Most people are familiar with the standard life jacket that is worn around the neck. However, there is another type of life jacket that is worn around the waist. This type of life jacket, known as a waist life jacket, can be just as effective as the standard neck life jacket in keeping a person safe in the water.
There are several advantages to wearing a waist life jacket. First, it allows for a greater range of motion than a standard neck life jacket. This is important for activities such as swimming or kayaking where you need to be able to move your arms and legs freely. Second, a waist life jacket is less likely to come off in the water than a standard neck life jacket. This is because it is secured around the body with straps or belts. Even if you are unconscious in the water, your waistlife jacket will still be securely fastened and will not come off easily. Finally, wearing a waistlife jacket can actually help you swim faster in the water. This is because it provides some extra buoyancy around your midsection, which can help you stay afloat and move through the water more quickly.
If you are looking for an alternative to the standard neck lifejacket, consider investing in a waist lifejacket. These jackets offer many benefits and can help keep you safe in the water while still allowing for full range of motion and comfort.
Waist Life Jackets # 1) Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket (PFD)
Product Summary: The Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket (PFD) is a necessity for any water activity. Stay safe and secure while enjoying the water with this comfortable and easy to use life jacket. The bright coloring will ensure that you are always visible, while the adjustable straps will provide a comfortable and snug fit. This life jacket is easy to inflate and features a manual inflation handle, so you can be sure that you are always prepared in the event of an emergency.
A 5-Star Review: After a recent trip to the ocean and getting stuck in a rip tide, I figured it was time to look into an alternative to drowning. This fits it to a T! Lightweight and barely noticeable while wearing. Inflation is quick and can be deployed as soon as needed. Highly recommend.
A Critical Review: These seem great, very low profile. Coast guard approved. Easy to set up and operate. The problem is, I ordered two, the top one in the picture is great. The co2 cartridge hides away when you fasten everything back up. The bottom one though…not so much. The green tab is on the bottom on both, but the cartridge doesn’t attach on the same side. It sticks out when fastened, and if you were to pull the cord, it wouldn’t even release the lever to activate the vest. Amazon said it can’t be returned because of the co2 cartridge, so I emailed the company, currently waiting to hear back. Will update if anything changes.
Update: Amazon refunded the money for the defective one. So three stars because one of them is great. Risking it all and ordering another 🤞
Waist Life Jackets # 2) NRS Zephyr Inflatable Lifejacket (PFD)
Product Summary: NRS Zephyr Inflatable Lifejacket (PFD) – Worn around your waist, the NRS Zephyr Inflatable Lifejacket (PFD) is perfect for flatwater or near-shore stand-up paddling. In the event of a swim, simply rotate the belt until the chamber faces forward, pull the red tab to inflate with pressurized CO2 and secure the inflated PFD over your head.
A 5-Star Review: Easy of use
Waist Life Jackets # 3) Stearns 16 Gram Manual Belt Pack
Product Summary: This belt pack is perfect for boaters, paddlers, and anglers who get distracted by traditional PFDs. Just buckle it around your waist, and if danger is near, pull the activation cord and a life jacket will automatically inflate within seconds with an adjustable neck strap that gives you more stability in the water. The Coast Guard-approved vest is even reusable using the Rearm Kit #0925.
A 5-Star Review: Top quality and wider than the one it is replacing. Does not take the place of a life jacket. However it is cool, light weight and I do not even feel it on me. End up in water, pull T handle and it inflates. I also put a sea sense whistle in the compartment it has. Great to have. Hope to never need it.
Waist Life Jackets # 4) MTI 16G Inflatable Belt Pack Life Jacket – Mango Print – Adult Universal
Product Summary: The MTI 16gr. Belt pack manually inflatable life jacket gives the SUP paddler the simplest way to meet life jacket requirements and to be wearing a quality safety device for those unforeseen situations. With a quick pull of the toggle a large bladder with a neck strap inflates in front of the user and provides 16. 5 lbs of flotation, equal to the buoyancy of most type III life jackets. This is a type V Coast guard approved device and must be worn to meet those requirements. Wearing this life jacket won’t be a problem with the 16gram’s low profile design, comfortable waist panel, and simple secure attachment buckle. Includes a moveable D-ring attachment point on the waist belt for car keys or other small item. 16 gram Co2 cylinder included.
A 5-Star Review: Like many paddleboarders, I hate the thought of using a bulky PFD vest, so this is good enough to not get ticketed on the water, to paddle very close to shore, if you are a good swimmer, or if you happen to fall and lose your board, which you shouldn’t because you need to be leashed to it.
This particular one blows up to a square, like a pillow. It has a strap to put around your neck so you can have the pillow in front of you (making it hard to move and try to swim to shore), and you will have to considerably loosen the waist band to get it to stand vertical enough for you to put it over your head. You will definitely need to finish inflating it with your mouth. Do not trust this to save you in case of emergency. If you are in a delicate situation, there’s no way you can perform all of the above while battling waves, cold water, or a stressful situation. Especially if you are not a swimmer. If you happen to fall and hurt yourself in any way, you will NOT have the wherewithal to pull, and blow it up and loosen the waist and put it on, and it’s too uncomfortable to wear and move your arms at the same time. I would rather have one that I can put over my head right away and then inflate it.
While folded, it’s uncomfortably long and it’s stiff from one side of my waist to the other.
First thing to do when you get these, is to test it so you know what it looks like and what you will need to do in case of emergency. I will keep using it when I paddle in calm shallow waters close to shore just in case a water police asks for it, but after seeing it in action today (it inflated when the pull got stuck and pulled accidentally), I will always have a PFD vest on if I paddle in the ocean or choppy waters.
Do not trust this to save your life.
I paid the money and can’t return it because I never thought to check it and make sure it would be useful, but I would definitely NOT recommend it at all for an emergency. I would find one that you can pull over your head with a regular life saver shape in any case, and only for calm waters. (And the accidental inflation cost me extra bucks for a new cartridge)
Waist Life Jackets # 5) MTI Adventurewear Fluid 2.0 Inflatable Belt Pack PFD Life Jacket
Product Summary: The MTI Fluid 2.0 belt pack inflatable PFD is loaded with features. The body hugging pack design securely holds the pack to your core while paddling and the padded 3D mesh back panel and buckle flap are soft, cool and quick drying. The top loading pack design with Velcro closure is easy to open and repack. The compact inner bladder with printed fold lines is less bulky, saves weight and is easy to repack. An adjustable webbing strap between the bladder and the belt for better fit when inflated and being worn. Pack inflates via a premium Halkey Robert inflation mechanism with an indicator which showing you if the mechanism is armed. This indicator is visible through a window in the pack so you can tell at a glance if your pack is armed and ready for use. The easy to install 24 gram bayonet style CO2 cylinders are readily available. There’s a zippered storage compartment on the top lid and a D-ring on the side for attaching a phone case, waterproof watch, or other essential items. To aid with safety, every Fluid 2.0 PFD comes complete with a signal whistle that rides nicely in a whistle holster on the waist belt. The soft comfortable 2″ waist belt opens to accommodate approximately a 50 in. waist size.
A 5-Star Review: I’m still giving this thing five stars based purely upon the fact that it is the best option available if you don’t want to drown 🙂 (which I do not). I used the manual valve to blow it up (took about five seconds and four blows) and then jumped in the water to test it out… I had to adjust the front strap so that I could get it over my big head but once I did it fit perfectly… laid back fully on the water and it supported me 100% (head, neck, etc…). The front is a bit bulkier than it needs to be IMO so it’s not *quite* as discrete as I thought it was going to be, but only by a fraction… and that little fact is far outweighed by the fact that I’ll wear it at all times rather than just throw it in the front of my yak and wait for bad things to happen to good people :).
A Critical Review: Description states fits a 50″ waist. Product says person with 50″ chest. It is NOT a one size fits all product.
Waist Life Jackets # 6) Onyx Kent Sporting Goods Co 130900-855-004-19 Manual Inflatable Belt
Product Summary: Pack Life Jacket” The Onyx Kent Sporting Goods Co 130900-855-004-19 Manual Inflatable Belt Pack Life Jacket is a great choice for those who enjoy being out on the water. This life jacket is comfortable to wear and provides the necessary safety features to help keep you safe while enjoying your time on the water. The Onyx Kent Sporting Goods Co 130900-855-004-19 Manual Inflatable Belt Pack Life Jacket is a great choice for those who enjoy being out on the water. This life jacket is comfortable to wear and provides the necessary safety features to help keep you safe while enjoying your time on the water.
A 5-Star Review: That hardest thing was finding a vendor that had this… all outdoor equip was sold out all summer.
I like this belt to wear when I SUP – rather than a full jacket… note – order an extra CO cartridge so you can test the jacket the first time (recommended in the instructions )
Waist Life Jackets # 7) STEARNS Suspenders Manually Inflatable Belt-Pack Life Jacket
Product Summary: The STEARNS Suspenders Manually Inflatable Belt-Pack Life Jacket is a great way to stay safe while enjoying the water. This life jacket is easy to inflate and is comfortable to wear. It also has a belt that helps keep it in place.
A 5-Star Review: I am getting into stand up paddling, and although I have a really nice life vest for kayak paddling, I was finding that the fit of it didn’t really work very well for SUP. My arms were rubbing on the vest in spots that made them uncomfortable, so I started looking into what other paddlers use.
I found this Stearns SOSpenders belt pack and found out that it was Coast Guard approved, so I figured I’d snatch it up.
It fits very well, looks pretty good, and is VERY comfortable. The thing that says the most about this vest belt to me is that when I have it on, I quickly forget that I have it on. That’s definitely a good thing.
One thoughtful addition is an elastic strap that is on the adjustable side of the belt. It doesn’t seem like much, but the strap is sewn onto the belt, which allows you to take the extra portion that isn’t being used and roll it up, then put the loop around it to keep it from dangling down. Something very simple, but also a great addition.
Another plus to the belt is that it has a ring that you could hook a carabiner or a key chain to. I actually was able to hold my keys and a water bottle easily on the ring, which was awesome. It also has a small pocket with a velcro closure. It’s not water proof, but it would be a good place to maybe put your driver’s license and a few bucks cash, or any other things you might want to keep with you that are small and won’t be completely ruined by getting wet.
Finally, the belt comes with a mesh zippered bag to keep it in when you’re not using it. Nothing major, but a nice little afterthought. You could put it in this bag, then toss the whole thing in a backpack or something and not worry about it getting tangled up with other items.
Overall, it’s a very nice PFD, and will serve me well.
A Critical Review: I ordered and received the item promptly, well packaged. I haven’t tried it in the water yet, but am relatively confident it will suffice. The small pocket easily fits an emergency whistle with a lanyard, and the belt retaining system can be slightly modified to create a low profile with no webbing tail slack. I might stitch another clip/gear loop/daisy chain onto it, make a small pouch to hang off the side (for 1-3 small aerial flares), or simply clip a ‘biner to it to attach a small folding knife/multitool.
Unfortunately, the green indicator pin that “prevents” unintentional activation was broken on arrival. I contacted Coleman, and happily they sent me 4 free additional pins. 2 of the 4 pins were broken during transit. This particular item, the green pin, seems to be a design flaw, as it is too brittle, too delicate for the purpose for which it is intended. I cannot take responsibility for others actions, but I am certain that I will use either a trimmed wooden toothpick to serve in its place, or possibly place a small piece of tape across the lever arm opening to prevent unintentional activation. I believe the lever can still be activated with either of these substitutions/modifications. Please see a similar review for the following item: GREEN INDICATOR PINS FOR INFLATABLE PFDs by LELAND.
Waist Life Jackets # 8) MTI 16G Inflatable Belt Pack Life Jacket – Dark Gray – Adult Universal
Product Summary: The MTI 16gr. Belt pack manually inflatable life jacket gives the SUP paddler the simplest way to meet life jacket requirements and to be wearing a quality safety device for those unforeseen situations. With a quick pull of the toggle a large bladder with a neck strap inflates in front of the user and provides 16. 5 lbs. of flotation, equal to the buoyancy of most type III life jackets. This is a type V Coast guard approved device and must be worn to meet those requirements. Wearing this life jacket won’t be a problem with the 16gram’s low profile design, comfortable waist panel, and simple secure attachment buckle. Includes a moveable D-ring attachment point on the waist belt for car keys or other small item. 16 gram Co2 cylinder included. Specifications: USCG: type V, design buoyancy: 16 lbs. 8 oz. , size: chest size, 30-52″, waist belt length, 58. 5″.
A 5-Star Review: As described. Thought I was missing a piece, the company respond quickly and were ready to solve my issue. Great interaction!
While life jackets are not required by law for boaters in Washington State, the U.S. Coast Guard and Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission highly recommend that everyone wear one. Wearing a life jacket greatly increases your chances of survival if you end up in the water. There are many different types and styles of life jackets on the market, so it is important to choose one that fits both your body and your boating activities. Waist life jackets, also known as PFDs (personal floatation devices), are a good choice for many boaters. They are comfortable to wear and allow for a wide range of motion, making them ideal for activities like fishing, sailing, and kayaking. If you are boating in Washington State, make sure to wear a life jacket! It could save your life.
If you need help finding the best life jackets to enjoy your favorite water activities, we have a few suggestions of our own. You can read all about them here>>