Kayaking with kids questions, gear, safe

-- Last Updated: Sep-27-09 10:01 AM EST --


I would like so help from you. I have 2 boys they 4 and 6 yrs old and I would like to take the family kayaking to the local lakes and others. My wife and I haven't done much kayaking at all, ( I did took a kayak rescue/use curse about 10 yrs ago!)and haven't been in a kayak over the last 7 yrs. So experience is practically none.... Now the question is what would you guys recommend us to do: get a kayak big enough for all 4 of us (if there is such) or get 2 kayaks? Also which kayaks would you recommend? brand? options? what gear would you suggest? We would like a solid kayak. They both have PFD's and they love water, we have them taking swimming lessons.

We live in Arkansas and most of the water around us is lakes so it won't be any whitewater deal, maybe some calm rivers where we have been floating downstream.

Any suggestions? personal experiences with your kids, etc???? Thank you.

Maybe a couple of boats like Old
Town’s Twin Otters or similar open cockpit kayaks (decked canoes :-). Keeps you “in touch” with your precious cargos. Ideally they would have one or both sliding seats to balance the loads, as children grow, for more efficient paddling and allow the adult to provide most of the power & control as the youngsters learn and enjoy. May find good deals on used ones. I would also book some basic lessons/refreshers for you and your wife with a local outfitter. Wonderful way for families to share the enjoyment of our waterways. Just thooughts. Others may have even better solutions. Paddle real safe. Rick

or just get a canoe

Think about an inflatable ot two

– Last Updated: Sep-27-09 11:13 AM EST –

We were in the same situation a year ago. I have 2 daughters, ages 6 and 9, and after a 3-day trip down the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, we were bitten and wanted to get some multi-purpose boats of our own. As we wanted the option of doing both flatwater and easier riverine overnight trips with the kiddos, the choices were a bit limited.

I quickly settled on some high-end inflatable kayaks, and ended up getting two AIRE Super Lynxes, which provides plenty of room for the 4 of us, tons of extra space for overnight gear, the ability for my wife and I to each pilot our own boats, and an excellent hybrid-type of boat for both boating conditions we do. Stability is fantastic for the kids, although if you get it sideways in a riffle, you're likely going swimming until you gain some experience. The AIRE boats are really bomb-proof and I intend on them lasting me as long as I want to keep them, and still having good value for resale. They are also big enough that 2 kids + one adult can comfortably head out for a day+.

I recently added some removable skegs to the IK's and the tracking improvement on flatwater was huge and they are truly a joy to paddle. I'll pull the skegs off for river use.

Storage of the inflatables is very easy if you are short on space, although you quickly find that all of the other gear you need/require also takes up a bunch of space.

I recommend The Boat People website www.theboatpeople.com for a ton of other good information on inflatables in general. They specialize in quality inflatables. We bought ours through Lee and he was excellent to work with on the purchase. They even have the Super Lynxes on a really great discount right now as they clear out the remaining 2009 inventory.

If you have other questions, let me know. The canoe suggestions above are also worth considering.

I agree that a canoe is probably a better option.

We talked about this for a bit over at http://www.adventurecanoe.com/forum/topic/paddling-with-children-is-it-safe-were-looking-for-suggestions-and-tips

When I was a wee lad my dad used to take me paddling all the time.


I think it’s safe if you use you’re head. There have been some accidents but I think generally you’re ok if you wear PDFs keep a close eye on them and make some rules.


Give them wings to fly…
I started my boys out in Old Town Otters when they were 6. Even at 4, you can probably get a mile in before he gives out. I would get a canoe for myself and the Mrs. and rotate the boys in and out of the kayak. Heck, they can both ride in a large opening cockpit and frolic amongst them selves while you tow them. One word of warning, my wife couldn’t stand them having all the fun and within 2 weeks of our first kayak she had her own. That was 13 years ago and we haven’t paddled together in the same boat or had a paddle argument since. We all still paddle and we all still love it. Life is great!

Check out the Old Towne Dirigo 140. It has a large cockpit and a jumpseat for the little ones. I take my 4 year granddaughter with me. Before I bought one I spoke with a guy that takes his 9 year old with him. It’s a great kayak, easy to handle, durable, has some nice features, and is reasonably priced.

It must be fun now
Short trips with lots of snacks. My 10 year old niece showed amazing tenacity to paddle a kayak against the wind. It must be fun for them. You say lets go home after a few minutes and they say,“More!”