Three Keys to Picking a Safe and Comfortable Inflatable PFD

Keeping yourself above water in an emergency doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or cumbersome

Man floating in inflatable PFD.
Get out and paddle, swim, and boat—safely.Spencer Gurley

Some anglers don’t like to wear a traditional Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)––ignore their claims of discomfort, chafing, heat, or hassle. Inflatable PFDs make it easy to protect yourself on the water, without any of the drawbacks of a traditional life jacket. These three models offer varied combinations of flotation protection and comfort, so you can find the one that fits your comfort, safety, and activity level. That means there’s no excuse for not wearing your PFD, whether you’re kayak fishing, or cruising in your bass boat.

Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket (PFD)

Low Profile

A 1-inch belt and body buckle mean this one won’t get in the way of all your aquatic activities.Onyx

Especially for anglers in a bass boat or skiff, an inflatable belt PFD stays out of the way while you’re casting or running the boat. The belt is so slim and lightweight that you’ll barely notice it. It’s also self-inflating, which means it fully inflates when you hit the water, and provides 15.5 pounds of flotation. There is also a manual ripcord should you need to inflate the PFD on your own and a manual mouth valve to provide back up to the CO2-powered inflator. It meets all U.S. Coast Guard PFD requirements.

MTI Adventurewear Crotch Strap Set for PFD Life Jacket, Universal

Two-Pack

These are compatible with vests that have D-rings or loops.MTI Adventurewear

MTI Adventurewear designed the Helios 2.0 with an ergonomic collar and neoprene neck panel to make long days on the water comfortable. The mesh liner drains water quickly, and they’ve added more safety into the vest with built in reflective trim and a signal whistle—great for fishing busy waterways. There’s also a handy zippered pocket that’s big enough for a protein bar or some other snack.

Stearns Adult Watersport Classic Series Vest

Affordable but Dependable

This U.S. Coastguard–approved pick is open-sided and has four adjustable buckles.STEARNS

If you’re a waterbaby, it makes sense to invest in your own PFD. That way no matter what you’re doing—wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, swimming—you’ll always have a comfortable life jacket that fits you perfectly.

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