13 Best women’s Life Vest for kayaking

women's life vest for kayaking

There are different types of women’s life vests on the market, so it can be hard to choose the right one. However, I have compiled a list of the 13 best women’s life vest for kayaking, so you can make an informed decision. These life vests are designed for women and offer superior comfort and safety.

Women have different body types than men, so it’s important to find a life vest that fits you correctly. This list of best women’s life vest for kayaking is for every women out there who love kayaking. Every Women’s PDF in this list is trusted and tested(on the basis of mobility, durability, features, comfort, etc.) by many kayakers.

Quick Recommendation

  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking on a budget: Stohlquist Fit and Stearns Adult Classic 
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking that is durable: NRS Women’s Siren PFD
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking that is comfortable for long hours: Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD
  • Overall Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking: Astral V Eight
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking with a low profile: NRS Ninja
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking that is versatile: Astral Layla
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking at a moderate price: NRS Vapor
  • Best Women’s life vest for Kayaking with simple design: NRS Vapor

women is doing kayaking

What to look for in a life jacket for kayaking?

To select the best women’s life jackets for kayaking, there are some things you should know as a kayaker. Though I provided the list of Best Women’s PFD for Kayaking on the market, but to choose the best out of all following are the things you should know.

people kayaking in the river

USCG classification

There are three main types of United States Coast Guard (USCG) classification for life jackets: Type I, Type II, and Type III.

Type 1: Type I life jackets are considered the most effective in preventing drownings, and are typically used by boaters in rough or remote waters.

Type II: Type II life jackets are less bulky than Type I jackets and are more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, making them popular among recreational boaters.

Type III: Type III life jackets provide the most mobility and are often used by individuals participating in water sports.

Type III life jackets are best for kayaking as it is a water sport that requires fast body movements. Almost all the best women’s life jackets for kayaking on the market has TypeIII USCG classification.

women kayaking in a lake


A life jacket’s buoyancy is the amount of flotation it provides. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) requires that a life jacket have at least 15. 5 pounds (7. 0 kg) of buoyancy for an adult.

However, more buoyancy is usually better, and many women’s kayak life vest have around 16 lb or more pounds of buoyancy. 


There are many different materials that can be used in a women’s life vest, but not all of them are ideal for kayaking.

Some materials, such as foam, can provide good buoyancy but can be bulky and uncomfortable.

Other materials, such as nylon, can be more comfortable but may not provide as much buoyancy.

The best material for a women’s kayak life vest is one that provides good buoyancy while also being comfortable to wear.

The most common materials are polyester, neoprene, and PVC.

  • Polyester is the most affordable material, but it is not as durable as the other two options.
  • Neoprene is more expensive, but it is more durable and provides more insulation.
  • PVC is the most expensive option, but it is also the most durable and provides the best insulation.

Difference between Men and women’s PDFs?

There are a few key differences between male and female PFDs. For one, male PFDs tend to be designed with a more athletic cut, while female PFDs are often more curved to fit a woman’s figure.

Additionally, women’s PFDs often are smaller in size and have smaller arm holes. Finally, women’s PFDs often have brighter colors and patterns than their male counterparts, making them easier to spot in a crowd.

However, one can wear any PDF, depending on size and weight.

Best women’s life Vest for kayaking


NRS Women’s Siren PFD

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 2.1 lb

Buoyancy: 16.3 lb

Material: 400-denier ripstop nylon(outer shell)

Price: $94 – $177

Pros: The fitting and durability of this jacket are top-notch and comfortable to wear.

Cons: Poor ventilation, can be expensive

Bottom line

This is one of the best women’s kayak life vest on the market. But you might be thinking about what makes this jacket suitable for women. The fitting of this jacket is unmatchable, it just hugs you and moves according to body movement. 

Though sometimes women with bigger busts find their breasts pushing outwards because of the fit, still, they don’t find it uncomfortable while wearing it. 

However, you should know that it only comes in three sizes; if your size is not there, you don’t feel the same fit in contrast if the size is there for you. 

You can measure your chest circumference and find if there is a size available for you.

Moreover, you will feel no discomfort while wearing this jacket, thanks to the soft fabric used to make the inner of this life vest.

Lastly, this jacket is very durable and will last you very long because of the material used to make this jacket(400-denier ripstop nylon for the outer shell).


USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 2.5 lb

Buoyancy: 16.3 lb

Material: 400-denier ripstop nylon(outer shell)

Price: $147.98

Pros: Breathable, comfortable against the skin, durable, Provide movement freedom

Cons: Bulky, less flexibility

Bottom line

Well if you love low-profile vests then this is the best option for you. This low-profile design gives a wearer a great range of motion. So if you are an extreme or aggressive adventurer then this is all you can demand for.

In the front, you can see a large pocket which is a hand warmer. NRS ninja is one of the most durable women’s life jackets out there. That is what makes it a great option for women kayakers.

There are two downsides to this vest that I want you to know. Firstly, it doesn’t have much flexibility, which means it doesn’t bend as you sit. Secondly, it looks bulky because most of the material is used below.

Stohlquist Flo PFD

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.6 lb

Buoyancy: 16 lb 4 oz

Material: Foam (polyethylene)

Price: $114

Pros: light, comfortable, good mobility

Cons: not a good option for women with big busts, not as durable as other vests 

Bottom line

This great option for smaller women and I recommend this option to you if you fall in that category. There are two reasons why this lifejacket is the best women’s life jacket for kayaking. Firstly, it is soft and very comfortable against the skin.

The second is that it provides mobility or body movement freedom. As you can see there are two pockets at the front which is an add-on.

However, the high-back panel is not that appealing to some woe kayaks.

The downside of this women’s life vest is that it looks bulky from the back. Moreover, it is also less durable

I recommend to women kayakers who are smaller and have less chest area or smaller busts. Women with larger busts find it harder to set themselves in this women’s PDF jacket.

Onyx Universal Paddle Kayak Life Vest

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.6 lb

Buoyancy: 16 lb 4 oz

Material: Foam (polyethylene)

Price: $114

Pros: large armholes which is best for kayaking, Comfortable, super light, and breathable.

Cons: finding the right fit is difficult, No strap at the bottom

Bottom line

This is the best option for you if you want a lightweight lifejacket that you can wear for long hours. But that is not why it is the best women’s life jacket for kayaking. The main reason is big armholes which give the freedom of movement.

Another best thing bout this life jacket is that it has a mesh at the bottom back which allows airflow and is a great option in summer. 

There are also pockets for storing essentials. However, the main downside of the vest is that the bottom strap is absent. Without that there is a chance of slipping off.

Astral V-Eight 

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.22 lbs / 19.52 oz / 553.83 gr

Buoyancy: 16 lb

Material: 200x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon(shell)

Price: $120

Pros: Pocket space is good, Ventilation is great, good strap management, very durable, versatile, excellent mobility, comfortable.

Cons: The jacket runs large most time, Pockets might be an issue for some people.

Bottom line

Astral v eight might be the Best Women’s PFD for Kayaking in the market. But what makes this life vest best for women kayakers? well, this life vest has all things which are required in any great life vest. 

Not only this jacket is comfortable to wear for long hours but also fits different sizes, thanks to its wide-open style from the top that makes this possible.

Further, the vest has different strap management i.e straps are located on the top of the vest and not below the vest. This allows the wearer to be comfortable in any position like sitting(straps will not dig into the stomach). This is a huge advantage of this Life vest over others.

Now let’s talk about big deep pockets which have enough space for you to store snacks or any tool while kayaking. If you are like me who loves to eat then I assume that you will find this a plus in any life vest for kayaking.

The only downside of this jacket is that it runs large. That might be because of its open structure at the top. 

For me, this is the women’s PDF for kayaking currently on the market. If you do multiple water sports then this would be the best option for you.

NRS Vapor

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.85 lbs

Buoyancy: 16.3 lbs

Material: 400 denier nylon outer shell

Price: $94 (on NRS)

Pros: Comfortable, Very durable, Fitting is good.

Cons: fewer features than NRS serin, Long.

Bottom line

If you want a simple yet comfortable life vest for you, then NRS vapor is the best choice. It has a simple design and it is easy to configure it. Both men and women can wear this and it fits almost all body shapes and sizes. 

What makes this life vest one of the best women kayaking life jackets is its flexibility and low adjustment points. The benefit of low adjustment points is that you will not feel uncomfortable breathing while sitting. Moreover, the mobility of this jacket is also good.

However, the downside of this PDF vest is that it is longer and has fewer features than other PDFs on the list. For example, it doesn’t have pockets for storage. But at the same time offers a simple design that has no complications. 

But if you are looking for a women’s life vest that is the same and has pockets and other features then NRS Serin is the best option. 

The price of this life vest is also low in comparison to other good-quality PDFs. It is a great option if you are looking for a life vest that is not costly and not too cheap at the same time.

View on NRS

View on Amazon

Astral Layla

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.76 lbs for S/M

Buoyancy: 16.3 lbs

Material: 200 x 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon

Price: $165

Pros: Comfortable to wear, fitting is also good, provides good mobility, durable, can be used for multi-water sports.

Cons: Expensive, bigger in size, less breathable

Bottom line

If astral eight is the best women’s life vest for kayak then Astral Layla is runner-up just behind its cousin. There are a few things that make this best woman life vest for kayaking. 

Firstly it offers the best fitting for women kayakers with any bust size. You also get space which allows you to get the right chest size. 

If you are having difficulty finding the right kayak life vest for your size, then you should definitely consider this option.

Lastly, the quality of this women’s life vest is very good. The quality stitching and material(Kapok fibers) used to make the vest provides durability to the PDF.

Stohlquist Fit Unisex Adult Life Jacket PFD

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.6 lb

Buoyancy: 16 lb to 18 lb

Material: 200D Nylon

Price: $45

Pros: soft material, provides a good fitting, Excellent mobility

Cons: Not as durable as some of the other options, runs large, No pockets and attachment point

Bottom line

The Stohlquist Fit is a unisex adult life jacket that is great for both men and women.

But what makes it one of the best Women’s PFD for Kayaking? Well, firstly it is affordable and easy to find, making it a great option for you if you are on a budget.

Moreover, with its high-back construction and Women’s AirComfort System, this women’s kayak life vest is designed to provide you with ultimate comfort and breathability. You will wear this women’s life vest for long hours without any discomfort. 

There are a few downsides to this jacket. Firstly, it runs large, especially the torso of the jacket is bigger for small women. Secondly, there are no pockets and attachment points.

Though it is not the best on the list but surely a great option on a budget.

Check on Stohlquist

Check on Amazon

Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.69 lbs

Buoyancy: 16 lb to 18 lb

Material:  Nylon

Price: $160

Pros: Comfortable to wear, breathable, good for women with larger bust sizes, lightweight

Cons: Expensive, Bulky but not so much

Bottom line

The Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD is one of the best life jackets on the market for women kayakers.

It fits snugly and is comfortable to wear, while still providing plenty of buoyancy.

If you’re looking for a women’s life jacket that is both comfortable and stylish, then Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD should be your pick. This high-quality life jacket is made with a women’s air comfort system that provides unparalleled breathability and comfort.

It also comes with fleece-lined hand warmer pockets to keep you warm and toasty on those cold days on the water.

The best thing about this life women’s life vest is that it has a high back.

Additionally, the Old Town Solitude Women’s PFD is made with durable ripstop nylon construction that ensures that it will last you for years to come.

With its adjustable shoulder, waist, and side straps, this life jacket is sure to fit you perfectly.

O’Brien Women’s Flex V-Back Life Jacket

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 2.15 lbs

Buoyancy: 16 lb to 18 lb

Material: Neoprene

Price: $79.99- $143.98

Pros: two straps at the bottom provide a secure fit, Comfortable, Doesn’t ride up.

Cons: runs small in size, no pockets

Bottom line

The O’Brien Women’s Flex V-Back Life Jacket is the best life jacket for women kayakers because it is specifically designed to fit a woman’s body.

The jacket is made of a flexible material that allows it to move with the body, and the v-back design provides superior comfort and mobility.

There are two downsides to this jacket. Firstly, it runs small so check the chart before you buy. Secondly, it has no pockets for storage.

Stohlquist Spectrum

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 1.7 lbs

Buoyancy: 16 lbs 8oz

Material: Polyethylene (240 Ripstop(outer shell), 240 D Nylon(Inner shell))

Price: $100

Pros: One size fits most body types, Comfortable, versatile

Cons: Hard structure, less breathable

Bottom line

One of the best budget-friendly women’s life jackets for kayaking. Though it is a unisex life jacket it is great for smaller sizes, making it one of the best vests for women. It is available in chest sizes 30 to 52 inches. 

This life jacket might not be the top or best of all, but it is also not far behind the top life vests. It is moderate in all aspects comfort, mobility, durability, and fitting. 

The only downside of this life vest is that it is less breathable and lacks the features of a top life vest. Despite all this, I would say that this is a good option for all women out there who are looking for a good life jacket for kayaking in a moderate price range. 

Astral E-Ronny

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight:1.02 lbs

Buoyancy: 16lbs

Material: 200 Denier Neoprene(liner fabric)

Price: $135(on Astral)

Pros: Comfortable to wear, breathable, Multi-pockets

Cons: No strap at the bottom, so can ride up

Bottom line

If you are looking for a women’s life jacket for kayaking that provides you with a good range of motion then Astral-E-Ronny should be your priority. 

This life jacket is very flexible and provides allows you to do movements easily because of the mesh material used in it. It has two zippered pockets, and two mesh pockets, in which you can store anything you need while kayaking.

The downside of this life jacket is that it has no strap at the bottom, which makes the jacket ride up. If we look at all of the downsides and plus of this life jacket then I suggest you use this jacket for kayaking but not in heavy water sport.

Coleman Stearns Adult Classic

USCG classification: Type III PFD

Weight: 0.043 lbs

Buoyancy: 16 lb to 18 lb

Material: Neoprene

Price: $29

Pros: three straps at the front provides a secure fit, Comfortable, mobility is good not the best.

Cons: Not the best option for women with a smaller bust, no pockets, not durable.

Bottom line

The cheapest of all Stearns Adult Classic is one of the most loved women’s life jackets for kayaking despite some downsides. But you may be wondering why we included this in our list. Well, the reason for that is, its worth in comparison to the money spent. 

It provides decent mobility, and a secure fit, and can last you more time if you take care of it. Though it lacks features like you will see no pockets for storage. But these downfalls can be ignored if we look at the price.

This is also one of the most sold life jackets on Amazon with good reviews. 


Related: The 7 Best Waterproof Socks For Hiking

Related: The 7 Best Waterproof Socks For Hiking

How to choose Women’s PFD for kayaking

Standard PFDs vs. Inflatable PFDs

There are two main types of personal flotation devices (PFDs): standard and inflatable.

Standard PFDs

Standard PFDs are typically made of foam and provide constant buoyancy. These types of PFDs are usually worn by kayakers.

Moreover, you will see pockets in standard PFDs, which is a plus point as one can store tools or snacks when kayaking. The same is not true for Inflatable PFD as they don’t come with pockets.

Standard PFDs are generally less expensive and more comfortable, but they can become waterlogged and lose their buoyancy over time.

Standard PFDs are also the best investment if you do multiple water sports. Besides kayaking, you can wear standard PFDs while canoeing, paddle boarding, and waterskiing.

Lastly, you don’t need to be extra careful with standard PFDs. The only thing you can do is keep them in sunlight when not in use.

However, there are some downsides of standard PFDs such as they sometimes get bulky and warm in summers.

Inflatable PFDs

Inflatable PFDs are usually made of fabric and can be inflated when needed. Both types of PFDs have their pros and cons.

Inflatable PFDs are usually made of nylon and can be inflated with air or CO2

Inflatable PFDs are more expensive, but they are more compact and can be re-inflated if needed.

Moreover, these types of PFDs are more comfortable to wear because of their slim design.

However, these types of PFDs require maintenance, such as replacing CO2 cartridges after each inflation.

Best option

So, if you are confused between standard PFDs and Inflatable PFDs, then there is a simple solution, which is the third option i.e Hybrid PFDs. These types PFDs are not so common because they cost more than any of the mentioned options.

This type of PFDs is basically a combination of both standard PFD and an inflatable.

PFD Sizing and Fitting for women

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right personal flotation device (PFD) for your needs. But for women, fit is most important. Here are some tips on how to size and fit a PFD for a woman: –

First, measure your chest circumference. This is the most important measurement when it comes to finding a PFD that fits properly.

Do know that, when it comes to selecting the right PFD for adults, chest measurement is the determining factor. However, for children, weight is the deciding factor.

Second, take into account your body type and shape. Women come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find a PFD that flatters your figure.

For women, PFDs should be fitted snugly around the bust and waist, and they should also have adjustable straps to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.

Third, consider your activity level. Finally, try on several different PFDs to find the one that’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the experts at your local sporting goods store.

Difference between PFD and life jacket 

A PFD, or personal flotation device, is a type of life jacket that is designed to be worn by an individual in order to keep them afloat in the water.

PFDs are typically made from a variety of materials, including foam, neoprene, and nylon, and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit different body types.

Life jackets, on the other hand, are designed to be worn by anyone in a situation where they may be at risk of drowning.

Life jackets are also made from a single piece of buoyant material, such as foam, and are designed to keep the wearer’s head above water.


These are the best women’s life jackets for kayak, that you should consider. I hope you like the list and your doubts are cleared. All the life jackets have some downfalls and plus, one must choose according to their needs. Some small downsides in a life jacket can be ignored like big pockets if the jacket is best in other aspects(floatation, mobility, breathability). If you have any doubts or queries, you can send me a message by mail. I’m happy to answer your query.