Kayaking is a sport you love and would love to share with your kids. You’ve already taken them on a couple of trips on your own tandem kayak and watched them grow to love the sport. Now, you feel it’s time to get them their very own yak. And the challenge many parents and guardians face is the type of kayak to buy for their kids.
I don’t need to spell it out that you can’t just buy any kayak for your kids. You need a yak that will provide lots of fun while also keeping your little ones safe. It’s in light of this that I created this page, to help you choose the kayak that suits your kids best.
I’ll be taking you through a buying guide. Here, you’ll learn all you need to know about kid kayaks. This will allow you to make informed decisions when choosing kayaks for your kids. So here we go.
Where To Go Kayaking With Kids?
Ideally, you should only take your kids kayaking on calm waters – lakes, ponds, lazy rivers, bays. Stay away from strong currents as kid kayaks are not built for strong currents. Unless you have extensive kayaking experience, you should never go kayaking on faster currents with your kids.
Familiarize yourself with the area you will be kayaking with your kids and try to anticipate any situations you may encounter. Ideally, you should go to places you know very well or have gone to on a kayaking trip before. Don’t hesitate to use our interactive map of the best kayaking spots!
What Safety Precautions To Take?
There are other safety precautions you must take into consideration. For one, your kid should never be on the water without a PFD or life jacket. Safety first! Also, make sure you have your eyes on your kids at all times and stay close to them.
It’s advisable you start them out in a quiet area to build their confidence and make sure you stay well away from low-head dams and strainers. Sunscreens may be necessary to prevent sunburns. And of course, bring food and water with you.
What To Take Into Consideration When Choosing a Kayak For Kids?
Hardshell vs. Inflatable Kayaks
When it comes to kayaks, two choices are always available – hardshell and inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks have become more popular over the years due to the unparalleled ease of storage and transport they offer. However, inflatable kayaks require more maintenance than hard-shell kayaks and are more affected by wind.
Most kid kayaks are hard-shell kayaks because their small size means they won’t be as difficult to store or transport as full-size kayaks. There are also a number of inflatable kayaks you can buy for your kids but most of them aren’t exactly starter kayaks and are suited for older children, especially teenagers.
Size/Length of The Kayak
Choosing the appropriate kayak size is important for easy maneuverability and stability. Choose a yak that’s too large and your child will have problems paddling it. Choose one that’s too light and it won’t be very stable.
The best kid kayaks are those that fall within 6 to 8 feet. The 6 feet models are excellent starter kayaks and are designed for room to grow. This is why a 5-year-old and a 14-year-old will be able to comfortably use most starter kayaks.
You’ll have to put the weight capacity of kids’ kayaks into consideration when choosing one that will suit your child. Kayaks with a weight capacity between 110 to 140 pounds are compatible for kids between 5 and 14-year-old. Older kids will need yaks with higher weight capacities and a weight limit of around or over 200 pounds will be desired in this case.
You may not feel comfortable letting your kids paddle on their own yet in which case you may want to go for a yak with towing ability. The towing ability will also come in handy when your kid is tired and in need of a tow back to shore.
That’s it for today! As I pointed out in the buying guide, choosing a kayak for your kid requires you to consider a number of factors with the ultimate aim of choosing a vessel that will provide maximum safety and stability for your kid.
This list is meant to help you filter out the best kid kayaks from the numerous options available on the market. Evaluate each kayak thoroughly and choose the one that best suits your child. And here’s to you and your kid having a nice time on the water!