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How to Plan a Kayaking Trip With Kids
River Kayaking Trip
Kayaking with Kids
You have always loved being outdoors and kayaking down the river is your idea of a good time. Now that you have kids, are your adventures out on the water over? Absolutely not! With a little planning and organization, it is possible to have a fun and stress-free kayaking trip that the whole family will enjoy.
Planning a kayaking trip with your kids for the first time can be a little scary for any parent. You may be wondering about a few questions such as:
- How do you plan out the route?
- What should you pack?
- What are some water safety tips to keep in mind?
- How do you prepare the children for the trip?
For the answers to these questions and so much more, read further to learn some helpful tips for preparing and organizing a family kayaking trip.
Our Family's Favorite Kayaking Route on the Duck River
Planning the Route
Before loading up the kids and all your kayaking equipment, my best piece of advice is to plan out the route for your trip. Testing out the waters is extremely important when taking your kids out for the first time. This kind of planning ensures the safety of your family by pointing out any tricky spots in the river and helps you to plan those much needed breaks to avoid any potential meltdowns. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when mapping out your kayaking trip:
- How rough is the water? - For your family's first kayaking trip, you want a route with calmer waters. Finding a route with minimal currents ensures the safety of your children and helps them to get comfortable with their kayak.
- How long is the route? - With smaller children, you definitely want to keep your trip within 2 to 3 hours long. Be sure to include any food and bathroom breaks in this length of time. Keeping it within this time frame helps to avoid any potential meltdowns and ensures a future kayaking trip with your kids.
- Where are some good places to stop for a break? - While mapping out your route, look for some good spots to stop for eating, using the bathroom, playing, and exploring. Kids, especially little ones, tend to get a little antsy in the kayak so be sure to allow enough time in your trip for them to get out and stretch their legs.
- Where are the tricky spots along the route? - Writing down or just keeping a mental note of all the tricky spots along your river route helps to ensure the safety of your family. You need to watch out for the areas that the water currents get stronger and where the river is more shallow to avoid getting stuck on a bed of rocks.
Lunchtime on the River
What to Pack
Packing for a kayak trip is a very important part to planning a successful day of fun for your family. You need to make a list of all the important kayaking and safety equipment you will need, gather up enough food and drinks to keep the family happy, and have an extra set of clothes on hand for each member of the family. To avoid any of these items getting wet, be sure to store them in dry bags and safely pack them into the interior wall, also known as the bulkhead, of the kayak. Refer to the table below for a complete list of what to pack for a kayaking trip on the river.
Items to Pack for a Kayaking Trip
Personal floatation devices
First aid kit
Headlamp or flashlight
Camping gear (if overnight trip)
Extra set of clothes
Staying Safe on the Water
Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for Kids
Water Safety for Kids
Keeping your children safe while out on the water should be every parent's number one concern. The first line of defense is a personal flotation device (PFD), also known as a life jacket, for every member of the family. Make sure that each PFD fits properly and that the latches in front lock securely into place. For infants and toddlers, purchase a PFD that has an additional strap that fits in between their legs and a protective neck guard to prevent them from slipping out of the device.
Another concern for parents should be protecting their kids from the sun. Before your kayaking trip begins, be sure to apply a waterproof sunscreen to all areas of the body. Wearing a pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can also help to shield your kids from the sun's harmful rays. For children with extremely sensitive skin, make sure to dress them in UPF rated sun-protection clothing.
Packing a well stocked first aid kit is another important safety tip while being out on the river. These kits come in handy for any kind of cuts, scrapes, or medical emergencies. Since you will be outdoors for an extended period of time, it is also a good idea to stock up on allergy medicines in case of a reaction in the middle of your trip.
The last tip for water safety is making sure your kids stay hydrated throughout the trip. The sun can be particularly draining on little ones, so be sure they are drinking plenty of water and eating snacks to keep hydrated.
Safety Tips for Kayaking Video
Kayaking Fun Facts Quiz
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Preparing Your Kids
Before taking off on your kayaking adventure, take the time to prepare your kids for the trip. It's a good idea to let them sit in the kayak and play around with the paddle while on land to help them get familiar with the equipment. Let them try on the life jacket and explain why it is so important that they keep it on during the duration of the trip. This kind of preparation cuts down on the chance of a meltdown right before the trip even begins.
Clearly state the rules and go over the water safety tips with your kids. Be sure to tell them that they must stay seated in the kayak at all times. Let them know that standing up or rocking the kayak back and forth will not be allowed. When your kids know exactly what you expect out of them, it will lessen the chance of a potentially dangerous situation.
I hope this guide for planning a river kayaking trip with your kids has been helpful. If you have any questions, comments, or additional tips for planning a successful kayaking trip, feel free to leave these in the comment section below. Enjoy your trip!