Canoeing can be an extremely adventurous and exciting sport, perfect for those who love to explore breath-taking natural landscapes from a unique perspective. Just like in the case of any other water sports, safety while canoeing is paramount.
So, there are many safety and wearability aspects to consider when buying the best life jackets for canoeing. These include comfort, freedom of movement, breathability, durability, pockets, and other safety details such as whistles and lights.
Let’s have a look at the must-haves of the best life jacket for canoeing.
What’s Your Canoeing Experience?
Even if you consider yourself a confident swimmer and you have been spending time in lakes and rivers, wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) when boarding your canoe or kayak is essential. In some cases, it is also a law requirement!
However, depending on the type of canoeing you will be doing, you will need a different life jacket. If you are enjoying this sport recreationally and planning on navigating a tranquil river, a comfortable life jacket is all you need.
Oppositely, suppose you are looking at taking your passion a step further, and you are planning on more adventurous outings. In that case, you’ll need to ensure that your life jacket is lightweight, allows for extreme freedom of movement, and is complete with safety devices such as whistles and reflective straps.
Checking out the law regulations in your state or country is also essential.
Freedom of Movement in the Best Life Jackets for Canoeing
When canoeing, safety is paramount, but being able to move your arms and shoulders freely is also crucial. Indeed, a life jacket that restricts movements will affect your performances and cause you to struggle when paddling.
So, to make sure that you will be able to move freely while wearing a life jacket, check the armholes. These should be larger than your shoulders, and the edges around it should be soft and padded. If you are investing in a life jacket specially made for canoeing, this characteristic should be already integrated into the vest.
Breathability is an essential feature to look for in a PFD, especially if you are covering long distances or canoeing professionally. Indeed, you are likely to be sweating and, if your jacket retains moisture, heat, and water, you might feel discomfort.
Certain materials, such as Cordura® are specially designed to increase durability, resistance to abrasion, and breathability. Additionally, some life jackets include an innovative airflow system, such as Airescape® technology.
In any case, you should look for details in mesh material around the shoulders and back. This particular ensures that moisture and heat can escape the jacket as you enjoy your day out!
Comfort and Lightweight
If you have ever gone canoeing with a life jacket that was not specifically designed for this purpose, you might have felt it riding up your back as you paddle. Luckily, today, with the many technological advancements in design and materials, you won’t necessarily need to wear a bulky, heavy, and uncomfortable vest to feel safe.
When buying a life jacket for canoeing, make sure that it includes an ergonomic design with several adjustment points. These should be located at least around the shoulders, waist, torso, and back.
A quick test to check the life jacket’s fitting is by wearing it, inserting your thumb in the armholes’ top edge, and pulling upward. If the jacket does not ride up, you can be sure that you will be comfortable when canoeing too.
Additional Safety Details
Just like other sports conducted in a body of water, the danger of falling off or drowning can’t be underestimated. So, in an emergency, it is always recommendable to have a back-up system that can help you get out of a tricky situation safely and quickly. Some details that life jackets for canoeing should include are:
- A whistle
- A knife pocket
- Cargo pocket to hold your valuables
- Details in reflective materials to increase visibility
Ultimately, if your life jacket fits well, it is comfortable, and the Coast Guard has approved it, you can be sure to make the most out of your next adventure – in all safety!