Looking for the best kayak for kids?
You are in the right place.
There are a ton of kids’ kayaks out there. Choosing the right one can be challenging.
This is why we curated the best kayaks for kids for you. We spent days shortlisting kayaks based on factors like build quality, performance, comfort, and safety.
Without further ado, here are the best kayaks for kids:
Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak For Kids
Sit on top kayaks are great because they allow you to get in and out easily as compared to sit-inside kayaks. In a sit-in kayak, it is hard to get back inside from the water.
They also have a large open cockpit that allows you to be more comfortable than a sit-in kids kayak. Moreover, sit on top kayaks like the Sun Dolphin Journey are perfect for fishing.
The building material is the sturdy UV stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene material. UV protection on the kayak’s body means it won’t fade or peel. The HDPE material means it can absorb impact from rocks or other objects without damage.
We like how stable this boat is on water. It is so stable that you will have to work hard to tip it over. This is great for your child’s safety.
This kids’ kayak has rod holders for fishing – two flush mount fishing rod holders behind the seat and one swivel fishing rod holder at the front. This is an exciting feature that allows your kids to try fishing as a hobby.
The seating area is large since it is a sit on top kayak. This combined with the thigh pads makes your ride comfortable. Adjustable foot braces make sure that kids of all ages can extend their legs and put them comfortably. It has a paddle holder too to secure the paddle when your kid wants to stand up and fish.
This kayak is great for spending fun time with your kids on lakes and rivers. You can try the best fishing spots as well and make things even more interesting. The kayak is an excellent performer – it tracks well and is easy to handle, which is a necessity when buying a kids kayak.
Note that Sun Dolphin sells two models of this kayak. If you want a paddle from the company, buy the SS model. If you have your own paddle or want to buy separately, buy the regular model.
The kayak isn’t exactly lightweight, even though it is built for kids. It weighs 44 lbs. so you will need to help your kid carry it to the river. The kayak comes with a Portable Accessory Carrier (PAC). It is an additional storage compartment that you can use when needed. It is removable too.
The storage compartment is secured with shock cord deck rigging, so you can paddle in peace knowing that your gear is safe. There is a storage area in the front too secured by shock cords. You can keep your supplies in a box and tuck it under the bungee net formed by the cords.
There is an easy access compartment in the front for smaller belongings. There are retractable carrying handles on the side to make transportation easy. It comes with a lifetime limited warranty to offer peace of mind.
Moreover, the Sun Dolphin Journey kayak is made in the USA and the customer support is excellent. So anytime you have an issue, expect it to be resolved promptly.
Some users mentioned adding two skegs at the bottom to improve its tracking. This is a great recommendation since it will help your kids easily handle the kayak. Another thing to note is that the scupper holes are small, about the width of a pencil. So they won’t drain the water out of the cockpit as fast as they should.
Moreover, there are some scupper holes in the seating area so your butt can get wet as you paddle. The solution is to block these scupper holes with the right size of plugs.
Overall, there are one or two hiccups but the kayak delivers well on what it promises. It is a great boat for kids to have fun with.
- Solid quality
- UV stabilized HDPE material
- Plenty of storage
- Perfect for lakes and rivers
- Comfortable seating
- Adjustable foot braces
- Stable for fishing
- Easy to maneuver
- Three fishing rod holders
- Portable accessory carrier
- Responsive customer support
- Tracking takes getting used to
- Self-bailing scupper holes are small
- Scupper holes under the seat get your behind wet
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak 6 Feet
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is an amazing kayak if you want to buy a solid recreational kayak for your kids. It comes in an ergonomic design that makes it easy to balance and improves motor skills. The boat hull is designed in a reverse chined shape to increase stability.
The kayak is fairly lightweight and weighs just 18 lbs. Despite its compact design and light weight, it can support up to 130 lbs. of weight. There is no height limit to using this kayak, just a weight limit. This kayak is built with solid polyethylene material that doesn’t get damaged from impact from rocks, tree branches or other objects.
The kayak has a bailing port in the front which is basically a water outlet to drain any water accumulated in the cockpit. Many kayaks don’t have this feature which makes drying the kayaks really difficult. The company also provides kid-sized paddles in the package, which means your kids can get started right away.
The Lifetime Youth Wave is an excellent kayak to take your kids out and have fun. Its stability is remarkable, so kids can stand on it without any risk and try fishing as well. To make sure that kids stay safe, there is a swim-up step on the rear end of the kayak.
This is made so that kids can climb up the kayak easily, without needing help, if they accidentally slip out of the kayak. This is an excellent feature but you must never let your kid step into the kayak on water without wearing a life jacket or a personal flotation device.
The kayak is small and lightweight. One can store it in their car trunk and kids can carry it themselves. It is made for kids 5 years or older. Its molded seat is good for kids but there is no cushion or padding.
In our opinion, the younger kids won’t feel it uncomfortable, but older kids around the age of 12-15 may find it uncomfortable because of their higher weight. Adding a seat pad can solve the problem.
At the end of the day, the Lifetime Youth Wave is a solid quality kayak for kids with impressive maneuvering and tracking abilities. It is meant to have fun with, with excellent stability, it also helps your kids try fishing.
- HDPE material
- Draining outlet
- Kid sized paddles
- Excellent stability
- Tracks well
- Good for fishing
- Swim up step for easy re-entry
- No seat padding
Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak
The Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit on Top youth kayak is a great choice for those looking for a kayak for kids. It has an open cockpit design that allows your kid to sit comfortably and keep their legs relaxed while putting their feet on the footwells. There are two positions of the molded footrests that allow kids of all sizes to fit in this kayak.
The kayak has a maximum capacity of 100 lbs. So kids of any age can use this kayak, as long as they don’t weigh more than 100 lbs. This is a lightweight kayak and weighs just 19 pounds or 9 kg, so your kids will most likely be able to carry it on their own.
The seat is molded and some models of the Pelican Solo come with an adjustable padded backrest. This is a great addition since most kayaks for kids don’t feature padded seats. Some models also come equipped with a safety flag that helps your kid signal for help when they are stuck in the middle of water.
The kayak is made with RAM-XS material that is impact resistant – it protects the kayak against damage from rocks, branches and other objects. The kayak is self-bailing – it drains the water inside the cockpit on its own.
It comes with a junior paddle that is collapsible in 3 parts and measures 60 inches in total. The kayak’s twin tunnel design makes it easy to maneuver and keeps it stable on water. The Pelican Solo 6 feet is faster than the Lifetime Youth Wave. It is also more maneuverable, but less stable than the Wave.
There is a swim-up rear deck that lets your kid easily climb back into the kayak if they slip out for some reason. This swim-up deck also has a handle to make things even easier. It comes with a paddle park that holds the paddle when not in use.
Molded inside carrying handles on the sides help with transportation. At the front is a molded-in bottle holder that gives accessible storage for your beverages.
Overall, the kayak is great for solo paddling for kids. It is a small fun kayak that has excellent build quality, performance and additional features. Most importantly, it is easy to use.
- Solid quality
- Big open cockpit
- Easy to maneuver
- Drain plug
- Molded carrying handle
- Kids paddle included
- Safety flag
- Swim-up rear deck with handle
- Paddle park
- Multiple footwells
- Padded Backrest
- Seat bottom is just molded in, no padding
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak
It is made from UV resistant, Fortiflex high-density Polyethylene material that is flexible yet robust. UV protection means that the kayak surface won’t fade or peel. The robust build can take bumps and impact from underwater objects or rocks without any damage.
This kayak comes with a large open cockpit that makes it easy to get in and out of it. It is a sit-inside kayak which means your kid will be protected from water splashes and cold weather.
It has a padded seat comfortable enough for long kayaking sessions. The seat provides great back support and promotes a healthy posture. It is also adjustable, not fully, but you can move it back and forth, and find the most comfortable position to sit. The foot braces are adjustable and allow kids to extend legs as far as they feel comfortable.
We like that it comes with dedicated storage secured by shock cords. There is a big rear compartment for storage that can hold plenty of gear. But it is difficult to open it while on water since it is positioned in the rear and requires turning totally around.
This rear compartment is further secured by rubber or foam seals around it. The bungee cords that are wrapped on top are locked into the plastic hooks on each side. There is also a lid on the compartment but it doesn’t work as well as the shock cords for securing it. There is also a water bottle holder on the front.
The seat padding is okay for kids but may need extra cushioning for adults. So if you decide to paddle this kayak yourself, it will be better with a seat pad. The protective thigh pads allow for better control and handling.
The kayak comes with a paddle holder for convenience. It comes with a paddle too to help you get started right away. The paddle is a bit heavy and okay in performance. But for quick maneuvering, it is better to invest in a new and better quality paddle.
The weight limit of this kayak is 250 lbs, so it can support your kids as well as adults. Users have reported using this kayak above the weight limit without any hassle, which isn’t something you should do, but it indicates how well it is made.
It comes with carrying handles for easy transportation. Despite being a kids kayak, it weighs 40 lbs, so you will have to help your kids move it from your car to the lake or river.
- Solid quality
- Large open cockpit
- 250 lbs capacity
- Plenty of storage
- Adjustable backrest
- Paddle and bottle holders
- Carrying handles
- UV resistant material
- Heavy, 40 lbs
- Paddle is of average quality
- Rear storage is hard to access while on water
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak For Kids
If you want a great kayak for kids that doesn’t break the bank, the Intex Challenger K1 is worth checking out. The Intex Challenger K1 is an inflatable kayak made of robust vinyl material. The vinyl used in this kayak is not your ordinary fabric. It is heavy-duty puncture resistant material that can absorb impact from underwater objects like rocks without taking damage and last a long time.
The inflatable kayak is made with rigidity and stability in mind. It has an I-beam floor in the center that gives this kayak a high level of stability. This level of rigidity keeps the kayak stable even in rough waters – something you probably didn’t expect from this inflatable kayak.
It comes with a cargo net to help secure all your kids’ gear. The Challenger K1 comes with oars 84” in size, a hand pump to inflate the kayak, hard plastic skegs, an inflatable seat and a carry bag. The carry bag feels flimsy but does the job and is big enough to keep a lot of items. The oars are collapsible and can be put together easily. These are quality paddles, which means you don’t have to spend extra money.
An important thing to check in any kids kayak is its performance. The Intex Challenger K1 stays steady in water and doesn’t budge easily with incoming waves. It also tracks really well, something even many hard shell kayaks struggle with. It has a removable skeg underneath that provides extra stability and keeps it motion in a straight line.
The kayak is a great cruiser on water. Tracking is impressive and doesn’t require any effort. If you are paddling when the weather is slightly windy or the waves aren’t too rough, the K1 is an excellent boat to take with you.
It is easy to paddle, build forward momentum or make a turn. This is why it is good for kids. Some customers mentioned deflating the seat bottom to gain even more stability. This works because the center of gravity goes down on a vertical axis as you sit on a lower level. The boat comes with two air chambers for safety – if either gets punctured, the other one will keep the boat going.
Assembly is easy. The whole thing takes 10-15 minutes. There are two boston valves that make inflation easy. Boston valves are one way valves with two caps that don’t let air escape when you’re inflating the kayak. While the kayak itself can be inflated using boston valves, the seat and footrest have regular valves, so they take a bit longer to inflate.
Folding the kayak after deflation can be difficult. It is better to click photos when you assemble it so that folding becomes easier. This will help with compact folding and storage.
The Intex Challenger K1 is really comfortable. The seat feels cushiony and the backrest is adjustable. There is some room behind the seat for storage, where you can keep a bag or perhaps a tent. But getting your stuff from behind requires removing the seat first. For easy accessible storage there is a cargo net on the bow to stern lines you can use.
One downside is that the repair kit that comes with the kayak is not good. You are better off buying a vinyl glue repair kit. Another drawback of the K1 is that there is no draining valve to remove the water accumulated inside the kayak. So you have to invert the kayak to remove it manually. Then it needs to be kept in the sun to get completely dry.
- Solid quality
- Room for storage
- Great budget kayak
- Smooth handling
- Tracks well
- No draining valve
- Repair kit isn’t effective
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit on Top is one of the best kayaks for kids. It is designed with Ocean Kayak’s tri-form hull that enhances its stability, tracking and handling. The tri-form hull combines primary and secondary stability with a long center keel.
Primary stability of the kayak is when it is at rest on flat water. Secondary stability is its measure of stability when it is moved or leaned to the side reaching its capsizing threshold.
The best thing about this is it comes with a super comfy seat unlike other kids kayaks. The seat is four-way adjustable, so no matter how big or small your kid is, they will find a comfortable position.
There is plenty of room for storage too. There are two tankwells – one in the front and one in the rear, secured by bungee cords to store your gear and supplies.
We also like the molded in side handles on both sides. They are deep enough to fit an adult’s fingers as well as a kid’s.
The Frenzy is 9 feet long and weighs 43 lbs. So one can store it in their car trunk. Transportation and portability will never be an issue with this kayak. The kayak is robust – it can support a staggering 325 pounds of weight. It means even you can step in the kayak with your kids, if you can make them sit in your lap for long enough.
This kayak is made in the USA, so you can rest assured they are made with the best quality materials. They are finished quite well, which is quite apparent once you see the kayak. The stitching on the padded seat is high quality as well.
A key factor of a kids kayak is ease of use. Fortunately, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy has amazing stability on water. There is an extraordinary story a user shared that shows how stable this kayak is.
This user, being a Florida resident, ordered the kayak to have fun. But they didn’t know that Hurricane Hermine would hit their door. Water started entering into their house and the customer, their dogs and the family had to kayak their way out of the house. They literally paddled in pitch black through a hurricane on the Ocean Kayak Frenzy.
This story shows how stable this kayak is. This kayak can stay stable in rough waters, so when the weather turns windy or waves break out all of a sudden. This stability makes it the perfect kayak for beginners.
Your kid can stand on it and it won’t budge. The kayak tracks straight even when you make long and large strokes. This helps move fast through water without drifting to the side.
Finally, the kayak comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull. This shows that your investment is in good hands.
- Solid build quality, durable
- Superior stability
- Easy to handle
- Perfect for beginners
- Good for rough waters
- Tracks well
- Hard to tip over
- Good for both kids and adults
- Molded-in side handles
- Storage tankwells
- Four way adjustable seat
- Unique hull design for stability
- Lifetime warranty on hull
- Easy to transport
Perception Hi Five | Sit on Top Kids Kayak
The Perception Hi Five Sit on Top kayak has all the features you want from a kids kayak. Its design is inspired by the award-winning Perception Hi Life kayak. It is an amazing product since it combines the adventure of paddleboarding with kayaking in the same boat. This means kids can paddle both while standing on it or while sitting in it.
The boat has a superior build quality, so you can rest assured that it will last a long time. It comes with a paddle too that can be disassembled into two pieces. The paddle blades as well as the handle are small in size to make it a good fit for kids. Its seat is molded in and elevated from the kayak deck, which makes paddling easy and fun. The area at the front of the deck is perfect to stand up and paddle.
The kayak also has a rear swim up deck that helps kids climb up the kayak after they slip out of it. This improves overall safety. It also allows them to jump out for a quick dip and come back in easily. This rear deck can also be used as a place for your dogs to sit or store gear secured by bungee cords. The boat doesn’t come with any bungee cords though, so you will have to buy your own.
This boat also has a hitch and tether system. This helps the kids attach their boats to their mom’s or dad’s using a rope and tow it when they are tired or just want to cruise and relax sitting back in their boats.
The kayak is 6 feet 6 inches long and is compact enough to fit in the back of your car with two seats folded.
This boat is quite stable and tracks well on water. With a kids kayak, stability is the most important factor as you don’t want the kayak to capsize and your kids to slip into water. The kayak is easy to maneuver too, so a kid can easily handle it. Its stability allows kids to get on and off easily while keeping balance.
This is lightweight at just 21 pounds, so kids as young as 10 years old can carry it on their own. This is amazing since it gives kids more freedom and allows them to have more fun. The kayak is typically for kids ages 5 to 14, but can accommodate anyone with a weight limit of 120 lbs.
It comes in three color choices including Déjà Vu, Sunset and Funkadelic. So children can use their favorite color to make it feel personal and fun. It also has a paddle rest to hold the paddle when not in use. It comes with a carrying handle molded in the center that is easy to use and allows children to carry it themselves. One can also lock the kayak for storage with the two molded in handles on the rear.
It also has solo mount accessory recesses so that you don’t have to drill into it for mounting accessories. It also offers upgrades such as deck pads, paddle leashes and tethers and solo mount-compatible accessories.
Overall, the Perception High Five has everything you need in a kids kayak – it is stable, easy to maneuver, fun. More importantly, it combines the fun of SUP with kayaking!
- Superior quality
- Inspired by award-winning design
- Stand-up and sit-down paddling
- Comes with a kid’s paddle
- Elevated seat for easy paddling
- Stable and easy to maneuver
- Front area for stand-up paddling
- Rear swim up deck
- Molded-in carrying handles
- Hitch and tether system for towing
- Amazing features
Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot sit on top kayak is one of the best kayaks for kids. It is both practical and fun. Made by one of the leading brands in the industry, you can rest assured it will last a long time.
The kayak is made from robust UV-stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene material. UV protection ensures that the kayak surface won’t fade, crack or peel due to damage from the sun.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic polymer that has excellent structural rigidity, which means it is tough enough to absorb impact from objects like branches and rocks. HDPE can also withstand ultra hot temperatures and is ultra-durable. Moreover, this boat is made in the USA with quality manufacturing processes.
The first thing you will notice in the Bali 6’ is the large open cockpit. It allows kids of all sizes to sit comfortable and extend their legs. The colors are bright and easy to spot which is good for safety.
It has a molded-in seat with good depth. So you will not need a backrest. Multiple footwells allow paddlers of all sizes to feel comfortable. The kayak has amazing stability, so much that it is hard to tip over. You can sit, stand, kneel or lie down on it and it will let you enjoy the ride. It also tracks well on water, which is a necessity if you want to have fun kayaking.
We like that the kayak is easy to paddle and responds well to each stroke. This helps kids easily go through the learning curve of paddling.
This kayak is versatile at the core. Its stability allows kids to paddle while standing up or even try fishing. Users have mentioned how their kids were able to fish, race and paddleboard using this kayak.
The boat comes with a lifetime warranty so you can have peace of mind while spending your money on it. The kayak also comes with a paddle which is rather average in quality but does the job. You are better off buying a quality paddle if you plan to use the kayak a lot. Being compact and lightweight, the kayak is easy to store and carry as well. It comes with a carrying handle for easy transportation.
On the rear end of the kayak is a swim platform that allows kids to jump in the water for a quick swim and climb back easily. It also acts as a safety swim-up step when kids accidentally slip out of water.
The kayak can support up to 140 lbs of weight, which is significantly more than what most kids kayaks support. It weighs 28 lbs. Or 14 kg, so pretty lightweight too. It also has a paddle holder for times when your kid is tired or just wants to relax.
Overall, the Sun Dolphin 6-feet kayak does it all. It maneuvers smoothly, tracks well and offers a lot of versatility to the table. The only kayak that could challenge it is the Perception Hi-Five reviewed above.
- Superior quality
- UV protection
- Large seating area
- Tracks well
- Easy to paddle
- Good weight capacity
- Lifetime warranty
- Versatile – sit-down and stand-up paddling
- Paddle included
- Carrying handles
- Compact and portable
- Swim platform on the rear
- No self-bailing scupper holes
Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak
Do you want a kids kayak that is fun but also comfortable? Then, the Old Town Heron Junior Kids kayak may just be the one you’re looking for. It stands out because it comes with a padded, contoured seat – something you rarely see on kids’ kayaks. The kayak is available in two attractive colors – sunrise and photon.
The kayak is made by Old Town, a leading brand that has been making kayaks and canoes for over a century! No wonder this Heron Junior kayak is so compelling. The kayak is made from a single-layer polyethylene hull. It is nimble, so it responds well to each paddling stroke. It is also easy to maneuver, so your kids can have fun on this and paddle it without any hassle.
This kayak has an innovative tag along tow system for times when your kids get tired and want you to tow their kayak. Or it also comes in handy when they want to just lie back and enjoy the ride while you do all the work.
The boat comes with bow and stern carrying handles that make transportation easy. The kayak has a lightweight foam billet that gives it remarkable stability so that it doesn’t tip over easily. This foam also ensures that the kayak stays afloat even if the kids somehow tip it over. It also makes it easy to handle when the weather turns windy or the waves come splashing in.
A key feature to look out for when buying a kids kayak is ease of use or maneuverability. Fortunately, the Old Town Heron Junior is easy to maneuver and your kids will be able to handle it on their own. It tracks well, moving in a straight line. Some other kids kayaks that we have tried spin in water, but not this one.
An amazing thing about this kayak is that your kid will have a lot of room to grow with this kayak. It is big enough and they will most likely use it for years.
The Heron Junior kayak is 7’5” long and can support up to 115 lbs of weight. This means whether you kid is 5 years old or 12 years old, this kayak will be able to hold their weight. It also means that you will get many years of use with it even as your kid’s weight increases.
Note that the company doesn’t provide a paddle in the package, but sells it as an option. Some users mentioned that they had to pay a lot in shipping costs. So we suggest that you verify the costs on the company’s official site or buy from Amazon for hassle free shipping.
Finally, the Old Town Heron comes with a limited lifetime warranty. So you know that our money is in safe hands.
- Solid quality
- Padded, contoured seat
- Tracks well
- Long with good weight capacity
- Easy to maneuver, responsive to paddling
- Tag along tow system
- Carrying handles
- Lifetime limited warranty
- Trustworthy brand
- Foam billet for stability
Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
Sevylor is a leading brand that produces many types of boats including kayaks, canoes, SUPs, floats, hybrids and what not. Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak is an inflatable tandem kayak that can be great if you want to paddle with your kids or if your kids want to paddle together. The kayak has many cool features that make it a great kayak for kids as well as adults. If you want to use it as a solo kayak, you can do that too since the middle seat can be removed. The rear seat is fixed.
First, the Fiji is made of 22-gauge PVC material which is robust enough to not give in to wear and tear and protect itself from external impact. It comes with multiple air chambers – three in total – so if one of these chambers were to get punctured, the remaining chambers will keep the kayak afloat.
The kayak comes with an airtight system that ensures that it doesn’t leak once inflated. This is an important safety measure. It uses mini double lock and double lock valves for easy inflation and deflation. These valves use two locking points that make sure that you don’t get hurt while inflating or deflating the kayak and allow for fast inflation.
It has spray covers to ensure that you don’t get all wet from water splashes. However, the cockpit is wide and open which makes us doubt the effectiveness of this spray cover. However, an open cockpit makes it easy to get in and out of the kayak. This is especially good for beginners.
The inflatable kayak can support up to 400 lbs. of weight – this is certified by NMMA. Since this is an inflatable kayak, it is highly portable. All you need to do is just deflate it and it will collapse into 1 pound weight. Deflation is easy and you can store it into a military duffle bag easily.
The kayak is great value for money. Seasoned paddlers with over two decades of experience love this kayak. It tracks really well, but make sure you learn how to properly use the double sided paddle that comes with the kayak. Remember that you can’t master the paddling technique in one day. It takes time.
It comes with a patch kit so that you can quickly fix it if any punctures were to occur. Users mentioned that it takes just 10-15 minutes to fix a puncture and the repair kit is really good. Make sure you inflate the kayak using the instructions in the manual. Otherwise it will be hard to put the different chambers together.
The kayak comes with a 90-day limited warranty which is decent for an inflatable. It doesn’t come with any carrying handles to assist with transport. Nor does it come with a skeg to improve tracking.
The kayak is really long at 10 feet and 4 inches in length, so you would be better off buying a skeg to help with tracking. Otherwise, it will be hard to handle. The Sevylor Fiji isn’t made for white waters. It is made for calm waters or mild waves, so you can take it out on lakes and calm rivers.
Another thing to note is that the middle seat doesn’t get as much back support as the rear seat. So if you plan to go kayaking with your kid, it is better if you sit on the rear seat because of the extra weight.
The Fiji comes with a flat-bottomed hull which gives it a lot of agility but at the same time makes it a bit hard to maneuver. Inside the package, you get the inflatable kayak, the detachable seat (one seat is fixed), a bag for keeping the kayak and everything, a repair kit and a wrench. You also get a 5-piece touring paddle with a shaft that is rust resistant.
Overall, the Sevylor Fiji is a good kayak to have fun with your kids and make some memories. It is especially good for beginners who want to get into kayaking without buying an expensive hardshell kayak.
- Quality PVC construction
- Good for beginners
- Two-person capacity
- 400 lbs limit
- Removable seat
- Value for money
- Multiple air chambers
- Airtight system
- Double lock valves for seamless deflation/inflation
- Comes with paddle and carry bag
- Repair kit included
- Compact storage and portable
- Quite long 10’4”, needs skeg for tracking
- Installation can be tricky
How to Pick the Best Kids Kayak – Buying Guide
There are dozens of kayak brands in the market and dozens of different kayak types. So which one should you buy for kids? We answer all your questions in this buyer guide.
One of the most important things to look for when buying a kid’s kayak is stability. You don’t want your kid to fall into the river the very first day. This will ease kids into the learning curve of learning how to paddle properly. For example, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top has a tri-form hull that makes it highly stable.
Stability itself is of two types:
- Primary Stability: This is a measure of the kayak’s stability when it is at rest on flat water.
- Secondary Stability: Secondary stability is a measure of the kayak’s ability to keep balance when it is on edge or leaned to the side on rougher waters.
There are some key factors that make a kayak stable.
The first one is its width. Wider kayaks are more stable than narrow ones and they are hard to tip over. But this comes at the cost of speed. Wider kayaks are slower than narrow ones.
The second factor is hull design. Kayaks with flat hull bottoms have the most stability. Kayaks with rounded hull bottoms, that is hulls with their edges rounded, are faster because of less water resistance. They also have better secondary stability as they can lean on swells and waves for better control.
Kayaks with V-shaped bottoms have good tracking as they slice through water easily. They also have better secondary stability. Such V-shaped hulls are often made in combination with rounded hulls for optimal performance.
Kayaks with Pontoon or catamaran bottoms are highly stable but slower and have moderate secondary stability.
Another key element of the kayak’s stability is chine. A chine is the line between the side of the hull and its bottom. Kayaks come in mainly three types: hard chine, multi-chine (or soft chine) and reverse-chine.
Hard-chine hulls have a single sharp angle or chine on each side of the hull. Hard chines are great for adventurers since the sharp edges grab onto the waves and allow you to try many maneuvers.
Multi-chine or soft-chine kayaks have multiple lines where the sides meet the bottom of the kayak on each side of the hull. This makes their edges soft and as a result they don’t catch rocks as easily as hard chines. They have more secondary stability and are faster too.
Finally, kayak hulls also come with reverse-chines to increase stability and provide a smoother and drier ride. Reverse chine hulls have a deep V-shaped design at the bottom and turn down edges at the rear of the hull. They bite the water for better steering response in turns and they direct the water away from the boat, keeping the ride drier. Reverse-chines
Apart from the above factors, check if the kayak comes with fins or skegs that can be attached to the bottom of the hull. They boost stability and improve tracking.
One must check whether the kayak can move in a straight line through water. This is also known as tracking. If it can’t track well, your kid will have a hard time learning how to paddle and may bump into objects like a rock or a tree branch due to this issue.
Like with everything else, a kayak is no good if it can not last longer than a year or a few months. No matter how good the design is and how many features it has, everything becomes redundant when the build quality is not up to the mark.
For example, kayaks made with HDPE (high-density polyethylene material are typically robust enough to not break apart when hit by a rock and also have UV protection that prevents them from fading, peeling or cracking because of sun exposure.
The length of the kayak is an integral element of a kayak for kids. Kids’ kayaks are usually shorter than regular, adults’ kayaks. This is for a reason. Shorter kayaks are easy to maneuver – they can turn easily and require less effort to move in any direction. So they are more responsive. They are also lightweight since they can be almost half as long as regular kayaks. This also allows kids to carry them on their own.
Kayaks for kids mainly come in these four types: hardshell vs inflatable, sit inside vs sit on top. You should know the advantage of each type over the other to make an informed buying decision.
Hardshell kayaks have better stability, maneuverability and tracking than inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks, on the other hand, are portable, agile and require little maintenance.
Sit-on-top kayaks have a large open cockpit while sit inside kayaks feature a closed cockpit system. Sit on tops are perfect for jumping in water for a quick swim and getting back – something that takes a bit of a struggle with the sit-inside kayaks.
Sit on tops are also more customizable because of their large open decks. You can fit accessories like fishing rod holders, rudders, anchor mounts and more.
If you want to get your kids into fishing, you should buy a sit on top kayak.
Sharp Edges and Corners
When buying a kayak for your kids, it is not only essential to protect them from water danger but also from the boat itself. If the kayak has sharp edges on the bow, stern or the side ridges or any corners protruding that could cut your skin, it is best to avoid it. For the kayaks listed in this guide, this will most likely not be a problem.
Adjustable Foot Braces
Kids grow in size sooner than you think. So make sure the kayak has either adjustable foot braces or multiple footwells to accommodate them when they grow taller.
Weight Limit and Kayak Weight
How much the kayak weighs determines how portable it will be and whether your kid will be able to carry it on their own. So a kayak weighing in the neighborhood of 25-30 lbs is good. Also, if a kayak is too light, it won’t be stable on water and will be easily pushed away by a mild wave or moderate wind. You don’t want that to happen to your kid.
Another thing to check is the weight limit of the kayak. This becomes important when your kids grow over the years and gain weight. Typical kids’ kayaks can support around 125 lbs of weight.
A lightweight kayak is easy to carry. But a kid cannot carry it unless it has carrying handles to do so. Kayaks come with carrying handles on the sides and some even have handles on the bow or the stern.
Your kids aren’t going to become professional kayakers from day one. As they learn how to paddle in the beginning, there may be times when they get too tired and can’t paddle anymore. In this case, a towing mechanism can help you attach their kayak to yours and bring them to the shore.
Check if the kayak comes with any useful accessories like skegs, spray skirt, dry bag, inflation hand pump and so on. Check if it has any removable backrest.
A paddle is an integral part of kayaking, yet not all kayaks come with quality paddles. Read the reviews in this guide to learn whether you will need to buy a new paddle or whether the stock paddle will be good enough. Some kayaks, like the Sun Dolphin Journey, have two models, one with a paddle and one without. So look out for these differences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How to be safe when kayaking with kids?
The first step is to make your kids wear life jackets or personal flotation devices. It is equally important that you wear one yourself. This is because you can only protect your kid when you are safe yourself.
The next step is to always check the weather conditions before going out to the kayaking spot. Is it going to be windy? Then don’t go far away from the shore. Is it too cold? Then have your kid wear a wetsuit to avoid catching cold.
Although it is common sense, you must not take your kids out on rough waters. Before you step into water, find the right spot – ask around if you need to. Kids can have a kayak on small rivers or calm lakes. Anything beyond that can be dangerous.
To be safe, one needs to be prepared. Therefore, you must teach your kids how to paddle properly, how to make turns and how to re-enter if the boat were to capsize. Understand that learning all this takes time and effort. You should consider signing your kids up for kayaking lessons.
Swimming is also crucial for safety on water. You can enroll your child for swimming lessons at a community pool. At the end of the day, the more your kids practice, the more they learn to stay safe.
Q. How do you kayak with kids?
If your kid is new to kayaking, it is best to start with a tandem kayak. You can teach your kid how to paddle when they are sitting beside you and picking up the nuances of it in real time.
Teach them different paddling techniques – forward, side, backward. Show them how to re-enter the kayak after a capsize. Make sure to bring some dry clothes and food supplies along with you to make it easy and comfortable for them.
Q. Can you kayak while pregnant?
Yes, you can kayak while pregnant. The most important thing is to listen to your body and not push the limits. It is important to know your limits – don’t go into rough waters and too far away from the shore. Remember that your skill level gets affected when you are pregnant, so it is best to kayak on calm water and keep your rides short.
Q. How to kayak with a baby?
Kayaking with a baby sounds fun and cozy, but it is not safe. If you have a baby under 12 months old, you shouldn’t take them kayaking with you. If an accident were to occur, the baby won’t be able to
Q. How to kayak with a toddler or a 1 year old?
Kayaks aren’t good for toddlers. You are better off taking them into a canoe.
As per the guidelines from the U.S. coast guard, ages 2 to 5 are good for kids to start kayaking but they should be accompanied by a parent or an adult. This is because younger kids are more prone to danger due to limited skills.
The rules for toddlers dictate that they should be able to sit still, float by themselves on the water, weigh at least 18 pounds and must wear a snug-fitted personal floatation device.
Kayaks aren’t as stable as canoes and don’t have the large space to accommodate young kids or keep gear and supplies. They often have standing water on the floor, so you will have to hold the baby in your arms or tie the baby in a backpack, which isn’t practical or comfortable when you’re paddling.
There are many kayaks for kids. But not all of them do what a kid’s kayak should do.
If you want to buy the best one, our top pick is the Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak for Kids. It is well-made, stable, spacious and comes with features like fishing rod holders that make it great for an all-day adventure.
Finally, make sure that you follow the necessary safety measures. As fun as kayaking can be, as a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your kids about water safety.