If you’re looking for the right kids kayak for your little one, you may have already found that narrowing down to one option isn’t as simple as you thought it would be. There are so many brands and models to make this choice hard. Just face it: you’re going to have to do some research. The last thing you want is to get out on the water and realize the inflatable canoe you bought won’t keep your kid afloat.
This is why we created this guide with the top kids kayaks reviewed. In this article, we will cover the best kayaks for kids in 2021. We took several factors into consideration including size, weight capacity, pricing, and more.
Kids Kayaks Reviewed
What makes some choices better than others? We will cover everything about kids kayaks in this review guide. Let’s get started!
Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak
The very first boat that we want you to know about is the Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak. Affordable, easy to use, and reliable, you can expect great things when taking this bad boy on the water!
One of the advantages of this boat is its simplistic steering and maneuvering. It has a strong hull design and a length of 6 feet, making it difficult to tip.
This kayak comes with a paddle and a paddle holder in case your child gets tired and needs to be towed over to you. The boat itself weighs 18 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 130 pounds. It’s best for children learning how to kayak who weigh under 130 lbs. As a easy-to-use sit on top boat, your child will enjoy their ability to paddle right alongside you.
- Lightweight of 18 pounds
- Durable design with stable hull
- Paddle and holder included
- Great for beginner paddlers
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
Our next choice on the best kids kayaks list is the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak. This is an inflatable kayak that offers benefits which solid boats can’t match. Because this model is inflatable, it takes up less room and can be stored anywhere. This comes in handy if your child won’t be out on the water too often and you need extra space in the garage for other gadgets. You must also consider the number of people who are likely to use this boat at one time, if you have a large family, a two man canoe, or three person kayak maybe worth some consideration,
This boat is constructed for one single paddler and comes with a high-pressure hand pump. It also comes with a deck rigger that offers extra space to store gear, lunch, and safety materials. You’ll be grateful for the extra room as your children get older – they’ll have more space to grow into.
The Intex Challenger has a length of 9 feet and lightweight of 24 pounds. The maximum weight capacity is 220 pounds, meaning that even you could use it if you choose to. This boat includes a paddle – and a quality one too!
- Boat weighs 27 pounds
- Weight capacity of 220 lbs.
- High-pressure hand air pump included
- Paddle included
Best Choice Products Sports 6’ Kids Kayak
The Best Choice Products Sports 6’ Kids Kayak is an excellent option if your child is completely new to kayaking. It is a sit on top boat with a length of 6 feet. Weighing 18 pounds, this kayak holds up to 130 pounds. The Best Choice Sports is very easy to navigate and is a popular option for kids that are still in the learning process.
The seat offers extra padding, making it an extremely comfortable option. Your child won’t mind paddling out on the water on this smooth ride! Finally, there is a paddle included which is a huge plus! It is also not a bad choice if you are looking to do some fishing whilst on your kayak. A lightweight of 18 pounds, you’re little one will be able to get this boat in and out of the water in no time. This sit on top kids kayak is a great buy for beginners. They’ll be comfortable and adjust in no time.
- Light weight of 18 pounds
- Paddle is included
- Seat offers extra padding and is molded
- Weight capacity of 115 to 130 pounds
- Great for beginners
Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak
The Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids boat is great for children who are ready for an advanced kayaking experience. With a length of 9.5 feet and weight of 36 pounds, it is the biggest boat on our list. Offering a capacity of 230 pounds, you can fit inside with ease.
This mixes the structure of a sit on top and traditional boat. It offers several features that make it stand out from other models – it molds and contours to a paddler’s body, so it’s super comfortable and snug.
This boat is definitely not meant for beginners. It includes a towing system because even advanced paddlers get tired every so often and need it.
The only downfall of this kayak is that it does not come with a paddle. While we wish it came with one, you can get a quality paddle online. It does have a cup holder, which is a fun feature for relaxed kayaking. We really love the comfort features the Ocean Banzai offers.
- Weights 36 pounds
- Molded design with cup holder
- Tow system included
- Great option for advanced paddlers
- Does not come with a paddle
Old Town Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak
Last but certainly not least is the Old Town Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak. This is a sit inside kayak with a length of 7.5 feet. At a weight of 26 pounds, the weight capacity of this boat is 115 pounds. Unlike the other models in this guide, this one is a sit inside boat. The extra maneuverability can’t be matched and the molded skeg offers amazing tacking and steadiness. Your child will enjoy front and rear handles, making this kids kayak easy to carry.
Designed for children, this kayak comes with a seat that molds to the user’s body. It is padded for comfort all day long. This is another kayak that does not come with a paddle. However the padding on this model is really worth it the extra expense of the paddle.
- Light weight of 26 pounds
- Tow system included
- Padded seat
- Molded cockpit design
- Does not come with a paddle
How to Choose the Best Kayak for Your Child
These are our overall top picks currently trending in 2019. How did we make our decision? Well, we had to conduct quite a bit of research to weed out the not so great options. Before making a decision, we took into consideration size, weight capacity, price, among other factors. We cover all of this in detail for you down below so you know exactly what makes a great kayak different from the average purchase.
Weight Capacity and Size
Let’s begin with the length and size of a kid’s kayak. Children kayaks are quite short when compared to the fishing adult size boat, or even a youth kayak/canoe. They are much easier for children to command and steer. They are less heavy and suitable for a child to carry on their own.
You will realize that most kayaks for kids options don’t have great length choice. This is because they’re pre-made to be the right size for most children.
As for width, keep in mind that the wider the kayak the more stable it will be. While wider kayaks take more effort to control, your top priority should be to keep your little one safe and afloat. As they grow and gain more experience, they can switch over to a narrower kayak.
With this being said, you want to focus more on weight rather than the size of the boat. Look at the manufacturers specifications when it comes down to weight capacity. We suggest you go by this to make sure your kid receives a kayak that works for them. Keep in mind that eventually they will outgrow their kid kayak and need to upgrade to an adult version.
The Beauty of Sit on Top Kayaks
Adult kayaks are designed for paddlers to sit within the cockpit – kid kayaks are a little different. Sit on top models are perfect for little ones because they’re easy to get in and out of. They are also stable, which prevents them from flipping over and into deep water. Sit on top kayaks come with draining holes to make sure there is no water build up.
If you prefer the traditional style you may be able to find a few online, but most likely at an outdoor sports retailer. If your child is a true beginner, we suggest going with a sit on top kayak. They’re really ideal for a small child’s safety and ability level.
Next up in our kids kayak buyer guide are tow ropes. Be sure you go with a kayak that offers this safety system.
Imagine that your child throws a fit and decides to stop paddling. Without a tow rope you’re left with limited options. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of a body of water, trying to convince your child to keep paddling as they drift farther from your kayak.
Most of our selected models above have a towing system, so you can breathe easy when you purchase these options.
This feature gets overlooked because paddle holders aren’t necessarily a priority. But we suggest you invest in a kayak with holders if possible because they come in handy with it’s time to tow your kids onto shore. Instead of hanging on the paddles, they can attach their paddle to the holder and relax. Sit on top kayaks also don’t have anywhere to store paddles, which makes paddle holders really convenient for this type of kayak.
You may have already noticed that not all kayaks come with a paddle – this is quite normal. While it’s not ideal, you’ll need to purchase the paddle separately. On the bright side, this gives you the option to buy one of your choice.
A child’s kayak does not need to break your wallet! One of the first things we suggest you do after making the decision to buy your child a boat is set a budget. Kayaks come in a variety of prices and you’ll usually find one that fits your budget.
Take into consideration what features are most important to you, and then narrow down by price. It’s better to choose a safe but expensive kayak than an inexpensive kayak that’s not ideal for your kid’s size or skill level.
Additional Safety Must-Do's
Along with a kayak, consider investing in a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for your child. Unless they are very experienced, take your kid somewhere where the water is calm and there isn’t a strong current to adjust to their kayak.
Study the area prior to placing the boat in the water. Monitor currents, tides, and boat traffic. Consider getting in touch with experienced paddlers to learn from them about kid-friendly kayaking destinations.
If you have some time before the kayaking trip, we suggest you enroll your little one in swimming and paddling lessons. This will help them feel more comfortable when the time comes to get into the boat. They will also feel much more comfortable in the water and safer if they tip.
What to Pack
Most kids enjoy being in charge of packing their own things. Make sure they don’t forget:
- Water bottle
- Good camping chairs
- Food – hard-boiled eggs, fruit, dried fruits and nuts are perfect power snacks during a rest.
As for clothing, opt for breathable wear. Bring along bags to throw wet clothing in. Also have your child bring along a wide-brimmed hat, waterproof boots or shoes, and bathroom necessities. Have you thought about going away for an extended trip lasting a few days? If so, you may want to think about what type of lightweight tent (such as an inflatable tents) you can bring along in your canoe.
Which to Choose?
This brings us to the end of our best kayak for kids guide. As you can see the best kayaks of 2019 keep safety and comfort in mind over price and fancy features. Remember to consider your little one’s age, weight, and skill level when looking for kayak. Just like pairs of shoes, it is inevitable that you’ll have to upgrade eventually – a kayak with extra room and storage space will prevent you from buying sooner than you planned.
Check out Amazon for the most current pricing on the kayaks listed above. Best of luck on your child’s exciting journey – happy paddling!