Life Jackets

12 Best Life Jackets - Best USCG approved life jackets for watersports

Do you love being by the water? We do too! Whether boating, tubing, wakeboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or whatever your water sport may be... safety is always an important priority. We've shopped around to share our favorite USCGA lifejackets on the market. Our favorite place to find life jackets is on Overton's, Scheel's, or sometimes you can snag great deals on Amazon too!

12 Best Life Jackets for Men, Women, and Kids

A life jacket is a must for any activity near the water to ensure safe adventures. The ultimate purpose of a life jacket is to keep your head above the water and provide buoyancy for your body. When choosing a life jacket, you should always ensure a good and comfortable fit with safety and security your highest priority. We want to ensure you have a jacket that fits and supports comfortably with our suggested life jackets for her, him, kids, and toddlers.

Hyperlite life jackets tend to be our favorite brand. We find that they are the most comfortable, durable, and features fun, vibrant colors, and designs. But we must mention that O'Brien is really building steam. We found some really cool designs this year and they're really stepping up in the functional mobility space for watersports!

Best Life Jackets for Women

Best Life Jackets for Women
  1. O'Brien Women's Flex V-Back Life Jacket
  2. Hyperlite Women's Ambition
  3. O'Brien Women's Flex V-Back BioLite Life Jacket

There are 3 things we seek when looking for a life jacket for women: comfortable, not super thick (to add to our figure), and fun colors/designs. O'Brien is certainly winning in the design category currently. We love the black with the monochromatic design elements and the black with the purple/blue leaf combo shown above. They're fun, made of the BioLite (soft, lightweight, breathable) element, and feature the flex v-back design so it wraps around the contour of your body while enabling mobility and comfort. We also have several Hyperlite Ambition life jackets and absolutely love the fit of them for wakeboarding. They are designed for movement while riding the waves. They typically have a variety of fun colors to choose from each season, I love the contrast zipper on this specific design!

Best Life Jackets for Men

Best Life Jackets for Men
  1. Jet Pilot Fleet Neoprene CGA Vest
  2. Hyperlite Wishbone Competition Life Jacket
  3. O'Brien Men's Flex V-Back Biolite Life Jacket

Our men like the lighter-weight, comfortable life jackets. Our ultimate favorite this season is the Hyperlite Competition Life Jacket with segmented panels and streamlined performance elements designed specifically to provide wakeboarders maximum mobility. The muted camo print with the solid black asymmetrical design is unique and fun for days on the water. A newer brand on our radar is JetPilot. We are loving this JetPilot Duralite Life Jacket, made of neoprene that's lightweight, durable, and dries quickly. Its aero-jet panels help increase mobility and it features a fun tropical print with anchors, hula girls, and palm trees. The O'Brien life jacket is one that we've owned for years and still swear by. It's a great jacket for any on-the-water activity. They feature a variety of colors are durable, lasting many years. This has historically been the Anchor Man's favorite jacket.

Best Life Jackets for Kids

Best Life Jackets for Kids
  1. O'Brien Child Traditional BioLite Life Jacket
  2. O'Neill Youth Reactor Life Jacket
  3. Hyperlite Girls Youth Indy Neo Vest or Hyperlite Boys Large Youth Indy Neo Vest

Choosing the right life jacket for kids is so hard. It's difficult to find the right fit for their age/weight, but we have a few to suggest. The O'Brien jacket is great for transitioning from the toddler style jacket to a kids jacket, it still features a crotch strap for added security, but no longer has the neck flap. The O'Neill life jacket shown is great for middle aged to teenage kids. This jacket is designed to provide mobility while tubing, skiing, and wakeboarding or surfing.

Our kids all have the Hyperlite Indy Neo Vests in different designs. Hyperlite updates their colors and designs each year so our colors are no longer available but the style of the jacket is forever the same--- the Indy Neo Jacket is by far the most comfortable and durable of all life jackets for kids. (and they make the same exact design for men, women, and infants too!) Because kids tend to spend a significant amount of time in the water with their life jackets, we highly recommend you focus on the neoprene fabric for them to prevent molding within the layers of the jacket.

Best Life Jackets for Toddlers

Best Life Jackets for Toddlers
  1. Hyperlite Toddler Indy Neo Girls Life Jacket
  2. Body Glove Paddle Pals Life Jacket
  3. Overton's Infant BioLite Life Jacket

We highly recommend the swim trainer style pictured in the middle above for the Infant-Toddler age. Be cautious when buying these that you purchase the one with the shoulder straps. They are extremely important and provide increased safety. When the shoulder straps are not present, our toddler was able to slip his arms out of the floaties, which would have made him unable to stay above water if he had gone in. All of our little's in our family have utilized these swim trainers, which allow them to swim and stay afloat on their chest as they would if they were truly swimming. Once they turn 6 or 7, they are ready to swim without the swimmer. With a standard life jacket, the neck flap pushes them to their back, which is important to ensure they don't drown but makes it difficult for them to practice swimming.

If they are younger and not yet ready to learn to swim... we recommend the Hyperlite infant Indy Neo life jacket or the Overton's BioLite life jacket. Both of these are made of a neoprene-type fabric to prevent molding and ensure a comfortable and secure fit. With the crotch and chest straps, your infant is sure to be safe and secure in these.

Best Inexpensive Life Jacket

If you just need life jackets to have onboard for guests going out for a ride, we recommend you invest in a 4-pack. The standard, well-known orange Type-II life jackets below come in a fancy clear storage bag to keep them clean but accessible in case they're needed. We know that no one really wants to wear those silly orange jackets but in an emergency, who cares what it looks like. We also like these blue water print universal life jackets that come in a 4-pack. They're made of nylon and have adjustable belts to accommodate most adult sizes as needed for support.

When boating, it's important to note that most states require each individual aboard to have a floation device. Most states have a requirement for the minimum age to actually wear it, not just have one aboard. In states where no minimum age is enforced, the United States Coast Guard recommends children under 13 years old always wear a life jacket. More than following regulations, lakes typically do not have clear water, they're murky and you typically don't know what's under the surface. Wearing a life jacket is so important for the safety of all swimmers, even experienced adults. We highly recommend you have one of the 2 cheap options (above) on hand at all times for guests.

While on a float trip a few years ago, we were watching people dive off a cliff. One after the other, these people dove over 30 feet off a cliff into unknown waters. Most came up fine with no issue, but suddenly my husband, Matthew, dove into the water on a mission. He swam over and pulled a guy up out of the water who had clearly dove into a rock and cracked his head open, with no floatation device. I don't know how he knew, but that could have easily been fatal for a 20-something kid having a great time with friends. Thankfully he was conscious and knew he needed to seek medical attention quickly. In a matter of a few seconds, things changed dramatically for him.

While we hope you're never in a situation like that, we want you to have a USGA-approved life jacket and be smart on the water. It's a fun and exciting place to spend time making memories, but it's a dangerous one too! Be safe out there friends!

Signature Team Anchored


Top Life Vests that are USCG Approved for Men, Women, and Kids



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Shop Our Lake Lovers Shop

1 of 8