Kayaking is one such adventure from which people cannot stay away for long. It used to be challenging to take kids along with you on a kayak. If you are reading this, we are sure you must be facing the same thing. Or, you might want to train your kids for this enthralling activity. Well, we’ve got your back. Read our guide to kayaking with kids to ace every bit of it.
Kayaking with Kids
The first thing on everyone’s mind is, is kayaking possible with kids onboard? Yes, if you’re aware of how to manage things. Kayaking with kids is possible in two ways – they can join you or can kayak individually. Say your kids are joining you on the kayak. Here’s what you need to take care of before kayaking and while on the kayak.
Prep your Gear
Talking about the precautions before kayaking, you obviously need to begin by prepping your gear. Enjoying with your kids on a holiday or just any other day is always a memory. Let’s not spoil it by not paying heed to the necessary aspects and start with assembling your kayak.
Pick the Kayak
You have numerous options for choosing the appropriate kayak. Different kayaks like fishing, recreational, touring, etc., are all available in the market. Whatever you choose, try sticking a sit-on-top kayak. Its design exposes your legs, making it easy to get off the kayak when needed. Also, kids should always sit in the front as the angler maneuvers the kayak.
Most kids usually jump off and swim in the lakes. In that case, sit-in kayaks will not provide the convenience you’ll need. Imminent dangers like your kayak flipping off are quite common during kayaking. So, a sit-on-top kayak is convenient to escape such things. Moreover, there’s no stalling of water on such kayaks, making it easier to escape.
Choose the Paddle
In most cases, kids don’t paddle the kayak. They just sit in the front and enjoy kayaking. But it is best if they have a paddle and can maneuver at some point at least. Regular paddles are broad and come as per the angler’s length. So, these wouldn’t be convenient for your kids to hold. Don’t worry you can lay hands on kids’ paddles. These are a little thin and light. They come with smaller blades as appropriate for kids.
Teach the Technique to your Kids
Improper kayaking can strain anyone’s neck, arms, back, etc. So, it is best to teach your kids the paddling technique while they are young. This way, they’ll have a significant time to practice it and ace to perfection. Try practicing in small lakes or so until your kids are comfortable with the kayak. Give them lessons on kayaking to understand if they’re instructed.
Ensure that your kids know to sit straight up and position the paddle so that it is shoulder’s distance apart. Teach them to read the logo on their kayak blade to know its appropriate direction. Not necessary that every kid loves paddling while on a kayak. Some prefer sitting and enjoying the activity. But if you still want them to learn the tricks, you can use online videos, animation instructions, etc., to intrigue them.
Personal Flotation Devices or Life Jackets
Life Jackets are PFDs are essential for everyone, irrespective of an expert angler or a novice. Don’t even think about skipping this part when you are planning to take your kids onboard. Also, you cannot let them wear an adult PFD, for it is of no use to your kids. It would be oversized and cannot float your kids’ heads above water.
Vendors sell PFDs for kids in different sizes according to their age. They are mostly affordable, and you can pick the appropriate one. If you don’t wish to change the PFDs as your kids grow, you can pick adjustable jackets. These come with shoulder and side adjustment straps and can last for years.
Typically, kids have sensitive skin when compared to adults. So, ensure that you apply sunscreen on their skin. If your kids don’t swim, reapply the sunscreen every two hours. If they do, you’ll need to touch them up every 45 minutes at least. Usually, the neck, chest, and sleeve areas are prone to scorching heat. So, prefer long-sleeve clothes and a hat for the best protection.
Choose the Place
Now that your kayak preparation is ready, you’ll need to choose a place. It isn’t wise to choose water bodies with aggressive currents in the initial stages itself. It might turn adverse or even scare your kids. Try calm water like a lake at the back of your place or a river nearby. Also, be prepared to paddle alone for the entire duration, even if your kids are well-versed with the technique.
Frequently Asked Questions during Kayaking with Kids
What is the ideal duration for kayaking with kids?
It doesn’t take long for kids to get bored and restless while being on a kayak. So, consider shorter durations like an hour or two initially until your kids enjoy it all. This is especially important if your kids are not paddling.
What should you take along when you go kayaking with children?
Kids get tired sooner than adults. So, it is best to prep some stuff, even if kayaking is not for long. Try packing everything like emergency food and water needed by your family. You can use the small bungee rigging-covered storage to pack the eatables. Dehydration is another common concern during kayaking. So, include water in the list too. For easy access to your drinks, don’t forget to grab and install a stable and easy-to-mount kayak cup holder.
At what age can my kids join me for kayaking?
Well, there’s no such thing as age. Kids aging 2-6 years can also accompany you on your kayak. They may not be strong enough to paddle the kayak but can sit and enjoy the ride. You can teach the paddling techniques and hacks related to kayaking so that they can enjoy kayaking better.
Are there any kayaks designed for children?
Yes, various vendors sell kids-specific kayaks with enhanced stability and protection.