If you are in a Hurry the Best kayak for kids is the Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Kayaking is a potentially risky venture for kids but it could end up creating a fabulous outdoor activity for them. As a parent, you want to ensure their safety while in the water. This means that you need to identify a well-constructed, stable, comfortable, durable kayak that your kids can rely on for fun.
When I was a child I used to use a canoe but nowadays I firmly belive a kayak is the better option. I say this because kayaks are far more versatile and provide many more options including better saftey. You can paddle kids canoe style, where you have one or two parents in the boat with the child or you can let them paddle on thier own. A lot of this depends on your childs age but for the first few times it is reccomended that you let them paddle with you in a family kayak to get accumstomed to the water.
There is a big difference between kayaking with a kid and kayaking with toddlers. Toddlers need a lot more assistance when on the water and should be in the kayak with you, but you know that already. 😉
Kayaks are safer than canoes for a child simply because they are easier to climb on, especially if they are sit on top kayaks. This is an imperative trait to have just incase you kid happens to fall overboard. With canoes it is a lot harder to climb back into from the water. To keep it simple the more kayaking you do the better paddler your kids will become.
In this article, we review some of the best kayak brands for kids that you will be able to find in the market. Before reviewing the products, however, here is a buying guide that will help you identify the top kayaks for your kids.
The Best Kayaks for Kids
- Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
- Malibu Kayaks Mini-X Standard Package Sit on Top Kayak
- Lifetime Wave 6 Ft. Youth Kayak with Paddle
- Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak
- Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
Factors to consider when buying a kayak for kids
When making any big purchase, you should take time to shop for the right product to avoid wasting your money. Buying a kayak is no exception since such an acquisition will require you to spend a significant amount of moneya lot of the time. When it comes to buying kayaks for kids, you need to take into account the factors that determine the quality of a kayak and its appropriateness for kids. Some of these factors are:
When buying a kayak for your kid, you need to determine how portable you want it to be and where your kids are going to undertake this paddling adventure.
A sit-on-top childs kayak is the best choice for beginners and kids. This is because such a kayak comes with advanced safety features. These features include great overall stability as well as quality materials used. You should get these kayaks if your kids are looking to paddle in warm weather conditions. Sit on Top kayaks are the easiest kayaks to climb back on should you or your child accidentally go overboard.
Some of the kayaks in the market are inflatable and come with a pump. An inflatable kayak is highly portable since you can deflate it and stow in a travel bag. These types of kayaks also come with some rigid frames that work alongside PVC-coated polyester to provide the desired strength and durability. An example of this would be the Advanced Elements Convertible. If you do not have a lot of space inflatable kayaks are usually the preferred kayak to get. They also tend to be the most affordable kayaks you can buy as well.
If you go for a whitewater kayak, you should know that the bottom is round and goes up to 10 feet in length. This type makes minimal contact with the water so it steers easily on white waters. You should avoid them, however, if you and your family are relatively new to kayaking.
A touring kayak, on the other hand, is the best option if you want to explore new waters with your kids. They are often used on the coastline since the water is calmer here compared to white water kayaking. They feature an extra-long and narrow design for high speeds and effective paddling. Such a kayak is built for stability so it can adequately handle a variety of different swells. This type of kayak is not reccomended for kids starting out kayaking. It is more suited for kids that are looking to advance from a beginner kayak, as well as have some sea kayak lessons under their belt.
Settling on the kayak size
How big or wide the kayak you buy should be depends on your need for comfort and space. If the kayak is too wide or too narrow, it will be difficult for the user to maneuver in the waters. In fact, it might even be a danger to the user’s life if he or she is stranded in the middle of new waters.
It is imperative to consider how long the paddle is since this is likely to affect its contact with water and the user’s ability to paddle. The length of any paddle should allow the user to achieve the right paddling angle. One should avoid extra-long paddles since they will be difficult to use for a child. How tall one is will also affect the efficiency of the paddling process. A short person will work better with a long, wide paddle. As a result, you should consider consulting a professional so that he or she can give you accurate measurements and recommend the best dimensions for your kids’ kayak.
It is also imperative to note that the user’s body posture while kayaking will also affect the paddling efficiency.
As you shop for a kayak you should consider the construction material and style to determine its durability. A firmly built kayak should provide reliable paddling for the longest time possible. However, you must be willing to spend more in order to get your hands on a lightweight, sturdy, stable, and high performing kayak.
There are usually three materials featured in the making of kayaks and they include the following:
– Plastic/ Polyethylene
Polyethylene is the common type of plastic used in the making of kayaks. They come in a rugged structure, a longer shelf life, and an enhanced resistance against impact and water. This plastic is also lightweight, which means you can easily lift the kayak to transport it from one point to the other.
– PVC (Inflatable Kayaks)
PVC is becoming a more and more popular material in the kayaking industry. This is because they are less expensive to make, are made durable and are some of the safest kayaks you can buy today. I say they are some of the safest because most good quality inflatable kayaks have multiple air bladders. If one pops you are still able to paddle back to saftey. Compare that to a Hardshell kayak where you have to quickly paddle to shore to get a repair or risk sinking your vessel. A lot of people swear by inflatable kayaks these days because of their durability, compact size and added saftey features that come with them.
A cockpit allows you to get inside your kayak, which means that it needs to be spacious enough for comfort but small enough for maneuverability. You need to consider your kids’ body size to determine how big the cockpit should be. This is because the user should be able to enter and exit the kayak easily. There are three types of cockpits featured in the construction of kayaks: keyhole, recreational, and ocean.
An ocean cockpit mostly features oval, round, or elliptical shapes. Its dimensions are often in and around 26 x 20 inches for the length and width respectively. Most users prefer ocean cockpits since they are compact, which means that the fit is snug. The user should be able to turn when kayaking on fast-flowing streams, implying that the ocean cockpit should allow the user’s knees and thighs to touch its deck.
A keyhole cockpit is built just like an ocean cockpit but comes at a length of 32 inches. Its braces are also thicker for firmness and its seat can be adjusted to the desired sitting position. The latter feature makes keyhole cockpits the most comfortable for a user when in a sitting position. The user can stretch his or her feet while inside this cockpit and is able to move them around even when he or she has been out on the water for a long time.
A recreational cockpit, on the other hand, features oval or square shapes and comes with dimensions of 36 x 20 inches (length x width). It is suitable for users with a strong build since it offers more room and a comfortable entry and exit.
If your kids want to become kayaking pros and are always on the water practicing, then you should get them a kayak that has a cockpit with thick padding and weatherproofing features. You can even get smart adjustability attributes for extra comfort. Getting a kayak with the right cockpit size and shape will go a long way in improving its performance and efficiency. The closer your knees and thighs are to the deck, the more control you will have.
Benefits of kayaking for kids
Kids should be able to have fun while out of the house, and there is no better way to keep them entertained and productive than allowing them to go kayaking. So, what are the benefits of kayaking for kids?
It gets children out of the house
Technological devices like PlayStations, televisions and various different games on phones keep kids in the house for hours, which makes them physically inactive. Proposing a kayaking adventure for your kids is the perfect way to get them to participate in something other than indoor activities. It also gives them a feeling of tranquility while they are paddling on the water. I still get goose bumps remembering all the canoeing trips I used to do with my parents when I was younger.
It Gets them moving
With the rising cases of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other risky health conditions among children. Parents need to ensure their kids are physically active in order to prevent such diseases from affecting them in the long term. Kayaking will get the kids moving their arms( or legs in the case of pedal kayaks) as they paddle around the waters.
You could plan a kayaking trip with family friends so you can create challenging activities afterwards. Water sports such as swimming, rope climbing inner tubing to name a few are great exercises to help kids lose weight and stay fit. This will also teach them the next lesson.
They will appreciate nature
Where kids spend most of their time is Schools, community center environments and their houses. This leaves forests, rivers, mountains, etc. as the main natural resources around us. To promote a green planet, kids should learn what nature has to offer. Your kids will love nature more if they interact with it. As they paddle in the nearby stream, your kids will get to feel the smell of green plants, listen to the singing birds, watch small wild animals, and pick wild berries as they take in everything that nature has to offer.
They will be in a better position to create balanced hobbies
Taking them kayaking will allow them to incorporate outdoor activities in the list of their hobbies which can keep depression and other symptoms involved with inactivity at bay. Kayaking is also a great way to meet like minded friends who enjoy the sport as much as they do.
It will boost their confidence
Embarking on a kayaking challenge is the ideal way to boost your kids’ confidence. This is because it will teach them how to set specific goals and develop a plan to achieve them. For me the goals I would set is how many fish I could catch in a day while paddling the canoe, how long I could continuously paddle until getting exhuasted, who can get from point A to point B the quickest.
There is no better way to promote unity and togetherness in a family than creating traditions. You could make kayaking a family tradition for special occasions or even do it on a weekly basis in the summer and spring time. If you are lucky neough to live closer to the equader it’s an activity that you can do year round.
Kids Kayak Reviews
For people looking to buy an inflatable kayak that comes with the lots of different accessories, the Driftsun Voyager 2 Person model might just be the best option available for them. It is sold with 2 paddles, a double action manual pump, a travel carrying bag, a removable tracking skeg, and 2 seats so you have room for present company. The seats are EVA padded for comfort and a high back is featured for extra comfort. The paddles are aluminum for strength and lightness in addition to being adjustable. This kids sit in kayak is also a pretty good family fishing vessel because it is silent in the water.
When deflated, you can easily stow this kayak in the travel bag since it only measures 26 x 16 x 8 inches. Even after inflating, your kid will have an easy time controlling it since it features dimensions of 10ft. x 35 x 16 inches. The deflation and inflation of this kayak is also fast because you only need to undo and do the Boston valves respectively.
With a weight of 27lbs, this kayak might be the lightest in the market. The manufacturer recommends a maximum weight capacity of 450 lbs.
The bottom part of this kayak is made of tough PVC tarpaulin for the required strength and durability. This means that the probability of a puncture occurring are low. This is made even better by the double threaded Boston valves that prevent leaks. What’s more, this kayak is made with a tough 840D coated nylon oxford fabric whose top cover is rip and tear resistant.
Most users find the kayak’s rocker profile and pointed nose entry impressive since it gives this kayak the required performance. You can also remove the deep fin so that responsive tracking is possible. You can use the rear drain plug to remove the held up water.
Once you have fully inflated this kayak, your kids will attain the desirable stability while in the water. What’s more, they will achieve top-level comfort for smooth steering. All they have to do is sit back and propel the kayak right to the preferred spot.
- The seats can be removed and adjusted readily to achieve the desired comfort.
- Handles and paddles come with a great grip for comfort while handling.
- It inflates quickly since it only takes 5 minutes to fully inflate it
- It had a compact design that is maneuverable.
- It provides guaranteed superior performance in both calm and procellous waters.
- The premium quality EVA padding on the seats is complemented by the high-back support to allow users to enjoy hours of tireless cruising.
- Some users feel that it’s too small for two adults to fit perfectly.
If you are looking for a good quality kayak that has good maneuverability but also decent tracking ability the Malibu X is a good kayak to get. Even though the Mini X is shorter it’s pronounced Hull gives it good tracking for you and your child.
The Malibu Mini X measures 111 x 33 x 12 inches with reference to its width, height, and depth. It is super lightweight since it only weighs 47 pounds so you can readily handle it with ease. It is just the right size for use by kids because it is a shorter kayak. It also is a good kayak that can grow with them. Rather than getting a kids kayak, you can use the Mini X and have them use it for years making it a good candidate for the best youth kayak.
It is also able to support a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds so your kids can bring a few fishing or other items on board. It is also spacious enough to fit two kids so they can share in the fun.
This model right here might be one of the best versatile kayaks in the market. It comes equipped with an adjustable footrest so the user can find the right comfort for his or her feet. Moreover, the user can create a standing platform so he or she can undertake a variety of water activities like stand up paddling or become a kids fishing kayak.
- The Mini-X Kayak is lightweight for ease of transport.
- It is durable so it can provide a long lasting life
- The sit-on-top design makes maneuvering on the water much simpler.
- It is styled for versatility so a user can easily paddle or fish.
- It is made in the US so it is made of quality materials.
- It is built for stability so the users are safe in the water.
- It is super-fast, implying that the user can cruise at the desired speed
- Good Tracking for a smaller kayak because of pronounced hull
- Limited negative reviews are available so the buyer’s decision might be biased.
- The foot platform might be a little inconvenient since standing may affect the stability of this kayak.
- More space needs to be created around the footrest to allow tall people to paddle comfortably.
Affectionatly known as the baby kayak, the Lifetime Kayak comes in yellow, a color that is readily visible from the water. This kids size kayak is specially designed to fit the small size of children while keeping them safe.. It further comes with an easy-climb-on rear deck so the user can get on it easily without falling in the water.
Lifetime Wave 6 Ft. Youth Kayak is styled in a fin design that makes surf riding as well as tracking much more doable. You can also use this kayak for other water activities like shallow fishing and diving and deeper water. It was made with the aim of improving the quality of a kid’s time in the water by being specifically made for them.
the paddle cradle is designed so that it will securely hold the paddle every time it is not in use. This makes the kayak highly portable since you can carry it as a compact item. It also has scupper holes that you can rely on when draining the cockpit area after kayaking.
You will also find the foot wells useful when seeking the required leverage for proper and efficient paddling. Finger handles have been molded on both sides of this kayak, which means that the user can hold onto them for support as he or she steers it around.
The manufacturer has thoughtfully incorporated a T-handle in front of this kayak to make sure the user is able to control its movement on the water easily. It is recommended for kids that love adventure and above the age of 5 years. Your kids can utilize the unique features of this kayak effectively on ponds and lakes. Its design gives it a dimension of 24 x 72 inches for the width and depth respectively.
Let your kids plan for a fun-filled adventure in the nearby lake or river with friends.
- It offers multiple footrest positions, which means that differently sized riders can paddle it comfortably.
- It features a soft, contoured construction for strength and durability.
- The compact size makes this kayak ideal for kids when moving around.
- The finger and front handles are well designed for better steering.
- The scupper holes come in handy in draining water that collects around the cockpit area.
- It is specifically built for kids so it’s easy to control.
- It is stable so the kids are always safe while going about their activities.
- It doesn’t come with a backrest, which makes it inconvenient for use.
- Some users feel that it could have been cheaper.
If you are up for a kayaking escapade with your kids, then the Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak is the ultimate partner. It is a tandem kayak that can be fitted with a child seat.
It is the ideal choice if you are looking for speed, comfort, and stability in one. Sometimes kayaking seems like a dangerous undertaking and parents often avoid allowing kids to go alone. This Malibu kayak is designed for every parents’ needs since it comes with enough room for 2 adults and a kid. With it, you no longer have to worry about the safety of your kid since you can embark on a fun paddling experience together. This kayak is a good candidate for kayaking with a baby as well.
You will love the comfort zone seats that you can move readily for easy set up. If your kid will be steering this kayak alone, then you should set the seats at the center to give him/her better control and ensure he or she does not get tired. The overlapping foot wells will come in handy as you reset the seat since they provide a place for you to push against regardless of where you sit.
Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak features side paddle keepers where you can readily stash the paddle when not in use. Additionally, you could bring a fishing pole along and there will be enough room for it on the side paddle keepers. If after kayaking you want to go for a swim, you can pack a few beach towels and stash them under the bungees.
The Malibu 2XL weighs 61 pounds, thus making it necessary for two people to carry around and handle, unless you have a kayak cart. You can also rely on it for the longest time since it is made using a strong and high-quality construction material.
It has dimensions of 13 ft 4 inches long and 34 inches wide for a compact build.
- It is able to support a large weight capacity of 450 – 500 lb.
- The comfort zone seats are perfect, which means that you can concentrate on kayaking.
- It is suitable for all paddling skill levels.
- This kayak is super lightweight; even your kids will have an easy time moving it around.
- Comes with a large space under the bungees for storage of swimming and kayaking gear
- It has overlapping foot wells to enhance your paddling comfort irrespective of where you sit.
- Some users argue that the fit and finish of this kayak is low quality.
- The strength of the construction material is wanting since it affects its durability.
This 1-person inflatable kayak set that comes with 84-inch aluminum oars that ensure it is light enough for him/her to propel it properly. It has a high output manual air pump that ensure your kids spend less time inflating the kayak and more time enjoying the water sport they choose. It is the perfect choice for users looking for agility. Furthermore, the kayak comes with high-quality welded materials for strength and durability. This way, you are sure that the kayak will serve your kid’s needs for the longest time possible. The manufacturer also used eye-catching graphics that are supposed to make the kayak visible for extra safety as one steers it on a slow-moving water body like a stream or a lake.
Users are likely to appreciate the spacious cargo net where they can store some of their additional gear. The grab line attached on both ends of the kayak increases the convenience of using it since one gets to pull it out or in the water easily. The seat is inflatable and fitted with a backrest to ensure maximum comfort while steering.
Included in the package upon purchase of this beautiful kayak is a repair patch in case it has a puncture.
With respect to its width, height, and depth, this kayak measures approximately 30 x 15 x 108 inches. Moreover, it only weighs 27.2 pounds for ease of maneuvering in the water and is able to accommodate a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds.
This might be the best inflatable kayak for kids since navigating it is super easy. The inflatable seat is comfortable, implying that the user can lean back and lift his or her feet searching for the best relaxing position.
It is has a foot cushion that is meant to keep the user’s legs comfortable as he or she steer the kayak while enjoying the cool breeze. However, some users feel that the foot cushioning is unnecessary as it reduces the available space for their feet. You, however, can deflate the foot cushion easily if your kids don’t need it.
- It is compact for easy stowing.
- It is lightweight for easy handling and carrying.
- It is available in different sizes.
- The heavy vinyl used in construction enhances the durability of this kayak.
- The hull spaces need to be bigger for more legroom.
- There is no drain hole for removing water after kayaking.
- Not the Best Kayak for Tracking
A few Saftey Tips
When Kayaking with your child there are a few golden rules to remember.
- Always wear a PFD,keep it on at all times
- Kayak in calm waters first (Lakes are ideal)
- Paddle in warm waters (cold water paddling is out of the question)
- Take Kayaking Lessons like I did! (See Right picture)
- Take them for swimming lessons before trying kayaking
- Do not push your kid to do it if they don’t want to
- If kayaking for the day, bring snacks!
- Learn how to attach rope and tow your kid incase they get tired.
- Keep them entertained with a toy or fishing (my favorite activity as a kid)
Kayaking with kids can be a bit of a nerve wracking situation at first for any parent, prepare them with the above tips and everything should go just fine.
Of the above kayaks for kids, we must admit that Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak stole our hearts. It is quick to inflate using the included high output manual pump. The Boston valves used to seal the kayak airtight are double stitched so you have no leakage issues while in the water. It is also lightweight for portability and can hold a maximum weight capacity of 450 pounds. It comes with two EVA padded seats that can also be adjusted for the desired comfort. The two paddles included are also made of aluminum so they are both strong and light for ease of handling.
Are there any more kayaks you think are ideal for the little angels whose safety and fun is paramount? If you have a few you would like to recommend, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us.