As a water sports enthusiast, a top-notch life jacket is a crucial investment to protect your life while on the water.
After all, life jackets are not only designed for kids or those who can’t swim. Nowadays, wearing a life jacket has become not only necessary but also convenient.
However, if you have a plus-size body, it can be a daunting task to get a life jacket that fits. Buying a life jacket requires deliberation.
Therefore, we’ve created a handy buying guide to help you get the best plus-size life jackets for big guys. Additionally, we’ve listed 5 products that will help you stay safe in the water.
Best Plus Size Life Jackets for Big and Tall Reviews
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest
Are you looking for a high-quality life jacket for big and tall? The Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest is a perfect choice for people weighing 90 lbs and more.
The Coast guard approved life jackets have an innovative and comfortable design that makes them ideal for boating, fishing, kayaking, or paddle boating adventure.
This life vest comes with a sculpted flexible foam design that stays in place when padding. The Onyx MoveVent is approved by U.S. Coast Guard and is designed with heavy-duty nylon fabrics that withstand punctures and tears.
- US Coast Guard approved
- Nylon fabrics
- SOLAS-grade reflective material
- Zippered pocket
- Mesh panel
- Highly breathable
- Has six adjustment straps for a snug fit
- Large armholes provide freedom of movement
- Large storage pocket
- Soft and lightweight
- It doesn’t lift your face up if you’re unconscious
Stearns Adult Classic Series Vest
The Stearns Adult Classic Series Vest is one of the top-notch personal floatation devices available. It is approved by the USCG and comes with an open-sided design that’s perfect for people with a chest range of 52 to 62 inches. This life vest offers maximum comfort and doesn’t restrict body movement.
This life vest is made of a high-quality 200D nylon shell and PE foam inside, making it lightweight. It comes with four 4 adjustable straps that offer you the best fit for your body. It has two large armholes that offer freedom of movement. What’s more, this vest provides maximum security during water-related adventures.
- Nylon construction
- Three buckle design
- USCG approved
- 2 adjustable straps
- Durable construction
- Universal size
- Has four adjustable straps for a snug fit
- Comfortable design
- Comes with a lightweight PE foam
- Doesn’t have a leg strap
- Only available for plus-size bodies
Related: Big Pool Floats for Big and Tall
O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest
For safety and comfort when kneeboarding, wakeboarding, or tubing, go for the O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest. This life vest is designed to fit chest sizes 57 and 60″, so they are an excellent choice for large boaters and paddlers.
This USCG Type III jacket comes with a water-resistant polyester exterior with lightweight buoyancy foam.
The O’Neill life jacket has 4 adjustable waist straps that allow you to have a more customized fit for your body shape.
- USCG approved
- Polyethylene foam floatation
- 1.5″ wide webbing belts
- Designed to fit snugly for your safety
- Offers a comfortable and unrestricted movement
- Multiple waist strap
- Only designed for men
- Lacks a leg strap
O’Brien Women’s Impulse Neo Life Vest
This is a lightweight life vest that is USCG Type III approved PFD. It is specially designed to conform to a woman’s body’s contours to offer a secure and comfortable fit. It is designed to suit bust sizes of 44 to 48 inches, so they are ideal for large busts.
The O’Brien Women’s Impulse Neo Life Vest comes with a zippered front closure that makes it easy to put on and take off. It has 2 adjustable straps that are well-secured with two buckles at the front. Additionally, this life vest comes with large armholes that give you more freedom of movement.
- BioLite construction
- PWC lanyard attachment ring
- USCG approved
- 2 adjustable belts
- Front zipper
- Wide armholes for maximum range of motion
- Provides exceptional comfort
- Lightweight and breathable
- Large burst sizes
- Made only for women’s bodies
O’Neill Wetsuits Reactor USCG Men’s Life Vest
This life jacket is ideal for water skiing, wake sports, swimming, and tubing. The O’Neill Wetsuits Reactor USCG Men’s Life Vest comes with anatomical flex points and a segmented foam core that offers unrestricted movements.
If you’re looking for a super comfortable life jacket, you’ll appreciate the expansion panels that enhance a comfortable fit. Additionally, it comes with a heavy-duty front zipper, safety buckles, and a minimal bulk design that allows full mobility.
- USCG approved
- Anatomical Flex Points
- Segmented Foam Core
- Neoprene materials
- Relaxed fit
- Unrestricted movements
- Prioritizes safety
- Ideal for water sports
- Stomach area padding is too thick
Types of Life Jackets or PFDs
A high-quality life is crucial before planning for any water activity. In case of an emergency, it promotes breathing stability and keeps your body upright. Life jackets are classified according to the ranging water levels. There are main types of PFDs.
Type I PFD
This is an offshore life jacket that offers maximum buoyancy. It’s recommended to be used in far-off, rough, or open water. This is because, in such situations, it’s hard to get immediate help. They are designed to keep your body face up even when unconscious.
However, these PFDs restrict body movements and are ideal for cruise liners practicing safety. Type I life jackets cannot be used for rafting activities and recreational boating.
Type II PFD
The Type II life jackets are also called Near-Shore Buoyant Vest. These life jackets are ideal for areas where you can get a quick rescue. The Type II PFD also keeps the wearer’s face up when unconscious. However, this may not be as effective as Type I PFD.
Type II PFDs come with various buoyancy levels from which you can choose according to your body mass.
Type III PFD
These floatation devices are ideal for peaceful inland waters. There must be a chance of being rescued in such a situation. This PFD is ideal for jet boats, rafters, smaller boats, and water skiers. But the buoyancy level of this device cannot turn an unconscious body into a face-up position.
Type IV PFD
Type IV PFD is also called an inflatable device. It helps a person drowning to grasp onto a life-saving gadget to prevent drowning. Popular inflatable devices include rung buoys and buoyant cushions.
How big do life jackets get?
Life jackets can go to around 50 to 60″ chest sizes, but some models can extend to 70 inches.
Are Life jackets Unisex?
Generally, they are unisex. However, you can get life women’s life jackets, which give a better fit, especially for large breasts.
Is US Coast Guard (USCG) Rating Important?
This rating is crucial if the law requires you to wear an approved life jacket in certain scenarios or a particular area. The rating is an indication of whether or not the life jacket is ideal for your activity.
Are Life Jackets Comfortable For Large People?
Life jackets for large people should be comfortable enough to wear for the entire duration of your activity. If you find the device uncomfortable, it may not fit you correctly.
Large Life Jackets Buying Guide
Many brands in the market put their efforts into designing and improving their life jackets. But how do you get the best plus-size life jacket? Before adding a life jacket to the cart, here are some aspects that will help you make an informed decision.
Life jackets require a certain amount of buoyancy to keep your face out of water. Ensure you check the level of buoyancy the life jacket is designed to offer. This will help you pick a jacket that will keep your mouth and chin above water. For instance, adults require 7-2 pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat.
If you are riding the boat for the day, you’ll want to be very comfortable. Padding is good, but too much or less can cause discomfort. Therefore, make sure you choose a life jacket that comes with sufficient padding in the right areas to keep you comfortable and allow proper maneuverability.
Color and visibility
A bright life jacket is very crucial for your safety. Black or dark blue jackets may be hard to see, but bright colors such as yellow or orange can be easily spotted. If you choose a black one, ensure it’s equipped with plenty of reflective tape or piping on it to bring the visibility level up.
When looking for the life jacket’s material, you have three options. Polyester is abrasion-resistant and is durable in good condition. Nylon and polyester are fast-drying, lightweight, and water-resistant. Neoprene is highly buoyant and stretches to offer all-day comfort and superb fit.
A good life jacket should be fitting for proper function. It should fit snugly around the body but should not be too tight to restrict movement. To get the right size for you, measure the widest part of your chest, and pick the size that suits you. Additionally, they come with adjustable straps to help you achieve a comfortable fit.
If you’re a water enthusiast, you’ll want a highly breathable life jacket. It gets hot sometimes, and you need something that will prevent sweat from rolling down your torso. Always go for a jacket with mesh backing or innovative vented channels to keep you fresh.
A good plus-size life jacket will make your life in water more fun; ensure you choose one that will suit your needs and follow our handy buying guide to have the best plus-size life jacket.