Best Fishing Life Vests Reviewed and Tested

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
NRS C Vest
Test Winner: NRS C Vest
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When fishing, a problem many fishermen find themselves facing is where they store their gear for the day of fishing. Some store their gear in their tackle box but tackle boxes can be bulky and weigh you down if you are moving from location to location. That is why fishing vests are the ideal way to store your fishing gear and does not weigh you down if you decide to change locations. It allows you to travel light but have all the gear you need to catch that monster fish. If you are in the market for a fishing vest than the guide below is for you, as it lists the top ten fishing vests of 2019 and explains why they are the best over the rest.

Standout Picks

NRS C Vest
This life vest from NRS is available in three different colors and four different sizes, so you are sure to find one that meets your size and personality.
Amazon Link
$110.96
Stohlquist Piseas
Available in three different sizes and two different colors, this is from Stohlquist and a great option for those who are looking for a standard life vest.
Amazon Link
$129.99
Stohlquist Fisherman
The number 1 option from Stohlquist is made completely out of a Nylon material and comes with flotation pads which are located higher up along the back. This allows it to make sure to keep a majority of your body above water while in the water floating.
Amazon Link
Maxcatch Fly
This one from Maxcatch is the right one for you if you want to carry as many things as possible in one vest. There are nine different pockets available along this vest, all of which can be zipped up or down.
Amazon Link
$59.99
Onyx Movement Torsion
Acting mostly as an actual life vest, this model from Onyx is available in red color and has two zippered pockets along the front, which have mesh material behind for easy drainage.
Amazon Link
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic
Onyx has a great item for you and a top choice among the vests on this list. This vest is adjustable using the shoulder straps, so it is easy to adjust to fit your upper body as needed.
Amazon Link
$44.96
Stearns Comfort
Allowing you to have a life vest which is very comfortable, this option is available in six different sizes. This vest is approved by the Coast Guard as a Type III life vest, with soft and comfortable pads.
Amazon Link
$39.97
Extrasport Osprey
This multi-purpose life vest is great for any fishing, hunting or rowing activity. Available in a camouflage design, the padding along the back of the vest is thinner along the bottom, making it more comfortable to sit within any structure.
Amazon Link
Coleman Company Stearns
Coleman has provided a vest which serves its main function of being a flotation device first and foremost. Approved by the Coast Guard, and is available in three different color combinations and seven different sizes, so you are sure to find one that meets your needs.
Amazon Link
MTI Adventurewear
There are three different sizes available for this life jacket, and it comes with easy to adjust shoulder straps to fit any body type.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

This is why, when you are looking for one, you actually need to try them on. There is nothing wrong with eventually buying them online; however, you should take the time to go into a store and see the kind of fit and fabric which is best for you. You have to know how you typically fish – do you normally have a shirt on or not? Do you typically fish early in the morning, or during the mid-day sun? What is the normal temperature when you fish? All of these factors are important to consider as you are testing out fishing life vests. Just because a vest is comfortable in the confines of a store which is climate controlled doesn’t mean it will be as comfortable while you are out fishing on a boat in the middle of the water. If within the store you can feel that the vest is itching you a little bit, then that feeling will become even more pronounced if you are out in the blazing sun during a fishing trip. If you feel the life vest seems a little lightweight for your body type, then you don’t want to wait until you need it to find out if that is true or not.

You will need a life vest not only to ensure you stay safe while out on the water, but it is also wise for you to ensure you have enough for everyone who is in the boat with you. There may not be a worse feeling than having four people in a boat which is becomes broken and only having 2 life vests to utilize. So you need to think about not only how comfortable you need our life vest to be, but also think about the others who typically go out fishing with you, or could go out fishing with you, and make sure they have vests which will fit them and be comfortable for them as well. And this is not just for humans, but for any dogs, you might bring with you on a fishing trip as well. There are life vests you can put on your dog to ensure they are just as safe for when the time comes where they need one. Although your dog may be able to doggy paddle over to the shore, if you are a couple of miles out, you really don’t want to take the chance of your dog not having enough stamina to make it – so, ensure they have life vest!

Style

Overall, when you are considering what kind of life vest you need for your next fishing expedition, you have a lot of different options available to you. You can choose one which is bulkier or one which is sleeker. You can choose one with lots of pockets of varying sizes, or you can choose one which is just a vest with no pockets. You can choose a vest that you can adjust in size as needed, or you can get one which provides a tighter fit. Most vests come in a variety of colors and styles as well, to help meet your personality. No matter what kind of life vest you want, you can find it, you just have to narrow down your choices based upon what you need and want out of a fishing life vest. Just remember, finding one which is comfortable to wear and has all of the options you desire is the perfect intersection of the best kind of life vest for you, no matter how it looks.

Safety Hazards

If уоu wеаr a ѕеlf-іnflаtіng life vеѕt, check thе carbon dioxide canister that triggers thе іnflаtіоn every ѕеаѕоn and аѕ directed bу thе mаnufасturеr. If thе саnіѕtеr іѕ ѕсrаtсhеd, doesn’t wеіgh the amount nоtеd on іt or іѕ оthеrwіѕе nоt іn good condition, it should be rерlасеd. Uѕе саutіоn іf you wеаr a ѕеlf-іnflаtіng lіfе vest whіlе kayaking оr pursuing other ѕроrtѕ thаt mау ѕubjесt you tо hеаvу spray. Thе ѕрrау mіght trіggеr thе lіfе vеѕt tо ѕuddеnlу іnflаtе.

If you wеаr a ѕеlf-іnflаtіng life vеѕt, сhесk thе carbon dіоxіdе саnіѕtеr thаt trіggеrѕ thе іnflаtіоn еvеrу ѕеаѕоn and аѕ directed by thе manufacturer. If thе canister іѕ ѕсrаtсhеd, dоеѕn’t wеіgh thе аmоunt nоtеd on іt оr is otherwise nоt in gооd соndіtіоn, it ѕhоuld bе replaced.

Use саutіоn if уоu wеаr a ѕеlf-іnflаtіng life vеѕt whіlе kayaking оr pursuing оthеr ѕроrtѕ thаt mау subject уоu to hеаvу spray. The ѕрrау mіght trіggеr thе lіfе vеѕt to ѕuddеnlу іnflаtе.
Whеn it соmеѕ tо lіfе jacket ѕаfеtу аnd соlоr—thе brіghtеr, the bеttеr. Vivid colors lіkе orange аnd yellow еnѕurе thаt уоur сhіld іѕ сlеаrlу vіѕіblе in аnd around the wаtеr.

Remember that an аdult lіfе vеѕt іѕ not sufficient рrоtесtіоn fоr a сhіld; tеѕt thе fit оf a lіfе vest on уоur child just аѕ уоu would tеѕt іt оn уоurѕеlf.

Use

Once you figure out the comfortability component of your life vest and how many you need, you can start thinking about the functionality in comparison to the fishing you do on a routine basis. When you think about what you use currently to carry all of your bait and hooks and other accessories, you can think thru how best to use some pockets on the life vest to ensure those items are near you for when you need them. Although you might use a big waist or shoulder bag or a fishing shirt currently, you can reduce the number of items you need by utilizing a more efficient item like a fishing vest. For example, instead of using both a waist bag and a life vest, you can use just a life vest, as most have pockets and other hooks and loops on them which allow you to store a variety of items on them that you might want to have access to at a moment’s notice. It is much nicer to have these items on you as close as possible, rather than having to dig thru a bag or not know exactly where the item is.

Top Ten Fishing Vests

1. NRS C Vest

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$110.96
NRS C Vest
Amazon Link

This life vest from NRS is available in three different colors and four different sizes, so you are sure to find one that meets your size and personality.

Read more

There are six pockets on the vest overall, all of which are different sizes and shapes to allow you to maximize the full potential of storage. There are extra tabs and loops along the front of the vest, allowing you to store even more items than expected. The flotations pads are located along the top of the vest, meaning you are sure to stay afloat anytime you are in the water.

Amazon Link
$110.96

2. Stohlquist Piseas

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$129.99
Stohlquist Piseas
Amazon Link

Available in three different sizes and two different colors, this is from Stohlquist and a great option for those who are looking for a standard life vest.

Read more

This vest comes with four pockets, two of which are zippered up, and then there are two subset pockets within those pockets which are closed using a Velcro strap. There is also a ventilation port along the side of the vest to allow the vest to breathe as necessary.

Amazon Link
$129.99

3. Stohlquist Fisherman

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Stohlquist Fisherman
Amazon Link

The number 1 option from Stohlquist is made completely out of a Nylon material and comes with flotation pads which are located higher up along the back. This allows it to make sure to keep a majority of your body above water while in the water floating.

Read more

The front of this life vest has 2 different zippered pockets along the front, along with a hook and a loop for you to easily store the needed items. There are plenty of places on the vest which are ventilated, to ensure you stay cool during the hot summer days.

Amazon Link

4. Maxcatch Fly

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$59.99
Maxcatch Fly
Amazon Link

This one from Maxcatch is the right one for you if you want to carry as many things as possible in one vest. There are nine different pockets available along this vest, all of which can be zipped up or down.

Read more

You also will see two different strips of material, which will allow you to hook or loop in other items. There is also a hook on here for you to carry your fishing rod and reel.

Amazon Link
$59.99

5. Onyx Movement Torsion

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Onyx Movement Torsion
Amazon Link

Acting mostly as an actual life vest, this model from Onyx is available in red color and has two zippered pockets along the front, which have mesh material behind for easy drainage.

Read more

It's available in three different sizes, and are all adjustable using the straps along the shoulder area to fit your upper body. The bottom half of the back area is comprised of a mesh material, so it is not uncomfortable to sit on any type of bench or chair.

Amazon Link

6. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$44.96
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic
Amazon Link

Onyx has a great item for you and a top choice among the vests on this list. This vest is adjustable using the shoulder straps, so it is easy to adjust to fit your upper body as needed.

Read more

It also has high-vis orange streaks, so it will be easier for others to find you while you are in the water. The material of the vest is made completely out of Nylon, and the vest will keep you afloat using lightweight and soft foam inserts.

Amazon Link
$44.96

7. Stearns Comfort

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$39.97
Stearns Comfort
Amazon Link

Allowing you to have a life vest which is very comfortable, this option is available in six different sizes. This vest is approved by the Coast Guard as a Type III life vest, with soft and comfortable pads.

Read more

The outside is made from a Nylon material, meaning it will stay durable and long-lasting. There is also a front pocket located on the vest, which will allow you to carry some small items you need throughout the day.

Amazon Link
$39.97

8. Extrasport Osprey

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Extrasport Osprey
Amazon Link

This multi-purpose life vest is great for any fishing, hunting or rowing activity. Available in a camouflage design, the padding along the back of the vest is thinner along the bottom, making it more comfortable to sit within any structure.

Read more

The front of the life vest has a zipper, allowing you to easily take the vest on and off. There are seven different pockets, along with multiple hook and loops allowing you to store a large assortment of items.

Amazon Link

9. Coleman Company Stearns

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Coleman Company Stearns
Amazon Link

Coleman has provided a vest which serves its main function of being a flotation device first and foremost. Approved by the Coast Guard, and is available in three different color combinations and seven different sizes, so you are sure to find one that meets your needs.

Read more

There are a couple of pockets along the front which will allow you to keep some extra bait or tackle close by. The front of the vest also has a zipper on it, which makes taking it on and off very simple and easy.

Amazon Link

10. MTI Adventurewear

Where to buy
Amazon Link
MTI Adventurewear
Amazon Link

There are three different sizes available for this life jacket, and it comes with easy to adjust shoulder straps to fit any body type.

Read more

The front of the vest has three quick release buckles, so it is easy to take off and on. There are a few different pockets along the vest, along with some rings and loops and tabs to allow you to store as many items as necessary for your fishing trip.

Amazon Link