Which Life Vest Should You Buy? Here are Ten Examples With Pros & Cons (video)

News & Tips: Which Life Vest Should You Buy? Here are Ten Examples With Pros & Cons (video)...

If you’re going to be on the water, you need a certified, wearable personal floatation device also known as a PFD or life vest. It’s required by law, and it’s only smart. However, the array life vests and life jackets from which you have to choose can be confusing even to a crusty old seafarer. This convenient guide shows you what various types of PFDs look like and how they work. It also shares pros and cons of each design, to help you make the right choice for your kind of time on the water – fresh, salt, or anything in between!

1) Type l Life Vest Pros & Cons

1 arrow pointShop Type 1 Life Vest at Bass Pro Shops

1 Type-1-Vest-FINAL3Pros:

  1. Excellent for survival in rough water
  2. Designed to turn unconscious face up
  3. High visibility for rescue
  4. Approved for commercial use

Cons:

  1. Bulky
  2. Not comfortable for extended wear
  3. Tends to be put on for emergencies rather than worn at all times

2) Type lV Flotation Cushion Pros & Cons

1 arrow pointShop Flotation Cushion at Bass Pro Shops

2 Flotation-Cushion-GIFPros:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Throwable device
  3. Also serves as seat cushion
  4. Inexpensive

Cons:

  1. Not wearable
  2. Not approved as sole PFD for many types of watercraft
  3. Of no use to unconscious victim
  4. Loses buoyancy quickly when used as seat cushion

3) Auto Inflatable Life Vest - Suspender Style

1 arrow pointShop Bass Pro Shops In-Sight A-24 Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Vest

3 Auto-Inflate-Vest-GIFPros:

  1. Minimal restriction to movement
  2. Maximum comfort for extended wear
  3. Both auto inflate and manual inflate options
  4. Wide adjustability for body size

Cons:

  1. Expensive
  2. Needs to be rearmed after inflation incident

4) Full-Feature Life Jacket 

1 arrow pointShop Bass Pro Shops XPS Deluxe Fishing Life Jacket

4 Full-Feature-VestPros:

  1. Excellent for all-around use
  2. Comfortable fit
  3. Pockets and D-rings for gear
  4. Excellent bouyancy

Cons:

  1. More restrictive than some other models
  2. Not designed to turn unconscious victim face up
  3. Size specific with minimal adjustability

5) Adult Universal Life Vest 

1 arrow pointShop Bass Pro Shops Adult Universal Life Vest

5 Adult-Universal-VestPros:

  1. Wide range of adjustment for body size
  2. Great to have on hand as extra PFD for guests
  3. Form fitting for comfort
  4. Inexpensive

Cons:

  1. Not breathable for really warm weather
  2. Not designed to turn unconscious victim face up
  3. No pockets

6) Basic Mesh Fishing Life Jacket

1 arrow pointShop Bass Pro Shops Basic Mesh Fishing Life Jacket

6 Basic-Mesh-Fishing-VestPros:

  1. Maximizes free arm and upper body movement
  2. Adjustability for body size
  3. Comfortable even in warm weather
  4. Inexpensive

Cons:

  1. Less buoyancy than some other models
  2. Not designed to turn unconscious victim face up
  3. No pockets

7) Realtree MAX-5 Mesh Life Jacket

1 arrow pointShop Realtree Max-5 Mesh Life Jacket at Bass Pro Shops

7 Realtree-Max-5-Mesh-VestPros:

  1. Camouflage for waterfowl hunting
  2. Both shoulders open for right- or left-handed shooting
  3. Padded Shoulders for shooting
  4. Pockets for shells and gear

Cons:

  1. Not available in range of colors
  2. Sized primarily for men only
  3. Not designed to turn unconscious victim face up

8) Type ll Life Vest

1 arrow pointShop Type ll Life Vest at Bass Pro Shops

8 Type-2-VestPros:

  1. Lowest priced wearable
  2. Bright orange color for visibility
  3. Simple to put on and wear
  4. Long durability and buoyancy

Cons:

  1. Bulky
  2. Not comfortable to wear
  3. Kids don’t like the look
  4. Tends to be put on for emergencies rather than worn at all times

9) Full Floatation Jacket/Float Coat / Float Parka

1 arrow pointShop for these popular brands: IceArmor by Clam, Onyx, Mustang Survival and Stearns

9 Survival-CoatPros:

  1. Maximum survivability in cold water
  2. Camouflaged for hunting
  3. Lots of pockets and gear attachment points
  4. Rain and snow repellant

Cons:

  1. Restrictive to arms and upper body
  2. Not comfortable for extended wear
  3. Too warm to wear in anything but coldest weather
  4. Most expensive wearable option

10) Inflatable Flotation Belt Pack

1 arrow pointShop Bass Pro Shops M-16 Manual Inflatable Belt Pack

10 Inflatable-Belt-PackPros:

  1. Least restrictive to arms and upper body
  2. Less expensive inflatable option than suspenders
  3. Extremely comfortable to wear
  4. Fits wide range of adult body sizes

Cons:

  1. Manual inflation only
  2. Requires victim to “put on” device after inflation
  3. Must be rearmed after each inflation

 

 

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