Child sized kayak

I am looking to get my 7 year old her own kayak.

She has been paddling with me in my Pamlico 135Tandem for a few years, and has shown great interest in getting her own boat. I know the Perception Acadia Scout exists, but are there other choices? That boat is 9’6", weighs only 25 lbs, and has a max weight load of 125 lbs. Daughter is well under that weight, and has a 1.5 year old sister who would inherit it when big sis moves on to a larger boat (don’t give me grief over inherited things- I’m a younger brother, and now- a cheap father. At least I’m honest though).

So do other kayaks exist? I saw a Dragon Wave model- but that’s a sit-on-top, which I am not a fan of. I know some people love them- I don’t.

I was also thinking about something like an Old Town Otter or Perception Prodigy. I am concerned about the weight on those and the width being too wide for her on her own. The Acadia Scout is 23.5" wide, and the other two are about 28-29". The tandem she paddles in now is 29.5", but I think I do the bulk of the steering.

Also the very important secondary question- does any model come in pink or purple??? She was annoyed with her new pfd- only came in primary colors…

Thanks for any help.

And I know this subject comes up now & then on here. I couldn’t find an older thread. Forgive me if this is a dead horse…

Couple of Kiddie Yaks
Tsunami SP

Jackson Minintripper

Try the WS Tsunami SP
A few months ago I wanted to buy a kayak for a 6 yr old and ended up with the Perception Arcadia Scout. It paddles well and 6-10 yr olds have done very well in it. I wanted to get a better boat (bulkheads/hatches/decklines) but didn’t find anything at that time. Have since gotten a slightly used Tsunami SP and it is just what I was looking for. It tracks great, has good bulkheads for floatation, and the 7-10 year olds are able to stay at the front of the group without any problem…they LOVE paddling the kayak. I’ll get another if one turns up!

Perception Umiak (sp?) now the Carolina 12?

Sea Flea (if you want to build)

I’m sure others will have more suggestions.

I have several years to go before I buy a kids kayak, although I have been looking. Right now a canoe is on my list.

where are you?
The Episea is a 14 foot greenland style seakayak made for kids & small adults - made in Wisconsin, plastic, uses float bags…small proportions, relatively light and quick. Can be edged, braced, rolled etc.

my kayak club has 4 for sale just west of Lansing, MI.

$250-$300 (I forget exactly). Colors are yellow and maroon.

These were club boats used (not abused) for kids classes - stored for a couple of years in a member’s garage. He is an ACA instructor and works with a nearby outfitter.

Kid’s kayak
With 5 kids, I’ve been down this route just a bit. None of these boats are bulkheaded, so flotation bags are a very prudent addition to them for for anything other than very shallow water.

The boats I know are:

  • Perception Umiak, renamed Carolina 12 XS (not the same as the Carolina 12). This is a great kid’s boat–fast, stable easy to control, but enough of a real boat that they can use it as they grow, up to about 120 lbs.
  • Acadia Scout–Stable, maneuverable, doesn’t track as well so kids have a bit more trouble, and wider than the Umiak, so teaching them to paddle is a bit tougher. Closer to being a kid’s rec boat than a kid’s touring boat.
  • Wilderness Systems Piccolo–may have to find it used, but a very good choice–a real down-sized sea kayak.

    Here’s a review that I think is pretty accurate:

    You should be able to find any of these used for $250-$300.

Possibly consider a kid’s WW kayak
If you’re going short distances, she might like one of the narrow, short kid’s kayaks such as Liquid Logic Remix 47 or Jackson Sidekick. IIRC, 21" and 22" wide, respectively (I own the latter kayak). The Remix is a bit longer, maybe 7’3"??? Sidekick is 6’7". Both are listed as river-runners. Pretty stable and easy to roll. Weigh only about 27 lbs.

They won’t track as well as a rec kayak or sea kayak.

CD Raven
The coolest kids kayak I know

love that Raven
I actually fit in one at a June demo & it was mucho fun to race around in a boat that weighed only 26 lbs and turned like a top…tracked great, too… was thinking about buying it… but someone else got to it first.

The floppy top part of the seat is a PITA getting in or out, as it sticks up over the coaming, but can be screwed out of the towers and replaced w. a Snapdragon or IR backband.

that said, $1200 MSRP (IIRC) for a kid’s kayak -esp since kids grow like the proverbial weed. A used Raven (they are rare) could be an option.

Really sweet little boat that paddles big!

on the other hand
$1,200 for a sea kayak … I don’t know how they make them so cheap. It’s got to be just as labor intensive as a full size boat.

Not sure what you
are talking about with the comment “None of these boats are bulkheaded”. The WS Tsunami 120 SP has bulkheads. It is a real sea kayak for kids.

Prijon Flipper is another option

Go narrow if you can
My kids (now 6 and 10) have spent two seasons in Perception Carolina 12 XSes (formerly the Umiak). These are 21" wide. They’re fast, surprisingly maneuverable, and the kids can reach the water without banging their knuckles. They also can be found used or as blems for around $300.

23" is the widest you’d want to go if you want the kid pilot to have fun.

What’s an appropriate beam?

– Last Updated: Jul-27-10 12:52 PM EST –

Our Anas Acuta sea kayak (built for adults: my boat, and I'm 6' & 140+lbs) has a 20" beam. Scale that down for a youngster (say reducing all dimensions by 2/3rds to make it a 11'6" kayak)... and you might be looking at 14".

Before someone suggests that's impractical... the Gamma K2 racing kayak is 14.76 inches wide - and that's for adults!

Of course, little folk might sometimes be better off with even shorter and more manouverable hulls that keep the weight close to the paddler... and losing length might mean adding beam.... but I still can't reconcile myself to 20"+ for anyone small - just seems unnecessary.

CD is of course in business to stay in business (e.g. be profitable) and the Raven is very likely not a profit maker for them.

But I always give kudos to a company who will make niche models like the Raven, the Rumour, the Suka, the Zone, etc.

Looking at it from the perspective of a family budget, there are not a lot of Ravens out there and not many deals to be had on a used one. So normally if a family wants to give a kid a Raven, they have to go new and more than likely need to order one new.

it’s a very cool boat and I enjoyed my time in it thoroughly. A great boat, and for the very small adult paddler as well… someone 5’3" feet or under, and 110 lbs or under which small feet (low deck) who wants to seakayak should give the Raven full consideration.

All the same options.
But, here was my search when it started last year for the same basic requirements:

Used kids kayaks: 2 Umiaks in NE for $225 each and a Acadia Scout for $75

Since my daughter is three weeks old I’d be jumping the gun a bit if I bought one now!

Sea Kayaker did a review of kids kayaks several years ago, the Umiak was the favorite of all the reviewers. Yes the reviewers were kids.

not sure things scale linearly
I don’t know if this applies to touring boats, but whitewater boats do not scale down in proportion to the weight of the paddler. Example - Jackson Fun for a 165 lb paddler is 24.625" wide, 79" long. Jackson Fun1 for a 70 lb paddler is 20" wide, 63" long. In this scenario, the kid is 57% lighter, but the boat is only about 20% narrower/shorter. Granted, they might be building in some additional stability to give the little ones (and parents) some confidence. On the other hand, the volume reduction is about 53%, so maybe the trick is to choose whatever width/length preserves the design features while yielding a volume that’s in proportion to the paddler’s weight?

I can tell you from experience that a 21" wide x 12 foot boat is responsive yet stable for an 80 lb kid and “nearly impossible to edge or flip” for a 50 lb kid.

I can tell you for sure…
That a low-volume 19" wide kayak by 10.5’ WAS flipped by my < 50 lb. daughter.

Honestly, I think the paddle’s harder to figure out than the kayak for kids. This one (Bending Branches Cattail) simply was too long and dove when it was beside of her (no form - I refuse to turn these into “training/instruction trips” regardless of the voice screaming in my head!).

I’m hoping to have a new paddle for her in the next 3 or 4 weeks - something that’s close to a third shorter and smaller in her hands.

Thank you all for some good suggestions. I didn’t realize there were so many models out there. Though a few are a decimal outside my price range (I should have specified the budget was $500 or less).

I will look into these and keep my eyes out for others.