The Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests

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Welcome to ThinkVail – shop the best inflatable belt life vests featuring flotation devices from NRS, Sterns, CWB, Stohlquist, Absolute Outdoors, West Marine, Onxy, Hobie, Astral, Pulse and more.


Inflatable life jacket belts are a great choice for experienced swimmers who want a coast guard approved personal flotation device that is not bulky and cumbersome like a vest. They are a great option on CALM waters and when you plan to stay close to shore. They are NOT meant for high-impact activities like water skiing, tubing, operating a PWC, white-water paddling or any high-speed impact water activities. They are also not ideal for cold water or if you are boating by yourself, without other people nearby.

In addition, inflatable life jackets are not authorized for use by those under 16 years of age or for people who weigh less than 80lbs, for those who cannot swim and for those new to boating.

Inflatable life vest belts do not interfere with paddling, offer a wider range of motion and are not confining, hot or uncomfortable the way a typical life vest can be. They are ideal for distance and race trainers where stroke technique requires maximum flexibility of movement.


How Do Inflatable PFDs Work?

Inside the belt pouch is a deflated PFD. The belt has a small tab or cord coming out of the pouch that is attached to a CO2 cartridge inside. When the handle is yanked, the CO2 canister is punctured and the vest rapidly inflates.

You do need to remember to rearm your PFD every two years with a new CO2 cartridge and to check your CO2 levels before each use. However, if for any reason the CO2 canister does not deploy, inflatable life vests have a manual tube for inflation as a back up.

Lastly, inflatable belts can be worn on your back so the bulkier part of the belt is out of the way while you paddle or fish but it MUST be turned around to the front to inflate, always inflate the life vest from the front.


These Type V personal flotation devices are compact with a low profile, providing a minimalistic feel and are more comfortable in hot and humid conditions but still offer great insurance when you need it. So, if you are:

  • an experienced swimmer
  • over 16 years old
  • paddling in warm, calm water

Inflatable life belts are an ideal lightweight, non-restrictive alternative to traditional life vests.


A coast guard approved PFD can only keep you safe when it is WORN.  Wear a personal flotation device at all times when around water.

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See Also: Best River Shoes


Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests


#1 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – NRS Zephyr

NRS (Northwest River Supplies) is no stranger to the water. They have been making high-quality popular rafting and guiding equipment since 1972. This SUP self inflating PFD belt encompasses the same innovation and craftsmanship that we have come to expect from a leader of the boating industry.

  • Adjustable waist belt with side-release buckle
  • This lightweight self-inflating PFD
  • Provides 15.5 lbs. of flotation
  • Meets U.S. Coast Guard requirements when worn.
  • Made of durable, ripstop nylon
  • Compact design
  • Small, zippered pocket for essentials
  • A simple tug on the cord instantly inflates the PFD with pressurized C02 gas
  • Belt fits waist 27″-50″ (69-127 cm) in circumference
  • Type III PFD.
  • Mouth valve allows the PFD to be inflated manually.
  • Whistle included

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#2 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – STEARNS

Stearns has been dedicated to creating water safety products for rescue and recreation for more than 60 years. Many of their innovative products are designed, made, and assembled in the US. Stearns, is a subsidiary of The Coleman Company, Inc.

  • Lightweight and comfortable personal flotation device
  • Allows for freedom of movement and complete range of motion while providing maximum buoyancy.
  • Ideal for sailing, fishing, paddling, boating, or hunting,
  • Compact inflatable life vest belt pack
  • Manually inflates within seconds to be a complete, adult-sized (30″-52″ chest) life jacket
  • Providing 15.5 lbs. of buoyancy.
  • Jacket inflates via a 16-gram CO2 cylinder by pulling the attached lanyard, or by blowing into the inflation tube.
  • Coast Guard approved.

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#3 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Drift

Drift inflatable life belts are focused on ality, comfort and safety. The latest inflatable belt PDF promises lots of comfort and stays out of the way while on your SUP.

  • Fully Sublimated Front Shell Panel and Soft Touch Neoprene Lined Back Panel
  • Dual D-Ring Looped Attachment Points
  • 6F Mini Inflator Mechanism
  • 16g Cylinder
  • 16.5 Pounds Buoyancy when inflated with the CO2 cylinder
  • 29.5 Pounds of Buoyancy with secondary oral inflated.
  • Includes spare CO2 Storage Pocket.
  • CO2 included in Black pouch for transport
  • Adult Universal – Fits 24” up to 52” waist.
  • Ideal for people over 16 years of age and older; and over 80 lbs.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Approved

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#4 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Stohlquist Contour

Since 2004, Stolquist has been focused on making the best possible product for comfort and safety on the water. They are a Colorado-based company that made a name for itself with high quality kayaking gear and boats. Stolquist is synonymous with paddle sports adventures.

  • Made of 40D mini-ripstop shell and 210D Oxford liner
  • Easy to use manual CO2 inflation with back-up oral inflation tube
  • Zippered pocket to accommodate phone/ID/car key and other essentials
  • Compact, ultra low profile design
  • For person 16+ years or at least 80 lbs.
  • Ideal for SUP paddlers, recreational boaters, and anglers looking for minimal coverage.
  • You won’t hassle with a big inflated collar, simply pull the inflation cord and then place the neck strap over your head.
  • Unique bladder design makes repacking and rearming the PFD a breeze.
  • Over 22.5 lbs. of buoyancy
  • US Coast Guard approved
  • Fit waist ranges up to 45″

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#6 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – West Marine

Since 1978, West Marine has been providing innovative solutions to boating problems. Their mission has always been to outfit, educate, and inspire boaters, and they do so beautifully. Enjoy this fantastic, easy to wear PFD on your next SUP adventure.

  • Low profile, slim design for ultimate comfort and maneuverability
  • Fits comfortably around your waist for unhindered paddling fun
  • Up to 26.5lbs. of buoyancy with the oral inflation tube
  • Type V PFD with Type III performance
  • Easy manual, pull-cord inflation and an oral inflation backup tube.
  • Easily repacked and maintained thanks to its compact and lightweight design.
  • Vest must be manually placed around the head after inflation
  • Halkey Roberts 840 manual inflator
  • Made of nylon with plastic, adjustable buckles
  • Available colors: Black, Blue & Tie Dye

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#7 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Onyx

Onyx outdoor recreation products provide reliable, dependable and trustworthy gear to keep you outdoors longer. These slim, compact inflatable life jacket belts are so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re even wearing it.

  • Extremely low profile inflatable belt PFD
  • 1″ buckle and body belt
  • D-ring attachment for small accessories
  • 200 denier nylon oxford protective cover
  • Type V PFD with Type III performance.
  • CO2 charge provides 17 lbs. of buoyancy – the oral inflation tube can be used to provide additional buoyancy up to 26.5 lbs. when fully inflated
  • 200 durable denier nylon oxford protective cover
  • U.S. Coast Guard Approved
  • Fits up to 52” waist

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#8 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Hobie

Since 1950, the Hobie Cat Company has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and quality products. From their world renowned sailboats to stand-up-paddle boards, kayaks, and fishing boats to specific accessories for each discipline, Hobie has got you covered.

  • Buoyancy: 26 Pounds.
  • Type III PFD.
  • Adjustable waist.
  • Durable ripstop nylon pack.
  • 2″ wide, adjustable, nylon waist belt with plastic buckle.
  • Includes (1) CO2 Cylinder and instructions.
  • To use, remove vest from pouch, fit on body, and manually inflate.
  • Small front zippered pocket to hold essentials
  • Clear plastic window to check CO2 canister level
  • Cooler and more comfortable than typical PFD’s.
  • US Coast Guard Approved.

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#9 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Astral 

The durability and style of this inflatable Astral PFD belt are top-notch. Keep this close by for additional peace of mind when you are out on the water.

  • Inflate manually or with CO2 container (included);
  • Buoyancy rating of 22 lbs.
  • US Coast Guard Type V approved
  • Front adjustable buckle for easy on and off
  • 200 x 400 Denier ripstop nylon shell and 200 Denier high tenacity liner.
  • PolyPro webbing and heavy-duty hardware
  • Non-corrosive coil zipper
  • Zippered hip pocket holds sunglasses, sunscreen and other small essentials.
  • Reflective logo provides extra visibility in low light
  • Completely free of toxic PVC

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#10 Best Inflatable Belt Life Vests – Lifesaving Pro

Lifesaving Pro offers the perfect solution for your SUP adventure.

  • Comfortable, low profile, compact design allows for maximum maneuverability
  • It is CE certified, which is Europe’s version of Underwriter Laboratories Incorporated
  • Pulling cord activates the CO2 canister for inflation
  • 3M reflectors are hghly visible in dark
  • It is a A 150N PFD which provides a minimum of 15kg of buoyancy per lifejacket.
  • Ideal for stand up paddle boarding, flat water paddling, fishing, sailing, hunting or recreational boating
  • For adults under 330 lbs.
  • Marine whistle included for added safety

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See Also: Year’s Best Stand Up Paddle Boards


Comments

We hope you found this article about the best inflatable belt life vests helpful. We have touched on some of our favorites but we would love to know your favorite. Please tell us about your experience in the comments below.

In addition, we diligently research all information for our articles but still we are probably leaving out something important or circumstances may have changed since publishing so please provide any tips or info that you feel others should know.

We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories.

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