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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Our Latest Adventure - Kayaking!

First off, I just gotta say...if you've landed on this post trying to figure out why in the world your car sounds like a grunting, humming, groaning jet engine is taking off on the roof of your vehicle whenever your kayak is strapped on top- just add a few twists in the straps you're using to secure it down.

Kayak strapped to vehicle

I'm throwing this out there right away because as a rookie kayak owner I've lived through it first hand recently. There were a few rides we pushed through the sound, turned the music all the way up, shouted to one another and even contemplated just putting ear plugs in, but I knew that wasn't a long term solution. And it was SO. LOUD. I was given advice to strap it down tighter, shift it forward or back to cut the air better, putting foam kayak pads underneath to avoid the vibrations of the boat, stuffing the hull with towels so less air flows into the kayak, all the things. I read through pages and pages online trying to find this answer myself, until there was one guy that talked about all things science and gave the advice to simply twist the straps. VOILA!! It hasn't made a sound since, so I figured I would just throw it out there right away for anyone who is in the same boat I was!

Twist the straps!

As you can see, I finally bought a kayak and I'm super duper pumped! Each year I've had the opportunity to kayak a few times, whether it's on some sort of group retreat or an outing where they've been provided for me, renting them for a day or two on vacation, and the last few years up north with my sister in law who has a few on the lake and is always way above and beyond generous. I love kayaking so much, but I always hesitated to make the investment because I wasn't sure realistically how much I would use it with the kids and full schedule. When covid hit this year and social distancing guidelines were put in place, people were encouraged to get in the great outdoors for fresh air and fun and all of a sudden bikes, rollerblades, kayaks, canoes, paddle name it were flying off the shelves. Naturally, it became my time to buy one too. My oldest daughter, age 11, is comfortable in her own kayak now, so I needed to find one I was comfortable enough to bring my youngest daughter, age 1.5, with me and the three of us could go together. It has been super tough to find one, but I finally got my hands on the "Bomb Pop".

The most common kayak I have used and seen is the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8. Its a great beginner kayak with a low price tag and super easy to transport. I see these all over the place, and I'm super comfortable using one on my own, or allowing Sierra to use one by herself with a life jacket. The downfall for me with a toddler is I feel it is a bit unstable and the hull isn't large enough to safely and comfortably together.

A few things I was looking for in purchasing a kayak with a toddler in mind:

  • Spacious hull for my daughter and I to both fit comfortably with life jackets

  • A sit-in style vs sit-on

  • Less than 50 lbs so I could load it on my vehicle by myself

  • 10' or less in length

  • A wide, stable base so it's less tippy

  • Less than $500 price tag (Dave Ramsey financial peace budget guys!!)

I tried out my nephews fishing kayak, tried wriggling and jiggling to check tipsiness, and it was awesome! Problem was it was sold out literally everywhere, every single week, or insanely overpriced on Amazon with people trying to flip them. I kept hunting, checking stores online, calling each week etc. Finally, I hit the right timing of delivery day at Dick's and was able to get myself a red white and blue Perception Swifty 9.5 (aka the Bomb Pop!) that I'm absolutely in LOVE with! It had everything I was looking for in a kayak, and it hasn't disappointed thus far!

I think one thing that is important to note is that these are just my experiences I'm sharing, and there is a risk involved with kayaking or any outdoor adventure sports especially with small children. Only do what you are comfortable with, and use any information that I share at your own risk.

On that note, I've had a few people say I'm crazy for bringing my youngest along in a kayak with me.

These are a few things that have made me more comfortable doing so:

  • Most importantly-- I feel extremely confident as a strong swimmer and kayaker myself. I wouldn't recommend taking a little one out the first time you try kayaking or if you're uncomfortable in the water. Also, before bringing her in any specific kayak, I went out a few times on it myself making sure it would be the right fit, stability etc.

  • A life jacket, always. A no brainer here. This is the one I've found is the best fit for her because the front is scooped down a bit so it doesn't push up on her chin and head like some of the others do.

  • Timing. If you know your child gets super fussy and cranky right before their nap time, I would choose a different time to go out on the water. Thankfully Lillian is super calm on the water, and has actually just laid back and fallen asleep on me many times while we are out. You know your child best.

  • Weather. Check the weather, if it's too hot and sunny it can be miserable for everyone. If it's too windy, rainy etc the water can be rough and this is where the stability might be compromised. If you are out on a sunny day, I always make sure to have a sun hat for her and sunscreen applied before we go.

  • Snacks. Now this one I am also extremely careful with, because choking is one of my "parent paranoias" for sure, so when I am referring to snacks on this one it's pretty much only her water bottle and applesauce or purée pouches. She LOVES them, and I don't have to worry about her dropping bites and bending over to try and pick them up, and the choking hazard is minimal. It's something to keep her satisfied though depending on how long we are out.

  • Keep your rides relatively short and simple. If I'm planning on going out for hours on end with the girls, or out on the river, rougher, larger lakes, or any extra hot or inclement weather I don't bring her along. Stay relatively close to the shore in case you do want to go in, and we usually stick to 30 minute to hour long rides max. I want to make sure she keeps having fun and enjoys it so she will want to continue to go as she gets older!

I will keep you posted on our kayak adventures if there is anything else I find that helps, but for now we are just going to continue on enjoying this amazing summer and having some fun in the sun!

Adventure ahead,