10 Must-Read Tips For Kayaking With Kids

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Kayaking involves paddling a small craft through the water. It is a low-impact activity that can improve the body’s aerobic fitness. It increases strength and flexibility. Kayaking can be adapted as a hobby. It could also be a competitive sport or a fun activity. It can also give mental peace. In it one person paddles on rivers, lakes and the sea.
When people go kayaking, it also brings the kids along. With some planning and management, they create a lifetime experience. Never forget to start small and keep your mind out of stress by ruling out discovery surprises.
Here are the 10 Must-Read Tips For Kayaking With Kids! 
[ Also Read:
If you are new to kayaking, check out our guide on Kayak Safety tips. ]

Table of Contents

1. Planning Group Members

It is essential to plan everything before going anywhere. It is never necessary to bring children with you until you are experienced and know how to handle them. Always be careful when you are bringing your children with you. Don’t take a risk for your child on the water unless you are well experienced or you have an experienced paddler with you.

All the adults of the group should share the responsibility of each child until all paddlers’ levels are determined and if the family is going then all the members will know each other but if the trip is with unknown people then first know each other well and trust all members of the group. If the group has enough adults, then you can invite your children’s friends too. 

2. Planning Of Destination And Tides

Always prefer calm water and minimal current when you are a beginner or taking your kids and family for the first time. Unless you are an expert in handling high tides and have the appropriate boats for the situation, it is ideal to always practice on protected small lakes, bays, and slow rivers to make kids habitual of it and reduce stress levels. 

With every trip, your experience and options will increase. Choose your destination wisely with keeping that if your family is also going along. Check the weather and keep a check on tides before stepping out. 

When kids are with you, always prefer a kid-friendly place to go and a kid-friendly boat. Before sitting into the boat, talk to the experienced paddler first. This will help you in staying cautious. 

3. Duration Of The Trip

Be on one’s guard when you decide how long your duration should be in the water. Don’t feel nervous when you are out for long. In this way, if you exceed your expectations, you will win. 

Half an hour or an hour is enough for any first trip in any way for age. For the babies and toddlers, just a few moments of sitting in the cockpit at the water’s edge like for 5 to 10 minutes only. But if the child is older than the toddler’s age, then you can spend more time in the water. Still, you have to consider the child’s experience with boats and paddling, the child’s familiarity with the water: the child’s age, his cooperation, and physical and mental strength. 

4. Training Before the Holiday 

If you’re planning a trip in the coming months of school vacations, then it will be a better idea to register yourself and the kids for the swimming and kayaking lessons before the trip. Swimming lessons are offered at community clubs. It is also surprising that kids learn the most quickly to feel comfortable. They enjoy getting into the water and playing with it, splashing on each other. 

It then becomes difficult to take them out of water. Kayaking lessons will help them scramble in and out of a boat practicing a wet exit or roll. You can try fun workouts with your kids for another level of training. You can go for long street runs (children’s stamina is essential). At home, you can lift weights or do pull-ups and push-ups together. This will enhance the energy to push and pull your paddle stroke. 

5. Warmer Waters

If the water is cold, it is better to go with a decked kayak boat. Sit your child in the bow or the middle in the way that one adult will sit with a kid in the bow; it will be the most experienced adult of the boat until the child is experienced enough to handle a single in colder waters. 

The middle compartment of most kayaks is made for gear, and children are prohibited in this area, so it doesn’t come with a spray skirt and tends to take on a splash. However, on calm waters, sitting in the middle is fine. If the water is warm, like in Maldives, Indonesia, Australia or on calmer island freshwater in the summer, sitting on the top of a kayak becomes an attractive option. 

With some management, it can fit up to 3 small children. You can also go for the inflatable kayaks if you don’t want to invest in a carrier or have limited storage space. We have an amazing guide on Best Inflatable Kayaks if you do not own one yet.

6. Children As Paddlers And Duffies

Your children’s ages, sizes, physical abilities, paddling experience, and other qualities will determine whether they come along as single paddlers or as double paddlers. Duffing, or riding in the boat’s center compartment, is a great beginning place for all young paddlers to learn. 

Though duffers may not be helping in setting in motion the boat, they are learning about the feel of the boat. The approximate age of kayaking, paddling and duffing is eight and younger. In a single small kayak, the child’s age should be ten and older (if the child is skilled), and in the single medium kayak, the child’s age should be 14 and older (if the child is capable). 

7. Kayaking Paddles For Kids 

The paddle is your close connection with the water, so the perfection of the paddle is important. Kayak paddles come in various sizes for kids. Consider ones for your kids, which are about 200 cm long with a narrow shaft. 
Read our reviews for Best Kayak Paddles for a paddle to go with your kayak.

8. Never Compromise on Safety

Never compromise on your kid’s safety. It’s the law for all people to wear their children a PFD, and for yourself, you must wear life jackets. PFDs are sized for infants 8-30 lbs, children 30-50 lbs, and youth 50-90 lbs. For an infant PFD, the neck pad is vital for keeping the child’s head positioned correctly in the case of knocking over. In addition, it is best to secure the baby’s external genital area using a crotch strap. 

9: Lines And Floats

Lines and floats can be used in rescue situations, so it is important to have them in the kayak boat. It’s critical to know the safety techniques which accompany the rescue workers. Such as the wet exit. It is a technique in which a paddler leaves the cockpit and then climbs back into it, usually under forced conditions such as a capsize or emergency. 

10. Packing Essentials

When you bring your children with you, it is important to take care of food, including salmon, eggs, dry fruits, cookies, etc. Bring breathable and water-resistant clothes with you. Bring binoculars, medicine, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Read out our Kayaking Checklist so you will not miss any essentials for your kayaking trip.

Above mentioned tips and tricks will make your next kayaking trip with your kids a hit. Kids usually love outdoor adventures, but it is crucial to be cautious of any unfortunate situation. 

Picture of Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

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