ONYX Kayak & Fishing Life Jackets
The Onyx Kayak Fishing vest is feature-rich but yet a great value! Designed with four different pocket designs and functions to hold your essential gear and keep you fishing longer. In addition to the zippered fleece-lined pockets and the zippered chest pocket, radios or pliers can slip down and be stored safely.
- Six adjustment straps to cinch vest up for a snug fit
- High foam back accommodates high back seats
- Pockets designed for your essential gear
- Breathable mesh lower back
- Comfortable neoprene shoulder pads
This seems to be a very nice PFD. They say this is a Level 3 Coast guard approved Life preserving jacket. According to the USCG, most people need at least 7-12 lbs of lift pressure from a floatation device to stay above water. The onyx says that is around 15lbs of lift pressure which exceeds the standard for the Level 3. That is good to know.I will be using this PFD for Kayaking, and it will be perfect for every aspect of these adventures! I love all the pockets that is has. I also really like rubber band type of connection point on the left chest. This area can accommodate a lot of different ideas, and so I find it be extremely flexible in the use. This pfd even has a pocket on both sides that have felt lining in it. If you are like me, and enjoy kayaking even in cooler weather, the pockets will be a nice place to warm up the fingers a bit. This pfd seems so versatile in its use, I couldn’t imagine all the possibilities it would provide, but there are a few cons.It seems that the zipper pulls are a flexible plastic. When I go to zip the pfd, I can feel the zipper pull bending under little pressure. This makes me believe that in a short amount of time it will break. The most concerning is that the actual component that forces the two sides of the zipper to join, also feels to be made of this plastic. That, to me, is unacceptable, and a corner that should not have been cut. Never, ever skimp on a zipper, as we all have too many struggles with zippers as it is. Additionally, for the price point, it should have been some type of strong aluminum, or a stainless stell, I don’t know. When you go to tighten this guy down, it does put pull on that zipper. I could be wrong and I’ll figure out as the months go by, how well that hols up.Now, I am a BIG fan of double stitching and all aspects of pockets and compartments are single stitched. That may be perfectly fine, but it doesn’t appear that the zipper, which handles the pressure of keeping the jacket tight, does NOT have double stitching, or I can’t see it. However, as in one of my pictures, it does appear they made great effort to ensure a strong additional stitching was done where all of the nylon type straps connect to the vest. The vest can be a bit bulky, feeling like 2 inches thick in spots, but then again, you DO want to stay afloat. The design is nice, in that it allows you to move with freedom when paddling which is what I am looking for.So all in all, it suits my needs. I wanted all the pockets for accessories, and I wanted the design to allow me to move freely. They have accomplished this. I am concerned of the build strength in the zipper, and hope it lasts longer than I am expecting. As it stands, I would certainly recommend the PFD!
Stephen J –
I looked around for a nice PFD with pockets. Most were twice this price. I’m not going fishing, just wanted the extra pockets. It’s not noted in the description but this is coast guard approved. Contrary to the Q&A answer, mine did NOT come with a whistle. To clarify the complaints about the plastic zipper — it’s going to get wet and should not be metal. And you need to loosen the straps on the side to put it on and take it off. This reduces the stress on the zipper making it easy to use.
I saw a similar PDF, with just a different brand-name, that sales for a bit over $100 at a local retail store. If you are to do a side-by-side comparison, they are almost identical so I am quite happy with the price of this one.At first, it fits ok with the proper adjustment. The advantage of having a universal size provides for many users to wear the same PDF. The flip side to this is that its fit is not as snug as others that runs on regular S, M and L format. At any rate, it fits ok.It is US Cost Gard approved which provides you with some kind of confidence that it should work as designed in the event that it needs to be used in an emergency situation. The many pocket that this PDF contains makes it practical for kayak fishing but it is not limited to that application. It can also be used for recreational since some of the pockets are large enough to accommodate cell phone, key chain, camera, etc… It’s shorter back panel and the lack of foam on shoulder straps make it for a conformable paddling.The only reason for which I’ll give 4 stars (I which I can rated as 4.5 but there is no option for that) is because it only has a zipper closure with no buckles. In this type of devise, I rather have a redundant safety closure in case one fails but, that just my opinion. Regardless of that, everything else (construction, materials, design) is acceptable. Quite good for its price range.
I had my doubts about this vest. Based on other reviews, everyone seemed to place too much emphasis on the plastic zipper. My only concern was, will it fit? I have a 58 inch chest and I had room to spare. The product description says it will fits a 40-60 inch chest. The vest says differently. (See photo) I think I had a lot more room to spare. (Not that I want it.) It may even fit larger guys. I am 325 lbs. All of that weight is in my belly (chest) area. It’s not the best made vest but it is not over $100. And the zipper does not even bother me. It is plastic but it is a heavy duty plastic like you find on some high end luggage. One of the issues I had with my last vest is the plastic clips. They kept coming apart when you tighten the straps. There are no plastic clips on this vest to keep it closed. You simply zip it up and cinch the side straps. One other huge plus on this vest. It has adjustable shoulder straps which makes it very comfortable to wear.
M C U –
3 stars because it’s NOT approved by one of the 3 officials canadians organisations so it’s NOT legal on Canadian waters unless you are a US visitor on a US registered boat. If it was not for that I would give a 5 stars because I love this life jacket. It has lots of pockets of different type and size that are well design for fishing accessories. I have a canoe and a float tube and this life jacket is very comfortable to wear in both of them. But not legal here in Canada…