Recommendation for kayaks for children

I would like to get my two 4 and a half year old boys out on the water and would love suggestions on how to start. I have been kayaking for years, but my boat isn’t big enough for all three of us. I’m thinking of getting them their own boat, obviously nothing fancy.

Thanks in advance!!! :slight_smile:

Important considerations
How are the boys’ swimming skills? That should be a prerequisite before getting them out on the water. If they are comfortable and capable swimmers, do you have any paddle shops that have rentals, that perhaps could make recommendations on boats and properly fitting PFDs, and where you can “try before you buy”? That’s where I would start.

They are great in the water! They certainly aren’t proficient, but are very comfortable, especially with PFDs! Unfortunately I live in a very small town, so the option of ‘try before you buy’ is very limited. There is a shop that may have a boat to try, but I will be surprised if they had a child’s size boat. That’s why I thought I’d ask around and see if anyone had an experience with a certain type of boat that they’d recommend. :slight_smile:

State parks?
Here in VT and other New England states, the state parks that are located near water sometimes offer kayak and canoe rentals, but offer no instruction and usually don’t work too hard to fit PFDs properly, so that can be a risk, but I do recommend making sure your boys’ PFDs fit properly and are worn properly (I’m a bit of a safety nut) when you do go out. If you have been following some of the threads here, you know several people have lost there lives recently while paddling. Possibly because of improperly worn PFD’s so the deaths might have been preventable. I live in a very rural area and have no good paddling shops close by, but our budget was really tight, so we went with some cheap plastic kayaks- (or as some folks on this forum like to call them “kayak-shaped pieces of plastic”)-two Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8 footers. We had a blast with them last fall and even my very nervous granddaughter (teen) felt very comfortable in them. The 10 year-old grandson, not so much. They have very deep cockpits (16") are that seemed to make it hard for him to paddle. Maybe sit-on-tops are they way to go, but I still think strong swimming skills should be top priority. PFDs aren’t fool-proof. We just picked up twp more cheapos from Dick’s Sporting Goods- two 10 foot Pelican Trailblazers. It’s been too cold here to paddle on our quiet local ponds and lakes yet, but we are headed a little farther south soon and will have the chance to try them then. I have no doubt the experienced folks here will share their two cents and you will get some good info from them. Be patient and get those swimming skills beefed up meantime.

Rescue skills
Ok, I’m a PITA about safety, but I have to ask- How are your swimming skills? I was just thinking that if you were to be out on the water with your two little guys and one or both got into trouble, would you be able to help them and keep yourself safe?

I wouldn’t be surprised if some paddlers here recommend a canoe (instead of kayaks) the three of you could ride in together, but personally I have never felt comfortable or at ease in a canoe. On the other hand, my cheap tiny kayak feels like an extension of my body and I feel very secure. I do hope you get a chance to try some different options to find what works best for you and keeps you and your family safe. I think it’s great that you want to share your passion with your kids. It’s such a great way to get out in nature and enjoy our waterways, but always safety first.

Prodigy XS
Awesome little boat for little people, it actually has good hull lines and bracing and everything.

Unless your kid chunks up, it’ll last them until they’re 12-13 years old. I can almost fit in one, and I’m 6’2".

Type of paddling
What kayak do you have and what type of paddling do you anticipate them doing long term?

We have a Dagger Dynamo whitewater kayak for our son when he’s older but I’m not sure if they are available in the US.

Jackson Kayaks make a range of kids kayaks.

For a faster flatwater kayak a Guppy K2 could work but I’m not sure if they are available in the US either.

There are also a lot of small sit on tops that they could have fun with, these are also the cheapest option.

Thanks for the safety concern! Very valid! My skills are fantastic when it comes to swimming. I swam competitively for years, so I have no doubt we’d be safe, especially with PFDs.

I was also looking into canoes, thinking it may be an easier way to start since we could all be in one boat together. I’m actually a little torn right now. I don’t have any skills in a canoe, so I’d have to practice before we all went out! :slight_smile:

I’ll definitely look into this one! They are definitely not small kids (both are tall and solid!), but a long way from being too big for this boat! Thank you!!

Thanks for the links!

I have a wilderness systems tsunami 145 and I love it!!! I don’t foresee anything major, as they are pretty little. Just open water paddling for fun. There are a few lakes around here that are nice.

I was also thinking of getting myself a sit-on-top along with them, just for easier bailing (just in case).

There’s A Child SOT
On the market. Unfortunately I forget the brand. They are about 66" long and maybe 30" wide. That’s, most likely the best for your boys. They don’t track well but soon on a done. I bought one at Big 5 several years ago. Now my daughter paddles a 14’ Perception.

Childs SOT at Dicks
Here is one example of a childs SOT

Lifetime youth
Ha! That’s exactly the boat I decided on yesterday! It’s inexpensive (perfect for kids) and received great reviews on every site I went to. This boat is all over the place! I can’t wait to get my boys out on the water!!

Thank you everyone for your help!!! :slight_smile:

Happy paddling!

Check Out Sam’s Club Too
Saw similar one’s there for $89 last week. Give them a call first to see if they got them in stock.

If you could find a couple of Ocean

– Last Updated: Apr-27-15 10:38 PM EST –

Kayak Kea's, they are 8'11", 24½" wide and would have a weight limit of 150#. Due to their length, they will track better than a 7' boat.
I just sold ours which had been my grandson's, who is now 13½ and under the weight limit but he discovered my Prowler 13 which is a fishing kayak and living alongside a river that is something he likes to do.
There is also a 'sit inside' that hasn't been made for years and had great reviews but unfortunately I can't remember its name brand nor model. I do recall that it didn't have hatches so would need bow & stern bags. It looks almost like a miniature sea kayak. I believe it also was 12 or 13' feet long.
The longer the boat, the better they track.
Perhaps someone can hop in and give that info.
10:34pm--Just read the reviews for Perception Umiak's and that is the kids kayak I couldn't remember. The reviews are good for this 12' sit inside, sleek 'ocean' kayak style.