The Best Inflatable Life Vests For Fishing – Top 5 Vests in 2024

It goes without saying that anytime you are around the water it’s of the utmost importance to remain safe, that’s why we’ve reviewed the best inflatable life vest for fishing.

Whether you are fly fishing in waders, casting from a bank, or fishing from your kayak it’s always important to make sure you’re safe by wearing a fishing life vest.

After angling for many years and speaking to many people who fish in kayaks and alongside river banks, it’s the general consensus that most life vests are bulky and aren’t worn because they impede your range of motion and ability to cast.

But what if this wasn’t true? We’ve spent hours researching and testing life vests that are purpose-built for fishing and situations in which a bulky life vest isn’t appropriate.

Many of these life vests are personal flotation devices (PFDs) that automatically inflate when immersed in water, these are a great choice as whilst not inflated they remain very small and don’t hinder your casting ability.

After we have summarised our 5 best inflatable life vest for bass fishing products, there is a buyer’s guide down the bottom which will go over all of the key features you need to understand and look out for whilst buying a fishing life vest.

Quick View The Best Inflatable Life Vest For Fishing

4 Best Inflatable Fishing Life Vests

Best Inflatable Life Vest For Fishing
Mustang Survival - M.I.T. Auto Activated USCG Approved Inflatable Life Vest Mustang Survival - M.I.T. Auto Activated USCG Approved Inflatable Life Vest

An innovative approach to flotation perfect for adventures that keep the shore within sight, the M.I.T.100 offers a streamlined, comfortable, and easy-to-wear solution for all-day wear or quick trips on the water.

Adjustable waist belt offers a customized fit and can accommodate outerwear if needed. Large arm cut-outs mean full mobility when casting your line.

Automatic inflation deploys when submerged in water - not before.

The manual inflation handle slides away for safety and is easily accessible if you need to deploy by hand.

With Membrane Inflatable Technology this PFD has a light, flexible and comfortable fit. You'll hardly know that you have this life vest around your neck.

This life vest provides 28lbs. or 125N of buoyancy when inflated. This is 1.5x most regular foam PFDs.

What we like:

  • Approved by the USCG
  • Automatically inflates upon water immersion
  • Exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology™ 
  • Will self-right most wearers (face-up) once inflated
Next Best Fishing Life Vest
ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Vest ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Vest

This fishing life vest produced by Onyx is a great PFD. It provides the angler with a tremendous range of motion and won't affect your ability to cast and fish. 

This life vest is U.S coast guard approved that you can put all of your trust in. The automatic inflation method utilizes a CO2 cartridge that inflates the life vest when submerged in water. Alternatively, you can manually inflate the fishing life vest with the manual T-chord. 

Many users report on this life vest lasts many years. This is likely due to the construction of the product, the vest is made from durable ripstop nylon which is puncture and tear-proof.

The life vest is very lightweight and can be worn all year round, the slimline design makes it perfect to wear in the hotter months. The neckline has soft neoprene which is not irritating to your skin. 

What we like:

  • Low volume PFD
  • US coast guard approved
  • Produced from heavy-duty ripstop nylon
  • Switch between automatic and manual operation
04/04/2023 12:06 pm GMT
Lightweight Fishing PFD
MUSTANG SURVIVAL M.I.T. 70 Manual Inflatable PFD MUSTANG SURVIVAL M.I.T. 70 Manual Inflatable PFD

For this inflatable life vest, Mustang took their most popular vest and made it more flexible, comfortable, and lightweight without compromising on the important features, such as durability, quality, and safety.

The MIT 70 is the smallest approved PFD in North America, which makes it great for inshore fishing. You will still have all the mobility you need to cast your rod.

As with other Mustang PFDs, the membrane inflatable technology creates a lightweight, and flexible fit.

This particular model is inflated manually, by pulling the inflation handle.

It provides the minimum approval buoyancy of 15.7lbs. or 70 N when inflated.

What we like:

  • Easy-access inflator eases re-arming
  • Exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology™ (M.I.T.) creates a lightweight, flexible fit
  • Manually inflates by pulling activation cord
  • Lightweight and comfortable
04/04/2023 10:23 pm GMT
Best Budget Fishing Life Vest
Lifesaving Pro Premium Manual Inflatable PFD Lifesaving Pro Premium Manual Inflatable PFD

This is a manual PFD, simple to inflate when required; just pull the inflation handle and the life vest is ready to float you on the water.

It is very lightweight and has a slim-lined design, you'll hardly know you're wearing it which is perfect for a fisherman. As well as this, it does not restrict your range of motion which makes sure you can cast effectively every-time. 

Similar to the other fishing life jackets we have reviewed, it inflates very quickly in less than 5 seconds so if you fall in the water you'll be back on the surface in no time. 

Made from durable materials such as ripstop nylon and neoprene this life vest will last you for years to come. 

Approved for use by SOLAS you can rest assured that this life jacket is both of premium quality and will keep you safe whilst fishing on the water. 

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Slim lined design
  • Approved by SOLAS
  • Manual and quick inflation

Alternative Fishing Life Vest Options

ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

The fishing life vest is different than the last. Whilst it is not an automatically inflating life vest, it does hold many benefits of its own. 

Purpose-built for fishing, this vest has many storage pockets perfect for storing all of the tackle you need on hand and to quickly access. 

With high back foam, it adds to the comfort and back support whilst you are fishing from a kayak. Users speak highly of this vest for kayak fishing and mention that it does not hinder their ability to cast. 

The one push-button drop-down tray pocket can hold a small tackle box, there is also a lash tab that can hold a knife or whistle, etc. 

What we like:

  • Breathable Mesh Back 
  • Foam pads improve kayak comfort
  • Storage pockets purpose-built for fishing tackle
  • Exceptional customer reviews
04/04/2023 01:39 pm GMT
Stohlquist Men's Ebb Life Jacket/Personal Floatation Device Stohlquist Men's Ebb Life Jacket/Personal Floatation Device

This fishing life vest will be well suited towards the people who don't enjoy using an automatic life vest, this vest floats using foam pads within the inner and outer shell. 

This life vest has been well received by a huge number of customers on Amazon. Its outer shell is made from durable ripstop fabric which is very durable and puncture-resistant. Its inner is a soft denier liner which makes the life jacket very breathable and comfortable to wear in hotter climates. 

Specially designed back shape to sit comfortably in sit on top and sit inside fishing kayaks. Good sized button pockets allow you to keep your most important tackle items close by for easy access whilst fishing. 

What we like:

  • Breathable inner shell
  • Storage pockets
  • No auto inflation will suit some anglers better
  • Comfy design for use inside kayaks
04/04/2023 10:34 am GMT

How To Choose The Best Inflatable Life Vest For Fishing Bass Etc.

best inflatable life vest for fishing

One of the most important things to consider when you go fishing is your own safety. You never know what might happen and the power of water shouldn’t be underestimated.

Any boating collision or slip on some wet rocks could end up with you in the water. In certain water currents, wearing a life jacket might be your only method of staying safe and afloat no matter how good of a swimmer you might be.

In certain accidents you may also end up unconscious due to injury, if you have a life vest it’s certainly going to help keep your head above the water and greater increase your chance of survival. We know this sounds daunting and unpleasant but it has to be said, there is no joking around here.

Before you purchase your inflatable life vest for fishing we would like to go over certain features to look out for to ensure you’re getting the best of the best on the market. We truly believe that all of the life jackets we have listed will serve you very well for both safety and their ability to fish in. Here we have listed some points to consider before making your purchase:

How Does It Keep You Afloat?

Check how the life vest actually operates… many people don’t understand that you can actually get different types such as manual and automatic vests that are inflated with a CO2 cartridge or a foam vest that doesn’t require inflation.

Automatic inflating life vests are great as they submerge when you hit the water, even if you are unconscious you will be afloat. However many people don’t want to put all of their trust in an automatic one incase it fails – which is understandable.

Therefore they would most likely opt for a life vest that is both manual and automatic. If the automatic function for whatever reason fails, you can pull a t-chord and manually inflate the life vest.

Or you could opt for the more traditional foam life vest, no need to inflate the PFD here. The only drawback with foam vests is they tend to be bulkier and get in the way.

Check for an Approval Tag

Before purchasing a life vest check for the approval from the US coast guard or SOLTAS.

Either will mean the vest has met a particular set of safety standards. Whilst not all vests on the market will have the approval – Also check the reviews, if the vest has been purchased hundreds of times and is well received by the customers, it will likely do its job.

But you might rest better knowing it’s been approved to the highest standards.

Perfect size

Never wear a life vest which isn’t the right size. The whole point of a life vest is to keep your head above the water if you fall in.

Whether you have consciousness or not. If you pick a vest of the wrong size it won’t support your back and neck properly and might not actually do what it is intended to do. Double-check the size guide or get one that is very adjustable and can be tightened to suit.

Buoyancy Rating

The Buoyancy rating is important, especially if you will be in rougher water. Usually, above 22lbs of buoyancy rate is effective for fishing and other purposes. If you are Kayak fishing in the offshore area, don’t go below 35 lbs of buoyancy rate.

This is essential for the same reason the size and fit is! It’s all about ensuring you’re supported enough to stay out of the water.


Color isn’t the first thing that springs to everyone’s mind – unless it’s all about looking cool whilst out on the water. But remember the brighter you are, the more you can be seen!


Whistles are always important to sound an alarm if you’re in trouble. If your vest doesn’t come with one you can always attach your own. Amazon has a good range of life vest whistles you can check out here.


We thoroughly hope this article has helped you discover the best inflatable life vest for bass fishing or any kind of fishing for that matter.

Staying safe whilst you’re out having fun and fishing is the most important thing you should consider after all accidents do happen from time to time and it’s better to be prepared for the worst.

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