Tips on Kayaking with Kids
Kayaking is an adventurous outdoor sport that the whole family, including children, can enjoy. It’s good for families that want an amazing experience on a low budget. But if you’re thinking about kayaking with kids, you may have some concerns. Today, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about kayaking with kids and hopefully help you have an incredible experience the next time you do this sport with your children.
Planning Your Trip
There are many things parents should consider when planning a kayaking trip with their kids. These include:
Where to Kayak
Places with minimal current are best for less experienced paddlers and families. You can begin in slow rivers, small lakes, or bays until your kids have gained enough experience. Some tips when choosing destinations include;
Go to places that offer variety and begin in areas that are shallow so that kids can gain confidence.
Research where you’re going. Understand tides and boat traffic first before heading over. Understanding these conditions will help you plan for a safe and fun trip with your children.
Know when you need to rehydrate and stop for bathroom breaks.
You can also talk to an experienced paddler for ideas about destinations that are suitable for kids kayaking. One can also try their local paddling association.
How Long Will You Be Out?
The trip’s length is an important consideration. You should be conservative when planning for how long the trip will last. For parents with toddlers or babies, sitting in the cockpit at the water’s edge might just be the whole trip. We recommend planning your trips in short loops and going for 1/3 of the distance you’d go if you’re with your friends.
Half- one hour is enough for first trips no matter your age. The older your child is, the more time you can spend. Other things to consider include:
- How familiar your kid is with water
- His/her experience with paddling boats
- Their age/maturity level
- Whether they can swim
- Their physical strength and level of coordination
Choosing Family Kayak Options
There are different models available to suit families. You should think about which one is a suitable option for your family. The decision on which kayak to choose depends on your child’s ability and age, your expectations from the trip, and the paddling location. Other things to think about are paddling opportunities, level of comfort, and choices of gear. All kids should participate in paddling. Therefore, ensure that you choose a boat that they’ll be comfortable paddling. Some families like the idea of the Tandem Kayak with the Sit on Top Kayak a very good choice for easy entry and exit. Some of these kayaks have the ability to take 2 Adults and 2 children. Another option is the smaller kayaks that you can often put a child on the front for a quick paddle down the lake or river.
Kayak or Canoe?
For kids that are 4-7 years old, they can sit in the kayak’s bow of any of the Single Kayak options if paddling with an Adult. The best choice for any child that is paddling on there own is a sit on top kayak, much safer if they flip it and a more stable option. Anything with a Cockpit also known as a Sit in Kayak or Canoe, can be good options for families. Large canoes or Kayaks can accommodate 2-3 riders, but you must keep in mind that if this style of kayak or canoe flips then you must bail out the water. So a much safer option is any double kayak or triple sit on top kayak.
It is compulsory for any person in a kayak to wear a life jacket also known as a Personal Flotation Devices (PFD). PFDs come in various sizes for infants, children, and youth. The neck pad is very crucial as it keeps your kid’s head correctly positioned in case the boat capsizes.
Kayaking with children is a lot of fun, the decision on what kayak will depend on the age of your children and what experience you are looking at. This may be a fishing adventure where a fishing kayak will be ideal, or a leisure kayak for the whole family which the tandem kayak will be the perfect craft. Getting on the water with kids is so much fun.