Anytime you are around the water, whether on a boat or around the bank, it is a good move to have a flotation device nearby. Often, anglers despise the bulkiness of life preservers that greatly impeded movement and are uncomfortable.
Inflatable PFD’s provide a solution to this problem as they are form-fitting and can be worn all day without being a hindrance. If you happen to take a spill, these vests will inflate automatically. In this article, we will take a look at five inflatable personal flotation devices (PFD) that are reliable and easy to wear when fishing.
We will take a close look at each one to decide which one is the best inflatable life vest for fishing. Let’s begin…
What is the best inflatable life vest for fishing?
Here is a quick preview of what we think to be the top 5 life vests.
- Onyx A Automatic
- Floattop Adult Automatic
- Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD
- Eyson Inflatable PFD
- Crewfit Sport
For more details on each vest continue reading….
Onyx A Automatic
The first on our list is the Onyx A Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket.
This inflatable PFD gives you a tremendous range of motion and does not impede fishing motions in any way. It will be easy to forget you have this life jacket on while in the fishing zone. This is a reliable and U.S Coast Guard approved PFD that you can trust your life with.
This inflatable life jacket features an automatic inflation mechanism using a CO2 cartridge, but it can also be inflated manually using T-cord located on the bottom of the chest strap.
The vest is made from extremely durable ripstop nylon material is puncture proof and will last for years of extended use. It also features reflective materials for a high visibility during night settings.
This is a very lightweight and comfortable life-preserver that can be used throughout the year and in any weather situation. Unlike some PFDs, the Absolute Outdoor Onyx does not cause overheating in the summer months, and the soft neoprene neckline is not irritating.
Floattop Adult Automatic
Is the Floattop Adult Automatic the best inflatable PFD for fishing? Let’s take a closer look.
This automatic PFD is available in either black or red color scheme. This is a lightweight PFD that has a slim and low profile making it a great option for high activity fishing where you need a wide range of motion.
This life jacket fits just about any adult with its wide range of adjustments. The belt can be adjusted up to 130cm and the chest from 30” to 52”. Both the vest material and webbing are made from durable material that can withstand a lot of abuse.
Overall, the vest is comfortable and remains out-of-the-way, but the mesh neck lining can be irritating if worn for extended periods of time. More important than comfort is this vest is SOLAS approved and is a reliable PFD.
Once inflated, this life jacket provides 33lb of buoyancy from a 33g CO2 cylinder that is easy to replace when needed. A CO2 filter is also included with the vest when purchased. Once submerged or activated manually it takes approximately three seconds for the vest to inflate fully.
While this jacket inflates automatically when submerged, it also features a manual T-cord and an oral inflator tube that can be used to increase or decrease buoyancy when in the water.
Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD
The next on our list is the Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD.
This particular automatic life vest is available in a variety of color schemes if you have a preference. This is a very durable automatic PFD with an outer shell made from 500D Cordura that is extremely puncture and rip resistant. The webbing used on the waist and back straps is also very durable nylon.
While this vest still fits to form well and is highly adjustable, it is a bit bulkier and heavier than other automatic PDFs on our list. Regardless, it is a comfortable vest, especially around the neck area where irritation often occurs.
Once inflated, using a CO2 cartridge, this vest generated 26lbs of buoyancy. Inflation occurs automatically when the vest is submerged in water, but it can also be inflated manually with a T-cord. Once the inflation is initiated, it only takes less than five seconds for the vest to be fully buoyant.
One of the more useful features of this vest is the clear window sewn into the main body that allows you to check the inflator mechanism easily. Overall, it’s a quality, low profile automatic life vest that is highly reliable and easily portable.
Eyson Inflatable PFD
- Made from Polyester Oxford Neoprene
- Inflates in less than 5 seconds
Now, let’s take a look at the Eyson Inflatable PFD.
This automatic PFD life jacket is CE certified and SOLAS approved, and you can be confident that the vest will function properly if the need ever arises. This vest inflated automatically with a CO2 cartridge upon submersion and can also be manually activated with a pull lanyard at the bottom of the jacket.
As the name implies, this is a slim fitting and lightweight PFD that is extremely comfortable to wear while fishing for extended periods of time with its soft neoprene neckline and padded back and shoulder straps. It is highly adjustable and can fit any adult under 330lbs.
Once activated, whether automatically or manually, the vest fully inflates in under 5 seconds and provides 150N of buoyancy that is capable of providing 48 hours of float time. Once inflated, the reflective material will be making visibility at night much easier and provides an extra likelihood of being spotted if stranded.
With any safety device, the most important aspect of it is reliability, and this Eyson PFD has been CE certified, and SOLAS approved. The vest is made from durable ripstop fabric and heavy-duty nylon webbing giving you a vest that is going to last for years.
Included with the vest are a single CO2 cylinder, whistle, and oral tube for adjusting buoyancy once inflation is activated.
Overall this is a comfortable life jacket for fishing.
Like most of the inflatable life vests on this list, the Crewfit Sport features a slim and minimal design that makes it tailor-made for active fisherman looking for some added security around the water. You will find that even when wearing this particular vest, you will still have a full range of body motion.
This vest is very comfortable with a soft neoprene neckline that won’t cause discomfort and irritation when worn for long periods of time. The chest and waist straps have a wide range of adjustments
Like the other vests we have covered, inflation is initiated with a CO2 cylinder within the vest that when activated by submersion or manually, fully inflates in under five seconds. When fully inflated, this vest will keep the wearers head, neck, and shoulders above water. A manual, oral tube is included with the vest as well as reflective tape and an emergency whistle.
One unique feature that makes this vest stand out from the rest is that when this device inflates the bladder is designed to keep you on your back and your head away from the water.
Not only is this the best life jacket for kayak fishing, but it great when out on a fishing paddle board as well.
Onyx M-24 Belt
The next on our list is the Onyx M-24 Belt. From the looks of this one you might be thinking that this isn’t a life vest at all, it looks like a belt.
And, yes you’d be right. It is a belt. But that is probably what I like most about it. You can have even more range of motion as it will be sitting around your waist rather than your shoulders.
How does it work? Unlike many other PFD mentioned in this article, this is a manual device. That means that it will not activate when it comes in contact with water, but you will have to activate it. Once activated a life vest will come out of the belt. You will then have to put the vest over your head.
An additional feature that I thought would be very helpful for fisherman is that it has an additional pouch. There is enough room to either hold a bottle of water or your car keys.
See exactly how this PFD works in the following video:
Precautions To Take When On The Water
Not only is it important to wear a life vest, but be sure to inspect your vest every time you go out on the boat. One unique challenge that we face as fishermen is that we are always around sharp objects in the boat. You never know when in the excitement of a catch you could have accidently put a hole in your PFD.
For that reason, to ensure your safety out on the water take a few minutes to visually inspect your PFD.
Active anglers whether on the boat or in the water need several things on their side to be successful. One such thing is to be comfortable and safe. This can be provided by having which can be provided by a life vest that provides the full range of motion.
The five inflatable life vests that we have discussed in this article gives you that range of motion while remaining safe. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, having the extra security of these vests will put yours and loved one’s minds at ease when you are chasing your passion.
Now we like to hear from your experience. What do you think is the best inflatable life vest for fishing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.