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Best Life Vest

Life Vest

Life Vest Reviews

Life vests are a necessary safety requirement for all boating activities that occur during the spring and summer months. Life vests save lives every year by providing a floatation device should an emergency occur. We have selected the best life vests on the market that will provide both comfort and protection while enjoying the water.

Most Popular Life Vest

Absolute Outdoor

5/5 Product Rating

The Onyx-Co2-Automatic-Vest-Universal-Adult is a life vest that provides the safety needed by a vest and the flexibility needed for full range of motion. The Onyx-Co2-Automatic-Vest-Universal-Adult is approved by the US Coast Guard. It does a great job of allowing the wearer to not lose any range of motion. The design has a T-cord which will inflate from movement. It also will inflate automatically when entering the water. This provides an automatic floatation device as needed. The life vest is both lightweight and comfortable. The design is meant to provide additional cooling when the weather gets hot. The neckline is made of a soft neoprene material that will provide comfort even if worn all day. The material is made of a durable nylon material that is both puncture and tear resistant. It also comes with reflective piping that will create more visibility in the event of an emergency.

  • US Coast Guard approved
  • Slim design for comfortable all day wear
  • Automatically inflates upon water immersion
  • Reflective piping for visibility in an emergency
  • Ripstop nylon that is tear and puncture resistant

Best Overall Life Vest

O’Neill Wetsuits

4.9/5 Product Rating

The ONeill-Reactor-Graphite-Pacific-XLarge life vest is a combination of a life vest and a wetsuit. This life vest is approved by the USCG. The wet suit features provide warmth and comfort while in use, even in cold waters. It will keep you safe and add warmth to the body in the event of an emergency. The life vest has segments of core foam that provides flexibility in the vest increasing the level of comfort. It is made of lightweight material that is breathable and comfortable. The ONeill-Reactor-Graphite-Pacific-XLarge has armholes are built to provide safety, protection as well as comfort. The front zipper is a heavy duty design with front buckles for additional security. Colors are available in black and yellow, black and blue, black graphite and red, and graphite navy and pacific.

  • Combo life vest and wet suit
  • USCG approved
  • Core Foam material for flexibility
  • Lightweight breathable material
  • Heavy duty zipper and front buckles

Best Budget Life Vest


4.7/5 Product Rating

The Obrien-Traditional-Neoprene-Black-Large is made of lightweight neoprene material. It is approved by the US Coast Guard. Add inserted soft foam and you have a very comfortable fit for all wearers. The front of the life vest has a sturdy zipper with two buckles to provide additional security and fit. The Obrien-Traditional-Neoprene-Black-Large comes with wide arm holes. This provides a much larger range of motion. These life vests are popular with fisherman, kayakers and canoers who are looking to be active while wearing the life vest. The neoprene material has a stretchable design that will provide a more comfortable fit. The Obrien-Traditional-Neoprene-Black-Large is only available in black. It comes in small, medium and large as well as X-large, XX-large and XXX-large sizes. This provides a wide range of sizes to fit most customs both men and women.

  • Neoprene material for custom fit
  • Heavy Duty zipper and front buckles for secure fit
  • Wide arm holes providing good mobility and flexibility
  • 6 sizes available from small to XXX-Large
  • US Coast Guard approved

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Life Vest Buying Guide

Life Vest 2

A life vest is also commonly referred to as a personal flotation device or PFD. Life vests provide you with more buoyancy to help you float in the water. The use of these devices is extremely important in any water activity you venture into. Whether you go skiing behind a boat, kayaking rough waters, or canoeing on a river, it is highly vital that you wear a life vest at all times. Wearing a life vest while engaging in water sports is very important as the conditions of the water can change without you even noticing it.

Regulations when it comes to the use of a life vest have been implemented. However, regulations vary by area. Regulations in most places require anyone who operates a motor boat in open waters to wear a life vest. In addition to this, children under thirteen years of age are also required to use life vests all the time when in open waters.

Each individual has specific needs for a life vest. That is why, when looking for a live vest that is perfect for you, it is necessary to increase your understanding about these flotation devices. This article will help you increase your knowledge about them and will help you choose the right life vest for you.

How Does a Life Vest Work?

A life vest works by adding to your buoyancy when you are in the water. Simply put, buoyancy is the force exerted that pushes upward on objects submerged in a liquid. This force opposes the weight of the object in order to prevent it from sinking even more. In this case, your weight is what is opposed by a life vest. Most individuals need an extra amount of buoyancy for up to twelve pounds in order to maintain their chin above water. However, chest size, body fat and weight can play a vital role in how well a life vest will keep the wearer floating in the water.

Variations of Life Vests

The United States Coast Guard implements legal requirements as to the use of personal flotation devices. Boats must make use of different types of life jackets, which include Type I, II, III and V Personal Flotation Device. These personal flotation devices must indicate the approval number and be the right size for every person on board. They should also be in good condition and readily accessible for the people on board.

Life Vest 4

Type I Life Vest

The Type I life vest is designed for offshore use. This offers the most buoyancy and is extremely effective in all kinds of water. This is perfect for any situation most especially when it takes a good amount of time before rescuers arrive. The foam of this vest holds a buoyancy level of 22 pounds. The Type I live vest is considerably the most popular as it is convenient to slip on and reversible.

Type II Life Vest

The Type II life vest is designed for calm waters near the shore where rescuers can arrive quickly. The foam in this vest holds 15 pounds of buoyancy.

Type III Life Vest

The Type III life vest is not actually a jacket, but an aid for flotation. It holds 15 pounds of buoyancy and provides superior comfort for continuous use.

Type V Life Vest

The Type V life vest is designed for certain water activities, which are specified on the label.

Picking the Right Life Vest

Picking the right life vests is highly critical most especially when it comes to life threatening situations. You have to understand that not any life vest that fits you can hold you up in the water. Thus, when picking the right life vest, it is essential to consider the type, size, fitting and features of the item. One of the most important factors to consider is the size of the life vest. A life vest for adults is fitted depending on the size of the chest and not on the weight. It is also necessary that a life vest provides a great fit while still allowing you to move freely. To get the accurate measurement of your chest, measure it from under your armpits and around. Pick a life vest that falls within the measurement of your chest.

Women can use the same method when looking for the right life vest. However, there are life vest designs that provide a better fit for women such as those designs for women with long torsos, princess seams, and large busts. It is essential to measure the size of the chest before deciding on any item. On the other hand, when choosing a life vest for a child, it is important to pick depending on their weight. Chest measurement, age and height do not play essential roles when it comes to choosing a life vest for your child. Here is what you should follow when looking for a life vest for a child. If your child weighs 8-30 pounds, then you should pick an infant life vest. For kids 30-50 pounds, child life vest is ideal. For children 50-90 pounds, then you should go for youth life vests.

Every life vest has a different design and foam placement that fits the contours of various body types. The placement of the foam does not affect the safety provided by the vest but it does affect the comfort of the wearer. Having more straps in a life vest also means that it can be customized well in accordance to the contours of your body. In this essence, it is highly essential for you to look for a life vest that fits the contours of your body perfectly. This way, you will be able to achieve both safety and comfort.

Life vests are used primarily for safety reasons. However, the type of life vest to purchase is also an important point to consider. The type of life vest also varies depending on some factors, which include performance of the item, cost of the item and environmental factors as well. In addition, the type of life vest is also determined by the materials used such as gaia, kapok or PVC. It is highly vital that you figure out your preferred type of life vest before purchasing any item. This way, you will be able to get the item that satisfies you when it comes to safety and comfort.

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