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What to Pack When Taking Your Kids Kayaking

Desiree Michels

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Kayaking can be a wonderful way for the whole family to get out of the house, away from electronic devices and into the big outdoors, breathing in the fresh air while spending quality time together. Paddling across a smooth body of water and enjoying the day while getting in some exercise is one of those fun family activity holidays that are sure to build memories that will last a lifetime. Including kids of all ages in a kayaking adventure can be easy and stress-free with a little advance planning, ensuring your trip runs smoothly and is fun for everyone!

Safety First

To start, make sure you all are equipped with Personal Flotation Devices (life jackets) for each member that fit nice and snug. Wear them from day one and your kids will never question having to wear them again. If your life jacket does not come equipped with a whistle, purchase and attach to each jacket, instructing your kids that whistles are for emergencies only.

Keep Dry

Assume clothing will get wet at some point during your kayaking adventure, so wear items made from quick-drying fabric or alternatively, invest in dry tops, pants or wetsuits specifically made for water sports. Store your shore clothing in waterproof dry bags – these are also good for storing food as the odours are contained and you won’t risk attracting nosy bears or other wildlife.

Sunshine & Bugs

Protect your kids from mosquitos and sunburn by packing and applying bug spray and a high SPF sunblock. Another option is to outfit them in long-sleeved bug shirts that will do double duty. A wide-rimmed hat with chin strap is also ideal to protect kids from the heat of the sun. Pack some rainwear, a must for any family activity holidays, in the event the weather turns before heading out onto the water.


Proper sunglasses are essential for eye health and comfort when the sun’s rays are reflecting off the surface of the water, so make certain each person has a pair (and wears them!). Bring along binoculars for the kids to use during your kayak expedition and ask them to share any wildlife sightings with the rest of the family. Give one child a compass and allow him or her to guide the kayak or group.

Keep Hunger at Bay

Packing a wide assortment of healthy snacks in a number of small plastic bags or waterproof containers will fare well and will keep kids young and old satisfied. Family activity holidays require easy-to-pack, healthy snacks such as fresh apple pieces and grapes, dried apricots and dates, and biscuits. Mixing in some healthy snacks that are higher in fat, such as cheese, pine nuts and macadamia nuts will keep your kids feeling satisfied longer. Take double the amount of snacks you think will be sufficient in order to ensure you have enough for the trip.

Capture the Moment

Lastly, don’t forget the camera! Ensure your special moments together are captured and protect your camera by using a waterproof camera pouch that does not need to be removed to use. Store in your dry bags for extra protection in between uses.
Kayaking with your kids can be the perfect family activity. Holidays spent together on the water will be sure to float your spirits as much as your kayak, as you bring the family together to do something fun and active together. It will no doubt lay the foundation for future trips your children will be sure to look forward to.

Richard Edwards is the Managing Director of Summit & Blue, an adventure holiday company offering independently crafted family activity holidays to exciting destinations around the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, the USA and Canada. With unique itineraries and exciting activities like biking, hiking, white water rafting and canoeing, we create holidays for those looking for an experience a little more off the beaten track.


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