Kayaking With Child Seat

Kayaking With Kids

Kayaking With Kids

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Mother, Professional Kayaker, and Software Engineer

Updated on 12/6/2022


When you go kayaking, bring the kids along putting him kayaking with child seat. You may have a satisfying experience if you put some thinking into it and effort into organizing it. Just bear in mind that baby steps are best and that the best way to reduce stress is to eliminate surprises unless they are those that lead to discoveries.

Preparing For The Trip

Preparation for kayak trip

Preparation for kayak trip

Who Ought to Remain

The variety of persons considered "good" for paddling is as wide as the water itself. However, exercise extreme caution. Under no circumstances should you ever take a child out on the water unless you are an experienced paddler or have another experienced paddler with you. You should prepare to have one adult for every youngster until all of the paddlers' skill levels have been determined and you know and trust all the group members. If you have a sufficient number of adults, then your youngster may invite one or two of their friends.

How to Get There

Unless you have a lot of experience and are equipped with boats suitable for the conditions, you should look for water that is relatively calm and has a low amount of current. Beginning on protected bodies of water like tiny lakes, bays, and meandering rivers is the best way to teach kids to paddle and lower their stress levels. Your selections become more varied with each new journey that you take.

Advice on the Destination:

  • Pick locations that offer a wide range of options.
  • Be aware of what you are putting yourself into. Before the trip, go over tides, currents, and boat traffic with the kids. Your children will feel a sense of pride in pointing out these circumstances, and the three of you will feel safer working together.
  • To the best of your abilities, you should be aware of the bathroom breaks' locations. This is of utmost significance when dealing with younger children.
  • Talk to seasoned kayakers or the paddling gurus at your neighborhood REI to get recommendations for paddling locations that are suitable for families with young children. You might also try contacting your local paddling association and the websites for your state parks commission and park service if you have one.

Duration of the Journey

When determining how long you will be absent, exercise caution. In this approach, everyone is a winner if you perform better than expected. No matter the traveler's age, a half an hour to an hour should be sufficient for the initial voyage. It could entail a few moments of sitting in the cockpit at the edge of the water for infants and young children.

Your trip should be planned in short loops of approximately one-third the typical distance you would go with your adult counterparts, as this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Generally, the child's age determines how much time they are permitted to spend in the water. Also, take into account the children:

  • Working knowledge of water
  • Those with prior experience in boats and paddling
  • Maturity level or chronological age
  • Swimming ability
  • Power of body and mind
  • The level of coordination

Build Skills Beforehand

Is your trip still a few months away? This summer, consider enrolling yourself and your children in some swimming and kayaking courses. Community pools typically provide opportunities to take swimming instruction. You might be surprised at how quickly children can learn to feel comfortable climbing into and out of a boat while practicing a wet exit or a roll. For a primer on kayaking, check out the "Getting Started Kayaking" article written by the REI Expert Advice team.

Try some kid-friendly workouts to add another dimension to your fitness routine. Carry out several long sprints, which we refer to as "crossings" since we imagine that we are paddling from one island to the other. When you return to your house, you should either lift weights or combine pull-ups and push-ups into a single workout to improve the push and pull components of your paddle stroke.

Choices in Boats for Families

Kayak or Canoe?

Kayak VS Canoe

Kayak VS Canoe


When making your choice, take into account the destination of your paddling vacation and your child's age and paddling experience. There are also other considerations to consider, such as the level of comfort, the seats available, the amount of time available for paddling, and the requirement to get there. Allow people of all ages to paddle at least sometimes; don't prioritize the result over the process.

Children between the ages of 4 and 7 can usually sit in the bow of a kayak without any problem. However, your distances will be restricted because they will not offer much propulsion. A canoe is a fantastic option for children younger than seven years old. Canoes are an excellent option for children of this age because they are stable, give plenty of space for gear, and don't restrict movement. A large canoe will easily have room for two or three child passengers in addition to the parents.

At approximately eight years old, many children are ready to paddle the bow of either a kayak or a canoe. Canoes are also an option, and the majority are also capable of picking up paddling abilities and using them effectively.

No matter what boat you choose, make it a point to get plenty of practice in wet exits, bracing, and other safety maneuvers. Look at the guides "How to Edge Your Kayak and Do a Brace Stroke" and "How to Wet Exit from a Kayak."

Colder waters: Choose a decked kayak or a canoe with a spray deck (a cover made of waterproof fabric) for waters with a cooler temperature. Your youngster should sit in the bow or the middle of the boat until they have gained enough skill to handle a single in cooler waters. During this time, one adult should sit at the bow, and the adult with the most experience should sit at the stern or the back of the boat. Because most kayaks are designed to carry gear rather than children, the middle compartment does not typically come with a spray skirt. It has a propensity to take on a splash. On the other hand, when the water is calm, it is acceptable to sit in the middle.


Warmer seas: A sit-on-top kayak becomes an appealing choice while paddling in locations with warm waters, such as Baja, Hawaii, or the Florida Keys, or on calmer inland freshwater throughout the summertime. These crafts can accommodate up to three younger children if the participants are creative. Some kayaks can be inflated if you don't want to spend the money on a carrier or you don't have much room to store one. (It is important to remember that sit-on-tops should not be used for crossings that are particularly exposed or a significant distance from shore.)

sit on top kayak

sit on top kayak


Duff or Paddle? Which one, a single or double?

Your children's ages, sizes, physical ability, previous paddling experience

Other relevant characteristics will determine whether they come along in a single or double kayak and whether they paddle or just duffer.

For new paddlers of any age, "duffing," which refers to riding in the boat's center compartment, is an excellent location to start. Even though the duffers do not contribute to the propulsion of the ship, they still get a feel for it.

Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak
Easy to inflate9.4
Easy to inflate

Approximate age recommendations:

  • Duffer in a kayak or canoe: children younger than eight years old.
  • The minimum age for a bow paddler in a double kayak or canoe is 8.
  • A bowrider or paddler in a double kayak or canoe should be between the ages of 4 and 7.
  • Single small kayak: 10 and older (if skilled).
  • Single medium kayak: 14 and older (if skilled).
  • Fourteen years of age and up for the single small canoe (if skilled).

Paddle Sizes

Because the paddle is your primary means of interaction with the water, how it feels in your hands is critical. Children's kayak paddles come in various lengths and widths; if you're shopping for one, go for one that's approximately 200 centimeters long and has a thin shaft. When using canoe paddles, the handle should be positioned to rest on the child's foot, and the blade should be about nose level.

Pelican Boats - Kid Size Kayak Paddle – PS1111 - Compact 3-Piece Blade & Shaft – 60 in
Light weight9.2
Light weight
Value for money8.6
Value for money


Protective Gear

Don't skimp on safety. Everyone aboard a boat less than 26 feet long is required by law to wear a life jacket. Find a model that the United States Coast Guard approves, and follow the requirements regarding usage and dimensions. PFDs come in sizes appropriate for newborns weighing 8-30 lbs., children weighing 30-50 lbs., and teens weighing 50-100 lbs (50-90 lbs.). The neck pad on an infant life jacket is essential for ensuring that the kid's head is held in the appropriate posture if the youngster capsizes. In addition to that, the crotch strap should be secured at all times.

Warning: Infants and toddlers may "hate" their life jackets at first. If it is at all possible, prepare the children at home ahead of time. You might create a game out of it or offer a reward for keeping it on. Explain without trying to frighten somebody.

The Use of Lines and Floats

To effect a rescue, lines and floats could be utilized. A paddler should be familiar with the safety procedures associated with them, such as the wet-exit method mentioned previously (a way to climb back into the cockpit after leaving it under forced conditions, such as during a capsize or an emergency).

Do not rely excessively on these materials, as well as on books or films, as a substitute for safety. Enroll in lessons to get some practice!

The following components make up the safety line and float gear:

  • Paddle float for each adult
  • A disposable bag for each adult.
  • Each boat will need its tow line.

Caution: You should never tether or attach a youngster to the boat in any way, resulting in a greater risk than protection.

Trying to Sell the Trip to the Children

As is the case with any activity, the more zealously you discuss kayaking with your children, the greater the likelihood they will share your excitement about the action. Take the boat(s) out into the lawn or driveway (with a soft under-cushion), and let the more minor children gently play in it. This is especially helpful for children who are just getting used to paddling.

Extra Suggestions:

  • Do research before going on your journey, and bring along some laminated animal charts, local field guidebooks, and tide and current charts. Young people interested in science often find these to be engaging conversation starters.
  • Make the excursion cater to the specific interests of the children. Please include them in the process of picking and choosing what to do while you are out on the wet trail. They should be allowed to bring a friend if it is appropriate.
  • If at all possible, emphasize the tradition. Bring out the maps and photos from your previous travels, and tell tales about the exciting experiences.

Preparing My Bags for the Trip

Suppose you are familiar with how to pack for yourself. In that case, you are probably already familiar with how to pack for your children. It is essential to understand who is responsible for packing what clearly. Along with the other adults, divide the responsibility of packing up evenly between the two of you. Get the youngsters involved in this particular aspect of the journey.

It's common knowledge that children aged seven and up relish the opportunity to take care of their packing. Provide them with a list to follow, but do so discretely, and let them know that you will later double-check their bags. Recognize and applaud their work. Instruct them to keep their packs close to them at all times while on the boat so they can quickly get a jacket or snack.

Food and Drink are Essential.

Think about bringing along some nutritious foods that are also easy to transport

Such as smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, apples, mangoes, fresh red peppers, dried fruits, and nuts (pine nuts.

Pumpkin seeds are high in calories and travel well), cheese, dried vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, and nutritious cookies and bars.

Additionally, staying hydrated is very crucial. Maintain ready access to a water bottle and make it a point to stay hydrated by taking frequent sips throughout the day. Paddling is a strenuous activity, and when combined with the fact that sunlight is reflected off the water, this might result in a greater need for fluids than you imagine.

Because water pillows can be loaded to their maximum capacity while still readily fitting under the seats, which is where you want to retain the weight of the paddle boat, they are the most efficient way to transport water for paddle craft.


The key to wearing comfortable clothing is to layer it with water-resistant and breathable materials, such as rashguards, merino wool, polyester, and weather-resistant shells. Bring additional pairs of pants for children under seven, as they tend to become dirty and wet no matter what. Cotton shouldn't even be considered an option until the temperature is exceedingly high.

A helpful hint is to always store clothing in waterproof dry bags that are securely fastened to the boat's interior. Make sure there are no loose loops or ropes that a paddler could get caught in.


Some Essentials for Kids:

  • A hat with a wide brim protects from the sun and the rain (waterproof, breathable "sombreros" are perfect). These are durable and can withstand either the sun or the rain.
  • Waterproof boots with a height between the calf and the knee can be worn even when the weather is warm. Sandals can be worn in regions that are not hazardous to one's feet, such as those that are devoid of barnacles or broken glass.
  • Raingear with an appropriate fit
  • Clothing designed to shield from the sun (UPF rated)
  • Articles required in the bathroom

Remember that the camping gear you bring for one night is often the same as what you would get for a week. You might not need some things if you're paddling for the day or relatively short distances near your car or other facilities.

Additional Suggestions for Packing

In addition to the list for adults, the following are recommendations for children aged 5 to 9:

  • Binoculars or a monocular (a monocular is more accessible for kids to use)
  • Books
  • Fishing poles or poles
  • Notepad and pencil are included.
  • Tiny tents that can be popped up for long days and overnight stays

For people of all ages:

  • Everyone should bring their water bottle (avoid using disposable ones) and a water pouch with more water than they believe they will require.
  • Sunglasses that have a good reputation and are comfortable to wear.
  • Warning sirens and whistles
  • Cushioned seating or seats that are positioned low can help reduce the center of gravity.
  • Spray decks and skirts (cover the open compartment regions) (covers the open compartment areas).
  • I was hauling and throwing rope.
  • Individual charts and navigational aids.
  • Songbooks.
  • Picnic blankets or tarps in case it rains.
  • On the duffer, a sun or rain umbrella is included.

The Day of the Journey (Pre-launch)

Trips by kayak

Trips by kayak


Before getting in the water, you should always go over the safety protocols for a wet exit with adults and children. Take your time, and be sure to review some hypothetical scenarios before moving on. You want the answers to your queries to be provided in advance.

After the boats have been loaded, ensure the children have used the restroom and put on their sunscreen before pulling away from the dock. Allow plenty of time to unwind and reconnect after loaded boats. It is easy to forget that loading a boat eats up calories, and you don't want to start the journey hungry. Therefore, offer a handful of gorp to the people helping you load the boat.

Activities to Partake in While Out on the Water

Activities to Partake in While Out on the Water

Activities to Partake in While Out on the Water


  • Move at a pace that is approximately one-third of your typing speed and try to avoid becoming separated. Maintain constant eye contact with each child and adult in the group. If you have more adults who want to go their way, that is perfectly acceptable; nevertheless, the more turbulent the water is, the closer all boats should be to one another. However, it is essential to avoid crowding, especially with strong currents and waves.
  • To teach, discuss the movement of the water with your young paddler while demonstrating the appropriate response. Techniques such as drawing into an eddy, bracing against a wave, and navigating the currents are examples of what can fall under this category.
  • Provide rules: Regarding the regulations, maintain clarity and simplicity—no standing, no leaning, etc. Instruct the children to list the guidelines and ensure they are aware of the repercussions for violating the norms.
  • Empower: Let the paddler moving the slowest take the lead, then switch. Children would find it very interesting if this were turned into a game. If you are sharing a double kayak with a younger or less experienced paddler, take your time and give them plenty of opportunities to rest. Give the tiny slackers a chance to paddle once in a while. They may only want to do it for a few minutes, but doing so will make them feel valuable and provide the practice.
  • Take plenty of pauses and look at the beautiful environment. Please stay away from performance critique unless it's directly related to safety. Always applaud good paddling. Tips, demonstrations, and practice should be given, but in-depth training should be left for later, when you are back on land, so as not to ruin the moment. On paddling outings, the beach is just as important as the water, so make sure you take some time to enjoy it.

If Things Don't Go According to Plan

While you are at sea and kayaking with child seat, you should be prepared for a wide variety of occurrences that you might not have imagined. Therefore, you should roll with the punches, retain a positive attitude, and persevere. It would help if you didn't let the whiney slacker bring you down. Children who are not accustomed to having to create their fun face a formidable adversary in the form of boredom. This is especially true for slackers, who could gain something from paddling for a few minutes.

To add excitement to your day, why not try playing a game like a tag or following the leader? Perform a song, appoint someone to be the navigator, or hand out snacks. Suppose you've tried switching to a new paddle or altering your paddling stroke, but neither of those solutions has helped. In that case, you might consider taking a break if it's an option. Make an offer to do most of the paddling for at least a portion of the trip, if not the entire journey duration. Don't rule out the possibility of offering to pull the exhausted paddler if you see them in a single kayak.

Make good on your promise to reward the children with whatever you told them you would give them earlier in the day. This could include taking them to their favorite restaurant for dinner or giving them an extra hour to talk to their friends on the phone about their experience. If you're going camping, you must bring some s'mores with you.