What to Bring On a Kayak Trip with Kids

Kayaking with children is a wonderful way for families to enjoy the outdoors and have fun together. You have the opportunity to teach the youth valuable life skills and confidence while they gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Despite the fact that kayaking is a low-intensity sport that children can manage, your level of preparation will determine your level of success. For a safe and enjoyable journey, it would be beneficial if you packed all the necessary items. So, if you are planning a kayaking trip with children, here is a list of items to bring.

1. Ideal kayak and paddles

A kayaking trip requires, of course, a kayak and a paddle. Invest in a high-quality kayak and paddling equipment for your offspring. If your kids are under eight, you should get a tandem (fishing) kayak. This type gives you options as your kids grow and learn new skills. Once they are good at kayaking and know how to stay safe, they can switch to kayaks for one child. Taking your kids kayaking on their own helps them gain confidence in paddling and improve their skills.

Sit-on-top kayaks are also the best choice for kids because they are less restrictive. They are easier to get in and out of, more stable, and less likely to sink, so they are safe for your kids. Bring along paddles made just for kids. They are shorter and lighter, which makes them easier for kids to use.



2. Kayak clothing

Depending on the forecast, you should bring the appropriate clothing for your children to wear while kayaking. When the weather is cold, you should bring layers of clothes that dry quickly, such as those made of polyester. Clothing made of merino wool is another option because it retains heat even when it is wet. Avoid wearing clothes made of linen and cotton because they take a long time to dry, yet they absorb a lot of water and make you feel cold when they are wet. When packing for warmer weather, opt for clothing that is lightweight and breathable. If you want to shield your children from potentially dangerous ultraviolet rays, you should dress them in long-sleeved clothing that has a UPF rating.

When the weather is cooler, carry wet suit shoes, and when the weather is warm, carry open sandals. If the place you plan to go kayaking has jagged rocks, corals, or any other potentially dangerous things at the launch point, be sure to bring along a pair of waterproof boots for added defense. In addition, it is recommended that you bring a jacket that is both windproof and waterproof, as well as an extra set of clothes in case the ones you brought get wet.

3. Personal flotation devices (PFDs)

Packing personal flotation devices (PFDs) or life jackets is a must if you plan to take children kayaking. Even in shallow water, PFDs should be worn at all times while kayaking. Instruct them on the proper use of the life preserver and how to swim and float with it on. Think about taking your kids somewhere safe where they can practice floating in a life jacket, like a swimming pool or a body of calm water. Wearing a PFD at all times will set a good example for kids to follow. Likewise, you should prepare to pack yours.

Invest in a properly fitting child PFD that is appropriate for his or her weight. If you’re looking for a backpack that your kid can use for a longer period of time, think about getting one with an adjustable strap. A PFD that offers protection for your head, shoulders, and legs is something to think about.


4. Food and water

A kayaking trip ruined by cranky children is no fun for anyone. Therefore, bring both high-energy snacks to keep the kids going strong and healthy foods to ensure they get enough to eat. Think about granola bars, nuts, and fresh fruit as examples of healthy, portable snacks. Make sure you have enough food for the entire trip.

Carrying an abundance of water is crucial, especially on warm days, and should be given priority over food. This prevents you from having to resort to drinking water from a contaminated river or lake. Keep your water from spilling by using a reusable bottle instead of one made of glass, which could shatter and cause problems in the water or on land.  

5. First Aid kit

Always bring a first aid kit when kayaking as a safety measure. You need to take care of any bug bites, scrapes, or minor cuts that your children may get. Plant and insect sting cream, waterproof bandages, and antiseptic wipes are required items in your kit. Other items to include in the kit will depend on the length and location of the excursion, as well as any pre-existing medical conditions of the travelers.

6. Tow lines

It may be difficult to estimate how long your child will be able to paddle on their own. When your kid gets tired of paddling, you’ll be glad you brought along some tow lines. When you need a break from rowing, use it to secure your boat to the shore. You might want to bring along some lines that float in case someone ends up in the water.

7. Sunscreen

Bring sunscreen in addition to UPF-rated clothing and hats for sun protection. When children spend too much time in the sun, they often get sunburns, which can make them queasy and irritable. As a result, when kayaking, you should make sure your child is wearing sunscreen.

8. Dry bags

Never forget to photograph the memories you make with your children while kayaking. Carry a waterproof camera with you to take photos. Engaging the children in photo-taking will also excite them.

9. Waterproof camera

Don’t forget to photograph the kayaking moments you share with your children. Therefore, to take pictures, carry a waterproof camera. If you get the kids involved in taking photos, they will be even more excited.

10. Other packing suggestions

Even though it’s impossible to think of everything you might need, here are some items to keep in mind packing for your trip:

Light sources to aid paddling in the dark or during periods of low visibility.
Alerting whistles for use in times of peril
To occupy the children, binoculars
Proper fishing equipment, assuming you plan on doing any fishing
Books and playing cards for bird watching and scavenger hunts
If you fall in, paddle some floats and toss some bags

If you want to have a good time kayaking with your children, it is critical to make adequate preparations and bring along all of the gear that is required for the excursion. The items that we have listed are ones that you must get if you want to guarantee that you and your children will be able to have fun together while also remaining safe.

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