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Stohlquist Fisherman Review

A high utility and comfortable jacket that's sure to be appreciated by anglers who want a handy mobile workstation right on their chest
Stohlquist Fisherman
Credit: Amazon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $160 List | $159.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Built-in work stations, high back panel, durable design, multiple mounting and attachment points
Cons:  Not cheap, minimal high visibility detailing, scratchy shoulder straps
Manufacturer:   Stohlquist
By Sara James ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 8, 2022
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Flotation - 25% 9.0
  • Fit - 25% 8.0
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 8.0
  • Quality of Construction - 15% 8.0
  • Features and Versatility - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Stohlquist Fisherman provides a comfortable and convenient jacket with a fit that is suitable for paddling, casting, reeling, and sitting in a boat. This highly adjustable fishing PFD cinches down at the chest to stop it from riding up and sports two large pockets which can fold down to provide a nifty mobile workstation. In addition, there are multiple attachment points designed to meet the needs of the active fisher. Unlike other fishing vests we tested, this one is specifically engineered to carry more weight and is designed to provide slightly more flotation than Stohlquist's typical vests.

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Stohlquist Fisherman
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Price $159.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Built-in work stations, high back panel, durable design, multiple mounting and attachment pointsSecure and comfortable fit, integrated handle, removable harness, high quality constructionComfortable articulated fit, multiple pockets, thin ventilating backGreat mobility, stays put, durableAccommodating sizing, large armholes, great price, lightweight
Cons Not cheap, minimal high visibility detailing, scratchy shoulder strapsNot suitable for below 50 pounds, priceyNo bottom security buckle, can ride upNo pockets, a bit long, full coverage is less breathableNo pockets, top strap hard to tighten, torso length too big for smaller paddlers
Bottom Line A high utility and comfortable jacket that's sure to be appreciated by anglers who want a handy mobile workstation right on their chestIf you are looking to get your kid the best life jacket on the market, this is itWith a comfortable slimline profile and high functionality, this well-designed PFD was an all-around favoriteA simple, comfortable paddle vest that stays in place and provides a great valueA super adjustable, surprisingly comfortable option that's simple and easy to wear
Rating Categories Stohlquist Fisherman Astral Otter 2.0 Astral E-Ronny NRS Vapor Stohlquist Fit
Flotation (25%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Fit (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort and Mobility (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Quality of Construction (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Features and Versatility (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Stohlquist Fisherman Astral Otter 2.0 Astral E-Ronny NRS Vapor Stohlquist Fit
Intended User Unisex Youth (50-90 lbs) Mens/Unisex Unisex Unisex
Intended Use Fishing Paddling and sailing Recreation, touring, fishing Paddling Paddling, general boating
Entry Style Front zip 2 chest, 1 waist buckle Front zip Side entry, side clip Front clip
Wear Type Vest Vest Vest Vest Vest
Sizes Available S/M (33-39")
L/XL (40-46")
XXL (46-52")
Youth (50-90 lbs) S/M (31-37”)
M/L (38-44”)
L/XL (45-51”)
XS/M (30-42")
L/XL (42-52")
XL/XXL (50-56")
Youth (50-90 lbs)
Youth L/Adult XS (75-125 lbs, 27-33" chest)
Universal (30-52")
Adult XL (48-60")
Size We Tested S/M (33-39") Youth (50-90 lbs) M/L (38-44”) XS/M (30-42") Universal (30-52")
Measured Weight 28 oz 21 oz 17 oz 28 oz 14 oz
Foam Type Gaia flotation foam Organic kapok & PE foam Gaia + flotation foam Soft foam PE foam
Main Material 500D cordura shell, 200D oxford liner 200D and 400D ripstop nylon 300D diamond RPET 400D urethane-coated ripstop nylon shell, 200D nylon liner 200D nylon shell, 200D oxford liner
Claimed Designed Buoyancy 16.75 lbs 11.5 lbs 16 lbs 16.3 lbs 16 to 18 lbs
USCG Classification Type III Type III Type III / performance level 70 Type III Type III

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Stohlquist Fisherman builds on Stohlquist's extensive lifejacket experiences to produce a PFD specifically suited to the needs of those that love to fish. Delivering 16.75 pounds of flotation, this jacket is US Coast Guard and Transport Canada approved. It has a high back design, three adjustment straps, two full-size pockets, and multiple different attachment points. Designed to fit chest dimensions 33 inches (S/MD) to 52 inches (XXL), this jacket is available in four sizes.

Performance Comparison


Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - this jacket has open mesh sides and a lower back mesh panel allowing...
This jacket has open mesh sides and a lower back mesh panel allowing greater freedom of movement and breathability.
Credit: Sara James

Fit


For this review, we tested the small/medium size of the Fisherman. As with any shared sizing, we were worried this jacket would not fit smaller paddlers very well. Fortunately, the adjustability in the straps ensured we could cinch tight on narrower chests. Large paddlers also found this jacket comfortable as it has three different points of adjustment, which can be altered to suit an individual's unique shape. The Fisherman utilizes Stohlquist's signature cross-chest cinch strap design that has proven to deliver a comfortable and secure fit in the chest region. This adjustability was appreciated by all genders as it helps to avoid chafing caused by the vest riding up.


The high back also helps to ensure that users are comfortable when seated. This design is compatible with even the highest of kayak backrests. With a snug fit and comfortable foam dispersion, you'll have everything you need and nothing getting in the way of your fishing.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - the high back of the stohlquist fisherman makes it comfortable to...
The high back of the Stohlquist Fisherman makes it comfortable to wear when sitting in a kayak.
Credit: Sara James

Flotation


This life vest is designed to deliver 16.75 pounds of flotation — almost 5% more than the other fishing-focused vests we tested. Body composition plays a significant role in how we float, and heavier paddlers are actually likely to float better naturally; however, once you start loading weight into your pockets, your natural buoyancy will decrease. Fishers are therefore grateful for the extra flotation this vest is designed to provide.


If you end up in the water, this PFD is comfortable to float in and swim a short distance, thanks to the secure fit. That said, it is not designed to turn a face-down an unconscious swimmer. It is rated as a Level 70 Buoyancy Aid.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - sporting slightly more floatation than your usual life jacket, the...
Sporting slightly more floatation than your usual life jacket, the Fisherman is ready to be loaded up with your gear.
Credit: Sara James

Comfort and Mobility


The narrow shoulder straps and wide arm holes on the Fisherman allow for a good range of movement that was appreciated when paddling, casting, and trying to reel in a fish. Some jackets can result in chafing if you move your arms a lot throughout the day — the Fisherman manages to avoid this issue.


The sides of this jacket are open, and the adjustable shoulders have mesh paneling on the back panels for maximum ventilation. The higher mesh-back design offers increased clearance for tall seatbacks, which also helps keep you cool. Neoprene padding on the lower back band adds comfort, particularly as this is a place people are prone to chafing. It is a shame Stohlquist did not add something similar along the shoulder straps. If you aren't wearing a layer, these shoulder straps can feel a bit scratchy against bare skin.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - the diagnol cinch straps on the chest of this pfd help provide a...
The diagnol cinch straps on the chest of this PFD help provide a comfortable fit
Credit: Sara James

Quality of Construction


The Stohlquist Fisherman shone in this metric. Made out of robust 500-denier cordura, this high-quality jacket is designed to be tossed around in some rough environments. Unfortunately, the pockets are not waterproof, but they are protected with a tough plastic shell and have drain holes to ensure that water doesn't sit around there longer than it needs to be.


This jacket has a lot of attention to detail. Thanks to the multitude of attachment points and the large pockets that fold down to be workstations, everything you may need is on hand. In addition, the stitching, materials, and overall ergonomics all demonstrate that a lot of time has gone into this jacket. Considering Stohlquist has been making this model for over 12 years, it stands to reason that they know how to make this product last.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - packed with pockets, and yet still plenty of space to move, this...
Packed with pockets, and yet still plenty of space to move, this jacket captures the needs of the adventure sports person.
Credit: Sara James

Features and Versatility


This is another metric where the Fisherman did well. Over time we kept discovering more and more nifty features. Most obvious are the two 7.5" x 7.5" large pouch pockets with protective EVA-stiffened shells. When unzipped, these shells fold down into a secure and handy workstation and reveal an additional mesh storage pouch on the breast of the jacket. There are two sewn attachment loops inside one pocket and a plastic D-ring in the other. In case this isn't enough storage, there are two more external D-rings, an elasticated attached point, two bungee holders, and at least four other places where you could secure your important tools.


The positioning of the attachment points is well thought out. For example, you can store your pliers inside one of the pockets, and using a leash or lanyard can secure them to the D-ring that sits under the pocket. This means that when you pull your tools out, you don't have to worry about potentially losing anything overboard. The jacket is available in a low-vis color or a high-vis color with 3M reflective trim.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - there are mesh compartments within each pocket, d-rings, and...
There are mesh compartments within each pocket, D-rings, and additional bungee sleeves near the zipper that could be used to hold rods, knives, or other tools.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Value


In addition to the required safety this jacket offers, it also delivers a significant amount of comfort and supreme usability for fishers. By helping you to keep your tools on hand (and not overboard), this jacket may also save you money.

Conclusion


Anglers will love this jacket; it fits great, provides a comfortable seating position due to its high back profile, and it keeps everything you may need safe on hand. The diagonal chest strap helps to provide a snug fits that moves with you as you paddle, cast, or reel in a fish.

Stohlquist Fisherman life jacket - the stohlquist fisherman is a highly functional option.
The Stohlquist Fisherman is a highly functional option.
Credit: Sara James

Sara James
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