Best Kayaks for Kids

Helping parents find the best, most suitable kayaks for their young adventurers!

A challenging endeavor seems, a frustrating mission, and a time-consuming story all seem like an understatement when it comes to the task of finding the best kayaks for kids.

Sure, we can go ahead and gear them up with adult-sized kayaks, but that might be too much boat for them, causing them to lose all faith in the sport, which is exactly what we don’t want to do.

The #1 Kids Kayak

Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak7' 5"$$$
Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot SOT Kayak6'$
Lifetime Youth 6-Foot Wave Kayak 6'$
Emotion Spitfire SOT Kayak 8'$$

The other option we have, as parents, is to find a suitable beginner’s kayak, perfect for smaller paddlers. Luckily the market offers a myriad of smaller kayaks, perfect to be used for roughly 3 seasons before the kids mature into a phase where they’ll be ready to take on full-sized kayaks.

This post has been designed to help you realize whether or not your child is actually ready for a kayak. It’ll also help you realize the important factors that need to be kept in mind before purchasing a kayak for your child, and finally, we’ll be showing you what some of the top market options look like.

Let’s dive into things at the business end…

Is Your Kid Really Ready for a Kayak?

The fact that your child has to have some experience in a kayak is pretty obvious before considering the idea of buying them their own kayak.  You might want to consider the idea of sending your kid for some paddling training and just getting them accustomed with different water setups.  Before your kid becomes the owner of a new kayak, you’ll have to ensure that they know how to read the water. The current, understanding boat traffic and the studying of tides are essential to have down before kids can use their own kayaks.

Buying Guide: Things to Consider Before Investing in a Kayak for Your Child

  • Weight – a kayak’s weight is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a kaya for your child. The lighter the vessel’s total weight, the better it’ll function for your kid.
  • Length – kids need kayaks of anywhere between 6 and 8 feet in length. This will ensure that your child has the capability of effectively handling and balancing their kayak, and will make maneuvering that much easier.
  • Stability – stability is high-priority when it comes to kids and their kayaks. Stability should also be preferred over something such as maneuverability, for instance, as this will ensure that your kid doesn’t tip over in the water.
  • Price – a lot of folks think that kayaks for children need (and are, in general) super expensive. This is not the case. Just because you’re investing in a specialized model of kayak doesn’t deem it worthy of a budget-busting price tag.

What Are the Best Kayaks for Kids?

Okay, you’ve already established that your child is fit and ready for their own kayak, and you’ve ensured that you understand the buying considerations for investing in the best kayak for your child’s needs. Now it’s time to start sorting the best from the rest and the market is astonishing, to say the least.

Keep in mind that the best kids’ kayaks will differ from yours mainly based on its size and its total weight. Remember that a wider kayak is better for kids; this keeps them as stable as possible out on the water. Don’t go too wide though; this may cause your kid to get injured throughout the paddling process since they might bump their elbows against the sides of the kayak.

With that being said, it’s time we shower you what some of the best kayaks for kids look like in the 2017 market. We’ve tried and tested them all, all you need to do now is take a look at our reviews and decide on which ones you’re most likely to consider for your child’s personal needs.

Best Kayaks for Kids

Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak

Old Town Heron Junior Kids KayakMost adult paddlers have come to know and love Old Town Canoes for their amazing craftsmanship and outstanding durability, and believe us; they haven’t slacked down with their Heron Junior Kids Kayak! If you’re keen on investing in something that says fun and fearless, this might just be a great option for you and your kid.

Because the Heron Junior Kids Kayak comes with a tow-along system, it’ll be effortless for you to tow your kids along with you in the water.  At roughly 26 pounds in total weight, the Heron Junior strikes an ideal sweet spot in the weight category, and it also makes it more stable and very maneuverable.

The Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Has tow-along system
  • Easy to transport and store
The Cons:
  • Only comes available in two different color options
  • Has becomes known as a prone-to-tipping kayak when not paddled correctly
  • It’s not the cheapest option out there


You can check out what the Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak looks like in action below.


Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot SOT Kayak

Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot SOT KayakThe Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot SOT Kayak is great for kids and the reason why is mainly due to its great, short length. We wish this kayak had been a sit-inside model because SOT models are more prone to tipping and less even balanced. Available in 3 vibrant color options, this Sun Dolphin Bali 6-Foot kayak is also lightweight, making it easy to carry and transport.

What’s great about this kayak is the fact that it features an open cockpit, ensuring that getting in and out of the boat is as effortless as can be. Oh, and parents, if you’re fans of the kayaking fishing game, you’ll be happy to know that the Bali 6-foot has been designed especially for angling, which makes it very versatile!

The Pros:
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Comes available in 3 different color schemes
  • Can be used as a regular or fishing kayak
The Cons:
  • The stability of this kayak isn’t the best compared to the competition
  • Sit-On-Top kayaks might not be ideal for children and beginners


Lifetime Youth 6-Foot Wave Kayak

Lifetime Youth 6-Foot Wave KayakComing in as one of our most affordable and practical kayaks for kids, the Lifetime Youth 4-Feet Wave Kayak is a great option for parents that don’t want to blow their budget with the purchase of their children’s first kayak. With the ability to carry 130-pounds of weight, we’re happy to say that you’ll be impressed by the super light total weight of the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak, tipping the scales at a mere 18 pounds.

The Wave Kayak comes with very handy molded finger handles, placed on each side of the kayak, just to make carrying and transporting the kayak that much easier. Its open cockpit and SOT design mean that the Wave is easy to board and dock, and it’s also a very stable vessel out on the water.

The Pros:
  • Very lightweight
  • Open cockpit and SOT design ensures stability and easy entry
  • Comes with a double-sided paddle as part of the package
The Cons:
  • Can only be used by kids 5 and older
  • The super light total weight might make the kayak prone to tipping in certain scenarios


We found a great video which demonstrates the Lifetime Youth 6-Foot Wave Rider Kayak’s abilities.


Emotion Spitfire SOT Kayak

Emotion Spitfire SOT KayakThe Emotion Spitfire is an 8-foot Sit-On-Top Kayak, and it’s yet another great option for parents looking to invest in solid quality at a durable price when it comes to their kids’ first kayak. We like this pick because it offers somewhat of a sweet balance, offering the perfect tracking and maneuverability, something which isn’t often found in beginner kayaks.

Because the Emotion Spitfire comes with two front-fitted carrying handles as well as handles at the sides and the rear of the kayak, it’s very easy to transport and get in-and-out of the water. Furthermore, this kayak has a SOT design, making it great for kids and beginners alike.

The Pros:
  • Very durable
  • Comes with carrying handles for easy transportation
  • Features on-board storage thanks to the rear tank well cargo net lacing
The Cons:
  • Has a max carrying weight of 240 pounds, but this shouldn’t be a problem with kids though
  • Neither the red nor the green color variations are visually appealing


Final Thoughts

We’ve shown you exactly what you need to keep in mind and play by when it comes to purchasing your kids’ first kayak. We hope that you’ve taken this information in and that you’ll apply it when its crunch time.

If we had to recommend one single kayak out of this lineup, it would be that you opt for something like the Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak. We believe that this kayak provides you and your child with the best of both worlds and that investing in such a high quality kayak would only ensure plenty of memorable paddling experiences for your child.

We hope that our suggestions have been helpful and that they have aided you in the search for the best kayak for kids.