Spending time in the great outdoors and having fun as a family can be easily accomplished by going kayaking together. As the young people gain an experience of a lifetime, you have the opportunity to instill in them valuable life skills as well as self-assurance. But even though kayaking is a low-intensity sport that even children can handle, your level of preparation will determine how well you do in the sport. To ensure that your trip is enjoyable as well as safe, it would be beneficial if you packed all of the necessary items. The following is a suggested packing list for a family kayaking trip in the event that you have one planned in the near future.
1. Ideal kayak and paddles
During a kayaking trip, the two most essential pieces of equipment are a kayak and a paddle. Invest in a high-quality kayak and paddles for each of your children. If your children are younger than eight years old, the best option for them is a tandem kayak. This type provides flexibility as your children get older and their abilities advance. When they have mastered the fundamentals of kayaking as well as the safety procedures, they can graduate to kayaks designed for a single child. Your children will gain confidence in their paddling abilities and experience if they go kayaking by themselves.
Because they have fewer restrictions, sit-on-top kayaks are the ideal choice for paddling with children. Because they are more stable, less likely to sink, and easier to enter and exit, they are a more child-friendly option. Bring along some paddles that are designed specifically for children because they are shorter and lighter, making them more comfortable for kids to use.
2. Kayak clothing
Depending on the weather, you should pack the appropriate kayaking clothes. In cold weather, bring layers of clothes that dry quickly, like polyester. Merino wool clothes are also good because they keep you warm even when they get wet. Linen and cotton clothes should be avoided because they take a long time to dry and are cold when wet. On warmer days, bring clothes that are light and airy. On sunny days, protect your kids from UV rays by having them wear long-sleeved clothes with a UPF rating.
Bring wet suit shoes when it’s cold and sandals when it’s warm. If there are sharp rocks, corals, or other dangerous things at the launch point of the kayaking spot, bring a pair of waterproof boots for extra safety. You should also bring a windproof and waterproof jacket and a change of clothes in case yours get wet.
3. Personal flotation devices (PFDs)
When going kayaking with children, it is essential to bring along personal flotation devices (PFDs) or life jackets. When kayaking in shallow waters, you should still insist that your children wear their life jackets at all times. Show them how to put on the life jacket properly as well as how to swim and float while they have it on. You might want to give your children some experience floating in a life jacket in a controlled environment first, such as a swimming pool or a body of calm water. It is important to always wear your life jacket so that children can model their behavior after yours. So, you should pack it up too!
The most important thing you can do is purchase a life jacket for your child that has a good fit and is appropriate for their weight. Consider purchasing one that has an adjustable strap so that your child can use it for a longer period of time. You should also think about purchasing a personal flotation device that has head support, a grab handle, and a leg strap.
4. Food and water
The kids can easily become irritable when they are hungry, which can make your kayaking trip a disaster. Therefore, bring some snacks that are high in energy to quickly energize the children and some foods that are healthy to ensure that they eat well. Think about bringing along snacks like granola bars, nuts, and fresh fruits because they are convenient and have a healthy amount of calories. Always make sure you have enough food to last the entire duration of the trip when you pack it.
Because staying hydrated is more important than eating, one should always carry more water than is necessary, especially when the weather is warm. This will prevent you from having to resort to drinking polluted water from a river or lake. Instead of using water bottles made of glass, which can easily shatter and cause unnecessary hazards in a kayak or on shore, consider using water bottles that can be reused.
5. First Aid kit
When going kayaking, it is imperative that you at all times carry a first aid kit with you for your own protection. There is a possibility that your young children will sustain injuries such as bug bites, scrapes, and minor cuts, all of which require your attention. Your first aid kit needs to have cream for plant and bug stings, band-aids that are waterproof, and antiseptic wipes. The additional items that should be packed into the kit are determined by the length and location of the excursion, as well as any pre-existing medical conditions that the people going on the trip may have.
6. Tow lines
There is a possibility that you will not be able to precisely estimate how long your child will be able to paddle alone. Therefore, you should pack tow lines in your kayak in case your child gets tired of paddling it. When you need to relax and take a break from rowing, you can also use it to secure your boat to the shore. If any of you ends up in the water, you should think about bringing lines with floats on them so that you can pull someone to safety.
Bring sunscreen along with you in addition to sun protection items such as clothing with a UPF rating and hats. When children are out in the sun for an extended period of time, they are more likely to get sunburns, which can make them irritable and dizzy. As a result of this, you need to make sure that your child always wears sunscreen when they go kayaking.
8. Dry bags
Carry with you dry bags in which to place all of your valuables, including phones, money, and watches, which should not get wet. Even though the kayak has dry storage hatches, it is still possible for water to leak in if it capsizes. In addition, the dry bags come in very handy when it comes to packing spare clothing in the event that anyone gets wet.
9. Waterproof camera
When you go kayaking with your children, you should never, ever forget to take pictures of the memories you make together. If you want to take pictures, you should bring a camera that is waterproof. If you get the kids involved in taking pictures, they’ll be excited about that too.
10. Other packing suggestions
The list is endless, but there are things you may want to consider taking along your kayak (camping) trip. Here are a few:
- Flashlights can help when it’s foggy or when you’re kayaking at night
- Whistles to send warnings if something is wrong
- Binoculars to keep children interested
- If you plan to fish, you need fishing gear
- Books or cards about bird spotting or scavenger hunts
- If you fall overboard, the paddle floats and you can throw bags to help
When you go kayaking with children, you should always strive to make the experience the most amazing and memorable one possible. You are the only one who can make this happen by properly preparing for the trip and bringing along all of the necessary items. The items that we have listed are ones that you absolutely must have so that you can kayak with your children while remaining safe and having a good time.