Click on a category to shop our life vests from HO, Hyperlite, O'Neill, Connelly, Radar and more:
The link below will gives you a life vest size chart by chest size for all life vest brands that we sell:
Personal Flotation Devices, or a PFD, has many types defined by the Coast Guard. The different US Coast Guard Approved types are shown below. All watersports vests are either type II or Type III. Type II life jackets have heads up flotation even in rough water because of the head pillow on the vest. This type is required for an infant life vest. Children and adults require a Type III vest for lake, river, or bay. It is not recommended for the ocean in rough waves or for whitewater rafting. All watersports life vests are rated Type III.
Type III life jackets provide US Coast Guard compliant flotation to keep your head out of the water, but does not have the head pillow. Whitewater rafting requires Type II (life vest design with head pillow).
Competition Life Vests are not USCGA approved and are for excellent swimmers doing active competitive water sports. These life vests offer warmth and protection against hard landings without full flotation. They are considered a wetsuit garment by the coast guard. An example of a PFD that is frequently used for waterskiing but not Coast Guard compliant is the Water Ski Belt.
|Nylon Life Vests||Neoprene Life Vests|
|Nylon is lower priced and very cost effective||Neoprene is more expensive|
|Nylon is light when wet and lighter when dry||Neoprene heavier when wet unless you spend the money for a closed cell PVC marine foam integrated life vest|
|Nylon life vests are mostly scratchy and uncomfortable. (Must wear a rash guard underneath.)||Neoprene is soft. Rashguard not needed.|
|Nylon does not stretch and is generally uncomfortable||Neoprene stretches to fit your body, thus much more comfortable. Must be very snug when dry. May be uncomfortable when dry but stretches to the correct fit when wet. The very snug when dry problem is solved with the more expensive neo vests that integrate closed cell PVC foam with neoprene.|
|Nylon never uses closed cell foam||Higher end Neoprene vests integrate closed cell PVC foam|
|Nylon is cold and offers no warmth in the water||Neoprene provides some warmth in the water, and even warmer with a rashguard.|
|Nylon Life Vests for Women are not as comfortable in the upper body||Neoprene life vests for women are form fitted to a ladies upper body shape for maximum comfort, especially when you get into the more expensive neo vests|
Fit and comfort are the most important features to look for in life jackets. When a cheap nylon life vest feels scratchy, or not form fitted for your age and gender, you are tempted to take it off in the middle of your boating trip, thus risking your safety or the safety of your kids. The above comparison chart shows that Neoprene is by far, the best choice for a life vest. It is softer and more comfortable than nylon.
If you buy nylon life vests to save money, we recommend wearing a t-shirt or rashguard underneath for better comfort. Doing this also provides protection from the sun.
Any Coast Guard Approved neoprene life jacket site is a good type of life jacket for Jet Ski or Wave Runner. Look for features depending on the way you ride. All features are described on this guide page. If you plan to tow a rider with a jet ski, get a life jacket that is good to use with that waterski, wakeboard, or kneeboard. Look for low bulk, large arnholes, hidden belts, V-Back for flex. The Hyperlite Team and HO Team are great low bulk life jackets. Many Connelly Life Jackets have Glideskin to prevent absorbing water when you get splashed. Lumbar support is a plus for very long rides.
Closed cell foam core panels take Neoprene Life Jackets to the next level. These closed cell Foam Panel Vests are considered the top of the line in life jacket design. Neoprene integrated with close cell foam panels are the lighter when wet because they do not soak up as much water or become soggy. Some vendors such as Oneill and Hyperlite have tweaked the design even more to add Hydrozote foam or Biolite neoprene to improve the wet weight of the vest even more. These Life Jacket Designs are much lighter when wet, which results in less weight on your body when wakeboarding or waterskiing. A lighter wet weight is an advantage in any water sport. These superior life vests are pricey, but we offer discounts on high end life vests to make them more affordable.
Most custsomers dont know about this feature. The Flex back will help everybody, men, women, or kids with a more comfortable fit. The V-Back feature is found on most of the newer Neoprene Life Jackets.Some of the newer vests take it a step further and add flex sides, like the Oneill Mens Reactor Vest.
In the CHILD YOUTH and TEEN sizes, all Connelly Neoprene Life Vests have the flex back, some Hyperlite vests have it and some HO Sports vests have it. When you are shopping, click on the detailed images tab to see the picture of the back of the life vest to see if it has it or not.
Life Vests for Women have an upper body shape that is different than a man. For this reason, an adult woman should try to find a womens life jacket for better comfort. The one life vest that has the most room up top for a woman is the Hyperlite Profile Life Vest Sometimes womens sizes dont go big enough to fit plus sized women, so they have to buy an oversized mens life jacket. In this case, a stretchy oversized neoprene life jacket will be the best choice for comfort.
Oversized armholes give you for more mobility in water sports including wakeboarding, kneeboarding, waterskiing, and Kayaking. Only the best life vest companies offer that feature, and mostly neoprene. Life Vests with Lumbar Support Lumbar support offer reduced back fatigue. This feature is only found in the Neoprene life Vests made by waters ports specialists such as O'Neill.