Best life jackets for adults UK 2022: paddle boarding and boating jackets from Helly Hensen, Seasafe, Peak UK

Be it paddle boarding, boating, or jet-skiing, stay safe on the water with one of these excellent life jackets for adults

Best life jackets UK 2022 from Helly Hensen, Seasafe and Peak UK
Best life jackets UK 2022 from Helly Hensen, Seasafe and Peak UK
Best life jackets UK 2022 from Helly Hensen, Seasafe and Peak UK

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Out on the water? There’s one cardinal rule: don’t skimp on your safety devices. It’s worth taking the time and the money to invest in something that may literally save your life. Life jackets? Top of the list.

There are lots of things to consider when buying the right safety equipment - from satellite devices and electronic equipment, to simpler products such as rafts, buoyancy aids and life jackets should the worst happen and you end up in the water.

It’s the latter we’re looking at here, taking a closer look at some of the best lifejackets on the market today and investigating what you should consider when assessing which type of jacket is the best fit for you.

What should I look for in a a life jacket?

There will be a number of different things to consider when looking at life jackets, including what kind of vessel you’re travelling in and what kind of activity you’re doing. All life jackets should measure up to industry and legal standards (ISO 12402-3) and have a whistle, light and a harness to attach a tether to.

If you’re sailing away from more crowded waters into wilder, rougher territory, or sailing and kayaking at night, for example, you really need to pay careful attention to some of these aspects that’ll increase your chances of survival and being found should everything go awry.

If you’re kayaking, canoeing or generally taking part in more casual in-shore watersports, we’ve also included traditional and lightweight buoyancy aids here as well as more offshore sailing and commercial-grade jackets.

If you’re wondering what to wear on the waves, check out our guides to ladies wetsuits, the best men’s wetsuits, or our guides to men’s swimsuits, or women’s swimsuits.

Here are some life jacket options worth considering.

Designed for the offshore sailor, this example from famous sailing and outdoor brand Helly Hansen features a lightweight and flexible design, an integrated deck harness and an emergency light.

The unique patented design is constructed with weight and freedom of movement in mind - and acts as a superbly comfortable life jacket for general coastal activities as well as both inshore and offshore sailing.

Offered up as a no-frills life jacket for everyday use, this is an affordable option in traditional red, which eschews advanced technology and snazzy design for something rather more tried and tested.

This still means it performs well in most circumstances however - the inflation system is automatic (with a mouthpiece for manual inflation) and it also comes with a stainless-steel D-ring for attaching harnesses and safety lines.

We liked this lifejacket for its customisation options - adding interchangeable covers to alter the appearance of the jacket, which is a nice touch.

Ordering the standard setup provides you with a whistle, padding and a crotch strap for extra safety, but optional extras include additional harness loops, flares, spray hoods and a fitted SOLAS light.

A really affordable option for those of us who want to get out on the water in our kayaks, this life vest has been specially designed for dingy and light, inshore watersports.

It offers soft-foam comfort and an easy front-entry zip, meaning that it’s very straightforward to wear and has low bulk and high stability. We liked the fact it comes with a flare pocket, and the price is very reasonable too.

Bear in mind this is a buoyancy aid for low-risk watersports, rather than an out-and-out lifejacket that will save your life in more critical or dangerous environments.

This is a good middle-ground lifejacket, suitable for recreational and casual boating.

Priced fairly competitively, the jacket features a lightweight design meaning it’s one of the most compact units available on the market at the moment.

Its unique bladder shape and construction is designed to ensure the wearer floats ‘face up’ in the water should they go overboard - especially vital if they happen to be unconscious.

This has been designed purely for sea kayaking and kayak touring in mind, and we liked its vibrant approach, unique design and huge storage and pocket space.

Two large pockets sit at the front of the jacket, and the radio, flare and hydration spaces on the jacket also are incredibly useful when out kayaking on the ocean for any length of time.

Features a tough rip-stop polyester and now ships in a range of different sizes.