With so many kayaks on the market how can you decide what is the best family kayak for your family? We discovered Kayaking a few years ago as a great activity for camping trips. It’s great for our whole family…. grown ups, teens, and even the little one. Kayaking is easy, and good exercise. Our Advanced Elements 2 Man Inflatable Kayak travels well, and easily packs into the car…. we even use it at home on the lagoons near our house.
There are loads of other great Kayaks available. Most are easy to handle. And you can choose between one and two man Kayaks. Almost any body of water can be kayaked… rivers, lakes, ponds and even the ocean.
What is the Best Family Kayak?
Think about what you like to do, and ask yourself…. “What Kind of Travel do I do?” “How many people come along?”, “How much STUFF comes along?”, “Would I like a River Kayak?” “Ocean Kayak?” “Or a Kayak for all occasions”?Take a look at this selection, and and decide for yourself “What Kind of Kayak should I buy?”.
We love our Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Person Inflatable Kayak. You can find one for yourself or your family on Amazon.
Some Things To Consider When Shopping for a Kayak
Where do you want to Kayak? -Rivers, Lakes, Bays, Open Water? Different Kayaks are designed for different purposes. Some all purpose Kayaks, can be used on all of these, as long as the water isn’t too rough.
How many people will you take on your Kayak? -Will you be traveling alone? With Kids? With a special other person?
Stowing Gear– How much gear do you plan to take along? Will you be camping? or just packing a lunch.
What will you do with your Kayak?– Do you want to paddle around for exercise? Are you looking for Whitewater action? Do you want to go fishing? Are you a photographer? Maybe you just want to spend time with your family or dog?
How much Storage space do you have?– If you don’t have a load of storage space, an inflatable might be best… if you have a garage, and a roof rack on your car, a rigid Kayak will be perfect
Kayak Terms You Should Become Familiar With If Buying a Kayak
Rocker– Rocker is the curvature of the boat as you look at its profile. The more it looks like a banana, the shorter the waterline, and the more maneuverable.
Length– The longer the boat, the farther the journey. This means longer kayaks… around 16 feet and up….are generally Sea/Touring Kayaks. While shorter Kayaks are generally for Whitewater (less stuff to move around the rocks).
Width– The wider the Kayak, the more stable it is… also, the wider it is, the more bulky it is….
Depth- The deeper the Kayak, the higher you are off the water… and you won’t get as wet (theoretically). Also, deeper means more storage space.
Why Choose an Inflatable Kayak
Where Can it Be Used?– An inflatable kayak is good for lakes, quiet rivers and lagoons.
Storage– An inflatable Kayak can be packed up in a travel bag and stored in a smaller space. The pump and some life jackets can be stored in the bag too.
Transport– It is easy to transport an inflatable Kayak…. the bag is about the size of a large suitcase. (I can even fit mine into the back of a Mini … with the back seats down). There is no easier way to travel with a kayak.
Easy of Use– An inflatable Kayak is easy to use for all ages. My daughter started paddling alone at age 12… and I feel very comfortable with her taking out her younger sister (as long as they are in life vests).
The Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak
The Kayak we use!
The Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak comes in its own travel bag for compact transport. The bottom of the Kayak has rigid panels to keep it protected over gravel or rocks. Just unzip the bag, lift the Kayak out, unfold and inflate. The valves are easy to open and close for inflation. We use the hand pump (sold separately) and store it in the bag with the Kayak. It takes all of 10 minutes to inflate the kayak.
In the 2 Man kayak we use, there are 2 included inflatable seats, and ropes to tie gear. There is also a sealed pocket (good for phones or other things you need to keep dry.
We’ve taken this kayak on lakes, lagoons, and on the slow part of the American River. It is light enough to paddle alone, and comfortable for two people. I easily managed it on a windy lake with a 7 year old, and my 17 year old son and I took it on the river… no problems.
Handles on both ends aid in carrying the inflated 12 foot Kayak.
How to Set Up an Inflatable Kayak
How to Choose a Touring Kayak – Sea Kayak Features
Where Do You Use a Sea Kayak– Open Water… Sea Kayaks or Touring Kayaks are perfect for longer paddle trips or camping trips.
They come in Plastic (Polyethylene) or Composite Materials– Plastic Hulls are smoother, and many feel it glides through water better. Composite hulls are more rigid, and therefore, easier to control.
Choose the Right Size– You don’t want to be rattling around in a Sea Kayak, since you use your body to help you turn.
Keep Dry– You can get a skirt to keep the spray out of the kayak.
The Riot Kayaks Polarity 16.5 Tandem Kayak comes highly rated for safety and usability. This makes it a fantastic family Sea Kayak
Are You looking for a Recreational or Multi-Use Kayak?
Comfortable for Short or Longer Runs Seats are padded and it’s comfortable to paddle.
Where to Use Easy Rivers, lakes, bays and ponds.
What can you do with a recreational Kayak? Well….. you can paddle around, go fishing, take photographs, haul your kids and dog with you, go on a picnic, get exercise…..
Don’t use a Recreational Kayak on Whitewater Recreational Kayaks are too long to go dodging a bunch of big rocks.
Necky Manitou Tandem Kayak- Best two Person River Kayak
The perfect river Kayak for a family. The two seat Kayak comfortably seats two adults… and a child (or dog) can fit comfortably on the jump seat between them. The Necky Manitou is designed for river paddling, but is also streamlined for comfortable distance touring.
Why Choose a Sit-On-Top Kayak?
- Great for Paddling on quiet water – wider bottom means stability.
- Comes in single or tandem models.- with a tandem model, you can take a friend…. but keep in mind, it is a bit more difficult to paddle a tandem Kayak alone
- Come in a variety of widths and lengths- Longer and narrower is faster, shorter and wider more stable.
- Space- You need space to store a Sit on Top Kayak, as they run from 10 to 12 feet in length.
- Transporting a Sit on Top Kayak- You will need a roof rack for your car (you will also need to be able to lift the kayak onto the car)
With so many choices, you can see that Kayaking for the Whole Family is a great idea!