7 Best Life Jackets for Kayaking in 2020

Discover the year's top PFDs for kayakers.

Discover some of the year’s best life jackets from Salus Marine Wear, Stohlquist WaterWare and Kokatat. Whether you’re looking for a PFD for an adventure just out your back door, or a PFD that will keep you safe on the trip of a lifetime, these versatile life jackets will keep you protected on the water.

The Best Life Jackets for Kayaking in 2020

Capri by Salus Marine Wear 

Price: $169

The Capri offers superior fit and comfort. It’s soft and feminine on the outside, yet strong and practical on the inside. The roomy and contoured top, combined with fleece hand-warmer pockets, two zippered security pockets, full-length reflective trim and a unique splash of feminine styling make the Capri a welcome companion on any open water adventure.

Ebb from Stohlquist WaterWare

Price: $99.95

One of Stohlquist’s most popular PFDs is now offered in Graded Sizing for the ultimate fit. The higher mesh back flotation fits more comfortably above the tall seat backs found in today’s rec/touring kayaks. The exclusive Cross-Chest Cinch harness eliminates ride-up, and the added internal ventilation helps keep paddlers cool during long days on the water.

Hustle and Hustle R from Kokatat

Price: $139.95

The low-profile, side-entry Hustle PFD has two stacked and sculpted GAIA PVC-free floating foam panels that wrap around the torso to allow optimal comfort. Covered in 210D high-tenacity ripstop nylon with adjustable, padded shoulder straps and three side adjustments for secure fit. A large front pocket allows for secure internal organization. A single lash tab on the front for accessories.

Stepping up, the Hustle R provides guides, teachers and rescuers a full Type 5 rescue vest with the same fit and comfort as the Hustle in a pull-over vest. The Hustle R adds quick release safety harness and O-ring and protected rescue tab lash tab. The Hustle R is covered with tough, dependable and stain-resistant 500D Cordura.

Saco PFD from GUL Performance Apparel

Price: $175

The versatile Saco PFD delivers ultimate protection, comfort and peace of mind, whether enjoying whitewater adventures or flatwater touring. Featuring an anatomical fit, this pullover, low-profile PFD utilizes Gul’s Infinity+ failsafe shoulder strap system. Incorporates a Spacer Mesh Liner, 3D webbing, anti-ride-up waist belt, spacious Slimline front pocket, reflective details and EaZZy glide straps.

Ungava from Salus Marine Wear

Price: $169

Ideal for kayak touring, the Salus Ungava is a unisex-style vest with all of Salus’ trademark features, including soft foam, round edges and contour fit. Additional features, including hand-warmer pockets, the ability to attach a quick-release belt, zippered security pocket, mesh drop-down pocket for quick access, five lash points and added reflective trim, make the Ungava a welcome companion on any water adventure.

Nomad from MTI Life Jackets

Price: $89.95

MTI’s new premium universal vest. Large cargo pockets with stretch mesh offer secure storage for must-carry items like a smartphone. Stash sunglasses in the elastic loops without fumbling to open a pocket. Features upscale Oxford and ripstop nylon fabric finished with reflective material and adjustable padded shoulders and handy tethered signal whistle—because a vest with so many bells deserves a whistle.

Betsea from Stohlquist WaterWare

Price: $129.95

The women’s specific Betsea features the ergonomic Wrapture-shaped torso that wraps around the body for a close, low profile and comfortable fit. The Cross-Chest Cinch harness keeps flotation positioned low on the torso, eliminating ride-up. Interior sculpted cups and Stohlquist’s exclusive Graded Sizing ensure the perfect fit. Also available in Petite size (75 to 125 pounds) for smaller paddlers.


  1. The review on PFDs looks like a repeat of what is on the manufacturers website. I expect and would like a more objective review from users of products such as this. Is that possible?


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