Updated on July 10th, 2023 at 05:01 pm

Going boating or kayaking can be scary if you’re a tad on the chubby side. You’ll rarely find the proper attire that fits you comfortably and can keep your body afloat in water. One wrong move, and you run the risk of drowning.

To help you out, we’ve scoured the life jacket markets to find the best plus-size life jackets for you. And since we know that a big body can put significant stress on a life jacket, we’ve focused particularly on the stitching and the durability of the jackets.

So, next time you are on the water, we’ve got you covered.

Best plus size life jacket reviews

When buying life jackets for big and tall people, we often have to settle for bland designs. But that doesn’t have to be the case. We have some excellent life jackets here that will not only fit you but are stylish as well.

O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest

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Comfort is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re plus size and shopping for a safety vest. In that regard, the O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest is a solid pick for you. The outer shell is made with coated nylon to ensure it’s incredibly lightweight and provides maximum comfort.

One of the most significant issues chubby folks face when buying a life jacket is the lack of chest sizes that fit them. You won’t face such problems with this product. It’s available in many sizes, including XXL, 3X, 4X, and 6X. Therefore, you can choose from multiple fitting choices, even if you’re overweight. Even better, it has adjustment straps for a perfect fit.

The structure is sturdy and ensures peak performance for safety vests. The O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest features a body that perfectly covers your torso region. Furthermore, marine foam is sewn into it to ensure that your chubby body remains afloat when in water.

A common complaint among overweight people is their life jackets keep coming off while swimming. To prevent this, the vest should have a robust harnessing mechanism to ensure your safety. This unit includes four durable webbing belts 1.5 inches wide. Not only will they keep you secure, but they will also allow you to put on the vest with ease.


  • Lightweight coated nylon exterior
  • A wide variety of sizes
  • Marine foam interior for improved buoyancy
  • Quadruple webbing belts for extra protection


  • Inconsistency in size dimensions
  • Inconveniently tight on the waist

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Airhead Trend Life Jacket

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Due to their bulky designs, overweight folks tend to feel suffocated by most life jackets. They add unnecessary weight to your body and make moving around a nightmare. However, the Airhead Trend personal flotation device is exceptional in this case. Its slim design maximizes your mobility and allows you to try a wide range of motions and swim comfortably.

Safety was the prime concern in the manufacturer’s mind when coming up with this jacket’s structure. The body is closed on all sides to ensure no water gets inside, while the structure helps keep the vest in place, making it perfect for kayaking or boating.

Longevity is vital to consider when you’re looking to buy a large, tall life jacket. You will want to purchase a personal flotation device that can last long since plus-sized options are always in short supply. This piece of gear has a shell made from 200-denier polyester, making it resistant to UV and stains.


  • Slim body for convenient movement
  • Closed design for firm fastening
  • Side buckles for easy wear
  • Polyester build for additional resistance


  • Tends to ride up when sitting
  • Runs small in size

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Airhead Swoosh Kwik-Dry Neolite Flex Vest

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Are you a plus-size thrill seeker passionate about water-based activities like skiing and paddle sports? Well, then, look no further than the Airhead SWOOSH Life Vest! Bulk minimization is the primary purpose behind its design. Therefore, your body can move effortlessly without the jacket getting in the way.

Safety gears need to be highly responsive when in use, and this statement is especially true if you’re swimming. The Airhead Swoosh sports a combination of zippered front and two adjustable buckles. Operating them is effortless, ensuring you can wear the jacket in seconds and easily adjust the tightness.

Fitting isn’t an issue regarding the Airhead SWOOSH Life Vest. It has various sizes, from small to 3XL, and also comes with adjustable straps. Therefore, big and tall people can purchase this item without worrying about it being tight around the chest or the waist and without restricting motion during swimming.

Among this unit’s different features, the most enticing one is its build material. Its main body is neoprene, which makes it extremely flexible and prevents it from soaking in water. Furthermore, it’s super comfortable, and you won’t feel any irritation even after wearing it for hours at a stretch.


  • Minimal build for maximized mobility
  • Zipper and side buckle combo
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Neoprene body for prolonged use


  • Occasional inaccuracy in product size
  • Only 3 color options

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Criteria we use to pick products

Let’s discuss the factors that make a life jacket the perfect choice for larger bodies, from buoyancy to fit.


Big and tall folks require flexible safety gear to avoid discomfort in movement. Therefore, getting larger-sized jackets with a minimal or slim build is best to avoid feeling weighed down while swimming or having discomfort in your chest.


If you’re chubby, the last thing you want is a life jacket that comes off while swimming or is tight around the edges. So, getting the correct size is vital. You should find the exact chest measurement before shopping for large and tall life vests. And if you’re a tall woman with a big bra size, you must get a women-specific life jacket that fits you properly.

Also, try to get vests with adjustable belts and shoulder straps for a better fit.

Opt for models with an anatomical build or completely cover your chest to ensure you can fasten it properly. Refer to the size chart of the product to get the perfect fit.


Life jackets hindering one’s movement are irritating due to being too bulky. This is a common complaint among plus-size people.

It’s best to go for models that aren’t too thick and have high-quality foams inside to avoid this issue and retain high mobility.


Strong buoyancy is important to keep your body afloat during the swim. So, be sure to compare your body and weight with the size chart of each model to know the level of buoyancy it offers and if it’s enough to support you.

And if the U.S. Coast Guard approves the vest, even better. The USCG-approved design assures you that the quality is to the required standards.


It’s often difficult to find plus-size jackets in stock for tall women. Therefore, you must purchase one that can last you for a while.

Consider choosing stain-proof models, as they are easier to clean. Also, you can use them for years without damaging them or the colors peeling off.


What is the ideal fit when buying a plus-size life vest?

Most life jackets come with a fitting chart to help you determine which size is perfect for you. However, it’s best to select one size larger to make the most out of it.

How do I know if a life jacket can hold my body weight in water?

Each life jacket has a lifting capacity which is displayed on its label. If you’re overweight, it’s best to find one that matches your body weight to work efficiently.

What is the best material for plus-size life jackets?

Polyester or Neolite is more suitable for plus-size life jackets. They are comfortable and sturdy, ensuring they can withstand heavy usage while letting you move around effectively.


Regarding being safe on the water, size shouldn’t matter. We all deserve to find quality life jackets that also look great. Hopefully, our guide on the best plus-size life jackets helped with that.

So, before participating in a water sport next time, ensure you’re properly equipped.