The Best Kayak For Kids 2020 [Ultimate Guide]


Have your kids been throwing tantrums declaring that they are old enough to get their own kayak? Has it been ruining your supposedly peaceful trips? Worry no more as manufacturers have designed some kid-friendly yaks.

As a matter of fact, buying your kid his/her kayak is beneficial. For example, it is an excellent way to let your children step away from digital screens. Plus, it is an enjoyable upper body workout.

Yet, there are certain things that you should consider before buying a kayak to ensure that the kids are safe and stable inside. In our short buying guide, you will find all the factors that should be on your checklist.

Moreover, we have compiled a list of the best kayaks for kids because we know how hectic a parent’s schedule tends to be. This way, you can find an excellent model without going through a hellish research process.

Comparison Table: 

ModelWeight Weight Limit Length Recommended age 
Sun Dolphin Aruba40 lbs.250 lbs. 10 feet 6+
Intex Challenger Kayak Series27.2 lbs.220 lbs. 9 feet 6+
Ocean Kayak Malibu57 lbs.425 lbs. 12 feet Toddlers with parents 
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak18 lbs. 130 lbs. 6 feet 5+
Sun Dolphin Bali44 lbs.140 lbs.6 feet 4-6

The Best Kayak For Kids in 2020 

1. Sun Dolphin Aruba – Best Sit-In Kayak 

Sun Dolphin Aruba

Sun Dolphin Aruba is the best sit-in kayak for kids on the market. It features a safe cockpit where your kid can stay inside and enjoy the surrounding nature. Given how safe sit-in kayaks are, they are recommended for kids who are starting out. 

Its affordability is another reason why it is perfect for beginners. If your kid decides that he/she doesn’t love kayaking, your heart won’t break over the money you have paid. 

Made of rugged UV-stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene, the yak is durable enough to withstand the improper child’s use. 

Moreover, it features adjustable padded seats with high back support and adjustable foot braces, ensuring that your child remains comfortable on long trips. 

The large open cockpit means that your child can easily re-enter the kayak. Plus, since it is 10 feet long, there is a vast storage area with shock cord deck rigging. 

At just 40 pounds, Sun Dolphin Aruba is easy to transport. Besides, it accommodates up to 250 pounds, which is comparatively great. 

Pros:

  • Durable 
  • Comfortable padded seat
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Large cockpit
  • Wide storage area
  • Lightweight 

Cons:

  • No included paddles 

Bottom Line

Sun Dolphin Aruba is the one and only sit-in kayak on our list. Its stability, durability and affordability earned it the top spot here. The only drawback is that you have to buy paddles separately. 

2. Intex Challenger Kayak Series – Most Affordable 

Intex Explorer K2

If you’re still not sure if your kid is into kayaking or not, it’s better to buy an affordable kayak so as not to cry a river if they never use it. Intex Challenger Kayak Series is one of the best affordable inflatable kayaks for kids. 

Firstly, the kayak is made of welded heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl, ensuring that the kids stay safe. Then there is the I-beam floor that improves the yak’s stability, so that it remains rigid even in rough waters. 

Secondly, inflatable kayaks bring some advantages to the table that hardshell kayaks don’t, such as easy storage. For example, if your kid uses the kayak just once or twice every year, deflate it and store it in a small place. This way, it won’t take much of your garage, for instance. 

Thirdly, the deck rigging on Intex Challenger Kayak Series allows you to take more gear. This is great because, on longer trips, you’ll appreciate that your kids can carry some of their own equipment. Plus, the cargo net ensures that everything stays inside the kayak. 

What’s more, the rider will be comfortable thanks to the cockpit that is designed for comfort. Plus, it offers maximized space, allowing your kid to stretch out their legs. 

This 9 feet kayak is lightweight, coming at 27 pounds. This means that your kid can carry it on their own. What’s more, it comes with an HI output hand pump, allowing your kid to inflate it instead of you. 

It is essential to ensure that the weight limit does not exceed 220 pounds; otherwise, you will be risking your kids’ safety. Plus, it is recommended for ages above six years old.  

Sadly, it lacks a drain hole, so the water stays inside the kayak. You need to get it out by yourself. 

Pros:

  • Comes with paddles and aluminum oars 
  • Stable 
  • Lightweight 
  • Nice storage area
  • Easy to inflate 

Cons:

  • No drain hole 

Bottom Line

Intex Challenger Kayak Series is an excellent kayak for kids thanks to its comfortable seat, rigid floor and stable body. Plus, it offers a lot for the decent amount of money you’ll pay. 

3. Ocean Kayak Malibu – Best for Toddlers  

Ocean Kayak Malibu

This kayak is a bit unlike the rest of those on our list because it is for toddlers. In other words, Ocean Kayak Malibu is a two-person adult kayak with a seat designed especially for kids. 

Being an adult kayak, it offers the highest weight capacity compared to its counterparts on the list with up to 425 pounds. Plus, it provides three seating positions, including bow, stern and middle. 

This means that you can paddle with your kid or remove the second seat to maximize the storage space whenever your kid is not with you. Besides, the footwells make the seating position more comfortable. 

Ocean Kayak Malibu ensures that you won’t run out of storage space thanks to its 12 feet. It also features gear straps so that your valuables never fall into the water. 

Even though it is the heaviest kayak on the list, it is still relatively light weighing 57 pounds only. Plus, it comes with a pair of molded-in handles to facilitate transportation. 

If you want your kid to swim in the surrounding area, rest assured that he/she will get inside the kayak easily thanks to the open hull. 

Given all the above, it is no surprise that this yak is the most expensive on our list. But, since it is an adult kayak with high weight capacity, we believe that the price is reasonable. 

Pros:

  • Wide storage space 
  • Can be solo or tandem 
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Comfortable seats  

Cons:

  • Most expensive 
  • Might leak 

Bottom Line

Ocean Kayak Malibu is an excellent kayak for parents with toddlers. The comfortable seats and durable construction combined with the highest weight limit render it an impressive kayak.  

4. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak – Most Lightweight 

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Having to carry your kid’s kayak is something of the past now. With Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak, your baby can carry it on his/her own as it is only 18 pounds with molded finger handles on each side for easy transportation.  

However, it offers the least maximum weight capacity as it accommodates up to 130 pounds only. Yet, we believe that this is a good combination because kids of 5 years old and above will find this suitable. 

At 6 feet long, Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is easy to maneuver. Since shorter kayaks are harder to paddle straight, there is an included reverse chine to improve the lateral stability when paddling. 

Made of high-density Polyethylene, this kid’s yak offers superior strength and durability. What’s more, it features an excellent back design that allows the kids to easily get in if they fall out for any reason. 

There are multiple footrest positions for different sized riders. This ensures that even when your child gets older and taller, he/she will always feel comfortable inside the kayak. 

Besides, the included paddle and the twin-fin design, which assists in tracking and surf riding are a great plus. 

Sadly, the yak is not comfortable for long trips. Plus, some complaints claim that it is not well-balanced for kids who are taller than their age. 

Pros:

  • Most lightweight 
  • Durable 
  • Stable 
  • 5-year warranty
  • Easy to re-enter

Cons:

  • Not comfortable for long rides 
  • Unsuitable for tall kids 

Bottom Line

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is an excellent option for its incomparable lightness. It is a safe yak for kids above five years old. However, if the kid is taller than their age, it won’t be safe enough. 

5. Sun Dolphin Bali – Most Stable 

Sun Dolphin Bali

Sun Dolphin Bali is one of the most stable kayaks for kids on the market. Its stability ensures that it never tips over. But even if it did, the open cockpit allows your child to re-enter with ease. Plus, it is effortless to control and maneuver. 

Weighing 44 pounds, the sit-on-top kayak is relatively light, making it easy for the kids to transport it. It is recommended for kids from 4 to around 6 or 9 years old with a total weight that doesn’t exceed 140 pounds. 

Made of UV stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene, it is one of the most durable kayaks. Besides, no matter how long the kid uses it, he/she will stay comfortable thanks to the padded seats. 

Coming at 6 feet long only, the kayak is very easy to store. It fits in your trunk without the need for any extra cables. 

What’s more, it features a paddle holder in arms reach so that the paddles don’t get in the way of your kids, lest they trip and fall. 

Pros:

  • Stable 
  • Durable 
  • Cost-effective 
  • Included paddles 
  • Features paddle holders 
  • Easy to control 

Cons:

  • Low-quality paddles
  • Water stays inside 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a small and stable sit-on-top kayak, there is no option better than Sun Dolphin Bali. It’s easy to maneuver, offers excellent trackability and is cost-effective. 

How to Choose a Kayak for Kids 

While kayaking with kids can be fun, there are certain factors to consider before choosing a model to ensure their safety. We’ve compiled all the points that should be on your checklist below. 

Durability 

Most kids don’t know how to use things properly, and that’s why the kayak should be able to withstand any kind of abuse. Having an inflatable kayak is excellent for that matter. In case you need a hard shell one, the typical polyethylene material is a good option. 

Weight

Usually, lighter kayaks are more recommended as they are more portable and cause no trouble while transporting them from one place to another. However, this is not the case here. 

A lightweight kayak combined with the lightness of the child decreases its stability. While it will be easier to paddle, it will move from side to side in windy weather. This is horribly dangerous because the child will lose track. 

Stability 

The previous point brings us to one of the most critical factors – stability. Choosing a stable kayak is of paramount importance because it is safer and offers kids the needed balance, which gives them enough time to improve their skills. 

Dimensions 

Kids should not have large kayaks. Ensure that the length of the kayak is between 6 to 10 feet to facilitate tracking and maneuverability. Plus, it improves their balance. 

Also, the yak’s width must be considered, especially if your kids have short arms; otherwise, they will have a lot of bruises on their elbows. 

Towing 

Buying a kayak with a towing ability is such a huge plus. This option helps make parents less worried as it keeps their kids’ yak tied to theirs. This way, you can give the kids the freedom they want to feel without totally risking their safety if you’re not sure they can get out there on their own yet. 

Adjustable Foot Braces

Buying a kayak with adjustable instead of molded-in foot braces is better because they somewhat grow with your kids. This is very important given the incredible speed at which kids grow. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can I Make Sure my Kid is Safe? 

First of all, you and your kid must wear life jackets. Even if you know that you do not need to wear one, your child must feel that you’ll always be there for him/her no matter what. Also, don’t ever kayak in lousy weather and teach your babies how to paddle correctly. 

How to Kayak with Kids? 

Kayaking with kids can be stressful in the beginning, so it is important to start out with a two-person kayak. This way, you have a better chance of training them and teaching them the needed skills. 

Don’t just train them on how to kayak, but also on what to do in case of a capsize. When they are ready to go solo, make sure they paddle in a pond or a small lake. 

Can a Kid Get Stuck In a Kayak? 

No. People fall out of the kayak when it flips over even when the cockpit is small. 

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, you have decided which of the above models is the best kayak for kids. In case you’re still confused, allow us to highlight some of our favorite choices.  

For example, we love Sun Dolphin Aruba because it is the best sit-in kayak on our list. It boosts safety and stability, which are the two most important factors any parent searches for. Plus, it is beginner-friendly, offers maximum comfort and is affordable. 

In the second place comes Intex Challenger Kayak Series- our loved inflatable yak. This is the perfect choice for parents who don’t have enough storage space. Besides, it doesn’t break the bank since it is known for its affordability.

If you need a kayak for your toddler, there is no better option than Ocean Kayak Malibu. It is very comfortable, offers three seating positions and adjustable footwells. This way, you can enjoy long trips with your babies and familiarize them with kayaking. 

Categories Kayaks