For families, kayaking can be a sport that’s not only great fun but also one that can make for a fantastic bonding experience for the whole family. There are a great number of options on the market for family-orientated kayaks, such as tandems and 3 person kayaks. However, there comes a certain time that a lot of kids are understandably more keen to get their own kayak. In order to make sure you choose the kayak that is the best-suited to your child, we’ve compiled a guide that includes information on specific models that we rate highly, as well as some general advice on what the market of kids kayaks has to offer. We hope that after reading, you’ll know some of the best kayaks for kids.
What Should You Look For In A Kids Kayak?
When purchasing a kayak for your kids, you may or may not have a good idea of the features that you should be looking for. If you’re a keen kayaker yourself, you may be more informed. So, what are the main points that you should look for when purchasing a kayak for your kids?
Quality/Durable Construction – If your child is relatively new to the world of kayaking, you should be aware that they will, of course, be more prone to damaging their new boat by accident. Dependant on the age of your child, this could be more or less important. Choosing a durable boat is important in making sure that your investment is worth it, i.e. that it will last your child a good amount of time. Both inflatable and hard shell kayaks can offer great levels of durability. Below in our reviews, we’ll explore some durable kayaks.
Accommodating Size – A kayak that’s adjustable is important to make sure that your new purchase is worth it. For example, if you purchase a single0sized kayak for your child at 10 years of age, it’s very likely that they’re going to be too large for the boat before their 13 years of age. Key points to look for in an accommodating kayak is foot braces that can be moved, as well as an adjustable seating position.
A Good Level of Stability – a stable kayak is very important for a child, particularly if they’re new to the sport. You should look for a boat that is short and relatively wide, as opposed to one that is long and narrow. Longer, narrower, and more streamlined boats are more difficult to balance on.
Intex Challenger K1 – Small Inflatable Kids Kayak
The Intex Challenger K1 is a small and very manageable kayak. It’s great for kids since not only is it easy to handle being relatively small, but it’s also very easy to carry around when it’s not in the water since it’s an inflatable boat.
If you’re worried about the K1 becoming easily punctured, don’t be. It’s made of an extremely resistant vinyl material that would take a lot of effort to puncture. In addition to durability, the K1 also has an excellent level of rigidity thanks to the I beam designed that’s used on the floor of the boat.
The Challenger K1 weight just under 25 pounds, and yet is still able to support a massive 220 lbs of weight on board. Not only is this more than enough weight capacity for your child, but it’s also more than enough to support a substantial amount of luggage, should they wish to take anything out onto the water with them. To hold this luggage, the boat is even kitted out with mesh towards the front above the storage area to keep everything secure and in place.
Particularly if you’re child isn’t yet an experienced kayaker, you may be worried about their ability to handle the boat. The K1 makes this worry less – at only 9 feet in length and still 2.5 feet in width, the short and stocky design of the boat means that it’s stable and easier to move around than a lot of other alternatives.
- 9 feet in length
- 2’6” in width
- Short and wide design means handling is easy and stability is good
- Comfortable seating position
- Good availability of storage
- Extremely lightweight but can still support up to 220 lbs load capacity
- Oar provided as part of the package
- An ideal kayak for kids that are just starting out in the sport
- Extremely easy to transport being inflatable and lightweight
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Ocean Kayak Frenzy – Sit On Top Kayak For Kids
The Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a fantastically versatile kayak that excels in a number of different categories. Kayaks for kids is definitely one of those.
The Frenzy is known primarily as a recreational kayak, meaning that it’s designed for casual use and nothing too intensive. It’s also meant to be comfortable, easy to handle, and spacious. This also happens to meet the very specification that a kids kayak should have.
The Ocean Kayak Frenzy is small and easy to move around at 9 feet in length. Even though the Frenzy isn’t an inflatable boat like the K1, it’s still very easy to move around when it’s not in the water thanks to its short length of 9 feet and lightweight of 44 pounds. Stability is also a key point to ensure in any boat that’s for your kid – as well as being just 9 feet long, the Frenzy is 31” wide making it a very stable boat indeed.
Even though the Frenzy only weighs in at 44 pounds, it’s able to support up to 325 pounds of load capacity. This is one of the best in its class. No matter the height of your child, they will find that they’re able to get very comfortable onboard the Frenzy thank to the fully adjustable seating position.
- 9 feet in length
- 31” in width
- A great level of stability – at 31” in width and with a tri form hull, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a very stable and sturdy boat
- Good amount of storage space towards the front and back of the boat
- Not too difficult to transport given that it’s only 9 feet in length – the Frenzy would fit into the back of a van or even some larger cars
- Comfortable and accommodating for different sizes of kids – not only is this good for your child, it’s also good for you! The longer your child can use the same kayak for, the longer you don’t need to purchase another!
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Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 – Popular Kayak For Kids
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a sit-inside kayak that’s a good option for kids. Being a sit-inside boat, the Aruba 10 is different in style from the others on our list. Sit inside boats offer a variety of advantages, including more shelter for the lower body. It should, however, be noted that sit inside boats are more constrictive to sit in, and it’s not as easy to move around in. If this doesn’t bother your child, then the Aruba 10 could make for a great choice. Let’s take a closer look.
The Aruba 10 is fitted with a comfortable and fully adjustable seat that makes the kayak a great place to be for any length of time. There’s also a spray shelter on the boat – if there’s a lot of spray from the water, it’s great for keeping dry. The Aruba 10 also has adjustable footrests – as your child grows, the Aruba 10 can continue to accommodate them.
Storage onboard the Aruba is good too, with a water-sheltered area towards the rear of the boat. There’s also a storage area in front of the paddler. In addition to this, it can support up to 250 lbs of weight on board.
It’s important to remember that kids aren’t, in most circumstances, going to be the most experienced kayakers. Durability is, therefore, an important factor to look for. The Aruba 10 is highly durable as it’s made from polyethylene. In addition to a durable boat, you’re reassured with a 2 year warranty period too.
- 10 feet in length
- 2’6” in width
- 40 lbs in weight – can support a load capacity of up to 250 lbs
- Sit inside kayak
- Dry storage available at the back of the boat
- Spray Deflector
- Adjustable Foot Braces – the ability of the Aruba 10 to accommodate different sizes of paddler is great for kids
- Highly durable – the Aruba 10 will be able to handle easily any bumps or knocks given to it by a kid that’s new to the sport
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Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 12ft– Tandem Hardshell Kayak
If you’re considering buying a kayak for two children, why not give a tandem kayak a thought. Tandem kayaks present a number of advantages over solo kayaks, most particularly for children and less experienced paddlers. You could use the tandem to take the child out for their first time, or you could allow both children to use the boat – they can even act as a sibling bonding experience!
One of the main great points that the Malibu Two offers is flexibility. The front seat of the kayak is central to the boat, meaning it can easily be used by one person with the rear of the boat being used for additional storage – if not being used by your kids, perfect for a fishing or camping trip. In addition to this, the seats can be totally removed from the boat if you so wish.
In terms of load capacity, the Malibu Two certainly lives up to its storage space – it’s able to support an impressive 425 lbs of weight. Whilst being able to support this much weight, it only weighs 57 lbs.
- 12 feet long
- 34” wide
- Lightweight weighing only 57 lbs
- Can support up to 425lbs load capacity
- Can be used as a tandem or solo kayak – it’s perfect for one or two kids at the same time
- Ample storage space
- Comfortable seating
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Old Town Heron Junior – Sit Inside Recreational Kayak For Kids
The Old Town Heron Junior is a sit-inside kayak that’s great for use by kids. The Junior has been constructed to be short, lightweight, and easy to move around – three factors that are essential in a kayak for children.
Old Town is a name that is very much synonymous with build quality and performance. The Heron Junior has excellent tracking, and at only 7’5” in length, it is very easy to move through the water. At a mere 26lbs in weight, children will have no problem in guiding this boat through the water. Even though it’s very lightweight, the Old Town Heron Junior can carry a weight capacity of 115 lbs.
The Old Town Heron Junior is well suited to stand to the test of durability in the hands of kids, It has been constructed from durable polyethylene, and is far from the easiest kayak to damage.
- 7’5” in length – the Old Town Heron Junior is easy to control and move around, with a short and stocky design
- 25” wide
- Can support up to 115 lbs in weight
- Constructed from durable polyethylene
- Lightweight and portable at only 26 lbs
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Lifetime Youth Wave 6ft – Best Kayak For Small Kids
There’s no doubt that the Lifetime Youth Wave 6’ kayak is the simplest and most basic kayak on our list. It’s extremely cost-effective and offers just what a kayak is meant to do.
At just 6 feet in length and weighing in at a tiny 18 pounds, the Youth Wave 6ft is absolutely perfect for young children. Whilst it’s certainly not designed to be used in large bodies of water or indeed in rougher waters, it’s perfect for the young child that’s just getting a feel for kayaking.
- 6’ in length
- Can support up to 130 lbs in weight
- Swim Up Deck – the boat can be easily climbed into from the back
- Very stable
- Constructed from highly durable polyethylene
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