Many people love to kayak and would like to take it with their kids when participating in water sports activities. Anybody competent with a kayak can include their kids, but there are a few things that you should note when taking your kids.
- Check the weather and water flows. If there is any possibility of rain, don't go.
- Pick a river you've already paddled before. Do more research than you've ever done before.
- Make sure you and your boat have the skill and ability to get through the river.
- Find good bailout points and go over every inch of the river with google earth.
- Pack extra clothes in case they go for an unexpected swim.
- Buy more snacks than you think you need.
Who should go on this trip
Another thing you ought to note is that you should be aware of the skills and levels of the kids. How deeply you need to prepare for kayaking for your kids depends on the skills level and age of the kids. If they are too small and cannot manage paddling on their own, you should take them along so they can get comfortable.
So don't take toddlers paddling alone. Paddling with kids is a team effort. Keeping your kids in the boat is a full-time job. It would help if you had a support group to assume. Maybe bring your other parents' friends, the more eyes, the better.
You can also give them a small boat so they can move independently, but their age should be between 8-10 years old. And teach them not to lean over the edge.
- Make sure kids always wear life jackets, fit in, and know how to avoid things like poison ivy.
- Have a first aid kit, bring a rescue throw rope, and know how to throw it.
- Bring enough paddling partners so that all your kids can quickly recover when they hit.
- Have a safety talk with kids, and tell them what they should do if they fall out of the boat, get hurt, and get stuck in a tree.
- Apply sunscreen regularly for kids. Give the kid a sun hat if they'll wear it, or bring an umbrella for shade fishing, and wear sunglasses with younger kids.
- Some situations you might run into out there are storms and lightning. You did your homework, but a summer storm popped up in the middle of the trip. Little rain never hurts anyone, but if you start to see lightning or hear thunder, get off the water, find some shelter along a line of trees, and hide under a tarp.
- If you're going to capsize, get everyone to bail upstream with a canoe. If you come to a branch, do everything you can to get above it and hold on until help arrives. Get everyone to shore first, then worry about your gear.
- If a little kid falls out of the boat, it's not a big deal if it's warm. If the air or water is cold, you could be in trouble. The shock of cold water means your toddler is going to have even less control over their body than they normally do, so get them back in the boat quickly, get them into the spare set of clothes you brought to stop hypothermia from setting in, keep a close eye on them until you are sure they are going to be okay.
Prepare the right gear.
- Puddle jumper life jackets are god's gift to parents. We have traditional life jackets, but nothing beats a puddle jumper for comfort and the ability to self-rescue.
- Waterproof seat cushion sleeping bags take up a ton of space. You might want to consider a down bag for a kid if the volume is an issue, but reconsider if your kid isn't mature enough to know that it's a fart bag, not a shark bag. Synthetic bags are a lot easier to clean in the wild.
Paddling okie suits are amazing for keeping kids warm and dry. You should have them because almost everything will get wet even if you don't paddle.
- Dry bags are your friends. If you're not portaging big plastic tubs, at least have a dry bag for your essential items, keys, spare clothes, and a phone.
If you're ready to go overnight, pack easy foods that require no preparation, like oranges, apples, carrots, peppers, peanuts, smoked salmon, and hard-boiled eggs. Bring five pounds of cheese and food that the kids can help with. Peanut butter jelly sandwiches, a bag of cheesy, spicy tuna and noodles, pizza, and tortillas it's also delicious.
To get young kids to sleep together in the same tent, you might have to let them stay up later. Try to stagger bedtime, youngest to bed first, then send in the next, then the next. If you're nervous about them sneaking out, use a carabiner through your tent zippers as a makeshift lock. Get a tent big enough for a pack and play. If any part of your trip involves car camping, it'll make your bedtime 10 percent easier and nap time 100 percent easier.
Hope these can help you have an enjoyable kayak trip with your kids.