In my mind, there are a few key characteristics that all the best life jackets have in common. In this post I’ll give you a short life of some of my top recommendations and then outline the features you should be looking for to find the best life jacket easily.
3 Recommended Life Jackets
- Mustang Survival: Auto HIT Vest
- MTI Helios: Inflatable Life Vest
- O’Neill: Assault Vest with Lumbar Support
Click here to see a complete list of adult life jackets.
What The Best Left Jackets Have In Common
In addition to being USCG approved, the best life jackets are all comfortable, durable, and provide a full range of motion.
In my opinion, life jacket comfort is one of most underrated features of life jacket design, and usually takes a back seat in favor of security and technology.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter how safe the life jacket’s ratings are unless you’re actually wearing the vest! The vest’s level of comfort is an extremely important factor in determining the frequency with which the vest will actually be used.
Secondly, durability is extremely important. While many boaters stock their boat with budget foam vests, many of these less-expensive options deteriorate rapidly.
Personally, I’d rather pay a little more upfront in order to have a vest I know is going to last for 10 years or more. Longevity and durability really make the best life jackets stand out from the rest!
Full Range of Motion
Finally, it’s extremely important to get a vest that allows for a full range of motion.
Like comfort, agility is an important factor in determining when and how often you’ll actually be wearing the vest.
Think about it this way: if you can’t maneuver easily, you’re less likely to wear the vest up on the foredeck to reef the main or take down the spinnaker, and those foredeck situations are when you’re least secure and need the PFD the most!