Best Inflatable Life Vest for Fishing in 2017 – Top Products Review

Whenever I’m surrounded by water, I always see to it that a life preserver is just beside me or is just hanging around the corner of my boat. I know my decision could be at times polarizing but when you see how bulky it is, you might also be jumping on the bandwagon with me.

Truth is, I find them to be of great impediment to my movement which essentially makes me uncomfortable.

However, my fretting days didn’t take that long, thanks to the glorious invention of the best inflatable life vest for fishing! Not only these inflatable life vests are form-fitting, they can also be equipped right in your body without causing any hindrance or discomfort.

If you’ve had enough of your regular and sometimes vexatious life preservers, this post should let you know that there is a sigh of relief that awaits those who’d be opting for these inflatable life vests. Without dilly-dallying, I have identified five inflatable life vests for fishing to narrow down your choices.

Best Inflatable Life Vest For Fishing in 2017

The first on our list is one of the more competitive entries from Absolute Outdoor. The Onyx A/M-24 Inflatable Life Jacket is all known for both its comfort and safety in its accompanying features.

It automatically inflates right when it’s immersed in the water or once the user is able to pull the “Jerk To Inflate” handle. In addition, it’s armed with back-up oral inflation; it can be converted from automatic/manual to a “manual only” inflation.

The PFD’s low profile design also comes with a soft neoprene neckline that assures you a day-to-day ease. Meanwhile, its robust fabric should be able to resist with panache the tears and punctures that come with its usage. 

Specs:
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    Type: Type V; Automatic/Manual
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    Size: Adult
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    Minimum buoyancy of 22.5 lbs

PROS

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    An ideal PFD for warm weather
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    Small, lightweight, and comfortable to wear
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    Sleek, low profile design
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    Comes with stretchable flex-back insert
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    Easy to fish with it on.
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    Can be set for automatic inflation or when pulled

CONS

  • Not ideal for water sports
  • May deploy prematurely while in storage

Via Amazon.com

Right off the bat, Eyson’s entry is already an eye-candy. But when you get to experience it more closely, you’ll get as to why this product ended up among our fab five. It inflates at a faster rate of approximately three to five seconds just in time to adjust your head right above the water.

Comfort, safety, and peace of mind should also envelop your experience with it as it comes with an extra convenient and high-quality fabric that is both soft and lightweight; the much-needed solar reflector is also thrown in the mix, making ideal for night use.

Eyson is also keen in providing a design that is all easy and concise. This is evidenced by its quick release buckle that makes it easy to repack and turn it on and off. The product comes with a universal size due to its adjustable strap webbing that caters to adults who are under 330 lbs.

Specs:
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    Material: Waterproof Polyester Oxford Neoprene
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    Air bag material: Nylon + TPU
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    Buoyancy: 33.7 lbs
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    Floating duration: Greater than 48hrs

PROS

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    Ideal for kayaking
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    Easy-to-adjust
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    Easy to deflate and repack for future use
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    Adjustable belt fit for youth and adult
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    Washable and easy to air dry

CONS

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    Not approved by Coast Guard
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    Not ideal for those who multi-layered clothes/garments

Via Amazon.com

Perhaps the most hallmark feature of Driftsun’s contender on our list is its adjustable slender design that easily renders it to fit virtually all users. The design provides a wide range of motion and a reliable comfort right when you’re out on the water.

Meanwhile, the product’s automatic inflation comes with a 33g CO2 cartridge that fills the inner chamber automatically with air when it gets submerged under water; it can also be pulled manually via the T-cord. Whenever you want to lessen or increase its buoyancy, a handy oral inflation tube is provided.

Comfort around the neckline is also among its inclusions. It is made of soft neoprene material with a 300D protective cover that should ensure you of a lasting comfort and durability. Its added features include a reflective tape and a safety whistle.

Specs:
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    Type: Automatic/Manual
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    Material: Woven Polyester
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    Buoyancy: 33.7 lbs

PROS

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    Also ideal for boating on lakes, inland waterway navigation, water sports, and kayaking
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    Compact design; comes with high-strength material
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    Add-ons include safety whistle and reflective tape
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    Extremely lightweight
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    Tear-resistant outer skin

CONS

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    Not approved by Coast Guard

Via Amazon.com

Rarely comes a brand that offers premium features at an astoundingly affordable price. Mustang Survival’s high-quality offering starts with its automatic inflation that responds seconds after it interacts with water.

This is followed by its distinctive membrane inflatable technology that also reduces product weight and develops a more comfortable fit for its users. As it is approved by the U.S. coast guard, you’re guaranteed with a product that really performs its function, emergency purposes or not.

Durability is also quite pronounced in this product. It comes with a durable 500-denier Cordura outer shell along with a robust 2” polypropylene waist strap and harness. 

Specs:
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    Size: Universal Adult
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    Buoyancy: 26 lbs

PROS

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    Bang-for-the-buck product
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    Coast Guard approved
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    Lightweight and comfortable
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    Easy to put on and take off
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    Comes with exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology inflation cell

CONS

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    A bit bulky for some users

Via Amazon.com

The CE-certified and SOLAS-approved adult automatic inflatable PFD life jacket from Floattop is a frontrunner when it comes to comfort and durability. The automatic PFD has a slim and low-profile design that makes it a great alternative for fishing that requires a high activity in which a wide range of motion is demanded. 

Meanwhile, its durability is sourced from its webbing and vest material that should be able to weather the wear and tear of its occasional to daily use.

When inflated, a 33lbs of buoyancy is expected right from its 33g CO2 cylinder that can also be replaced easily when the need arises. Add-ons include a CO2 filter, an oral inflator tube, and a manual T-cord. 

Specs:

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    Belt Maximum length :130 cm
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    Chest Size:30"-52"
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    Buoyancy: 33 lbs

PROS

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    Comes with T-cord and an oral inflator tube.
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    Fabric is both lightweight and durable
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    CE-certified and SOLAS-approved
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    Slim and low profile design
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    Available in black or red color scheme

CONS

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    Cord is a bit too long that it could be discharged accidentally
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    Mesh in the neck area is uncomfortable against the bare skin

Inflatable Life Vests: What To Look For?

#1 The Three Major Types

When looking for inflatable life vests, three crucial features should be considered right off the bat: these are the automatic, manual, and oral inflation lifejackets.

When the jacket is relying mostly right on a bobbin that is dissolvable and comes with a spring/pin arrangement, you’re getting the automatic PFD (Personal Flotation Devices). In it, the water disperses the bobbin while the pin that is powered by pin nudges the CO2 canister that results to inflation.

Meanwhile, the spring/pin mechanism that is touted as the system’s weak link is the underlying cause as to why all automatic lifejackets are equipped with a manual cord and an oral tube.

The simplest among the three, the manual feature’s vest can be inflated by just pulling a ‘rip cord.’ In order to provide more air to it, the use of an oral tube is being provided. On the other hand, an oral tube does two functions: first is its beneficial part in topping up the bladder.

Currently, most manufacturers release a CO2 cylinder that couldn’t get the air bladder fully inflated. At most, these air bladders may only accommodate 40 lbs. of buoyancy-lifting air with the accompanying cylinder supplying the USCG minimum for the Type class with just 22.5 to 34 pounds.

#2 Comfort and Type

Comfort in inflatable PFDs can be determined by their accompanying material and weight. As such, weights that are lowered are very much recommended as these can be used all day long. The materials shouldn’t be overlooked as well as they should all be comfortable especially in the neck section.

Another criterion that needs to be considered is the type. Generally, all types that get the stamp from the Coast Guard can be utilized right out on the open water.

Nowadays, the type V vests are being enjoyed by most as they are smaller, durable, and ultimately comfortable; the overhead variants are suitable for those users who frequent pools or even snorkeling.

#3 Automatic Or Manual PFDs?

The more preferred between the two, Manual PFD would only require you of your awareness and that’s it: just pull the release for the cylinder and the thing inflates! The latter also demands less servicing.

On the other hand, the Automatic PFD will only inflate once it contacts with water. In addition, only green water can make it inflate; not an amount of spray could get this PFD inflated.

An automatic inflation type-V is suggested and could very well save your life especially when accidents like being knocked unconscious or accidentally going overboard occur.

#4 Harness or without one?

If you’re working on a deck or sailing offshore or is in a location that almost always gets caught in a rough weather, in inflatable PFD with a harness is best recommended. Also, it is wise to gp with an automatic inflatable life vest if you’re a power boater or an inshore sailor.

In contrast, manually inflatable PFDs are encouraged if you’re an offshore sailor. Most power boaters and solo mariners today will no doubt select an inflatable life vest with a harness; removable harnesses in these inflatable PFDs are likewise available.

#5 Are Inflatable PFDs Recommendable For Your Activities?

Before heading to buy your inflatable life vest, make certain that they’d work for the activity that you choose. Inflatable PFDs generally have a unique system which makes them not suitable for all types of activities in water sports.

Specifically, they are not suggested for use for non-swimmers and as we’ve just mentioned, for activities like skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and white water.

Another thing to consider is its availability that only caters to adult sizes. You have to be 16 and should weigh at least 80 pounds for to wear an inflatable life vest This is on top of its requirement to be checked regularly for maintenance purposes.

More Points to Consider

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    Cartridge Viewing: Once the CO2 cartridge is used, it’s crucial that you can view the status of your cartridge. When it’s gotten low, the cartridge needs a replacement. Otherwise, the life vest won’t get inflated.
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    Buoyancy Weight: If you’re particularly the heavy type, this metric has to be on top of your checklist. As a general rule, the more buoyancy you’re getting, the PFD bound to hold you up in the water more.
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    Coast Guard Stamp: If the PFDs are not approved by Coast Guard, then chances are that these vests can only be used for light water activities like snorkeling. On the other hand, if a vest gets a stamp from it, these PFDs are safe to use while you’re out on the water along with life-threatening situations like accidents.
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    Price: This PFD can safeguard your life against looming threats when you’re surrounded by water. As such, you really can’t put a price on this garment as long as it’s rated well. Make certain that you choose a variant that is worth your money.

The Verdict

The Mustang Survival Corp M.I.T. 100 Auto Activation PFD is more than just your regular inflatable life vest. This winning, bang-for-the-buck entry from Mustang has pulled out all its stops in making sure that all the features needed in a PFD are present — and they work! 

From its Coast Guard stamp down to its patented Membrane Inflatable Technology, this Mustang PFD sure knows just how to function efficiently.

Liked this article? Did my top pick deserve its spot? If you have anything to share, please feel free to sound them off in the comment section below.

John Morris
 

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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