Kayaking is an adventure water sport and is a fun-filled outdoor activity. Since water is involved, there is every chance of falling overboard into the water due to a host of circumstances. Thus, safety equipment in the form of a personal flotation device, commonly known as a life jacket needs to be donned before embarking on kayaking. The PFD or life jacket keeps you afloat in the water if you accidentally slip overboard from your kayak. Even the best swimmers need to wear life jackets to be safe.
If you are looking for the Best Life jacket for kayaking, then the following points must be considered.
There are five types of life jackets, and the one you select must be as per your specific requirements.
Type I life jackets are suited for kayaking in rough seas, open waters, and in remote areas where rescue may take some time. These life jackets are designed for prolonged use and can keep unconscious persons afloat.
Type II life jackets are suited for calm waters, inland waters, and in areas where quick rescue is possible.
Type III life jackets are suitable for kayaking in areas where there is a chance of swift rescue. These life jackets are comfortable to wear and provide good freedom of movement.
Type IV PFD needs to be thrown to the person in the water, and it forms a cushion or ring around the person. This type of PFD is not required for kayaking.
Type V life jackets are special devices suited for specific activities only. The type of activity a Type V PFD is suited for is mentioned on its label. They are widely available for kayaking.
Standard and Inflatable
Standard life jackets provide buoyancy due to its material such as foam, which means they are inherently buoyant. The downside is such that they are quite bulky.
Inflatable life jackets are not inherently buoyant. Buoyancy is provided when the jacket inflates either automatically on coming in contact with water or by manually pulling a cord, which opens the CO2 cartridge present in it. These are very slim jackets which sit comfortably on the body. However, they are not suited for children, non-swimmers, and for high-impact kayaking, such as whitewater kayaking.
Visibility in the water is also an important consideration when looking for a Best Life jacket for kayaking because you need to be visible to the rescuers. To this end, the life jacket must be brightly colored and must also have reflective straps to be more visible, especially under low light conditions.