Look for a Snug Fit
Try on several life jackets for fit and also freedom of movement. You should be able to freely swing your arms and move about while at the same time noticing that the fit is snug enough to offer security. Avoid jackets that are too loose or lack straps to allow for further tightening. These can easily come off over your head during a kayaking accident.
Avoid Multitasking Life Jackets
Purchase a life jacket that is specifically made for kayaking. The best life jackets for this sport feature a V-shaped neck opening, large holes for the arms to provide the freedom to paddle, and extremely narrow shoulder straps to make arm and shoulder movements unencumbered and minimize chafing. A regular boating life jacket is too bulky and will make paddling a hard task. There are gender-specific models on the market--purchase these if available because the best life jackets for kayaking should be made to fit your specific body type.
Opt for Pockets
Narrow down your selection by the number of pockets the jacket offers. The more pockets your jacket has, the more useful it will be on a lengthy kayaking trip. Remember not to overload your jacket with gadgets and unnecessary items, and take on your body only the absolute essentials.
Remember Your Dog
Buy a life jacket for your canine companion if it accompanies you on your kayaking trips. Losing a beloved pet is a terrible way to end a vacation, and if you are afraid for your pet's life, you might actually endanger your own. Canine life jackets are sold by size and weight of the pet, and they feature several hooks that allow you to attach the pet to the boat.
A Word on Color
Consider purchasing life jackets that are easily visible from the air. The best life jackets for kayaking are those that not only keep you safe but also allow potential rescuers to locate you in brush, water or dense vegetation. This might save your life if you lose consciousness and cannot flag down help or rescuers who are looking for you.