Great kids' kayak that won't break bank?


I’m searching for suggestions on a great kayak to introduce my son to flatwater kayaking this summer. He’s about to turn 8 and weighs 58 lbs. I’d like to let him ride with me in my Liquidlogic Tryon, but realize that boat’s not designed to accommodate more than one person and I’m afraid it would create major stability issues. I don’t want him ending up in the lake on his first trip out. :slight_smile: I’d rather not spend a barrel of money on this venture, either… I’d prefer to save the bigger money to spend on something nicer down the road if he indeed falls in love with kayaking as I have. I’d be grateful for any suggestions. Many thanks!


Kids outgrow their first kayaks - so there should be some available used. I got my kids Perception Umiaks new many years ago. One got used and the other was never used (she wanted one because her brother had one). My son never flipped his Umiak - which he received for his 8 year birthday. He learned his basic skills in that boat and even used it to surf. I sold them for 200 each. Both had Perception backbands added. These are now called Carolina 12. There are several others also that others can post about their personal experiences.

Pelican makes a 10ft canoe…
Very basic but you can pick them up at Dunhams and gander mt on sale for &229.00. A friend of mine got one he likes it stable easy to maneuver ect.

buy something cheap
and he may not ‘fall in love’ with paddling. cheap boats are sometimes poorly designed and not much fun, especially when the environment gets lumpy.

Try to find a used Wildy Piccolo or a Tsunami SP and he’ll have a blast. resale value stays hi if he decides it’s not for him.



Ocean Kayak Kea

– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 11:57 AM EST –

I like Flatpicks suggestions if you can find them, but in the lower price range the Kea sit on top is really a pretty good boat for kids to play around with kayaking safely, especially if there are going to waves and fair chance of capsizing before they have a lot of experience. New they go for about $379. Used they sell for about $300. Budget some money for a nice lightweight paddle. Most paddles for kids are long clunky aluminum paddles. It's the paddle a small kid will struggle with when starting so find one that is just long enough to reach comfortably over the edge of the boat if you buy a SOT. Used good quality whitewater paddles that are short ~192 make good starter paddles for kids. You can pick one up for about $75 on craigslist or if you know some whitewater junkies.

acadia scout
My nephew got a Perception Acadia Scout for Christmas. We’ve been out on the local lakes a few times and he can really motor around. He’s only about 6 years old. Loves it. He’s always excited to go paddling whenever i see him.

Now the Carolina 12 XS

– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 7:37 PM EST –

Some folks who posted here liked the boat, didn't like the seat, and replaced it with a homemade foam one


– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 7:34 PM EST –

Jackson Mini Tripper
EPI Episea

If you like to build things, one of these with a wooden frame might be an inexpensive option:

Good for you for looking for a kid-sized boat and paddle. I've seen too many kids get frustrated wrestling with adult-sized gear.

Be prepared to tow.

My son’s first boats were Pirogues

The first ones were very short and had poor tracking, but they figured it out in time just tlike the white water paddlers do.

My son is 15 now.
But 5 years ago when he was 10, I took him out in rental boats a few time. He really liked the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120. We ended up buying the boat (used) and he has gotten a ton of enjoyment out of it.

Now he is ready to “move up” I am getting him a new boat for xmas.

where are you located?

– Last Updated: Jul-03-09 2:03 PM EST –

edited for model quantity and price

Paddling Club in West Michigan has 4 EPISEAS for sale, most w. bow float bags. This kayak is 14'2" long, Greenland style,20.5" wide, 11" depth, 36 lbs. One stern hatch.
Used in their kids' lessons, club property. Stored in West Michigan 616 area code.
$300, $250 without float bag.

Email me if interested, will put you in touch
w. the right club member for availability, asking price, other details.

Thanks to everyone…
I’m fairly new to using this board, and not sure of the proper “board etiquette” - but I want to thank everyone who has responded to my inquiry about finding a good beginner kayak for my son. I’m still looking - but now I’m armed with a great deal of helpful information. Again, thanks for taking the time to offer your ideas and suggestions.


B. Fisher

New Carolina 12 XS seconds for $379,1040P_Perception-Carolina-120-XS-Junior-Touring-Kayak.html

$279 plus $100 shipping on new blems from Sierra Trading Post. Not too shabby.

2nd on Acadia Scouts
We got two, and the kids could maneuver easily. Upgraded my son (10 years old) to bigger boat this summer and gave his scout to his younger cousin.

Old Town Otter
My boys started at 7 yrs. old in Otters. Not a super boat but a super good time. They could even stand in them and dive over the side. I even paddle them once in a while and I weigh 175. PS. 20 yr. old son paddles WW kayaks and 17 yr old son paddles solo canoes. Otters were a good start and can be found used CHEAP.

Acadia Scout
Picked up an Acadia Scout a couple months ago for our 9 year old/~90 lbs. He figured it out on the lake the 1st time out. Just started getting him on moving water this weekend. He had a blast. The boat is very easy to handle. He’s now asking for some whitewater to conquer. It ran $350 which was my upper limit for a kids boat, but the nice thing is that these have a very good resale value when it’s time to move up to something larger.

Good child’s kayak.
It took a while, but I finally found a Piccolo. The float bags were long gone and I have been having trouble finding any. I have been considering installing a foam rear bulkhead behind the seat. If your child doesn’t like it, it’s a lot of fun to play with yourself. It’s a great rolling boat! The Tsunami SP is probably a better, more expensive choice, and it has the advantage of front and rear bulkheads and hatches, but I have never paddled one. Piccolo’s are getting scarce and should hold their value well. Paddle wise, I suggest making him a suitably sized GP. I hope to have my grandson rolling by summers end.

Another possibility would be to build him a Tom Yost SOF. Ken…

Speaking of Tom Yost…
Just MAKE float bags instead of trying to find them to buy.

Dagger Approach?
Does anyone have any experience with the Dagger Approach- 9 ft? How would this sound for a 60 lb 8 yo… they are at sierra trading post…



don’t know

– Last Updated: Jul-03-09 8:11 AM EST –

The Approach 10 is BIG, but I haven't tried sitting in a 9. It looks deep.