Best kayak for kids

Best Kayak For Kids 2020 – Top Youth Kayaks

You are thinking about buying a kayak for your kid but you don’t know how to choose the most suitable one. We perfectly understand the fact that finding the best youth kayak for your kid is a challenging and time-consuming task. And, with so many options on the market, you can feel uncomfortable deciding which one best suits your kid’s needs. That’s why we made a research for you and selected our picks for the best kayak for kids.


Best Kayaks For KidsRecommended AgeWeightLength
Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak5-8 years old18 lbs6 feet
Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak5-8 years old28 lbs6 feet
Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak5-8 years old18 lbs6 feet
Lifetime Dash 66 Youth Kayak5-8 years old20 lbs6.6 feet
Sun Dolphin Camino SS 8-Foot8-12 years old40 lbs8 feet
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak8-12 years old26 lbs7.5 feet
Intex Challenger K1 – Inflatable Kayak8-12 years old27 lbs9 feet
Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak12 years and up36 lbs9.6 feet
Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS 12 years and up44 lbs10 feet

Kayaking is a very popular sport, which a lot of parents prefer for their kids. Although it is practiced in water, it could be really safe and fun activity, if you are aware of the basic safety rules. The fact that many parents are kayaking with a toddler confirms that. Just have in mind the most important safety rule – always wear a life jacket.

However, in the technology world nowadays, many people really value the fact that their children could relax outside. Furthermore, the relaxing is also combined with the paddling exercises, which significantly improve the physical strength.

Another important benefit of the kayaking is that it improves the sense of autonomy and responsibility of the kids. While kayaking they will also improve their social skills and meet interesting people. However, below we have listed the main benefits of kayaking for kids:

  • It is funny and relaxing
  • Your kids will spend time outdoors
  • Learn new skills
  • Good for mental and physical condition
  • The kids will feel the adventure
  • Build problem-solving abilities
  • Learn basic risk vs. reward principles
  • Allows combining kayaking and fishing

And now, when we know all the benefits of kayaking for kids, it is time to check the features offered by the best youth kayaks for sale on the market.


Kid Kayak – Reviews


Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle

Lifetime-Youth-Wave - The best kayak for kids

The first kayak we will review is Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak. It is specifically designed recreational kayak for kids on 5 or more years and has a maximum weight capacity of 130 lbs. The material used for the construction is very durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE). It has also a UV protection that guarantees the kayak will not fade or crack after being exposed to the sun. As proof of the high-quality of this product, the manufacturer provides 5-year limited warranty.

Although this youth kayak is sturdy, it is also really lightweight and easy for transportation. It weighs only 18 lbs, which is really good for a hard shell kayak. In addition, it has molded finger handles on each side for easy carrying and transportation. So, even the kids can help with the transportation of their boat to the water.

However, Lifetime Youth Wave is specifically produced for kids and it is designed with safety in mind. It has a reversed backbone, which significantly improves stability. And it comes with self-bailing scupper holes that drain the water out of the cockpit area. Another important feature is the Swim-Up Deck Design patented by Lifetime. It assists your kid in re-entering the kayak. As proof of the importance of re-entering the kayak read our safety tips.

The comfort of the paddling kid is ensured by the ergonomic cockpit design and the multiple footrest positions available. Due to its design, this sit-on-top kayak is very stable, but it could be hard for tracking in the beginning.

Summarizing the above, Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is a great recreational kayak for kids. It is a very durable and safe yak due to the high-quality materials used. It is also lightweight and comfortable. And, you will also like that it comes with a double-sided paddle. Last but not least, all these features come at an affordable price.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Stable and safe
  • Swim-Up Deck Design for easy re-entering
  • Ergonomic cockpit design
  • Comes with double-sided paddle
  • Available in 4 colors

CONS

  • Not so easy tracking in the beginning
  • Low maximum weight capacity of 130 lbs.

Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak The best kayak for kids

Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot is a product of the well-known kayak producer Sun Dolphin. This brand is popular with its professional designs and durable kayaks, and the 6-foot Bali is proof of that. It is a sit-on-top kayak specifically made for recreational purposes. Since it is 6-foot long and has a maximum weight capacity of 140 lbs., this kayak is an awesome pick for every child.

It is made of rugged high-density polyethylene, which is known as very durable material. Furthermore, this material is UV stabilized and guarantees that the boat will not be damaged after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top kayak is also very lightweight. And, it has carrying handles that make transportation and carrying as easy as possible. Additionally, this vessel has an open cockpit, which allows easy re-entering. And, it ensures enough space and comfort for the little paddler. However, as a drawback could be assessed that the 6-foot Bali has no self-bailing feature, typical for most of the sit-on-top kayaks.

Another positive of this youth kayaks is the fact that it is really stable in the water. Meanwhile, the paddling is easy and the kayak performs very well in relation to tracking and maneuvering. However, it also comes with a light paddle, but according to our opinion, it is not very sturdy. So, you can consider buying a more solid one.

Overall Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot is a durable, stable, and lightweight yak, which comes at a reasonable price. It is comfortable and paddling with it is easy and fun. And it is available in several vivid colors, which your kid will definitely like. So, if you are looking for these features, give a try to Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Lightweight
  • Stable and safe
  • Good tracking and maneuvering
  • Open cockpit design
  • Available in 3 vivid colors

CONS

  • The paddle included is not enough solid
  • No self-bailing feature

Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak – With Paddle And Backrest

Best Choice Products Sports 6' Kids Kayak The best kayak for kids

Specifically designed for kids (ages 5 and up), Best Choice Products Sports 6′ has an open cockpit and molded finger handles, which promotes a stable paddling platform.

The body of the kayak is made of rugged UV-protected high-density polyethylene. Additionally, it has a comfortable padded seat and backrest ensuring great comfort for the paddler. It also comes with a 50-inch paddle, but you should bear in mind that it is not as sturdy as expected.

Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak is pretty lightweight at only 18 lbs. The kayak is 6 feet long and has a maximum weight capacity of 130 lbs. These dimensions are very important as it is very easy to transport the kayak. And, the finger handles are of significant help for the carrying.

Furthermore, Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak has a sloped back end and swim-up step. These features help the kids to re-enter the kayak from the water.

Finally, we can say that Best Choice Products Sports 6′ Kids Kayak is fun, stable and lightweight youth kayak. And your kid will feel comfortable and safe in it. So it’s one wonderful option that your kid will surely love.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Lightweight and easy for transportation
  • Stable and safe
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Sloped back end and swim-up step
  • Open cockpit design
  • 50-inch paddle included

CONS

  • Not so high-quality paddle
  • Low maximum weight capacity of 130 lbs.

Lifetime Dash 66 Youth Kayak

Lifetime Dash 66 Youth Kayak

The compact Lifetime Dash is the next great kayak for children we will review. The boat is recommended for kids aged 5 and up and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. The hull of the yak has a length of 6.6 feet and a width of 24 inches. The maximum weight capacity offered is 150 lbs. With this weight limit, it will perfectly suit the little paddler.

Paddling Lifetime Dash 66 Youth Kayak is an easy and funny exercise due to the ergonomic cockpit design. It has reverse chine for extra stability and an integrated skeg for enhanced tracking.

Actually, the body of the yak is really lightweight at only 20 lbs. And, the kid will not struggle to move it with the molded center carry handle and front T-handle. At the same time, the boat is extremely durable due to its high-density polyethylene construction.

This yak comes with a spacious seating area with multiple footrest positions so the child can experience comfortable paddling. And, there is a Youth paddle included in the package.

Another cool feature of the Dash is the swim-up deck with molded hand grips for re-entry assistance. So, the kid will easily go back on board after a short swim. And, the cockpit will not be full of water as there are well-working scupper holes to drain it.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Lightweight and easy for transportation
  • Stable and safe
  • Swim-up deck
  • Open cockpit with scupper holes
  • Multiple footrest positions
  • 72-inch paddle included

CONS

  • Not so high-quality paddle

Sun Dolphin Camino SS 8-Foot

Sun Dolphin Camino SS 8-Foot

Fun and reliable, here comes Sun Dolphin Camino. It is an 8-foot sit-on-top recreational kayak with square stern design. Its beam has a width of 32 inches and provides solid stability in the water. The weight limit of the boat is really good – 225 lbs.

Sun Dolphin Camino is made in the USA and its construction is with rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene. Although the boat is really durable it is definitely not one of the lightest kayaks selected here as it weighs 40 lbs. But it comes with molded carrying handles for more convenient transportation.

The open cockpit of Camino allows easy re-entry in case the yak capsizes. There is a storage space with shock cord deck rigging and self-bailing feature to keep the cockpit dry. The comfort of the little paddler is also not compromised. The yak comes with an adjustable padded seat with high backrest and graduated footrests for ultimate comfort.

Last but not least, Sun Dolphin Camino is available in Ocean Blue, Red and Tangerine orange. So, you can choose the right color based on your kid’s preferences.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Stable and safe
  • Square-stern
  • Open cockpit with scupper holes
  • Multiple footrest positions
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • A bit heavy for its size

Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak The best kayak for kids

If you are keen on kayaking you probably know Old Town Canoes & Kayaks with their superior quality boats. However, their specifically designed kayak for kids is called Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak. It is 7.5 feet long and has a maximum weight capacity of 110-115 lbs.

It is made of sturdy single layer polyethylene and it has a nice molded design, which promises to last for years. However, this youth kayak also comes with foam billet in the front, which significantly improves flotation and stability. In relation to the directional stability and tracking Old Time Heron junior kayak is a very efficient performer. The paddling is easy and the kayak is nimble and maneuverable. Meanwhile, bear in mind that there is no paddle included in the package and you should buy it separately. If you don’t have an idea which paddle to choose – try this one.

As we said Old Town Heron Junior is a kayak made just for kids and the producer has added Tag Along Tow System. It helps you to easily tow your kid to the shore if needed. Actually, it weighs only 26 lbs. and have a bow and stern carry handles. So, easy transportation is not an issue.

Of course, no compromises are made with the comfort of the paddler and the visual design of the yak. It is available in two stylish colors Cloud (nuances of blue) and Sunrise (red and yellow). And, your child will feel comfortable and safe in this sit-inside kayak as it is equipped with a contoured padded seat designed to fit kids.

As a conclusion, Old Town Heron is a superior quality boat dedicated to kids. Although very stable and durable, it is also lightweight and easy to navigate.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Lightweight and easy for transportation
  • Stable and safe
  • Excellent tracking and maneuvering
  • Tag Along Tow System
  • Stylish colors

CONS

  • Doesn’t come with a paddle
  • Low maximum weight capacity of 110-115 lbs.

Intex Challenger K1

Intex Challenger K1 - Inflatable kayak for kids

Fun and sporty, Intex Challenger K1 is definitely a great budget pick for kids kayak. No matter it comes at an affordable price, this sit-inside kayak is made of durable heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl and has 2 separate air chambers and rigid I-beam floor. Its low-profile design makes it a great choice for recreational paddling in lakes and mild rivers.

The yak is 9-foot long and has a width of 30 inches. It offers a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs that makes it suitable for kids, teenagers, and adults. At the same time, the boat weighs only 27 lbs and when deflated is very convenient for carrying and transportation. Inflating and deflating it is quick and hassle-free due to the featured Boston valves.

Inside the kayak, there is an adjustable and removable seat. The boat also has a cargo net where your child could safely store some gear. Another great benefit of this boat is that it comes with everything you need – 84-inch paddle, hand pump and repair kit.

PROS

  • Durable inflatable kayak
  • Affordable price
  • Stable and safe
  • Lightweight and portable inflatable kayak
  • Easy and quick inflation and deflation
  • Easy to spot colors
  • Comes with paddle, hand pump, and repair patch

CONS

  • No suitable for open waters
  • The paddle is a bit flimsy

Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak

Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak The best kayak for kids

Ocean Kayak is one of the best kayak brands on the market. And, the Banzai Kids Kayak is their product made especially for kids aged 12 and up. The primary idea of this sit-on-top kayak, made in the USA, is to give fun and safety to the youths in the water. It is very durable due to the high-quality polyethylene used for the construction of the body. And has a replaceable skid plate for added durability. Actually, the kayak is 9’ 6” long and has a maximum capacity of 200-230 lbs. So, teenagers or not so heavyweight adults could use it in some cases.

Due to its perfect size and dimensions, this youth kayak could be easily controlled by a kid. It is very stable and safe in the water. Also, it is very good at maneuvering compared to many other kayaks. A really useful feature for the parents is the Tag Along Tow System, which will enable you to tow your child in case it is too tired to paddle.

Although it is very sturdy, this boat is made to be lightweight. It only weighs 36 lbs. and it’s really easy for transportation. For the easy carrying the Banzai comes with bow, stern, and side carrying handles.

Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak has a lower profile deck. So, it is easy for the kids to paddle, no matter of their shorter hands. However, the fact that it sits lower in the water means that it is more probable to get wet. Hence, a minor drawback here is that this kayak does not have a drain hole in the seating area.

The comfort of the little paddler is ensured by the contoured seat well, which provides excellent support for the back. And, your child could always have a drink on hand with the molded-in cup holder.

All in all, Ocean Kayak Banzai definitely deserves its place in our selection as one of the best kayaks for teenagers. Due to its features, wonderful design, and great performance, this kayak promises to give fun to every kid. So, you can definitely give it a try.

PROS

  • Durable and reliable
  • Lightweight and easy for transportation
  • Stable and safe
  • Excellent tracking and maneuvering
  • Tag Along Tow System
  • Stylish colors

CONS

  • No drain holes in the seating area
  • Doesn’t come with a paddle

Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS

Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS

The 10-foot Sun Dolphin Journey comes here as an awesome option if you are looking for fishing kayak suitable for kids. It is designed as a recreational kayak but also has many fishing features that every little angler will like.

This boat holds up to 250 lbs in weight and promises to stay stable in the water with a teenager on board. Of course, there is plenty of space for fishing gear. The yak has multiple storage compartments and Portable Accessory Carrier that could be used as additional storage space. Every kid will definitely like that there are 2 flush-mounted and one swivel rod holder included in the package.

When in the water, the kid will really value the adjustable padded seat and adjustable foot braces which provide excellent comfort during the long kayaking and fishing trips.

The yak is made of durable high-density UV-resistant Fortiflex polyethylene that will last for years. As a typical sit-on-top kayak with an open cockpit, the Journey 10SS allows easy entry. And, it has a self-bailing feature to drain the water.

PROS

  • Super durable and reliable
  • Stable and safe
  • 2 flush-mounted and one swivel rod holders
  • Open cockpit with scupper holes
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • A bit heavy for small kids – 44 lbs.
  • Some customers state the self-bailing is not that good

How to choose the best kayak for your kid?

kid in a kayak
Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

We know that buying the most suitable kayak for your kid could be a challenging task. But if you consider some key factors and know your needs, you can easily narrow your choice. Just think about the following things.

Durability

Durability is vital when choosing a kayak for your kid. You should be aware that children could be a little rough with things. So, you need to look for a yak made of durable, abrasion and impact-resistant materials.

Kayak weight

The weight is crucial when choosing the best kids kayak. The kayak should be lightweight, since, the kid could easily move it. Generally, most of the manufacturers nowadays are producing lightweight and small kayaks designed specifically for kids. You can also look for an inflatable kayak if you think your kid will struggle to move the hard shells. The inflatable boats are still very durable but in most cases lighter than the solid plastic ones.

Length

Kayak length is one of the key things to consider. Longer boats are heavy and not so easy for carrying. In the water, longer yaks are harder for handling and require more paddling skills. So, you don’t need to look for a very big kayak for your kid. Maybe it is a good idea to look for a small kayak with a length between 6 and 8 feet.

Width

Generally, wider kayaks stay more stable in the water. But boats with too wide beam could be more inconvenient for paddling and make maneuvering harder.

Stability and safety

There is nothing more important than the safety of our kids. Pay attention to the stability of the kayak. Is it easy to control? Is it safe enough?

Cockpit

The kayak type and cockpit design are other important factors when looking for a youth kayak. In case your child is new to kayaking, most probably it will flip it frequently in the beginning. So, you could go for a sit-on-top kayak with an open cockpit that allows easy re-entering. Some of the boats aimed for kids even have specific decks and grip handles to assist your boy or girl to go back on board.

Towing

It is always a good idea if the new yak of your child allows towing. This is a very important feature if you are choosing a kayak for a young kid or you are not sure if they will have the stamina for longer paddle trips.

Sharp Corners

Pay attention to the design of the yak. Some of the hardshell kayaks may have design specifics with sharp corners that can harm the child.

Adjustable foot braces

Every parent knows how fast children are growing. So, if you want a kayak that will serve your child for a longer period you should be looking if it features adjustable foot braces. They will ensure your kid will be able to comfortably paddle the small boat for a longer time. And, you will not need to spend a fortune for new kayaks every new season.

Price

The price is always a factor to consider. There are many good kayaks on the market, which come at a reasonable price. In our reviews, we have considered both budget and high-end options.


Kayak for Kids: What you need to consider?

Best Kayak For Kids

Safety

We are starting with the most important thing– safety. Before you get your child in the kayak, ensure it feels comfortable and safe. Try to train the kid on the basic paddling techniques and practice entries and exits. Of course, kayaking gear is also very important. Having only a stable and safe yak is not the only important thing. You need to make sure that your child always wears PFD and appropriate clothes.

Age of you kid

When buying a kid kayak, first you need to consider how old is your boy or girl. Generally, 4-5 years old children will feel fine in the kayak bow, paddling with a parent. Maybe at an age between 5-8, kids are ready for solo paddling. But, actually, it pretty much depends on your kid. Of course, before getting the kid alone in the kayak, make sure it has some paddling experience and know the basics.

Paddling experience and skills

As we mentioned above it is always a good idea to make an introduction to your kid in kayaking. The best way the kid could learn paddling techniques is to first paddle together with adults. Calm waters are a good and safe starting point. Paddling together with kids allows parents to decide when the little ones are actually ready to go kayaking alone. Actually, you also need to be sure that your kid is well aware of the rescue and re-entry techniques.

Stamina

Paddling requires physical strength and endurance. So, you need to consider if your child has the stamina for long kayaking trips. If you think the kid is not ready, maybe paddling close to the shore is a great idea.


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