Stand Up Paddle boarding is a fantastic sport - it is challenging on your muscles and keeps you fit whilst making it fun and relaxing to be out on the water.
One of the benefits of paddle boarding is that you can cover a large amount of water in a short space of time.
This means that you can end up getting out into deep parts of the ocean, rivers or lakes.
Even if you are a strong swimmer, it is a good idea to wear a personal flotation device to be safe.
If you fall or slip off the paddle board you could injure yourself which would make it much more difficult to stay afloat.
You might struggle to get back on the board in deep water, meaning you have to swim back to a shallower area- this would be a lot easier if you were wearing a personal floatation device.
There are lots of great personal flotation devices available online.
We have created a list of the best personal flotation devices for using while you are Stand Up paddle boarding.
This should make it easier for you to decide which one is going to be best for you.
If you are still struggling to decide then make sure you check our buyers guide with useful advice on how to select the most ideal product that will suit your needs.
We have also answered some questions about Stand Up Paddle Boarding in the FAQs section.
OUR TOP PICK
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Drift Inflatable PFD Belt
- 0.2 Onyx Inflatable PFD Belt
- 0.3 Stearns Classic Series Vest
- 0.4 Eyson Inflatable Life Jacket
- 0.5 Leader Accessories USCG approved Life Vest
- 0.6 NRS Ninja Kayak Life Jacket
- 0.7 Rave Sports Adult Nylon Life Vest
- 0.8 Rrtizan Portable Inflatable Swim Vest
- 0.9 Onyx Absolute Outdoor Inflatable Life Jacket
- 0.10 Stohlquist Life Vest Pack of Four
- 0.11 Stohlquist Edge Personal Flotation Device
- 0.12 Onyx Movement Curve Sports Life Vest
- 1 Buyers Guide
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
This inflatable belt is ideal for keeping you safe whilst not restricting your movement on the paddleboard.
It is one size to fit most adults with an adjustable waist strap that goes from 24 inches to 52 inches.
It can be inflated orally or with the carbon dioxide filter. The back panel is made from soft touch neoprene which feels nice against your skin.
The D ring attachments make it easy to clip useful items to your belt. It is lightweight and comfortable, perfect for use on calmer waters.
You can also purchase this item from Boteboard
This is a US Coast Guard approved inflatable belt that is great for paddle boarding as you still have a full range of movement and it is nice and lightweight so it won’t throw off your balance.
You can use the oral inflation tube to inflate the belt or the carbon dioxide chamber.
You can choose from five different designs- Gray, aqua, blue, silver or brown camo.
You can buy this product from Green Water Sports
This is a simple but highly effective life vest that is US Coast Guard approved. It comes in a child’s size, a standard size, a universal size, and a larger size.
It also comes in two color choices- red or blue. It is made from nylon which is very durable, and it has 3 buckles with adjustable straps for a snug fit.
Inside the nylon shell is PE foam which will help to keep you safe out on the water.
It is a little cumbersome but it is very affordable and will be suitable in quite challenging water conditions.
This life vest is also available to order from Walmart
This SOLAS approved life vest has a very low profile design which makes it ideal for wearing whilst paddle boarding as it won’t get in the way.
It is lightweight yet very durable, made from a combination of various synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, neoprene, and thermoplastic polyurethane.
This life jacket can be inflated manually or automatically with a simple pull of a cord.
It comes in 14 different color choices so you can pick one that best compliments your paddle board or your wetsuit.
This US Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket includes an attached pocket whistle for additional safety when out on the water.
There is also a velcro sealed inner pocket which is good for keeping small personal items safe like keys.
Two types of foam are used to keep you afloat- soft PVC foam in the front and lightweight EPE foam in the back- which makes the vest more comfortable to wear.
The foam is encased in a Nylon material with an Oxford waterproof coating.
There are four buckles with adjustable straps so you can get a nice snug fit, which will prevent chafing and rubbing.
There are 6 different sizes available so make sure you read the size chart to find out which one is going to be best for you.
You can also choose from four different colors- black, blue, green and red.
You can also get this life vest directly from Leader Accessories
This low profile life jacket has an athletic design which makes it ideal for wearing during water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking.
The soft foam panels are designed to move with you so you are not restricted in any way.
The fabric shoulder straps and inner panels have mesh material which allows your skin to breathe and creates good ventilation.
This helps to keep you cool, prevents the build up of sweat against the skin, and stops skin irritations like chafing and rubbing.
This is a side entry life jacket with 6 different adjustment points which allows you to get a snug and comfortable fit.
The clamshell pocket with dual entry zippers on the front of the vest is ideal for convenient storage of small items.
There are three sizes available and you can choose from 7 different colors- pink, black, blue, flare orange, lime green, red, or teal.
You also purchase this life jacket directly from NRS
This is a basic but efficient life jacket that is ideal for water sports and is very affordable.
It comes in a vibrant blue and yellow design which is great for improving visibility on the water in dark or misty conditions.
The material is ultra durable nylon so you know that this life vest will last you a long time.
There are three secure lock buckles on the front with adjustable length straps so you can amend the jacket to fit you comfortably.
It is US Coast Guard approved so it will definitely help to keep you safe.
You can buy this life vest directly from Rave Sports
This life jacket was designed for snorkeling but it’s actually great for paddle boarding as well.
It has good buoyancy but is lightweight and with a slim design which doesn’t get in the way as you paddle.
The neon colors are ideal for visibility which is an important safety feature. It is inflated manually but this is a very quick process, as is deflation.
Once deflated it is easy to fold away to be stored in a rucksack without taking up much space.
It is attached with a waist and a crotch strap, both of which are adjustable. The outer layer is made from 90% PVC and 10% canvas with an inner layer of super durable nylon.
This life jacket is ultra durable and is made from puncture and tear resistant fabric.
It is very lightweight with a slim, low profile design to help keep you cool in hot weather and allow for a full range of movement.
This makes it perfect for paddle boarding. The soft neoprene neckline is comfortable enough that you can wear the vest all day without it chafing against your skin.
You inflate the vest manually but it will also automatically inflate when it gets to the water.
If you are looking for affordable life jackets for the whole family then this product is perfect.
The vests are quite basic but they are very efficient and get the job done, with four vests included which is excellent value for money.
They will protect you in rough conditions and can stand up to heavy use.
They are designed for high mobility activities so they are perfect for water sports like paddle boarding.
The back panel is thinner than the front which helps to keep you cool.
There are three buckles on the front of the vest with adjustable straps to ensure a good fit, but the top buckle is placed higher than usual to help prevent the vest from riding up as you move.
These US Coast Guard approved life vests come with a zippered storage bag which is very convenient.
These vests come in three color choices- red and gray, black and gray, or green and gray.
You can also get these vests directly from Stohlquist
This is a more premium product from Stohlquist. The vest has an ergonomic, low profile design which is ideal for water sports like paddle boarding.
It wraps around your body snugly for a comfortable fit.
The shoulder straps are adjustable and there are 4 side pulls, a front buckle and a side buckle which are all adjustable.
It is low cut with an offset zip so it does not hinder you while you are moving and active.
On the front of the vest is a large storage pocket for convenient access to your personal items, with a top loading zip to stop things from falling out.
The foam is pre-curved with beveled edges to fit around your body comfortably. It is very versatile and can be used for lots of different activities.
This product is also available directly from Stohlquist
This soft, lightweight life vest is padded with flotation foam to keep you safe in the water.
It also has ventilation mesh panels on the front and the back to help keep you cool during water sports.
This also helps to keep your skin dry, preventing sweat build up and subsequent skin irritation.
There are neoprene comfort pads on the shoulder to prevent rubbing and keep you comfortable, and the shoulder straps are adjustable.
The life jacket closes with an extra-durable zipper. The low profile design means you can move freely with no restrictions whilst still being safe.
You can choose from three sizes and two different colors - yellow or blue.
This life vest is also available to purchase directly from Onyx
We have taken you through the best personal flotation devices to use while you are Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Now it is time for you to narrow down the choices and decide which product is right for you.
There are several things you will need to consider to make sure you pick the right product.
The first thing to think about is your budget. Personal flotation devices can range from as little as 25 dollars up to several hundred dollars.
The price will depend on the brand, the style, and materials used and how well it has been designed.
If you are a beginner and you are looking for something cheap and cheerful then for a product on the lower end of the price scale.
If you are a more advanced paddle boarder then you will need to spend a bit more money to get a life jacket that is designed to be used during water sports.
The next thing you need to decide is what kind of personal flotation device you want. You can get a belt or a life jacket.
When it comes to life jackets, you can get a foam jacket or an inflatable jacket.
All of the different products will do the trick, it just depends on your personal preference. You should also consider what kind of water conditions you will be paddle boarding in.
An inflatable belt will be fine in mild conditions but won’t be enough to keep you very buoyant in rough waters.
Another thing which differs between products is the materials used.
Some of them have soft neoprene which feels nice against the skin- that’s very important if you tend to go paddle boarding in a swimsuit.
If you paddle board in a wetsuit then it won’t matter as much as the suit will protect your skin from rubbing on the flotation device.
Some of the vests have mesh paneling to help keep you cool. This is perfect if you plan on paddle boarding in warm weather conditions.
They are all made from durable materials, but some of them are of a higher quality than others.
If you want to achieve your best paddle boarding performance then you should consider getting a life vest that is designed specifically for water sports.
The low profile, ergonomic designs of these products allow you to move freely and comfortably with no restrictions.
They are also very lightweight so they won’t impede your balance.
Finally, if you are still struggling to make your decision then it could come down to the color.
Some products have a very limited color choice whereas others have several different colors available.
If it is important to you to match the color of your vest or belt to your paddle board, or to your swimsuit or wetsuit, then you could choose a product with more color options.
Whichever personal flotation device you choose, it will help you to feel safer when you get out into the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Other Safety Equipment Do You Need For Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
If you are paddle boarding in areas of water where there are rocks or large trees protruding into the water then you should consider wearing a helmet.
If you fall off the board then a helmet could prevent you from sustaining a nasty head injury.
If you are paddle boarding in poor lighting conditions then you could benefit from some reflecting clothing.
You should always use an ankle safety leash that is attached to your board securely.
This means that if you fall off the board you won’t become separated from it.
Some people who take part in water sports like to carry a whistle so they can quickly call for help if needed.
What Other Equipment Do You Need For Paddle Boarding?
Once you have your paddle board and your safety equipment then there are a few other things you might need.
You will need to make sure that you have a good quality paddle- the aluminum ones are usually the best as they are lightweight and durable.
You might also benefit from getting a dry bag to attach to your paddle board as this will stop your personal items from getting wet.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.