The best kayak for kids should be both safe and affordable, it should offer stability, but also let your kid have fun and get a taste of the adventurous life of a paddler. Kayaking is a great outdoor activity for your children, especially if you’re a kayak enthusiast yourself and can easily get over some of the imminent worries regarding this activity.
Kayaking at a young age will probably help the kids understand and appreciate the outdoors more, and with the best tandem kayak for kids, you can spend quality family time together and enjoy nature as well. However, searching for the best kayak for kids can be challenging, take a lot of time and, also frustrate you a bit.
Then your kid will grow and will need a bigger boat, and the search will go on, looking for the best kayak for teenager or young adults. So, it’s important to get it right from the first, establish the most important features of a kayak, never compromise on safety and decide on what type of kayak you’re going to buy based on the type of activities you’re going to do on the water.
If you want to take your kid fishing, then you need to look for the best fishing kayak for kids. If you want to have a good, peaceful time with your kid, with a little bit of exploring the surroundings, then you should consider the best inflatable kayak for kids.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 10 Best Kayak for Kids in 2020
- Top 10 Best Kayak for Kids Review in 2020
- 1. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak
- 2. Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
- 3. Youth Wave Kayak by Lifetime
- 4. Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
- 5. Best Choice Products Kids Kayak
- 6. Perception Prodigy XS Kids Kayak
- 7. Perception Tribe Sit on Top Kayak
- 8. Lixada Kayak Sun Shade Canopy
- 9. Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak
- 10. Pelican Solo Sit-On-Top Youth Kayak
- How to Choose the Best Kayak for Kids When There Are So Many Options?
- Keep It Safe and Keep It Fun!
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best Kayak for Kids in 2020
|Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak||Check Price|
|Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak||Check Price|
|Youth Wave Kayak by Lifetime||Check Price|
|Ocean Malibu Recreational Kayak||Check Price|
|Best Choice Products Kids Kayak||Check Price|
|Perception Prodigy XS Kids Kayak||Check Price|
|Perception Tribe Sit on Top Kayak||Check Price|
|Lixada Kayak Sun Shade Canopy||Check Price|
|Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak||Check Price|
|Pelican Solo Sit-on-top Youth Kayak||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Kayak for Kids Review in 2020
Having your kids join in on a family water adventure is a good idea. At first, you could let them ride in your kayak to get a taste of the whole experience, but later on, if you see they like it, you’re going to consider getting them a kayak of their own. These kayaks are smaller, easier to steer, and with extra safety features to keep your mind at peace.
However, there are a lot of kids kayaks out there, from the best sit on top kayak for kids to the best kayak for teenager and I am going to review the best of the best and then help you make your decision based on your kids’ preferences, family activities, possibilities, and budget.
1. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak
If your kid is going to go in the water alone, for the first time, in a kayak, then this Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak might be very well the best beginner kayak for kids and the safest solution to start with.
It is specifically designed for kids aged 5 and up. It is 6 feet long, weighs about 18lb, and can handle up to 130lb of weight. Technically, it is a sit-on-top kayak with a wide-open cockpit which makes it very easy to get in and provide for a comfortable ride.
It offers increased stability, something kids need at the beginning of their kayaking adventures. Kids can even try to move it around since it comes with finger handles molded on each side. It’s got a hard, plastic body, multiple footrest positions, and an overall wide body. Overall, this is what we liked and didn’t like about this best kayak for kids.
- Widebody provides a wide stance and good stability
- It has a swim-up step which makes it easy to re-enter the boat from the water
- It has multiple footrest positions so your kid can use it for longer, as he grows
- No dry compartment to store things
- The wide-body might make tracking difficult
2. Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
If your search is more specific and you’re thinking of sit-on kayaks, then this Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak might very well be the best sit on top kayak for kids. It is a more advanced kayak for kids, very good for learning to paddle. Its tracking capabilities are also great.
Your kid will learn all the basics while also staying safe and having fun. The kayak is made from Fortifex High-Density Polyethylene, which promises high durability over time. What is more, it’s got rod holders for fishing, in case your child develops a passion for fishing.
- Adjustable padded seat and foot braces
- Large cockpit with a great opening
- Water bottle, swivel rod, and mount rod holders
- Might have a few stability issues
3. Youth Wave Kayak by Lifetime
If you love fishing and want to see if your kid will love it just as much, then this Lifetime Youth Kayak might be the best fishing kayak for kids out there right now. Its cockpit looks quite ergonomic, helping keep balance. The molded handles on each side of the kayak will make it easier for your kid to carry the kayak around himself.
Or at least, let him try, let him take the initiative; he will love that he can do it. The kayak in itself is quite safe and its stability is good. It can be used by kids aged 5 or more and comes with a little paddle included.
- Multiple Footrest positions
- Swim-up Deck
- Kayak Paddle Included
- Really good overall stability
- No dry compartment for storing things
- Not good for trying speeding
4. Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
This Ocean Kayak Malibu is a good way of teaching your child about the adventures of kayaking. It comes equipped with a child seat and might be considered as one of the best kayak for kids out there right now. The kayak features 3 seating positions, bow, middle, and stern.
Overall, it is a quite big boat, with a capacity of 425lb. When you don’t paddle with your kids, you can remove their seat and the kayak will turn into a single-seater with some extra space for gear. The multiple footwells make it easier to find the perfect position in both situations.
- A lot of storage spaces and straps
- Very versatile kayak which can be used both as a tandem kayak for kids and a single-seater for fishing or other recreational activities on your own
- It is not light, but given its capacity, you cannot expect that, right?
5. Best Choice Products Kids Kayak
If your kid has grown up loving kayaking and you’re now looking for the best kayak for teenager, then this one by Best Choice Products might be the best solution out there. It comes with an included paddle, cushioned backrest and a little storage compartment to keep some personal belongings safe.
It features a stable paddling platform with an open cockpit and really useful molded handles on the sides. It’s also equipped with a swim-up step for easy re-entry from the water.
- Good stability and safety for kids or teenagers
- The materials are UV-protected
- The cushioned backrest looks comfortable and the seat is also padded for extra comfort
- The 50’’ paddle looks rather flimsy and might break if forced
6. Perception Prodigy XS Kids Kayak
This Perception Prodigy XS is a good example of a beginner’s kayak. Its small-sized paddlers complete a 10-feet-long and 28-inch-wide setup that might very well compete for the “title” of the best kayak for kids or teenagers.
Moreover, it only weighs 27 lbs but can carry as much as 150lbs. It also comes equipped with a pretty light paddle, and a comfortable-looking seat, backband, and knee pad. What is more, it’s got integrated floatation in the front and real for built-in buoyancy and more safety.
This is a very useful feature that not all kids’ kayaks have. All in all, it looks like a very good deal, a safe and durable kayak for covering a lot of ground and comfortable enough to make your kid row for long hours.
- All the important areas of the boat, like the seat, or the cockpit ring are padded for extra protection
- Lightweight and very flexible and adjustable
- It might be a little too sophisticated if your child hasn’t been kayaking for a while and does not enjoy the sport that much
7. Perception Tribe Sit on Top Kayak
This Perception Tribe 9.5 also deserves its place on the list of the best kids kayaks. It is a top choice for beginner and intermediate paddlers who have already gotten the taste of kayaking adventure. The contact areas are cushily padded and the seatback is adjustable for extra comfort.
It comes with multiple integrated footrests to accommodate the little paddlers and with plenty of storage space in the front and rear tank and also in a nice little center hatch. It is perfect for slow-moving rivers and other ponds and lakes.
- Increased stability
- Wide adjusting seating area with cushy padded seat and a mesh-like backrest
- Comes equipped with side handles, but it also presents some others at every end for increased mobility
- Good tracking and also pretty good maneuverability
- It does not come with a paddle; you’ll have to buy it as an optional accessory
8. Lixada Kayak Sun Shade Canopy
When it comes to a children’s kayak, there are also some other optional features that you consider, like a sunshade to keep him protected from the powerful rays of the sun, right? This Lixada Kayak provides just that.
Although it’s got a rather odd shape, it comes with a detachable canopy to protect your child against intense sunlight and rain. Moreover, it is available in 12 different colors, so you can have your kid decide which one he likes most.
The kayak is mostly for little kids who learn to kayak. It only has one seat and can be folded and reassembled on site. It also comes with a handy traveling bag to put it in. It’s good for recreational kayaking and outdoor vacations. If your kid decides this sport is for him, you might want to consider purchasing another more sporty best kayak for kids.
- Protective canopy against sunlight and heavy rain
- Lightweight and foldable; can be taken anywhere, on vacation
- A broad range of colors your kids can choose from
- It can only be used by one person
- It comes with no instructions on how to assemble it
9. Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak
This Old Town kayak has been specifically designed for kids and it might very well be one of the best on the market as well. One important feature is its special two systems which allow you to attach it to another boat when your kid does not feel like kayaking anymore.
You might even try to turn it into a kids fishing kayak if your kid enjoys it. It has an additional piece of foam that ensures it stays afloat, no matter what. It is smaller than a normal size kayak, without compromising much of the performances. Your kid can learn to kayak on a competitive level with this one if he pleases.
Or he can just stroll around pulled by your boat. His choice and yours. It is a light kayak. At just 26 lbs, it can be carried around pretty easily. The seat has been specifically designed for a kid to stay in it and although it is on the lighter side of things, you can accommodate as much as 115 lbs of weight on the boat.
- The tow system which enables you to pull the kayak with another boat if the kid is tired
- Good stability
- The additional foam billet might come apart in time if kids do not take care of it.
10. Pelican Solo Sit-On-Top Youth Kayak
If good, but cheap kids kayaks for vacations is what you’re looking for, then this Pelican Sit-On-Top might just be it. It’s got a child-sized paddle and a safety flag to always make sure you keep an eye on your children when they’re in the water. The molded handles on the sides are good for maneuvering it here and there.
It comes with a helpful swim-up rear deck and handles so your kid can easily re-enter it from the water if he fell or jumped. The footrests are molded on it for extra stability. It even features a cup holder. All in all, it has an open cockpit and pretty good stability best kayak for kids.
- Good maneuverability
- Includes a safety flag to keep an eye on your kid when in the water
- Offers pretty good stability for a kayak of this size and weight
- It has a self-bailing system
- Might not track or speed very well; it’s more for fun at the beach and not for teaching your kid about kayaking
How to Choose the Best Kayak for Kids When There Are So Many Options?
Yes, there are many options on the market when it comes to kids kayaks. Some are just for fun and occasional vacations at the lake or beach, others are more serious for learning the sport; there are single-seaters, tandem kayaks, kayaks with fishing rods for trying fishing. They all have a specific weight, weight limit, style, stability, and many different features. This is how to navigate through all of this information and come up with the best children’s kayak.
The Main Kids Kayaks Features to Consider
For many parents, this feature has a lot in common with the overall safety of the kayak. You don’t want him to fall over, even though he is wearing a life jacket and he’s safe. So, many parents are considering a wide flat bottom that offers stability, but not much speed and tracking. Yes, this could be a good option if you want your kid to have fun on vacation, by the lake and not take this up as a sport.
Apart from the wide flat bottom kayaks, there are also the little and more tipsy versions, which provide for better speeds and tracking and could serve as a great first step into learning this sport. They do not possess the same stability, but if you want your child to feel a little bit of the adventure of the kayaking, you can’t protect him from falling over. If he’s wearing all the safety equipment, a splash here and there might encourage him to keep going. Moreover, he might even want to jump in the water and pull himself up on the kayak again.
As far as kayaks for kids are considered, they are sit-in or sit-on-top. The sit-in-versions are easier to steer but can fill with water very easily. Then there are the inflatable kayaks. I’m yet to decide which is the best inflatable kayak for kids, but they’re certainly an option to consider. They can be stored almost anywhere, are pretty durable, and could prove fun in the long run.
Weight and Weight Limit
The best kayak for your kids needs to be lightweight. Usually, your kid will be the one to carry their boat around to the water or off it. You’re sure going to help, but it’s better to let him do the whole procedure. So, in looking for the best kayak for kids, you should always pay attention to the weight. Make sure it is light enough so he can steer it correctly and be able to maneuver it to the water and about.
The weight limit is useful if you think in perspective. How long is your child going to use this kayak before he outgrows it? Do you want a kayak that he can use for longer or just one for the summer? In short, the weight limit is how much the kayak can hold up, that is your child’s weight and maybe some accessories.
Material and Durability
Being a parent, you probably expect your little kid to abuse the poor kayak. He can just throw it around when he’s bored, not caring about where he leaves it, and so on. This is why children’s kayak materials are quite important. To cut to the chase, I think that the best material is high-density polyethylene. It provides for superb durability and longevity over time. It can stand up to a child’s rough use.
And all of these, while keeping things light and offering good overall stability in the water. Usually, kids can easily drag the polyethylene kayaks to the water themselves. One very interesting extra feature you can look for in a kids’ kayak is the resistance to UV rays. This way, the kayak can keep its color for longer and your kid might enjoy it for more than just a summer.
Safety Features of Children’s Kayaks
The main safety features of a children’s kayak are: stability, ease of entry and exist, hull design, kayak style, open cockpit, and, eventually, tow rope. We’ve discussed the stability feature above. What I’d also like to discuss is the hull design, which also contributes to the stability of the boat. A kayak with a double hull and a pontoon hull is more stable because their rounded bottom helps keep the boat still when the water hits it hard.
This means there are fewer chances of it being tipped over and more safety for your children. Probably, the safest and best beginner kayak for kids should have a wide body, but also short in length so that it does not weight too much and keeps things stable. The self-draining holes are another important safety feature to consider when shopping for the best kayak for kids. A self-draining kayak is very useful because it will help get rid of the water itself after it has been tipped over.
Also, an open cockpit is preferable for easier access on and off the boat. And an important feature for parents is a little flag that will let you follow the kid’s boat in the water more easily and a tow rope to pull your kid’s boat on the shore in case he gets tired of paddling. If you’re looking to buy a kayak that your kid is going to be using for longer, then you should also consider adjustable foot braces, so that he will keep being comfortable in it as he grows.
Safety Measures Before Going Kayaking
Generally, a kid 4-year-old can start kayaking, but you need to prepare him in advance with a series of safety measures. First of all, you need to invest in some quality safety gear, such as a life vest. Then, it would be great to have him take swimming lessons so that he is not afraid of water and begins to love it.
Moreover, always consider the weather conditions before going kayaking with your kind and make sure that he has a hat and protective gear against the sun as well. The sun rays can be very dangerous, especially if they’re reflected from the clean surface of the water and if there’s no shade on the open river.
Keep It Safe and Keep It Fun!
In the end, kayaking should be fun and should teach your child to love the outdoors and love adventure, exploring. Kids are usually very curious, and providing them with food for thought is not a bad idea. Safety first, it is important! But don’t overdo it and don’t overreact! If he’s old enough, he might even want to jump off the kayak and then get back in from the water and some kayaks have a swim-up step to make it easier for your kid. Buying the best kayak for kids will help him become the little explorer he might always have wanted to be.