Kayak for a child

Please give me advice on what kayak to buy for a 8 year old. We’ll be going on lakes up in NY.

Wondering if I could fit my four year old in a Pungo with me?

Any thoughts? And should I really be taking a 4 year old who is not a swimmer on a lake? I felt really safe and secure in the Pungo with my little one but after thinking back on it I wonder if that was a “sane” thing to do.

Please advise…

Please advise…

How ready are you?

– Last Updated: Jun-19-05 11:30 PM EST –

I have been taking my daughter on the water since day 1. On the other hand I have taken so many lifesaving courses (more than 4), I have been a lifeguard and I have taught lifesaving.

How ready are you? Get the best vest with a pillow behind the head. be ready! I am always wearing my PFD and I would be in the water in an instant if I could not pluck her out in an instant, with me on my back and her on my chest kicking our way home.

I chose an MTI youth vest with a pillow behind the neck. Unlike some childs pfd's it has a short torso which enables a child to be comfy sitting in a kayak. The new extrasport type II vest looks like an even better choice look ath them both and remember that a type 2 is more likely to float you child face up without outside intervention.

What happens if there are two emergencies at once? Will you be paddling flat water only? Will the eight year old be taught how to self rescue on day 1 and practice happily? All these things factor into safety. Dry bags full of clothes are a must, and immersion gear or at least a quick way to get into dry clothes, and home,

In shallow warm water fine

– Last Updated: Jun-18-05 4:10 PM EST –

If you can stand up and rescue the smaller child if they are caught in the overturned boat it's probably fine. Use lifejackets that have the floatation collar that keeps their head above water, and also has a grab strap on the back. For going out in deeper water I would wait until they are older. I started canoing with my son when he was six and had swimming lessons and enjoyed the water. (He now 19 and surfs waves on waveskis that scare me to death.) Start by playing in the boat in shallow water and practice tipping over together and getting back in, dumping out the water. You will quickly see that you don't want to be in a rescue situation with a small child who is a non-swimmer.

On a a different note Ocean Kayak makes a sit on top called a Kea larger ( ~ 7-12 yo ) kids, should be fine for small Lakes, mild conditions with close adult supervision.

Carolina 12’.

9 year old
My 9 yaer old dauhgter paddles a 10 yaer old Aquaterra Keowee and a W.S. the RIDE.

Cant portage them at all but can paddle them(when the winds not to strong).

My daughter weighs 85 lbs. and is almost 5ft tall. She fits perfectly in a Carolina 12. Last year she was 80lbs and about 3 inches shorter and did fine in it, too. Can’t hold much gear though before it tops out on weight… I’m talkiing multi-day camping gear.

She’s Got A Ways To Go
I am 140 and used to paddle the Umiak in pool practice and occaisonally for messing around on the lake. Plenty of freeboard with me in it. I doubt you daughter will carry 50-60 lbs of gear.


EMC Episea
is other touring kayak designed specifically for children. I like it better than the Carolina 12, formely known as the Umiak. The Episea is longer and narrower at 14’x20.5" vs the Carolina 12’s 12’x22.5" and would be a fine day tourer for a smaller adults. Both boats need the addition of thigh/knee braces if you want your child to learn leans and bracing because the cockpits are long and wide enough that kids would have a hard time making contact. I added thigh braces to the Umiak and it allowed my kid better control.


Used WS Piccolo + float bags
The 8-year-old might like a Piccolo, because its 20" beam allows a more comfortable reach for shorter arms and torsos.

I rented one and, at 110 lbs, didn’t come anywhere close to submarining it. Just make sure you use floatation bags, because it has no bulkheads.

The Classifieds here listed at least one used Piccolo for sale.