5 Awesome Kayaks for Kids in 2017

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kayak for kids

Many are a bit confused as to the difference between a kayak and a canoe, owing to the distinctly similar shape of its sleek and slender boat design. However, it doesn’t really matter which one your child will be taking as the difference is merely on the sitting position and the number of blades on the paddle. Kayaks are very important gadgets of transportation, fishing, and even exploring the many wonders of rivers and lakes. If you want your kid to start paddling his or her own water vehicle, here are 5 awesome kayaks for kids in 2017 we’re pretty certain your kiddos will love.

Five Awesome Kayaks for Kids

Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle by Lifetime

Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle

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Age Range: At least 5 years old

Weight Capacity: 130 pounds

Whether it is for your budding youngster or for your spouse who happens to have found a calling in the wonders of kayaking, provided he or she is less than 130 pounds of course, the Lifetime Youth Kayak seems to be a very formidable watercraft. Available in lime green and orange, this super lightweight and human powered water vessel can slice through water so effortlessly, thanks to the unique design of its hull, allowing for water to seamlessly flow without creating drag. The cockpit is ergonomically designed allowing kids to obtain optimum balance while guaranteeing their full range of motor movements. The 18 pound platform is ultra-lightweight that this can be easily tugged or carried to the water or even to the vehicle by an average sized kid. The sides of the Lifetime Youth come with molded finger handles allowing for a much easier mechanism for transporting this vessel. Wipeouts are never an issue since the Lifetime Youth Kayak is designed with a gently sloping stern complete with a fully integrated swim-up step to allow your kid to easily reenter the Lifetime from the water. Water entering the cockpit is also not a problem as the Lifetime Youth comes with self-bailing scupper holes which actively drain the cockpit of any standing water.

The Lifetime Youth Kayak is made of the strongest and the most durable yet fully lightweight material, high density polyethylene, to make sure you and your kids will have plenty of years riding and kayaking on the Lifetime Youth. One of the distinguishing features of a kayak is the positioning of its rider. Unlike the seating position or even kneeling position of those using a canoe, kayakers sit well on the floor of the boat with their feet fully extended right in front of them. That being said, it is quite essential that foot rests be present to allow riders to have a more stable platform upon which to rest their feet. Unfortunately, placing a single foot rest on the kayak simply means it cannot accommodate differently sized riders. The Lifetime Youth Kayak addresses this issue by integrating multiple foot rests at various positions so kids or even adults can safely anchor their feet on the Lifetime’s floor.

What We Like about It – The Lifetime Youth Kayak is a super lightweight, ultra-stable, and highly durable water vessel designed primarily for the kids of today, giving them the opportunity to experience the full joys of kayaking first, at their own pace, before they move on to competitive kayaking.

Sports 6 Feet Kids Kayak with Paddle and Backrest by Best Choice Products

Sports 6 Feet Kids Kayak with Paddle and Backrest

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Age Range: At least 5 years old

Weight Capacity: 130 pounds

Designed to be one of the best kayaks for kids, the BCP Sports 6 Feet Kids Kayak is pretty much like the Lifetime Youth except for the addition of a fully padded seat as well as a moderately high backrest providing ample support for the lower back. This youth kayak also features a gently sloping stern that also comes with a built-in swim-up step. This helps hapless victims of wipeouts to easily regain access to the interior of the BCP Sports. So even if your child or teen will be finding himself or herself more frequently in the water than on the super sleek boat, getting right back in the action is a breeze. There are also three levels of foot rests to accommodate different sizes of riders. This should be welcome news as the BCP Sports can be a great boat for everyone in the family to enjoy. Just make sure no one gets on board who weighs more than its recommended weight limit of 130 pounds. The hull of the BCP Sports is ingeniously designed with water channels to help it glide through water. The rather wide stance of the BCP Sports from port to starboard measuring in at 26 inches provides optimum stability. Treading or tracking on water or even slicing through the surf is made easier by the accompanying double fin design of its paddle. Carrying and transporting the BCP is made super convenient by the inclusion of a fully integrated carry handles on the sides. Because it does closely resemble the Lifetime Youth, we’d definitely recommend giving this a try.

What We Like about It – The design of the BCP Sports is amazing especially the inclusion of the fully padded seat and the moderately high backrest. This is something that you won’t see from the Lifetime Youth.

Heron Junior Kids Kayak by Old Town Canoes & Kayaks

Heron Junior Kids Kayak

Age Range: At least 5 years old

Weight Capacity: 115 pounds

If it’s the classic super slender appearance of a kayak that you’re after in the best kayak for kids, we’d definitely recommend the Heron Junior. With its super slim profile characterized by a rather pointy bow and a pointy stern, the Heron Junior is the perfect starter water vessel for someone who simply needs to ride the best as he or she slices through the water surface of a lake or even a river. And, given its ultra-sleek profile, your more adventurous child might as well shoot a Class III or even a Class IV whitewater river system especially if he or she has found the adrenaline to do it. The Heron Junior also comes with the classic closed design of kayaks whereby the rider’s legs and feet are hidden away from view by the upper deck of the Heron Junior. We are not only sure if the kit also comes with a water skirt which is a standard when it comes to closed types of kayaks. The reason for this is to keep water out of the craft to keep it afloat. Nevertheless, the Heron Junior comes with a Tag Along Tow System instead of the side-mounted handle mechanisms in other models. The Tag Along Tow System is ideal for tugging the Heron Junior across the surface of water while your child is conveniently sitting inside the cockpit. This way, you get to give your young child an experience he or she will never forget. Weighing in at only 26 pounds, the Heron Junior is very convenient to carry, albeit a full 8 pounds heavier than the Lifetime Youth Kayak. Nevertheless, the countered seat is fully padded and is just perfect for smaller bodies, making the Heron Junior a heavyweight among young newbie kayakers.

What We Like about It – The Heron Junior youth kayak is definitely the closest you can get to the real deal. It’s more of a slightly miniaturized version of what we adults use.

Kids Solid Color Sit on Top Kayaks with Backrest by Seaflo

Kids Solid Color Sit on Top Kayaks with Backrest

Age Range: At least 5 years old

Weight Capacity: 121 pounds

The Seaflo Kids Solid Color Sit on Top Kayak is a wonderful starter flatboat for kids who are out to explore the great watery outdoors be it the lake or the river. The good thing about the Seaflo is that it comes with two storage compartments on both ends of the vessel. One end is covered with a mesh netting while the other is attached with an elastic cord which can be used to secure your kid’s stuff while he or she is gliding over the surface of water. Unfortunately, because the stern of the Seaflo has been taken up by a storage compartment, it no longer offers ease of reentry into the Seaflo. Unlike the other designs in this list, the Seaflo doesn’t have a swim-up step to help riders get onto the craft in case of a wipeout. Nevertheless, the Seaflo comes with a super stable design that is guaranteed to help kids feel more confident riding in it. The Seaflo also comes with a higher backrest to support the lower and middle backs of young kids. Sadly, the seat itself is no longer padded so this might be a concern for those who are expecting some degree of comfortable seats. The Seaflo also comes with a self-bailing hole to help channel water away from the cockpit. The feet can also be easily rested on a variety of footrest positions. The Seaflo may not be the best kayak for kids but it sure can provide a great kayaking experience for the new and young ones.

What We Like about It – The Seaflo is stable, durable, and lightweight enough to be considered a great tool for kids who want to explore the thrills of kayaking.

52210 Bali 6 Feet Kayak with Bonus Paddle by Sun Dolphin 

52210 Bali 6 Feet Kayak with Bonus Paddle

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Age Range: At least 5 years old

Weight Capacity: 125 pounds

With an open cockpit design and a pretty straightforward floor architecture designed from high density polyethylene, the Sun Dolphin 52110 Bali is an exciting water craft purposely built for the young kayaker. Part of its effectiveness as a youth kayak is its wide and almost flat hull design complete with balancers on both sides of the craft. This allows optimum freedom of movement especially when paddling the Sun Dolphin Bali using is accompanying twin blade paddle. The same hull design allows for the effortless gliding over the water surface so your kid will not really have to break a sweat just to get him or her from point A to point B across the water’s surface. Graduated footwells are positioned strategically in front of the cockpit so kids can easily stretch their legs for greater comfort and stability. Like all other kayaks in our list, the Sun Dolphin has been adequately treated with UV protection so that the materials on the surface of the Sun Dolphin will not crack or get damaged because of the intense heat of the sun. The Sun Dolphin Bali offers the streamlined body of a dolphin and the fun and excitement of the island paradise of Bali so kids will have the greatest time of their lives kayaking.

What We Like about It – The Sun Dolphin provides the right combination of stability, lightweight construction, and durability in a design that is as lovely as the beaches of Bali and as sleek as the streamlined body of a bottlenose dolphin.

How We Chose the Best Kayak for Kids in Our List

Kayaks are primarily built for speed. If you have a canoe, then that would be the equivalent of a sport utility vehicle. However, if you’re thinking of an F1 racer in the water, there can only be a kayak. As such, one of the principal considerations for our choice of the best youth kayak is the overall design of the hull. It should be designed in such a way that it can slice through water with relative ease, like some hot knife slicing through butter. Equally important is the stability of the platform. We are particularly aware that some form of stability is ultimately lost with each increment in speed. So, we may be giving you a really high speed water vessel but if it cannot maintain stability even at such speeds, then we’d rather choose one that is not really that fast but is stable enough to keep the safety of your child.

We also considered the weight of the youth kayak. This was a very important consideration since kayaks are especially built for lone riders, adventurers who would rather go at it alone. That being said it is important that these small streamlined boats are lightweight enough to be carried or even dragged from the vehicle and onto the water by an average kiddo. Playing a part in the lightweight design of the small boat is the choice of materials used in its construction. However, these materials should not only be lightweight; they should be extremely durable and sturdy, too. Most kayakers are some of the most adventurous out there. And while we don’t expect your kid to be shooting the Class V rapids of the Grand Canyon anytime soon, it is best to choose one that is as sturdy as the Grand Canyon itself.

Lastly, we had to look at the level of comfort it can provide kids. We had to consistently remind ourselves that what we are looking for are for juveniles and not for competition-grade performance-level kayakers. As such, it was imperative to look for features that would somehow provide some degree of comfort for our young kayakers.

Tips to Ensuring Kayaking Safety for Kids

Engaging in a variety of water sports or water-related activities can be so much fun. However, if we are not really careful, we might as well expose our kids to potential hazards during water-related activities and significantly undermining the benefits of these outdoor recreation activities. As such it is always critical to understand some of the fundamental tips to ensuring safety in kayaks and canoes especially when our kids are the riders.

  • Always supervise your children whenever they go out kayaking. Even the more experienced ones will still require some form of adult supervision.
  • Spend time teaching your kid how to swim or at least to stay afloat. You may also want to enroll your child in a kayaking course so he or she will be learning not only the basics but also some of the tricks of the sport from licensed professionals.
  • Get your child an appropriately sized safety gear such as a life jacket, helmet, rubber sandals, and others. It is important to choose a gear that is of the correct size in relation to your child’s dimensions.
  • Make sure to give your child adequate sun screen or UV protection especially during the hot summer months. You may need to buy for him or her UV glasses to help protect the eyes against glare.
  • Encourage your child to listen to safety instructions and to follow or obey all rules about kayaking. You may want to go over each of these items individually so they become well-acquainted with these rules.
  • If you have to buy a kayak, make sure it is of the right size for your child and that it is stable enough to allow your kid ample freedom of movement.

The Bottom Line

Kayaking can be so much fun. If you have a child who happens to be fascinated with the water sport, then you can nurture this fascination by getting him or her one of the 5 awesome kayaks for kids we have listed here. Once you have the best kayak for your kid, don’t forget to observe our tips on kayaking safety.

Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!
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