Best PFD’s for Stand Up Paddleboard’s ( SUP )

Paddleboarding is a water sport that skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Today, it is a common sight to see people paddleboarding on the shores of oceans, lakes, and rivers too. An essential aspect of paddleboarding is to ensure that people remain safe while they are paddleboarding. 

Here’s where A SUP PFD, aka personal floatation device, comes into play. It is usually in the form of a vest, belt, or jacket that is worn while paddleboarding to ensure that any emergency can be dealt with accordingly. 

PFDs are vital because they prove to be a lifesaver in case of an accident or emergency. A PFD is a device that ensures that the person remains afloat in water until he has access to help. Most areas require people to use PFDs by law. 

The purpose and use of these floatation devices are the same, but they do come in a range of styles, shapes, and sizes for one to choose from according to his personal preference. PFDs are essential for both the people who are swimmers and the ones who do not know how to swim. 

Top Rated Personal Floatation Devices For Standup Paddleboarding

A large number of floatation devices are readily available in the market, but this review and buyer’s guide will cover the ones that are top-rated and highly recommended. Some of the products mentioned in this article are favorites amongst the people who do standup paddleboarding regularly. Here are a few of the most recommended PFD belts, vest, and suspenders according to us:


The Type V SUP PFD Belt:


The Type V SUP PFD Belt is the top choice of experienced standup paddle boarders. It comes in the form of a belt that can be worn around the waist. This design does not limit the range of one’s motion. Some of the variations of the product also come with space for one to store his things. The belt relies on CO2 for activation. 

There are two options for one to choose from. Either you can opt for the activation via chord or use the belt in hydrostatic activation mode in which the belt is automatically inflated as soon as it is dipped in water. As soon as the device is activated, it releases an inflatable PFD that can then be worn around the neck. 

While using this device, one has to ensure that the bladder responsible for inflation remains safe and unharmed. It is also vital to ensure that the CO2 container is filled and has ample CO2. You can also opt to inflate the belt manually by blowing into it, but this is surely not a route that you would want to take in case of an emergency. 

The only downside of this product is the fact that it is very small in size, which makes it hard to detect at times. The device reflects the light that falls on it and thus is perfect for daytime use. Other than this, the device is lightweight and portable and does not obstruct the range of motion at all. 

IMAGE

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD

Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD

OUR #1 CHOICE

  • Extremely low profile
  • 1" buckle and body belt
  • D-ring attachment for small accessories
Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24

Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24

TOP-RATED

  • Type V Life vest belt pack
  • Manual Inflatable
  • Convenient, compact belt pack style allows for total freedom of movement
MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt

MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt

​GREAT VALUE

  • Mesh back panel is perfect for SUP paddling-offers maximum freedom
  • Premium Halkey Robert inflation mechanism with indicator
  • Convenient printed fold lines on bladder aid with refolding
Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams

Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams

  • US Coast Guard-approved
  • Low-profile, compact belt design
  • Type III performance
A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest

A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest

  • U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type V Life Jacket 
  • Automatically inflates upon immersion in water or when the wearer pulls the “Jerk to Inflate” handle
  • Equipped with back-up oral inflation
Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest

Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest

  • 500 Denier Cordura outer shell
  • Exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology inflation cell
  • Inflator inspection window and easy access flap
NRS PFD Ninja

NRS PFD Ninja

  • Outer Fabric: 200-denier urethane-coated ripstop nylon
  • The Ninja is a Type III, low profile PFD delivering 16.5 lbs of flotation
  • Four side adjustments and two shoulder adjustments provide a custom fit
NRS PFD Vapor

NRS PFD Vapor

  • It can be adjusted to fit the size.
  • The padding is soft and hugs the body comfortably.
  • The cut of the straps is not sharp at all.
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest

  • Mesh in lower back fits high back seats;
  • Shoulder adjustments with neoprene comfort pads
  • SOLAS grade reflective material for visibility
Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD

Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD

  • Ergonomic WRAPTURETM shaped torso
  • Adjustable shoulders, 4 side pulls and front waist buckle closure
  • Low cut, offset front-zip entry

PRODUCT

Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD

OUR #1 CHOICE

Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD
  • Extremely low profile
  • 1" buckle and body belt
  • D-ring attachment for small accessories

Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24

​​TOP-RATED

Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24
  • Type V Life vest belt pack
  • Manual Inflatable
  • Convenient, compact belt pack style allows for total freedom of movement

MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt

​GREAT VALUE

MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt
  • Mesh back panel is perfect for SUP paddling-offers maximum freedom
  • Premium Halkey Robert inflation mechanism with indicator
  • Convenient printed fold lines on bladder aid with refolding

Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams

Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams
  • US Coast Guard-approved
  • Low-profile, compact belt design
  • Type III performance

A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest

A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest
  • U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type V Life Jacket 
  • Automatically inflates upon immersion in water or when the wearer pulls the “Jerk to Inflate” handle
  • Equipped with back-up oral inflation

Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest

Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest
  • 500 Denier Cordura outer shell
  • Exclusive Membrane Inflatable Technology inflation cell
  • Inflator inspection window and easy access flap

NRS PFD Ninja

NRS PFD Ninja
  • Outer Fabric: 200-denier urethane-coated ripstop nylon
  • The Ninja is a Type III, low profile PFD delivering 16.5 lbs of flotation
  • Four side adjustments and two shoulder adjustments provide a custom fit

NRS PFD Vapor

NRS PFD Vapor
  • It can be adjusted to fit the size.
  • The padding is soft and hugs the body comfortably.
  • The cut of the straps is not sharp at all.

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest
  • Mesh in lower back fits high back seats;
  • Shoulder adjustments with neoprene comfort pads
  • SOLAS grade reflective material for visibility

Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD

Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD
  • Ergonomic WRAPTURETM shaped torso
  • Adjustable shoulders, 4 side pulls and front waist buckle closure
  • Low cut, offset front-zip entry

Best Type V SUP PFD Belt

#1

1) Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD

Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD

The M-16 PFD made by Onyx is the top choice of almost everyone who loves to paddleboard. It is suitable for people aged above sixteen years and is a type V PDF, which is also USA coast guard approved. It is a unisex belt that comes with a buoyancy level of seventeen pounds. The belt is adjustable so that it can fit any size. The chord is bright yellow so that it can be spotted easily. 

The carbon dioxide container has a capacity of nearly four ounces and is not visible when the belt is worn. The lack of any gauge means that one has to cross-check the level of carbon dioxide every few months. 

The Onyx Belt Pack M-16 PFD is an affordable yet stylish option that has a grey design and a cameo style pattern on it. The material of the belt is 200D nylon, which is responsible for the durability of the belt. The belt also includes a D-ring so that it can be filled manually. Although this belt lacks pockets to store things, certainly, the belt will not compromise the safety of the wearer. 

Features: 

  • Low visibility. 
  • One inch in size. 
  • It comes with a D-ring. 
  • It can accommodate ages 16+ and over 80lbs
  • Type V belt. 
  • It can be used for waists of up to fifty-two inches.
  • Lacks visible gauge. 
  • Lacks pockets. 

#2

2) Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24

Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24

The three main characteristics of the Onyx Manual Belt Pack PFD M-24 are its discrete visibility, ample storage space, and its a Type V. This belt is known for being efficient yet not weighing much. 

The inner side of the belt is made of neoprene so that the wearer can feel comfortable and does not experience rashes due to rubbing of the belt with the body. The outer side of the belt is made of 200D nylon so that it can resist wear and tear. 

The belt is black and is styled to give it an adventurous look. The black color also makes it easier to spot. The belt can be inflated both manually or through the carbon dioxide container. The lanyard of the belt is red so that it can be spotted easily in case of emergencies. It is a great PFD for all types of water sports, especially for standup paddleboarding. 

Features: 

  • The belt can be adjusted to fit properly. 
  • It comes with D-rings. 
  • It can be inflated with carbon dioxide or manually. 
  • It can be used by people aged sixteen years or above. 
  • Min Buoyancy level of 22.5 pounds. 
  • It comes with pockets that zip up. 
  • Lacks pressure gauge. 

#3

3) MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt

MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt

The MTI Fluid 2.0 Adventurewear PFD Belt comes in three different color variants, i.e., red, blue, and black. It is a top choice of boaters, kayakers as well as standup paddleboarders. It has a three-dimensional mesh at the backside, which allows airflow and reduced moisture retention in the belt. 

The belt looks very stylish and attractive. The belt comes with an automatic inflation system and also comes with a display that shows the status of the carbon dioxide cartridge. A D-ring is attached for accessories, and a small pocket with zippers is also available so that one can store things. 

The belt has received commendable response from the users and collected positive reviews overall. 

Features: 

  • Has a mesh at the back. 
  • It comes with an indicator of carbon dioxide levels. 
  • USCG Type III
  • Suitable to be used by people of ages sixteen+ and eighty pounds.
  • Has a minimum buoyancy limit of 26.2lbs. 
  • It comes with a D-ring to attach accessories. 
  • Includes an emergency whistle. 

Best Type V SUP PFD

#4

1) Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams

Stearns Manual Belt Pack Sixteen Grams

Weighing merely sixteen grams, the Stearns Manual Belt Pack is the lightest PFD in the market. One can choose between light blue, red, and bright yellow color. The colors make the belt easy to spot when paddleboarding. 

It is so light that one can barely feel it while wearing. Since it comes in a universal size, therefore it can fit almost anyone. The lanyard is not only bright yellow but is also placed right in the front so that it can be seen and pulled easily when needed. A plastic window is also placed on the front side of the belt so that the belt’s system can be checked with ease. 

The belt can easily support weight eighty pounds and up and ensure that the individual remains on the surface of the water while floating comfortably. The fit of the belt is perfect, and it will remain in place once worn properly. It is a belt that is stylish as well as efficient at the same time. 

Features: 

  • The floatation device is of Type V. 
  • The belt is stylish and lightweight. 
  • Can fit chests of size range between thirty and fifty-two inches. 
  • It can be used by people aged sixteen years and above. 
  • The status window makes regulation and checking easy.
  • It offers a minimum buoyancy level of twenty-two points five pounds. 
  • It comes with a zippered pocket for storage. 
  • A triangle-shaped hook to attach accessories.  

Suspender Harness PFD (Type V)


The Type V SUP Suspender Harness is the best PFD that can be used in place of both Type two and Type three lifejackets. The Suspender Harness comes with an automatic carbon dioxide inflation system. It can be worn around the neck or the chest as desired. The chord to inflate the device hangs at the bottom of the front side of the suspender harness. 

The pros of the Suspender Harness include the fact that it does not weigh much and does not hinder the movement of the wearer at all. The suspender is worn around the upper portion of the body, and one does not feel suffocated or a tight feeling when wearing the harness. A buckle is also attached to the suspenders so that it can be held in place. But it is to be noted that the movement range is better in a PFD belt as compared to the movement range in a suspender harness device. 

Sitting when wearing a PFD belt can be a bit uncomfortable, but since one barely realizes or feels the straps of the suspender harness, therefore one is bound to feel more comfortable and at ease. The straps are made of nylon so that they do not press against the body of the wearer harshly. 

Best SUP Suspender Harness PFD (Type V)

#5

1) A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest

A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest

The A/M Onyx 24 Automatic Vest is a popular choice amongst a majority of paddle boarders and kayakers. The jacket can be easily slipped around the body, and once worn, the buckles on the front can be adjusted to ensure proper fit.

The back of the jacket is elastic and is the reason why this jacket is suitable for a variety of body types. The jacket is mainly black, but there are grey colored panels and a bright yellow patch with the company’s name printed on top. 

The straps have yellow hemming, which makes it easy to spot. The jacket can be inflated either manually or through a carbon dioxide cartridge. 

There is a lanyard with a red handle that hangs in the front, simply pull the string, and the jacket will be inflated. The structure of the vest ensures that one has ample space, and the wearer does not feel congested. 

Features: 

  • Type five approved personal floatation device life jacket. 
  • It comes with pockets that can be used to store things. 
  • It can be inflated either manually or through a carbon dioxide cartridge. 
  • It comes with D-rings that can be used to attach accessories. 
  • People aged sixteen years and above can use the vest. 
  • Has a minimum buoyancy level of 22.5lbs. 
  • It comes with an indicator. 

#6

2) Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest

Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest

If you wish to find a vest that is stylish yet ensures safety, look no more because the Mustang Corp M.I.T Survival Automatic 100 PFD Vest can promise both of these features. It has inflatable packing on two sides, and its outside is covered with 500 Denier material as well as a mesh netting. The straps hang on the body comfortably, so one does not feel a tight grip. 

This vest is perfect for people with an aesthetic and fashionable sense as one is free to choose from a wide range of color variations, including the combination of black with pink, green, red, and separate designs in the camo pattern, grass texture, and color and the bright orange color. The company’s logo printed on the shoulder strap of all the variations. 

On the left strap of the jacket is a seahorse patch that labels the quality PFD vest. This brand of PFD is the top choice amongst not only paddle boarders but also amongst fishermen, marine crew, and even workers on ships. The jacket is sturdy and reliable and will not tear no matter what. 

Features: 

  • Jacket inflates automatically as soon as it hits the water. 
  • The inflation level is automatically adjusted as per the wearer’s requirements. 
  • It comes with a high-quality and latest technology based inflation mechanism. 
  • Status is easily visible through the inflation window. 
  • Once inflated, it has a buoyancy level of twenty-eight pounds. 
  • It can easily fit chests in the range of thirty inches to fifty-two inches. 
  • It comes with five foam pads. 

SUP PDF Vest Type Two And Type Three


These vests are the ones that are most commonly used because they do not need a carbon dioxide container or manual inflation to function. These types of vests come with a built-in foam that is responsible for keeping the wearer afloat in water. One has to be careful that the vest is adjusted properly to fit the size, and that’s all. 

Now you are safe even if you fall in deep water. The foam padding inside the vest will automatically keep you on the surface of the water. 

The older variations of these PFDs used to get heavier when exposed to water. But the latest ones are not only lighter in weight but are also coated with a material that does not get wet so that the wearer can stay dry. These vests are easily spotted, especially if one is wearing one that is brightly colored. This feature makes them easy to recognize even during darker hours. 

These vests do not hinder the motion range of the wearer, and one can move both in and out of the water with ease. There are different types of these PFD vests that are available in the market. Some of these variations come with pockets to store things while others have panels that make breathing a lot easier. 

These vests are the first choice of people who do not wish to rely on automatic or manual inflation of PFDs. It is also great for people who like to jump in the water occasionally to cool off when paddleboarding. 


Best SUP PDF Vest Type Two And Type Three

#7

1) NRS PFD Ninja

NRS PFD Ninja

Made by the brand NRS, Ninja is a vest that is very comfortable to wear. The primary color of the vest is black, but the hemming is available in different colors. One can choose between yellow, orange, red, and fluorescent hemming. The style and the bright hemming of the jacket make it easier to spot. 

The foam inside the jacket is mostly concentrated in the bottom area. The upper part of the jacket is designed in the form of harness straps that resemble those of a suspender. These straps can be adjusted as per the size of the person wearing the vest. 

To secure the jacket around the waist, a buckle is installed near the foam. The design of the vest allows full mobility of the arms, and the adjustability ensures that the vest hugs the person. 

Features: 

  • The vest is low profile
  • Front of vest as a pocket you can slide your hands into if its cold out.
  • Front pocket
  • Two straps that go around shoulders and 4 four that go around your sides

#8

2) NRS PFD Vapor

NRS PFD Vapor

This vest is especially recommended for people who have a narrower upper body. The upper part of the vest comprises two straps that are adjustable so that they can fit anyone. The vest is available in four color options, and the flaps and straps are grey. The color options in the vest include black and green, blue and white, and yellow and white. 

The foam-padded inside the vest is as light as a feather. The cut around the shoulder straps is also very comfortable so that the arms can be moved properly.

There is a mesh pocket that can be used to store accessories. It is an excellent choice when looking for a vest that is durable and high-quality.

Features: 

  • It can be adjusted to fit the size.
  • The padding is soft and hugs the body comfortably.
  • The cut of the straps is not sharp at all.
  • Includes a mesh pocket.
  • It has separate pockets to keep the hands warm.

#9

3) Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Life Vest

The name movement of the life vest is a clear indication of its main characteristic. The mesh material of the vest is responsible for the breathable nature of the vest. Other than breathability, excellent mobility and motion range are also two factors that are guaranteed by this vest. 

The Onyx MoveVent Life Vest comes in two design variations. The first design is grey, and the hemmings are in light blue. The second design has an overall charcoal color with orange hems. 

It is a unisex vest, but the front structure of the vest is excellent to support a female physique without causing discomfort. The jacket comes with pockets as well as an emergency whistle. This vest also features a separate compartment for storing dive knives. 

The vest can accommodate the weight of ninety pounds and above. The 200D nylon material construction ensures that the vest does not tear even in severe circumstances. The inner part of the vest is soft so that the wearer can be as comfortable as possible.

The straps have a tape that reflects light and enhance the visibility of the vest. It is a great and innovative PFD. 

Features: 

  • Comfortable to wear. 
  • It can be adjusted to size. 
  • Mesh panels ensure proper airflow and ventilation. 
  • Foam is soft and comfortable. 
  • Reflective straps that are easily visible. 
  • It comes with a safety whistle. 
  • It can support weight up to ninety pounds. 

#10

4) Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD

Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket PFD

Edge is one of the most popular life jackets manufactured by Stohlquist. It is a perfect choice for people who like to carry a lot of things with them as this jacket has ample storage space. 

The pockets are spacious and can be used to store anything that one wishes to carry around while paddleboarding. It can be rightfully stated that in reality, this vest is a bag that serves the purpose of a personal floatation device. There are different compartments with zippers so that everything can be organized and arranged properly. 

This vest is available in three different colors, but the hems of all these jackets are white. The color variations are black, blue, and yellow. The hems of the jacket reflect light so that the person wearing the vest can be seen easily. 

Features: 

  • A perfect fit that holds the vest in place even when paddleboarding. 
  • Shoulder straps can be adjusted to achieve the desired size. 
  • Zippers at the front make it comfortable to wear. 
  • The reflective surface makes it easily visible even in low lights. 
  • Ample storage space. 

Conclusion

No matter what type of life jacket you choose for your SUP, it does you no good if you don’t wear it. Safety should always come first when on the water. When stuff happens on the water, it happens fast, that’s why it’s always better to be prepared than to try and figure it out as it’s happening. Pick a proper life jacket and wear it.

If you still have questions on choosing the right PFD for your SUP, have a look at our article Choosing The Correct Stand Up Paddle Board Personal Flotation Device. or contact us, we are always here to help.