A trip to the lake or out on a canoe can be a great camping option for the whole family, but protective equipment is paramount for children younger than five years old. Indeed, it is not just kids who require a swim vest, but also adults with limited swimming skills or those going into deep water. As such, the quality of a swimming vest can be the difference between good times and an accident. All swim vests are manufactured from lightweight neoprene synthetic foam or nylon, which retains such a large amount of air in the material that it is nearly impossible to become submerged, even when the weight of a full grown adult is strapped in. Swim vest designs of all sizes, colors, and capabilities can be found at major retail, exercise equipment, or outdoor supply stores.
Kids Swim Vest
Kid’s swim vest models are designed to specifically accommodate younger and weaker swimmers. Not only do these vests keep a child fully floating, but also have specific weighting so that the backside is slightly heavier, meaning that a child who is incapacitated and face down in a lake or river will be turned about so that breathing is not impaired. Many kid friendly styles are designed for fussier children, so any kid would be proud to sport a SpongeBob or Star Wars swimming vest even if they spurn monochromatic models. Unlike older models with bulky pads and straps, newer vests are streamlined and feel no different than a wet suit as they support the body.
Different types of swim vest meaning
There are a myriad number of different types of swim vests. The type of vests that should be used for deeper water swimming — on a lake or even in the ocean — are known as Type III. Type III vests provide a much higher grade of buoyancy compared to simple pool equipment and are meant to provide protection for swimmers left exposed to the water for a long period of time. In addition to their flotation capacity, Type III vests are more insulated around the chest, so that less heat is lost to the water. Type I and II swim vests are higher quality still; a Type II vest is the sort of equipment needed for long distance swimming — such as crossing the English Channel — while a Type I vest is used by the Coast Guard and Navy for water rescues and life saving operations.
Though an average customer may not ever need such high quality material — and at several thousand dollars per Type I suit, may not even be able to afford it — there are other technological advances in some type of the higher quality designs. Ultraviolet light resistance, for example, alleviates the fear of sunburn after a long day in direct light. These UV neoprene swim vest models, made by companies such as Speedo and LeisurePro, limit the impact of the summer sun.
Swim vests are a necessity for young children or deep water. Providing support and flotation, they make swimming a breeze and keep parents from having to restrict younger kids from the water. For your next camping trip, equip family and friends with swim vests and enjoy the fun.
We searched and compared the best kids and adult swim vests and choose our best 5:
Our top 3 adult swim vest selection:
Stearns Classic Adult Universal Type III PFD
ONYX Adult General Purpose Live Vest, Blue, Oversize
Adult Swimming Vest Life Jacket Learn-to-Swim Life Vest
Our top 2 kids swim vest selection:
Stearns Child’s and Youth Boating Vests
Speedo Child Personal Flotation Device