Kayaking is one of the most thrilling activities we can involve our children in, and if you’d ask us, we’d love to spend all our time on adult kayaks. A child-sized kayak is slightly different, though — it’s perfectly designed for children to hit the waters.
Young paddlers have a great time in the water, which is why it’s best to introduce our young ones to kayaking, so they can build their paddling skills. Finding the right kids’ kayak is no easy task, and boy, have we found ourselves doom-scrolling through the uncountable options. With so many options available to us in the market, how can we be sure we’re getting what’s best for our own kids?
After putting in a lot of effort browsing through Amazon and reading product reviews, we thought it’s best to give you a glimpse at the top 10 kayaks for our little ones. We have put in extensive effort to find the best collection of children’s kayaks, from beginner kayaks, to something a little more extreme — within a range of different prices! So, hang around to educate yourself on the best kayaks out there for the younger lot!
- A Glimpse At the Best Youth Kayaks
- 1. Lifetime 90479 Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle
- 2. Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak
- 3. evrwild Premium Youth Sit On Top Kayak
- #4 Lifetime Kayak with Paddle, 6 Feet
- 5. Goplus 6FT Youth Kayak, Kids Recreational Rowing Fishing Boat w/Paddle
- 6. Sevylor QuickPak K1
- 7. AQUAGLIDE McKenzie Inflatable Kayak
- 8. AQUAGLIDE Navarro Convertible Inflatable Kayak with Drop Stitch Floor
- 9. INTEX Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak Series
- 10. FOLOSAFENAR Thicken Raft Inflatable Kayak
- How To Buy the Right Kayak for Kids
- Types of Youth Kayaks
- Final Thoughts
A Glimpse At the Best Youth Kayaks
- Lifetime 90479 Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle: Best Overall Youth Kayak
- Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak: Best Inflatable Kayak
- evrwild | Kids’ Kayak | Premium Youth Sit On Top Kayak: Best in the Premium Segment
- Lifetime Kayak with Paddle, 6 Feet: Best Durable Frame
- Goplus 6FT Youth Kayak, Kids Recreational Rowing Fishing Boat w/Paddle: Best for Fishing
- Sevylor QuickPak K1: Best Portable Kayak
- Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set: Best Kayak for Multiple Kids
- AQUAGLIDE Navarro Convertible Inflatable Kayak with Drop Stitch Floor: Best Handling
- INTEX Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak Series: Best for Adventure
- FOLOSAFENAR Thicken Raft Inflatable Kayak: Best Budget Youth Kayak
Let’s start off with the Lifetime 90479 — our top pick for the best kids kayak; colored in a bright-orange hue, this kayak just yells adventure to children! It’s specially designed for ages five and up and comes with youth paddles, which makes it perfect for almost every kid.
The Lifetime kayak features special molded finger handles on both sides, making it a lot easier to carry; in fact, it only weighs 18 lbs! Don’t worry if your kid falls off because this youth kayak has a sloped back, so re-entry isn’t a problem. With multiple footrest positions and a great five-year warranty, both adults and children can rest easy knowing they have a solid kayak at hand with the Lifetime 90479.
Next up on our list is the Pelican Solo, a strong inflatable kayak that is perfect for beginners. This kayak’s design is surely going to rile up your child — with a cool, streamlined design, it’s perfect for lakes and rivers. If your child needs comfort, they’re surely going to appreciate the padded seat and leg padding.
It doesn’t just end there; the Pelican Solo’s cockpit design allows for ample storage space. It also has a removable skeg that you can attach to the underside of the kayak to improve stability; it makes it so much easier for the youth to start paddling without the fear of capsizing! Oh, and don’t worry about leaks since the packaging comes with a repair patch and a 90-day warranty from the manufacturer. Lastly, it’s retail price begins for as little as $100!
If you’re in the market for something a little more premium for a child and just a little more sturdy, then you’re definitely going to enjoy the evrwild Premium Youth Kayak. However, all these additional features do come with a premium price — it retails for a cool $599! But it’s easy to look past the price when you see what you’re getting for your buck: durability, versatility, and premium ergonomic features.
With a padded backrest, bumpy waters need to be the least of your child’s troubles. There’s also an accessible treasure tray to store shells and rocks, and a lot more. Despite the other features, the craft is made from high-density Polyethylene, making it lightweight despite having a high maximum weight capacity.
While most kids’ kayaks need a paddle that is sold separately, the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak comes with one included! This hard-shelled paddler is perfect for your children and is specifically designed to be easily transported. Just like the other Lifetime kayak in this list, you can expect all the features of a comfortable kayak and more!
Coated in vibrant hues, this raft is perfect for an enjoyable evening at the lake. It has an impact-resistant frame that is designed to be ultra-stable and has great tracking; it’s also made from high-density Polyethylene. If you’re looking for something as durable as boats for your family, the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is the fun little craft you need to purchase!
The next entry on our list is the GoPlus Youth Kayak — made from kid-friendly materials to ensure your little ones have an enjoyable experience without toxic materials! This design makes this kayak extremely durable and prevents corrosion, even if your child isn’t paddling in flat water. If your child is going to start kayaking, they might as well do it on this one because it does not require a lot of skill level to get the hang of.
A double-sided paddle is included in the gear, allowing the youth to practice balancing. It isn’t meant for just gentle rivers, which is why you’ll find a comfortable foldable padded backseat. Lastly, it also has plenty of space to store your child’s necessities, as well as a mesh to secure loose items.
If you’re in the market for a low-key kayak for your child to learn paddling on, the Sevylor QuickPak K1 is one of the best options for them. It’s pretty sturdy, and if water manages to seep in, there are scupper holes that allow for ample drainage. We’re all about safety, and this kayak caught our attention since it also includes a complimentary safety flag.
Worried about your child crashing? Don’t worry; the Sevylor QuickPak K1 is made from a 21-gauge PVC construction that is designed to resist high-impacts. This means this kayak could last you a lifetime! Apart from the safety features, the Sevylor also has a padded backrest to help your child relax when they’re in the water.
The Angler 75 by AquaGlide is a game-changer in the junior kayak segment; in fact, we think it’s great for the entire family. With its generous 7 feet 7 inches length and additional features, it’s a step up from the others and is considered among the longer kayaks. Whether you’re a larger paddler or need extra room for gear, this ultralight kayak has you covered.
Weighing in at under 10 pounds, it’s perfect for minimalist fishing expeditions where every ounce counts. It boasts a rugged Heavy-duty TPU cover and floor, MOLLE plates with mesh bags for gear organization, an inflatable seat for added comfort, and a quick-release fin for stability.
With a 300-pound weight capacity, it’s sturdy despite its lightweight build. The package includes the kayak, seat, foot pump, storage bag, and repair kit, making it a comprehensive and convenient choice for anglers on the go.
Don’t be confused by this kayak’s place on the list; the AquaGlide Navarro is one of the best kids’ kayaks in the market! It features a special industry-leading drop-stitched floor with a durable, lightweight shell that makes it super easy to handle for your child.
There’s more to it — it’s designed for your child to go wild! Most kayaks are meant for calm waters; however, the Navarro is capable of hitting rapid waters, giving your child the ultimate experience.
If portability matters to you, very few kayaks come close to the Navarro; the craft is really lightweight and has clips to attach to the roof of your vehicle or to a riverbank. Best of all, the kayak comes with a 1-year warranty; so let your kid move around with ease, knowing AQUAGLIDE has you covered.
The INTEX Super-Tough Inflatable Kayak is a rugged companion in the kids’ kayak segment. Its 3-ply laminate structure offers unmatched durability, resisting abrasion impacts, and UV protection. Ensure stability with high-pressure inflation, and spring-loaded valves make setup easy, so you can leave it all to your kid.
Storage is ample, with plenty of extra space in the stern and bow, complete with stainless steel D-rings for securing gear. With a 220-pound capacity and dimensions of 10 feet by 3 feet by 1.6 feet, it’s perfect for solo excursions.
INTEX provides excellent customer service and a 90-day manufacturer-limited warranty for peace of mind. With the Super-Tough Inflatable Kayak, you’re well-equipped for any adventure, from serene lakes to challenging rapids.
Lastly but certainly not least, we have the Folosafenar Kayak, which is perfect for children who don’t have experience in kayaking. This cheap kayak sells for as little as $30. An absolute steal if you ask us!
Perfect for swimming pools or small lakes, this kayak can help you introduce your kids to the adventures of kayaking without spending a fortune. It’s made from good-quality PVC material, which is good to prevent leaks. With high oxidation-resistant properties, this product definitely puts it mark despite its incredibly low price.
For a comfortable journey, it includes two paddle mounts, allowing for labor-saving paddling. The double valve design ensures quick inflation and deflation. With a maximum load-bearing capacity of 55kg, it’s ideal for solo adventures, whether you’re fishing on a serene lake or exploring a river.
How To Buy the Right Kayak for Kids
Buying a Youth Kayak could be a challenge, considering the number of options available in the market. With so many options in the industry, how can you be so sure you’re getting the correct kayak for your child’s needs? Hence, we’ve taken the time to prepare the ultimate guide to ensure you pick a product that your child will truly utilize.
After having read through our top 10 picks, here’s a list of features you’ll need to look at to narrow down your list.
NMMA Certification is a critical factor to consider when purchasing a kayak for your child. This certification serves as a reliable indicator that the kayak has undergone rigorous testing and is suitable for your child to hit the waters on.
For your child’s safety, it is best for you to consider an NMMA certification. NMMA-certified kayaks have been thoroughly examined for their structural integrity, buoyancy, stability, and overall performance. This allows us to have the confidence that the kayak is designed with your child’s safety in mind.
NMMA certification also signifies that the materials used in the kayak are of high quality and meet specific durability standards. It ensures that the kayak can withstand the wear and tear that children may subject it to during their adventures.
The next crucial factor to consider is the weight capacity. One thing to note is, more prominent in this situation, more is definitely not better. The more weight the kayak can hold, the more likely it is going to be heavy, and your child won’t appreciate that! Most child’s kayaks have a strict 120 lb limit, which is ideal for the average kid.
Most of the kayaks on our list clear this recommendation, so when you’re on the lookout for your children, ensure it does so too!
Packed Weight & Size
One thing to look out for is the weight capacity, and the other is the weight of the package and how you’re going to carry it around. If you opt for an inflatable kayak, you won’t have a tough time storing it because you can just deflate it and put it in the trunk. A hard-shelled kayak is harder to store in your car, and you’ll need to invest in a few car accessories to carry it around.
Kayaking with your children is a fun bonding experience that many parents look forward to. But we all know that your child may not be able to keep up with your pace. If you’re a parent looking to go kayaking with your kids, you should look into a tow system. With a tow system in place, you can easily latch onto your children’s kayaks to prevent them from drifting away or going places you don’t want them to.
When you’re out trying to kayak with your family, you wouldn’t want to float away from anyone. It’s dangerous, especially if you have children with you. Tracking refers to your kayak’s ability to float straight and guide itself to a certain point.
This helps ensure that you reach your desired spot with ease. If you have inflatable kayaks, there’s a risk of floating away because of the lack of a tracking system. However, a lot of inflatable kayaks come with their own fins that can be removed. Removing these will help your kayak track properly.
Swim Up Deck
Everybody loves to swim. More often than not, your child might want to swim more than they kayak. Hence, you need to look into swim-up decks. These decks are like lowered platforms that you can swim onto or swim off of. This way, you can keep your kids close by, and they will still be able to have fun swimming around. A lot of swim-up decks also come with hand bars that you can hold onto, which just makes it safer.
Types of Youth Kayaks
Hard-sided and inflatable Kayaks
When you’re out and about with your family, keeping inflatable kayaks is a great choice. These are super easy to pack up, and they don’t take up a lot of space. You can simply just get rid of all the air and fold them up into the back of your car!
Hard-sided kayaks are a completely different story, however. These kayaks take up a lot of space, but that doesn’t mean you’re skimping out on other pros, too! They’re much better at tracking, and they are a lot more stable than inflatable kayaks. They’re also much faster!
Tandem & Solo Kayaks
If you’re looking to get away from people and kayak alone, then the Solo kayak should be your go-to. These kayaks are built to fit in a single person and that’s it. On the other hand, tandem kayaks are perfect when you have multiple people on board. These can fit up to 3 people, making kayaking a lot more enjoyable!
Ocean & Whitewater Kayak
The biggest difference between an Ocean and a Whitewater kayak is how they are built. The smaller kayaks that come with a small V- shaped hull are Whitewater kayaks. These are built for greater maneuverability and mobility. Whitewater kayaks for kids are generally smaller and less heavier than the adult ones.
Ocean Kayaks are the kayaks that you’ll see on tours. Unlike in rivers, there won’t be much of a current pulling you around, so you’ll have to do a lot more work if you want to move around. For this, you’ll need to look for larger and longer kayaks with the V-like hulls so you can move easily within the water.
Sit Inside Kayak & Sit Outside Kayak
If everyone doesn’t want to row around on kayaks, then you’ll need to look into paddle boats. These kayaks come in two forms: the Sit-on-Top kayaks and the Sit-Inside Kayaks.
As the name suggests, sit-in kayaks come with a covered cockpit, and they are built for older children who have very strong paddling skills. These boats can be a little unstable because of their v-like shape, which makes them more prone to movement.
Sit-on-top kayaks are similar to their counterparts, but they’re a lot easier to handle. These don’t come with a closed pit, so it’s much easier for rowers to swim out if they topple over. Moreover, these boats are a lot more stable because of a flatter bottom, which also makes it easier to move on and off.
Going on a kayaking adventure is a wonderful experience where people get to experience nature in a different light. However, when you are looking to buy a kayak for your kid, there are a lot of things that you need to look out for. First thing is to decide where you want to take your adult kayak for your kid, especially if they’re a beginner.
The range of boats available is vast, and they all come with their own set of features. That’s why we have narrowed it down for you. Just visit our list of the top 10 best kids’ kayaks of 2023 and look through all the important factors before you make your decision!