Paddleboarding

The Best Life Jackets for Paddle Boarding

​Having fun and staying safe at the same time

There are few means of experiencing the ocean which are more exhilarating than water sports. And fewer water sports which are as adventurous as paddle boarding.

With the ability to go on lengthy trips and even explore the sea further away from the coast, it’s no surprise that it continues to attract a growing number of fans.

And just like other water sports categories, ensuring you have a great time also requires paying close attention to every little detail in order to remain safe while engaging in this popular past time.

And that’s why we shall be looking into the best life jackets for paddle boarding to decide which one is the most effective at protecting you during your adventures on the water.



​Finding the ideal life jacket

In spite of being a relative newcomer on the mainstream water sports scene, paddle boarding has taken the world by storm. And it’s pretty easy to understand why.

It’s not only suitable for exploring any body of water - rivers, lakes, creeks or the ocean - but is also great for improving your fitness, thanks to the full body workout it provides. What’s more, it’s also considered somewhat safer than canoeing or kayaking.

However, it does require one piece of equipment which is just as mandatory as the paddle board itself - the life jacket. That’s because the board counts as a vessel in the United States.

The ideal life jacket must fit snugly and comfortably and permit you to move with as much ease and freedom as possible. It should also be sufficiently buoyant and come in bright colors to ensure you are able to remain afloat and can be spotted easily if you ever happen to require any assistance.

Below we have 3 life jackets which possess all these qualities. But they also have other welcome features too. And at the very end of the article, we will be able to decide which one is the best choice for your paddle boarding adventures.

Comparison Chart

ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Aqua
Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest
NRS Vapor PFD
ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Aqua
Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest
NRS Vapor PFD
$42.63
from $50.56
from $76.67
ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Aqua
ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Aqua
$42.63
Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest
Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest
from $50.56
NRS Vapor PFD
NRS Vapor PFD
from $76.67

Best Life Jackets for Paddle Boarding Reviews

1. ​Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Aqua

Review

If ever there was a life jacket made from a secret wish list contributed to by every paddle boarding fan, it would most likely turn out to be this product.

Easily adjustable to ensure a perfect fit, it is also extremely light so that you hardly feel its weight when you put it on. These almost magical qualities are due to its Mesh inSculpted and flexible design which flow along the contours of your body to fit it as snugly as possible, as well as its soft, lightweight flotation foam.

The 200 denier nylon ripstop and nylon oxford used in its manufacture also enhance its lightness, durability and flexibility and are especially water repellent.

In addition to keeping you safe, this life vest also comes with a comfort factor thanks to the mesh ventilation at its front and back which enables  maximum airflow.

The product also features an expandable mesh pocket which might just come in handy for useful items you’d love to have with you on the water. Its manufacturers have also attached a whistle to it as well - a sure sign of their dedication to keeping you safe while you explore your favorite waterways. They have also made use of Solas grade reflective material to make sure you can be spotted as easily as possible and provide the life vest in orange or aqua.

​All these awesome features make this life jacket an excellent choice for ensuring you remain safe while having fun with one of the most enjoyable water sports of all time.

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PROS

  • ​Mesh inSculpted and flexible design enabling jacket to fit snugly.
  • ​Mesh ventilation at its front and back to enable maximum airflow for additional comfort.
  • ​Additional safety features including a whistle and mesh pocket.
  • Solas grade reflective material to ensure maximum visibility.

CONS

  • We could nit pick about the style but we really like this product

2. ​Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest

Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest

Review

The manufacturers of this item pride themselves on having produced a life jacket which is the epitome of convenience and comfort.

And with its large arm holes to permit easier movement, they can be taken at their word. Especially since it also features side and shoulder adjustments to ensure you can work out the fit which is most suitable for you.

It also comes with front pockets so you can store your personal effects and have them within easy reach too while on the water.

But most importantly, the Stearns Hybrid Paddle Vest will keep you safe due to the PE flotation foam also used in its manufacture which is known for its exceptional buoyancy and lightness.

And the manufacturers are also pretty secure in their belief in its durability and in the fact that it will accompany you on many paddle boarding trips in the future.

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PROS

  • ​Light and buoyant PE flotation foam.
  • ​Front pockets for storing small items.
  • ​Large arm holes to permit movement with ease.

CONS

  • ​Absence of reflexive material to aid visibility.
  • ​Absence of additional safety accessories such as whistles.

3. ​NRS Vapor PFD

NRS Vapor PFD

Review

The last item on our list is especially light and offers easy mobility. Its manufacturer’s faith in the ability of their product to deliver is rather unshakable resulting in them promising that you’ll actually forget that you have it on - a pretty bold claim.

It is actually justified thanks to its status as a Type III PFD which indicates that it is suitable for wearing for a long period of time. There is also its action-cut design which provides as much freedom as possible for your arms - a necessity when paddling.

Its adjustable straps and soft foam used in its manufacture also mean that it is able to fit right around you and adjust to your body shape.

Because it is also US Coast Guard approved, it is capable of keeping its wearer afloat and is best for calm inland water where it will be at its most efficient. And there is also the fact that it comes in a bright yellow which is also helpful in terms of visibility.

​It is the ideal choice if you intend to explore a calm stream, river or lake on a clear summer’s afternoon.

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PROS

  • ​Excellent mobility for paddling.
  • ​United States Coast Guard approved.
  • ​Adjustable straps and soft foam which adjust to the shape of your body.

CONS

  • ​Not everyone will need a Type III PFD. Though it remains one of the best in class in it's niche

​The Verdict

While each life jacket mentioned above is suitable for paddle boarding and will keep you safe, it is the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest which emerges the clear winner of this competition.

And it’s all thanks to the attention to detail by its manufacturers whose dedication to the safety and comfort of their clients can be seen in the product’s every feature.

And in closing, we will leave a brief recap of what makes it outshine the rest with ease:

  • 200 denier nylon ripstop and nylon oxford used in manufacture to provide extra durability, lightness and flexibility.
  • Mesh ventilation at the front and back for maximum comfort.
  • Solas grade reflective material to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Mesh inSculpted flexible design as well as soft, lightweight flotation foam to ensure a snug fit.
  • The availability of a whistle as an extra safety feature.
  • ​Bright color options including orange and aqua.  

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