What Is Best PFD For Sea Kayaking

For kayakers that yearn to go out into the ocean, the open waters, the right gear will pay off. If you want to have a good, and somewhat safe time, you will need the right equipment. The following breakdown will instruct you on what the best PFD are for the sea. Sea kayaking is fun, but it’s made even more fun when you have the right equipment.

Best PFD For Sea Kayaking

 Things To Look For Outright

As you start to break down the best PFD for sea kayaking, you will want to take into consideration a few specific things. Like anything else you shop for, there are some elements that make something better than another. For the sake of paddling, your PFD has to be made for more than just rapids, and waters that are tumultuous. Sea kayaking can be a little less predictable, which requires versatility as much as it requires speed and technique. Take a glance at these major elements to look for.


As you break down the options, you’ll want to consider how the fit of the kayak works for your body. Kayaking in the sea requires you to move your arms, and stay comfortable as you rock back and forth. You don’t want your arms to hit the sides, you don’t want to sit too deep inside the vessel, and you want to be able to reach as far as you can, without discomfort. You also want ventilation. Your body will get hot as you paddle along, and if you can’t stand up with stability, you will want ventilation to help you out. Overall, your mobility matters, and the “fit” of the item dictates a lot.


As far as fit is concerned, you want to have a strong option that has a lot of extra buoyancy. Yes, sea water can have salt, you can float a bit, but if weather changes and you’re knocked into the deep, you need that extra. The extra buoyancy given to you by a strong PFD will give you leverage for rising above the waves. You don’t need it all the time, obviously. But you want peace of mind in case you do. The form of this should be balanced with comfort, form, and durability.


Paddling long distances can wear on you. Out on the ocean, you may have to go far away from the shore to get to calmer waters. That being said, you will need to make sure that you consider options that allow you to have extra storage on your person. If you’re sitting in a kayak, easy access to a knife, a quick snack, or perhaps some water can be good elements to have.

Visibility amidst function works great too. In case you need rescuing, a bright jacket can give the Coast Guard and others easier sight when you need help. This also helps boats and other vessels to see where you are, and avoid you if need be.

At this point, you have the basics of what to look for. Comfort, fit, buoyancy, and function all matter.

Best PFD For Sea Kayaking Candidates 

NRS cVest

 NRS cVest

Breaking down the best PFD for sea kayaking can be tough, but when you apply the things to look for above, you will see that the NRS cVest is the best. This has a lot of features to consider. The starting point is the color. This comes in 3 different colors, but 2 of the 3 are bright. Red or orange with brightness, and colorful stitching mixed with storage and safety in mind as well. It’s ergonomically designed so that you can paddle without worry of interference.

The vest has been made for sea kayakers, and you can tell by the way the mesh ventilation offers. The additional storage includes several pockets on the front, zippers, and other quick access options. Six total pockets will help you store things, and ensure that you are able to move along.

There are 8 total adjustment points on this vest, so a comfort fit will be easy to deal with. It also conforms to the torso of the kayaker, with a foam that makes for easier comfort as you move around a bit. The more movement, the easier this feels on the body, simple as that.

NRS cVest Features

  • 6 Storage Pockets
  • Lash Tab and loops up front
  • Beacon loop on back
  • Flotation on front
  • Flotation on back
  • SOLAS tape (reflective even in low light)
  • 8 Adjustment points for comfort
  • Easy fit arm openings
  • US Coast Guard Certified (Type III)
  • Flotation design up to 16.5 pounds

Kokatat OutFIT

 Kokatat OutFIT

As an alternative to the featured vest above, consider this second solution. This is the Kokatat OutFIT, and it comes quite close to being the best. Up front, you are going to see that the size and shape is definitely on par with the aforementioned features to look for. Two of the colorways are bright, but all have reflective tape. The vest is designed for long form paddling, and has a deep cut on the side and arms so that you have full mobility.

The body of the vest is made of foam, and adjusts with ease as your body heats up. This becomes a second skin of sorts, molding to your shoulders and body as you move a bit. There are several pockets for storage, and even secret pockets if you need to keep something hidden.

The mesh pockets up front give you breathable, easy access pockets. The buoyancy, weight, and overall design of the vest is similar to the NRS cVEST only slightly less pronounced, but still a very high quality vest to consider.

Kokatat OutFIT Features

  • Corduar Outer
  • Nylon Inner
  • Adjustable Shoulder panels
  • Hypalon Grip for stability
  • Hidden pocket
  • Extra pockets up front
  • Lash tab for knife
  • Made for sea kayaking

That’s it, the top 2 great PFD solutions if you’re going to head out to sea. You will find that there are several benefits to each. Each one will allow you to enjoy a great journey, without worry. Consider these two as the best you’re going to find today.

Steven Conte

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