Things To Take On Your First Family Kayaking Trip

by Mark K on December 14, 2017

Family on Kayaks

Family on Kayaks

Kayaking can be a fantastic opportunity for exploring the great outdoors with your family and enjoying some quality time while getting some exercise and fresh air, as well as giving you and your kids a break from your screens. But what should you take with you?

If it’s your first family kayaking trip then knowing what to bring can be difficult, but hopefully with our guide you’ll be able to perfectly prepare for your day (or longer) on the water. We’ll show you what to pack so you can have a successful trip and hopefully your whole family will become hooked on kayaking.

Child enjoying water on a kayak

Child enjoying the water on a kayak

So What Do You Need To Bring Along?


The type of clothing you should wear will likely depend on where and when you plan to kayak. For example, will the water and air be warm? Will you be paddling a sit-on-top and exposed to splashes, or will you be more protected in a sit-inside?

No matter what the climate is like, it can be good to wear breathable fabrics that are moisture wicking and quick to dry. Waterproof outerwear is also a good idea but if you’re in colder conditions you may find that a wetsuit or drysuit might be necessary.

Neoprene wetsuits can be a great idea for younger kids, as this will help to keep them warm whether they get wet or not.

When it comes to footwear, a sturdy pair of waterproof boots should be ideal; something that won’t easily slip off your feet.

Sun Protection

When you’re kayaking with families, you will want to make sure your kids are protected from the sun, so a waterproof hat (a helmet if attempting anything other than total calm) can be good for keeping them shaded from the sun and protected from rain.

Sunscreen is also an essential item for a family kayaking trip and you should ideally keep it within reach in your yak, so you can reapply as necessary. Insect repellent can also be a handy thing to have.


No matter how long you plan on being outdoors, you should always have enough water with you.

Each member of your family should have their own water bottle or hydration pack, with more than enough water for the duration of your trip. Also, make sure kids can access their water while you’re paddling.

As well as water, taking snacks or a picnic along for the trip can be a great idea, especially if you plan to be out for the whole day, as this can help to boost kids’ energy levels for the return paddle.


Whether you’re renting kayaks or bringing your own, you will need to make sure everyone in your family has their own personal flotation device (PFD). For fitting kids, your kayak outfitter will be able to give you advice on the best ones for the size of your child, with PFDs coming in a variety of sizes for adults and children.

Family One-Day Trips

Even if you’re only going kayaking for one day, there will be certain essentials that all families will require. No matter how old your kids are, you should always bring along a change of clothing. The younger the kids, the more clothing you’ll probably need; as we all know too well.

Storing your clothing in a dry bag can be a good idea, as this should ensure your spare clothes stay dry, even if you happen to tip your kayak. As well as some of the essentials for any paddling trip, you might want to pack a map and a compass.

A picnic midway through your day trip can be a fantastic way to relax and enjoy nature, as well as a rest from paddling, which families will likely appreciate.

Multi-Day Trips

For a multi-day trip you will need additional supplies to last your family for the number of days you plan to be away, as well as some extra for any unplanned days.

If you’re camping you’ll need all your camping equipment. If you can split the load into more than one kayak then this will be easier. As well as your camping supplies you will need to consider a change in weather or overnight conditions, so you will likely need a wider range of clothing, remembering to keep it stored in dry bags.

Solar chargers or batteries can be beneficial if you plan to use electronics during your trip, otherwise you may need matches or lighting equipment to start a campfire. Carrying a flashlight can also come in handy on an overnight trip.

If you’re camping on a multi-day trip, don’t forget to pack camping meals that won’t easily spoil. They will come in handy!


Main image: Flickr

This post was written by Mark K helps beginners to get to grips with the basics of kayaking, and gives advice for amateurs wanting to improve their skills. Kayak Guru also covers stand up paddle boarding, and provides fishing tips.

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