Outdoor Federation

Best PFD for SUP

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Paddleboarding is one adventurous water sport to keep yourself fit. Even if you have a lot of experience in the water, you would still need some means to make sure that you are safe in the water.

Best PFD for SUP

PFD or personal floating device doesn’t only offer safety at crucial times on the water. The designers intended it to be worn at maximum comfort for a better paddling experience. Some PFDs for SUP designs are minimalistic that you forget that there are safety vests strategically hidden inside, which you can activate manually or automatically when needed.

To shorten your list, here is some information about PFD types and our list of recommended PFDs for SUP.

PFD Types

Source: boatus.org

Type I PFDs

While Type I PFDs may feel bulky, it ensures that you keep your head above the water on difficult times. Ideal for stubborn waters, you may not be paddling on waters above 12 ft.

Type II PFDs

Type II PFDs are common for wakeboarders, kayakers, and boaters. As stand up paddlers, you can also use this PFD as a response for immediate rescue. It will help you keep your head above the water while moving your legs in the water.


With less floating capacity, Type III PFDs are best for advanced swimmers and stand up paddlers that require more comfort and mobility while in the waters. Wear it like a jacket or belt to keep afloat with your body vertical on the water.

Type IV PFDs

Type IV PFDs are those disposable inflatables that you may not use while paddling.

Type V PFDs

The best type of PFD a paddler can use is the type V PFD. It has a CO2 cartridge that activates when the wearer submerges in water. It also has tabs that you can manually pull out when necessary.

For this reason, you should learn how to use your PFD.

Mustang Survival MD518313 Elite Inflatable PFD

Mustang Survival Corp Elite Inflatable PFD (Auto Hydrostatic), Black

The most comprehensive lifesaving suspender in this list, Mustang Survival MD518313 Elite
will keep you afloat at 28 lbs. buoyancy. This 3D chassis is type V approved and reliable for rescue.

The comfortable design lessens neck fatigue with an inflation handle strategically placed for easy reach.

Fun Outdoor Quiz

The Hydrostatic Inflator Technology has a very unique automated capability to work when exposed to water pressure, but won’t inflate when it rains.

That would make it need rearming less with Kit A or #MA5183. The 3D chassis also carries a back-up oral inflation tube, a safety whistle, a status indicator window, and a D-ring as a cut-off switch.

It can even accommodate a belt-extender for waist adjustment.

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Stearns 16 Gram Manual Belt PFD

Stearns 16 Gram Manual Belt Pack

Probably one of the most stylish belt jacket PFD, this type V approved belt weighs only 16 grams. It has striking colors available for other boater’s sight like neon yellow, bright red, and baby blue.

With a minimum of 22.5 lbs. buoyancy, this lightweight material can support paddlers of 80 lbs. It can even fit people with waistlines of up to 52 inches.

You can easily pull the yellow tab as it’s easy to reach, and even reuse this belt with the CO2 cartridge, Stearn Rearm Kit #0925.

What makes Stearns 16 Gram Manual Belt PFD great for SUP is that you can barely feel that you are wearing a belt pack. It offers maximum mobility and style. At the same time, this handy belt pack is reliable for flotation at most unpredictable times.

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1-Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD

1 - Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD Life Jacket - Blue by Onyx Outdoor

This lifesaving suspender has protective covers made in durable nylon oxford and nylon ripstop. The design lets you move comfortably when paddling that you feel like you aren’t wearing one.

You can set the suspender to automatic or manual. Either way, it can automatically activate when submerged in water or when the paddler pulls the “Jerk to Inflate handle”. The comprehensive lifesaving jacket also has a set up back-up oral inflator you can use.

Recommended for advanced swimmers, 1-Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD can support paddlers of over 80 lbs. and has a minimum buoyancy of 22.5 lbs.

You can easily install 1-Onyx A/M-24 with Onyx A/M-24 Rearming Kit #1352 once the suspender pack is used.

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Astral Green Jacket PFD

Astral, GreenJacket Life Jacket PFD for Whitewater Rescue, Sea, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Midnight Black, Small/Medium

Perhaps one of the most comprehensive life jackets in this list, this type V PFD boasts PE foam inserts and PVC-free earth-friendly material covered in high-quality nylon webbing.
Designed to float for the buoyancy of 16.4 lbs., it has different pockets on the front panel where you can store essential materials you need while paddling like a rope, whistle, and cellphone.

Astral Green Jacket PFD has two-panels strategically designed to let you comfortably move while paddling or kayaking. It has adjustable fasteners that fit your torso.

And even for the overwhelming comprehensive design, it has proven its purpose to most crucial events.

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Onyx M-16 Unisex Belt Pack Inflatable Jacket PFD

Onyx M16 Unisex Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket (PFD), Grey
Perhaps, it is one of the most popular PFDs among paddlers. It is a low-profile and affordable belt pack that you can rely on for immediate rescue.

Another lightweight belt pack of 16 grams, this unisex belt would keep you afloat at 17 lbs. buoyancy. It has a back oral inflation tube that can keep you afloat at 26.5 lbs. buoyancy.

The Secure Pull technology allows a quick-release of its Type V vest. A 200D nylon Oxford covers the belt pack for better mobility and comfort while paddling.

You can barely feel that you’re wearing a life vest on your waist. The CO2 canister is hidden strategically to only work when you pull the yellow cord.

Ideally, Onyx M-16 Unisex Belt Pack Inflatable Jacket PFD has become a favorite to paddlers. The only downside of this model, aside from being not switchable to automatic mode, is that it has less storage and less reflection to other boaters.

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While you can get the best PFD for SUP, you should remember that these PFDs work better with the presence of mind. It is one of the reasons why the coast guard recommends these PFD types for SUP for advanced swimmers.

The best PFD for SUP may not require bulky Type I PFDs, but you must familiarize yourself with your new paddling buddy.

One, you must know where the inflatable’s pull-out chords are located. Second, you must remember if your PFD is set to automatic or manual. Third, you must easily reach oral inflators.

You deserve to enjoy stand up paddling! Be active and stylish, yet worry-free. Get the best PFD for SUP that will let you stand out from your paddleboard.

And with that, we officially end this blog post. But before you go, can you do us a solid and spread the love (or laughter) by sharing this on your social media? Who knows, maybe we might even find someone who can relate to our content and benefit from it... Wink