I understand that nothing drives you mad more than see your children sticking their eyes on gaming consoles rather than playing baseball or soccer in the backyard.
Possibly, they are bored with these outdoor activities. Or, they aren’t good at playing them. Who knows?
But one thing for sure, no kids deny playing on the water. Drag them out there. Kayaking is a good choice!
And don’t worry, I’m here to help. Here are some good options for the best kayaks for kids that you can take a look.
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Lifetime Youth Wave
There are tons of features that make the Lifetime Youth Wave win the No.1 in this list, but the most mentionable is a reverse chine.
It combines with the pontoon style hull design staying underneath the boat to keep it laterally stable. Since the boat is constructed with shorter length – 6 feet, it’s easy to maneuver but on the hand, kids might feel difficult to steer or paddle straight.
Thus, this is a key-core safety feature to keep them from unwanted tips.
In the worst cases, if kids fall in an accident or simply get out on the water and swim, the step-up deck design will help them easily get back into the kayak.
The total weight is quite reasonable – 18 lbs. – that your kids can drag it easily from or to water. Or if the boat gets overturned, they can get out of it like a breeze.
That’s just an example because, in fact, hardly the Lifetime Youth Wave is tipped over or shrunk. It keeps balance pretty well and there’s also a self-draining scupper.
One last good news is the solo Wave kayak is also the cheapest model in this list so if you’re running low on budget, this is worth considering.
SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak
I know that some people might find the simple construction and open cockpit of this Sun Dolphin is so similar to the Youth Wave. But, why it only has my No.2 spot?
Well, the decisive difference lays in its flat bottom build. Compared to hull design of the Wave kayak, it’s quite squirrelly and unpredictable.
Luckily, in turns, Bali 6 is pretty wide to ensure good stability for kids to sit on safety without tipping over. Accordingly, the seating area of this kayak is also bigger and more comfortable. Combined with different foot well positions and 140-pound weight capacity, it can fit a wider age range of paddlers.
I’m glad that its Fortiflex high-density polyethylene material is UV stabilized – something that’s unique to SUNDOLPHIN to emphasize their products’ superior durability. And plus, no discoloring even if it’s after years of use.
Again, I will recommend this budget-friendly Bali 6 for those parents who are looking for affordable kayaks to get their kids on the water.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak
Old Town is so far the world’s oldest and largest brand in this canoes and kayaks industry. But that’s not the major reason for me to pick this Heron, their practical construction did.
The biggest selling point is its tag-along system. This allows parents to attach the boat to theirs if “small arms” get tired from splashing and paddling to shore. And you can tell it – this innovative feature is unique to Heron Junior.
Another highlight is a piece of foam billet. It ensures the boat always floated on the water surface if it manages to tip over. Besides, weighing only 26 lbs., it’s easy for kids to get out of the boat or drag around on their own.
That extra feature is just for the worst case. In fact, the single-layer high-density polyethylene hull design nails up superb maneuverability with on-point stability.
What I appreciate the most is its padded seat – something that not many kid kayaks are equipped. It keeps me rest assured that after a long day of fun on the water, my kids won’t feel fatigued or numbed somewhere.
The only pity is no paddle included. It means you need to buy it separately.
Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak with Paddle and Backrest- Blue
While many people may haven’t heard of Best Choice Products, their good lineup of recreational sport kayaks with emphasis on a backrest and a padded seat will persuade you.
I bet no parents want their kids to get sore just after a few minutes of paddling, therefore, a padded comfortable seat with foldable backrest is nothing to scoff at.
Moreover, the seat from Best Choice Products’ kayaks is adjustable. They also provide three different foot positions to fit kids from 7 years old and up (as long as they are no heavier than 121 lbs.).
Designed with a front storage area, a rear cargo storage compartment, and a bottle holder, it’s good for your children to learn self-organize their stuff.
The manufacturer also doesn’t forget to add some molded finger handles for better grip as well. These two safety features help your children to avoid tipping over or falling off.
Lastly, did I tell you about its UV-resistant polyethylene construction?
Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids’ Kayak
I love that the Ocean Kayak Banzai comes up with some more serious approach for kids to readily move up.
Its design is somewhere between a traditional and a sit-on-top kayak with many additional features, such as the longer and narrower boat shape.
That makes a big segue into advanced kayaking for younger paddlers to move into adult boats though they might feel a bit difficult to get acquainted with the boat.
Come with a low-profile padded comfy seat, it adds mobility and supports an easy movement for small bodies. However, can’t deny there are times that your kids still get tired, which is why Ocean also equipped a helpful tag along with system.
The only pity thing is no included paddles. In turns, there is a molded-in cup holder to keep hydration close at hand when your kids feel thirsty.
Overall, this is my highly recommended option for older kids who are ready to move up to a higher level of paddling experience.
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Kayaks For Kids
Material & Durability
As parents, I think you understand how abusing of kids on their gear so the material is one of the most essential when choosing a kid kayak.
From my experience, the high-density polyethylene is recommended for two reasons:
- It’s renowned for superb durability and longevity that can withstand the rough use of a kid
- A lightweight kind of material that helps to cut off some precious weight so kids can easily drag them from or to water. Or, parents can lift it over our head and mount it on the car.
It would be better if the boat material is built-in UV-stabilized feature since it allows bright colorway to last longer without discoloring by the effect of sunlight. Also, it leverages the boat’s durability.
80% of kid kayaks are designed with no extra storage space so weight capacity mostly depends on the paddler’s bodyweight.
Don’t worry, the range that kid kayaks usually offer is 100-130 lbs., which I think is perfect for a 5-year-old child and up.
But in some advanced kayaks designed for children to move up to a higher level of kayaking, the weight capacity is bigger (usually within 180-240 lbs.).
It’s because now, the boat is equipped with some additional features, like cargo and portable carrier. Hence, the weight capacity now is dominated by one more factor – the kids’ stuff.
So, there are two things you should keep in mind when considering weight capacity:
- Your kids’ kayaking skills
- Their bodyweight (and stuff)
This is also important because not only it helps both kids and parents to easily carry around but also partly decide how safe your children.
What, you might be surprised? But it’s true.
Just imagine that if the boat got capsized all of a sudden if it was too heavy, how would your kids get out of it? Or, flip it back?
Therefore, the recommended weight range for kid kayaks is 18-36 lbs. But if your children are teenage or skillful in swimming and handle such kayaking issues, an adult boat is worth considering.
Length and width of a kayak are two most important.
Usually, for younger kids or beginner paddlers, a short and wide kayak is highly recommended since it fits nicely to small bodies. And also, it provides better stability and maneuverability so riders can turn better than longer boats.
In this case, a kayak length of 6’ to 7.5’ is great.
As moving up to advanced kayaking experience, your kids will need a more adult-kayak-like design. I mean the boat now should be longer and narrower.
The length now is recommended from 9’ to 10’.
Safety is the highest priority. That’s why while looking for a kid kayak, you should pay more attention to those features that help to increase its stability and ease of entry/exit.
Hull design: Out of many different hull shapes, I find two most stable are double hull and pontoon hull because they come with a rounded bottom. This kind of design helps to minimize water effect on the boat to avoid it tipping over.
Wider kayak: If your kids are beginner paddler, a wide and short boat is highly recommended.
Sit-on-top kayak: Out of many kayak types, I suggest the sit-on-top for kids since they are simpler in construction and more durable.
Simplicity because it helps young paddlers to get on/off the kayak more easily. This kayak type is also featured self-draining holes to avoid water building up if the boat does a flip.
Open cockpit: To serve for easier getting on/off the boat.
Tow rope: Essential for parents. It will tow the boat to shore in cases kids get tired and they can’t paddle anymore. A 20-foot rope is a good choice.
- Other safety features:
- Reverse chinesSkegsFins
- Paddle holders
Adjustable Food Braces
Since kids grow rapidly, choosing a kayak with different food braces will help to fit their leg length better. Also, it saves you lots of money over time.
1. What is the best kayak for a beginner?
For beginners, the boat’s stability is the first priority because it prevents paddlers from falling off and boat from capsizing.
Besides, I also pay attention to how easy to get on/off the boat so that kids can climb to their kayak by themselves like a breeze. It’s a must-consider feature to ensure their safety.
Accordingly, here are my three suggestions:
- Lifetime Youth Wave
- SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak
- Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak with Paddle and Backrest- Blue
2. Is it safe to kayak with a toddler?
It depends on your preparation.
If you have no idea how to kayak with a toddler, I think this article is helpful for you.
3. What age can a child kayak?
Typically, a kid ages 4 and up can sit in a kayak bow. But because of the less propulsion they can provide, the kayaking distance should be limited.
Also, ensure your kids’ swimming skill and prepare for them some safety gear, such as life vest before letting them get out on the water.
4. Can a 4-year-old go kayaking?
Yes, they can.
But kayaking might be new to your kids, make sure that while having fun on the waters, remain their safety as well.
Equip yourself and the kids some basic safety rules, kayaking, and swimming lessons. Don’t forget safety gears, either.
You also should consider the weather condition and kayaking distance to limit unwanted risks.
In the end, my goal throughout this ultimate buying guide is to help you decide on which elements are the most considering when looking for a kid kayak.
Hope that my “how to choose” section gave you a hand to that and these 5 suggested options met your requirements.
Since kayaking is a fun activity, let prepare better to ensure everybody’s day stays fun and also safe. Thanks for reading!