jacket. We’ve included an image below to show you what we are referring to:
Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

If you look closely at the image above, you’ll see that the fishing kayak life jacket has located a rod hanging loop towards the right shoulder of the life jacket, with a lower rod loop located near the lower left of the life jacket. You can see that this allows the kayak fisherman to safely nestle the fishing rod into the void between the two large pockets on the life jacket itself, keeping the fishing rod safely tucked into the fisherman’s chest and leaving his or her hands free to tend to other matters. This is a great feature to rely upon when initially launching the fishing kayak into the water and then again on times when you’ve completed your trip and are ready to load the kayak onto your kayak cart for transportation to your vehicle.

  • Front Zip Pockets. Kayak fishing involves a ton of gear and accessories. It seems like fishermen are always searching for extra ways to be creative in maximizing the amount of space available in the fishing kayak. This is one of the often overlooked bonuses you’ll want to consider when evaluating whether to buy a fishing kayak life jacket. Look for a life jacket that has large front pockets with zippers. Below is an image of a life jacket that has these types of pockets which are sized perfectly:
Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

You can see from the sizing graphic above that these pockets are large enough to contain a number of your smaller kayak fishing items (like extra weights, needle nose pliers, backup fishing line, power bait, and so on). Make sure to avoid putting sharp objects (like open blades or extra fishing hooks) in these front pockets, however. Finally, be sure to buy a fishing kayak life jacket that has zippers on the pockets, and not pockets that rely upon velcro or simply gravity to keep their contents contained. Kayak fishermen frequently bend over and face the risk of losing their pocket’s contents if the pocket itself isn’t securely zipped shut!

  • Adjustable straps. When you decide to buy a fishing kayak life jacket, you’ll want to make sure to buy one that is appropriately sized for you. This isn’t always so easy. Make sure to consider what size you will be AFTER you are dressed and ready for the weather. What do we mean by this? Well, if you are kayak fishing in the winter, it is likely that you’ll be wearing many layers under your life jacket and you’ll want to increase the jacket in size to account for the additional clothing you’ll be wearing. After taking size into account, you’ll want a life jacket that has adjustability features so that you can customize the life jacket to fit you snuggly. Take a look at the adjustable shoulder straps shown below:
Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

Notice that the life jacket adjusts at both shoulders and features slots into which the extra line can be safely tucked away to ensure that it does not tangle or otherwise get in your way. There are also adjustable straps located on each side of the life jacket closer to the fisherman’s waste. These straps should be tightened snuggly to the fisherman’s midsection to keep the life jacket from riding up when he or she is casting or otherwise moving around the fishing kayak. Most importantly, a life jacket is only going to work if you are actually wearing it. If you buy a fishing kayak life jacket that is ill fitting or non-adjustable, you will be less likely to wear it. That is why adjustability is such an important feature of a quality life jacket!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

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Be Safe on the Water!

As earlier mentioned, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of life jackets on the market. Do not be fooled into taking a “one size fits all” approach. You’ll want to look for a fishing kayak life jacket so that you are accomplishing two goals at once – First, keeping you safe while on the water and second, furthering your kayak fishing experience by having features designed specifically for kayak fishing!

One of our favorite fishing kayak life jackets is depicted above. It contains all of the features that we’ve listed in this article, and so many more that we don’t have time to discuss them all in great detail.  The manufacturer has designed this life jacket with a ripstop polyester outer shell which is perfect for ensuring a long lasting and tough life jacket that can stand up to many seasons of use in the harshest of weather conditions. The sides of the life jacket are “open” rather than enclosed which allows the kayak fisherman more room to accommodate his or her paddle stroke, casting or general movement while in the kayak.

This life jacket also includes reflective material on the front and rear shoulder pieces. This is an incredible safety bonus and is particularly helpful for those of our readers who like to kayak fish at dusk and dawn when sunlight is at its lowest. The reflectors will help indicate your position on the water to others who may be traveling nearby. Oh, and the mesh on the back of the life jacket is perfect for ensuring breathability and comfort. Remember, comfort is key, as the absence of comfort is going to encourage you not to wear a life jacket, which is a big mistake! Buy a fishing kayak life jacket that is adjustable and comfortable, you’ll be glad you did!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: My Experience

Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

I used to kayak fish with no life jacket at all until I was pulled over and ticketed by my local lake’s governing regulatory authority. They reminded me just how dangerous this was, making me realize that it wasn’t necessarily me and my actions that I was guarding against, but rather I was guarding against others on the water that I could not control. The authorities were right. There are so many other boats on the water at any given time. If one of them were to collide with me, at no fault of my own, I would be in a world of hurt. I decided to buy a fishing kayak life jacket the next day.

After hours of research and numerous fittings, I decided to buy the life jacket included in this article. Had I known how much reassurance it would provide me, I would have bought it much sooner. It isn’t only the safety aspects of this life jacket that make it so great, however. This life jacket actually makes me a better kayak fisherman! Its extra pockets, rod loop, and many other features have been specifically designed with an eye towards kayak fishing. At this point, I truthfully view it more like a kayak fishing vest or accessory, rather than a piece of safety equipment. The goods news for me is – it is both! One final thought – While we hope you never have to use your life jacket, one way to make sure that you don’t have to is to buy an inflatable kayak stabilizer to help reduce the risk of an overturn!


Fishing Kayak Life Jacket

I hope this article about the features to consider when deciding to buy a fishing kayak life jacket has served as a useful guide. Remember, if you have any questions about whether you should buy a fishing kayak life jacket, and wha features you ought to consider when doing so, be sure to write to us and let us know. We care about each and every one of our readers and we are certain that a kayak life jacket is the #1 way to enhance each reader’s security while out on the water! Remember, think of your fishing kayak life jacket has a kayak fishing accessory that just so happens to have the added benefit of increased safety! Learn more about water safety tips!

Consider entering into a kayak fishing tournament! They are a ton of fun and a good way to test your skills!

Buy a Fishing Kayak Life Jacket: Comments

Do you own a fishing kayak life jacket?  What has your experience been like?  Does it perform well on the water? How comfortable is it? What features did you find to be important? What overall score would you give it?  Please share your knowledge with the KFC Community by posting a comment below.  I read and reply to all comments, and I love interacting with our readers!

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