The 10 Best Women’s PFD for Kayaking: A Comprehensive Review

best women's pfd for kayaking

Last updated on January 7, 2023

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If you’re a woman who loves kayaking, then you know that a quality Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is a must-have. Not all PFDs are created equal, however, and it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive review of the 10 best women’s PFDs for kayaking on the market today.

We’ll take a look at everything from features to price to make it easy for you to find the perfect PFD for your needs. So read on and find the right one for you!

In a hurry! Please see our favorites.

Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD for Recreation, Fishing, and Tour, Glacier Blue, Small/Medium
  • Intended for recreation, fishing, and tour.
  • Features a 200 x 400 denier ripstop nylon shell and a breathable...
  • Center front zip entry, PE and EVA foam inserts, YKK self-locking...
  • Weighs 1.22 lbs (19.52 oz). The V-Eight has a buoyancy rating of 16...
  • Measure your chest and select your size: S/M for 31-37 in, M/L for...

The Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD is our top pick for the best women’s PFD for kayaking. This PFD is designed with comfort and safety in mind, and it comes packed with features like a front zip, mesh lining, and adjustable straps to ensure a perfect fit. It’s also affordable enough that you won’t have to break the bank to get it.

What to look for when purchasing a women’s PFD for kayaking

1. Buoyancy

The U.S. Coast Guard mandates that all PFDs must be designed to hold an average adult’s head out of the water with the top of their shoulders above the waterline. The gender of the wearer doesn’t matter, but it can help determine which type is right for you.

2. Fit

There are two key components to a PFD’s fit: torso and girth. For the best possible fit, it’s important that your PFD fits securely around both your torso and girth. Make sure you’re able to get a snug and comfortable fit when trying it out for size (and make sure there is no gap between the jacket and your chin).

3. Features

Some of the features you may want to look for in a women’s PFD for kayaking include waist belt, front zip, underarm ventilation, back mesh paneling, pocket, reflective trim. A few additional things to consider when purchasing a new PFD are the price range and personal color and style preferences.

4. Comfort

You will wear your PFD all day, so you want to be sure it’s as comfortable as possible. Some features that can help with this include foam shoulder pads, elastic fit around the bottom of the jacket, and adjustable straps.

5. Style

The appearance of your PFD is a matter of personal preference. When choosing the color and overall style, consider factors such as price range, ability to accessorize, and whether or not you need it to be camouflaged for your kayaking environment.

6. Price

The good news is that there are plenty of high-quality, reasonably priced PFDs for women on the market today. You can find an option to fit nearly any budget without sacrificing your safety on the water.

To assist you in selecting a more pleasant kayaking life jacket, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite alternatives as well as some information on what to look for.

The Top 10 Best Women’s PFD for Kayaking on the market today

1.  Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD (Our top pick)

Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD for Recreation, Fishing and Touring Kayaking, Glacier Blue, S/M

The Astral V-Eight Life Jacket PFD is perfect for recreation, fishing, and touring kayaking. It is made with PE and EVA foam inserts for buoyancy and has a USCG Type III Approval. The pre-shaped foam in the front and back makes for a comfortable fit especially for women, while the Airescape system eliminates excessive heat and maintains a comfortable temp so you can stay cool. The jacket also has two large zippered front pockets for small gear and a quick access knife tab for emergencies. It is made to last for many adventures and is of great value.

2. Stohlquist Cruiser Women’s Personal Flotation Device PFD (best overall)

Stohlquist Women's Cruiser Lifejacket (PFD)-PowderBlue-Plus

Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser Lifejacket (PFD) is designed specifically for women and features a higher mesh-back design. The Women’s Cruiser PFD has been upgraded with graded sizing, allowing you to choose the best size based on your chest measurement. This life jacket also includes all of the features found on version, including adjustable side straps for an ideal fit, cross-chest cinch harness for zero ride-up, ventilated shoulder and back pads, adjustable 1-1/2 webbing shoulder pulls, and open sides for ventilation. The Stohlquist Women’s Cruiser PFD is available in your choice of colors to suit your style!

3.  Our Runner Up: Old Town Solitude Women’s Life Jacket

Old Town Solitude Women's Life Jacket (Silver, S/M)

Old Town’s Solitude Women’s Life Jacket is designed with the performance paddler in mind, with features that include a sporty design and a flattering shape. Made from tough ripstop nylon, this life jacket features adjustable shoulder straps and a waist belt for the perfect fit. The Solitude has zippered pockets on each side for convenient storage of your keys or other items when you’re out on the water. Designed for comfort and utility, this women’s life jacket features an AirComfort System that provides unmatched breathability to keep you cool even when you’re working hard.

4.  Best Budget: Stohlquist Women’s Escape PFD

Stohlquist Women's Escape PFD Md/Lg, Violet

This comfortable, stylish life jacket is perfect for women who want a feminine fit. With its low-profile buoyancy foam and efficient forward pull adjusters, it provides a secure and comfortable fit. The waist belt has a front buckle that is protected against the skin for comfort and easy entry, and the zippered pocket securely holds snacks and accessories.

5. Best High Back: NRS Women’s Zoya Mesh Back PFD

NRS Women's Zoya Kayak Lifejacket (PFD) (Red, X-Large/XX-Large)

This NRS Zoya Type III PFD is the perfect choice for a woman who wants to enjoy all of the benefits of kayaking while still looking and feeling good. The 400 deniers ripstop nylon fabric construction is guaranteed to protect your jacket from snags and tears throughout the seasons, and the high-back flotation accommodates most high-back kayaking seats. The mesh lower provides ventilation on warm days, and supple foam panels in the chest comfortably mold to a woman’s bust. Two sleek, zippered pockets offer easy access to the essentials without adding unnecessary bulk to your seat.

6.  Astral GreenJacket Life Jacket (Best for large busted women)

Astral, GreenJacket Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater Rescue, Sea, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Blue Black Red, S/M

The green jacket Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater Rescue, Sea and Stand Up Pad is the perfect way to stay afloat during your next adventure. This USCG Type III Approved jacket features durable PVC-free Gaia foam inserts with a buoyancy rating of 16 lbs that are encased in an environmentally friendly PE composite material – making it light enough so you can go anywhere even if there’s no land present! Weighing only 2 pounds7z), this lifesaving device will have everything needed on embarkation including two panels fit system which eliminates ride up while letting users move freely throughout their journey. This type of life jacket is best for large-busted women.

7. NRS Ninja PFD (Most comfortable)

NRS Ninja Kayak Lifejacket (PFD)-Lime-XXL

 The innovative, comfortable and functional Ninja Kayak Lifejacket is perfect for all kinds of kayakers. Made with PVC-free foam that follows your every move while providing maximum support to make sure you are safe from any danger on the water or land alike! The air mesh shoulder strap allows ventilation which helps keep cool during the summer months when temperatures can get high quickly at times but this also makes winter sports like ice skating easier because there won’t be excessive moisture building up inside my jacket due to its breathability properties. With a low-profile sleek design, you can do all kinds of kayaking while feeling comfortable and protected.

8. Kokatat Women’s UL MsFit Tour PFD (Good quality)

Kokatat Women’s UL MsFit Tour Glacier PFD Life Jacket, Large

The lightweight, packable life jacket will keep you safe on the water. This 500D Cordura outer and 200 D nylon oxford inner shell is durable while being highly responsive to movement with an articulated design that provides unrestricted mobility in any direction for an optimal fit! The 14 bellows pockets allow easy access at all times because they’re zippered side entry making sure nothing gets lost or left behind; plus one electronics pocket protects your phone from harm when out fishing during low light conditions reflective tape which increases visibility measures designed specifically by women who wanted greater safety on the water.

9.  Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M 24 Inflatable Life Jacket (Best lightweight life jacket)

ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

This Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket is a comfortable, lightweight life jacket that helps you stay afloat in the water. The automatic inflation system inflates upon immersion in water and the manual inflation system allows for manual movement of the T-cord to inflate. The durable fabric resists tears and punctures while the soft neoprene neckline keeps you cool in warm weather. This life jacket is designed with a slender design so it won’t restrict your movement or inhibit your performance. With ABSOLUTE OUTDOOR you can go anywhere and make sure to bring along your inflatable life jacket.

10.  Astral Women’s Layla Life Jacket (Best budget PFD for women)

Astral Women's Layla Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater, Sea, Tour, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and Fishing, Eggplant, Large/X-Large

The Astral Layla Life Jacket is designed specifically for women and features a female-specific fit. It has a low-profile design, so you can wear it in your kayak without getting in the way of your paddle. The Layla comes with an adjustable and removable shoulder strap that allows you to adjust the height to suit your needs. This model also features an internal pocket that is divided into two compartments by a divider, as well as a secure front pocket with an internal key clip.


Q. What is a PFD and what are its uses?

Answer: A personal flotation device (PFD) is a piece of equipment designed to provide buoyancy to a person in the water so that they are able to float safely without the risk of drowning.

Q. How do you choose the right PFD for your needs?

Answer: This is a question that can be answered in many ways. PFDs have different designs and intended use so it’s important to research the best one for your needs. Some factors that should be considered include:

1) If you’re going to go kayaking, then a kayak-specific PFDwould probably better suit your needs as opposed to a PFD that would be best suited to white water rafting, for instance.

2) PFD designs vary depending on if they’re intended for mariners or recreation kayakers. For example, there are PFD’s designed specifically for use by children and smaller adults like the Astral Women’s Layla Life Jacket (best budget PFD for women), or if you’re looking for something that’s more appropriate for an adult the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Adult Life Jacket (best inflatable PFD).

3) Whether you intend to use the PFD in saltwater or freshwater. For instance, mariners will benefit from a PFD that is designed with functionality in mind. Popular models are the Seapro S100 Classic Ultra-Compact Adult Life Vest or the Astral Women’s Layla Ultra-Lite life jacket, which is intended to be worn over other clothing.

4) How much float do you need? The amount of floatation provided varies greatly depending on manufacturer and design, but if you’re spending a lot of time on the water it can’t hurt to have as much as possible!

Q. How much should you spend on a PFD, and where can you buy them online or in stores near you?

Answer: Personal Flotation Devices can range in price from $15 to upwards of $200. However, the most important thing is finding a PFD that’s appropriate for you and your intended use. If you’re looking for something online then popular brands are Seapro, Astral, Stearns, Poseidon, or Ocean Kayak. As always it’s best to do your own research and find what’s right for you.

Q. How can I check if my PFD is still good?

Answer: Checking the expiry date of a lifejacket (PFD) or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is very easy and should be done regularly to ensure that it will perform when you need it to.

Q. What type of PFD should I get for kayaking and why?

Answer: If your priority is to stay safe and buy a PFD that will keep you afloat then you’ll want one that has inflatable aids as opposed to foam or planks of wood. It’s also important that the PFD stays tight against your body so you don’t get caught up in your kayak or fishing equipment.

Finishing Thought

When choosing a vest, there are many factors to consider. This article will help you decide what type of PFD best suits your needs and wants! We’ve done our research to find the top sellers on the market that come with 4.5 or 5-star reviews and have a reputation for quality. All vests reviewed in this article feature well-fitting designs which can be adjusted according to body size. The only thing left is figuring out exactly which design works best for you!

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