Weight Limitations and Kids Kayaks

My sons are 11 and 12 and I bought them kayaks a few years back but have never gotten them out on the water simply because I’ve never found a way to easily transport our three kayaks (a topic for another thread). I’m revisiting this topic again this year because I really want to get us out on the water, and have a couple of water front campsites planned for the summer.

I believe my sons are perilously close to having outgrown their kayaks so I’m coming to the board for some advice. We have the Perception Umiak and the Carolina which I believe to be identical to the Umiak. The 2002 Umiak is rated for paddlers to 120 pounds with a max weight load of 200 pounds. My sons are around 116 and 124 pounds. We wouldn’t be loading up with gear and would just be making short trips for a little fun on the water. Would they be fine because they are well under the max load weight or is the max paddler weight a pretty stringent guideline? It might be nice to try to get one season out of these before considering graduating them to adult kayaks (not to mention I’d like to confirm their interest before spending more money!). Thank you for your help!

should be fine
Those are pretty decent kids kayaks. For kids, and for fooling around in if they fit in the kayaks they will be fine based on your plan and assuming protected waters (smaller lakes or quiet river). PFDs of course, but let them have fun Climb on them, stand up in them, fall out, basically becoming one with your kayak through fun. A fun game that also encourages skill development is Dead Fish Polo: put a tennis ball in an athletic sock, tie the end shut and go. Rules can be developed on the fly, but the basic is you must pick up & throw the ‘dead fish’ only with the paddle - no hands touching.


Yes! By All Means Confirm Their Interest
They may not be interested and you’re wasting your time and money.

If they are interested, then let them select their own boats. No 11 and 12 year old’s want to paddle kiddie boats. So don’t force them.

Be prepared to get them the boats they want. Once they have them, drop them off and leave them alone, then disappear. Let them figure out what to do with their chosen boats.

Tell them you’ll be back in a couple of hours to pick them up with food and drinks.

On the way home, enjoy eaves dropping on the conversation.

Thank you for the replies. So as long as I can be fairly confident that they won’t totally submerge due to weight limits, and have them curse out their mama and never try again, I think I’ll try these out locally just to make sure they’re comfortable in them. It’s true no twelve year old wants a kiddy anything, but these are respectable kayaks for kids and small adults and there’s not a Mickey mouse sticker to be seen, so I think they’ll be OK. Thank you!

They’ll be fine
I have direct experience with those models from my own kids using them. Slightly over 120 lbs should be no problem, as long as the kid still fits in the cockpit comfortably and can exit safely. I weigh 165 and, just for the heck of it, once crammed myself into my daughter’s Carolina XS. I wouldn’t recommend that, but other than being a little tippy with me in it and fitting like a squirt boat, it worked.

Your kids will have a blast - those boats are really fast and responsive, not the glorified pool toys that sometimes get passed off as kid boats.

nothing wrong with those boats or kids
kayaks. Yes, a kid might be attracted to a new carbon/kevlar surfski. But they’ll be happier paddling a boat designed for someone their size.

Those are both good boats and the Umiak in particular seems to have a bit of a following as a kid’s boat. You should be able to find a buyer once they’ve outgrown it.

I tend to agree
that they are near enough the weight ratings that there should be little problem.

As for transporting 3 kayaks, if you can tow a trailer, you can probably acquire a used boat trailer fairly inexpensively and add what you need to support and secure the kayaks.


No Way Slush - Check Out These 12 - 15
Year old novice/beginner gals in a developmental race. Those ain’t “kiddie” boats they’re paddling too. We parents and grown ups have to raise our sights a bit and provide our kids with equal or better equipment out on the water, just as we do on land.


(Zoom to the 2 minute mark for paddlers to appear)