Best Youth Kayaks: 2021 Edition

Best Youth Kayak of 2021

  1. Lifetime Youth Wave (4-8 years)
  2. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS (8-12 years)
  3. Old Town Heron Junior (8-12 years)
  4. Pelican Summit 100x (12+ years)
  5. Malibu Mini X (12+ years)

Best Youth Kayaks for 2021

Editor’s Note: It should go without saying that kids should never be left unsupervised while kayaking and should always wear their (correct-sized) lifejacket.

1. Lifetime Wave Youth (Ages 4-8)

The Lifetime Wave Youth 6-foot kayak is a great starter kayak for kids.

Young paddlers will find the Wave easy to maneuver and paddle, thanks to its “twin fin” design, and its multiple molded-in footrests mean it’s a kayak that can grow with its owner.

All in all, the Lifetime Wave Youth 6-footer is one of the best, most affordable kayaks for kids. Check out the deets:

Lifetime Wave Youth info

  • Designed for kids ages 4-8
  • Weight capacity: 130 lbs
  • Lightweight 18 lb design
  • Molded finger handles on each side for easy transport
  • Swim-up step so paddler can re-enter the kayak from the water
  • Made from High Density Polyethylene for ultimate strength and durabilty
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders
  • Paddle included
  • 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
  • Lightweight with Molded Finger Handles on each Side

What do Lifetime Youth Wave customers have to say?

Lifetime Kayak Reviews

Lifetime Kayak Reviews

2. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS (Ages 8-12)

This 8-footer for kids is great for beginner youth learning the paddling ropes. The Aruba SS 8 is able to accommodate 260 lbs — more than enough durability for the youngster to feel safe and secure on the water. As a sit-inside kayak, the Aruba 8 SS is a great choice for kids who prefer not to get wet (do those kids exist?) And if they really don’t want to get wet, a spray skirt can easily be added to this kayak.

Check out the deets:

Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8 features

  • Great for rivers and lakes
  • Adjustable padded seat back
  • Light weight design easy to carry
  • Storage compartment
  • Recessed drink holder
  • Product Dimensions: 96 x 28 x 16 inches
  • Product Weight: 27 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 260 lbs

What do Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8 customers have to say?

Sun Dolphin Kayak Reviews

Sun Dolphin Reviews
Sun dolphin kayak reviews

3. Old Town Heron Junior (Ages 8-12)

The Heron Junior is the perfect kayak for kids who love splashing around on the weekends or summer afternoons. It’s incredibly maneuverable, and an efficient hull makes paddling easy for kids who are still learning proper technique.

Due to its width and stability, this boat would be really hard to flip over, but the Heron Junior comes with a built-in safety feature if that happens: internal foam billets that mean you never have to worry about retrieving it from the bottom of the lake.

The Heron Junior also has a “tag along” tow system that allows it to be hooked to another boat, which makes it easy to haul in an exhausted kiddo at the end of the day.

What do Old Town Heron Junior customers have to say?

Old Town Kayak Reviews

Old Town Kayak reviews
Old Town Kayak reviews

4. Pelican Summit 100x (Ages 12+)

The Pelican Summit 100x is stable and short enough to maneuver easily, yet long enough to zip smoothly through the wind and waves. This makes it a great boat for older kids who want to get the authentic kayaking experience without breaking the bank.

At 10 feet long with a 275 lb weight capacity, the Pelican is perfectly suitable for adults, too, so honestly your kid can enjoy this kayak even after they’re grown up.

All in all, a great kayak for pre-teens and teenagers (and even adults!) Check out the deets:

Pelican Summit features

  • Adjustable padded backrest with seat pad
  • Adjustable footpegs
  • Carrying handles
  • Cockpit table with bottle holder
  • Elastic bungee cord / Storage platform with bungee
  • Product dimensions: 120 x 28 x 14 inches
  • Product weight: 34.8 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs

What do Pelican Summit customers have to say?

Pelican Kayak Reviews

Pelican kayak reviews
Pelican kayak reviews

5. Malibu Mini X (Ages 12+)

The Malibu Mini X comes in at a maneuverable 9 feet long, which is a perfect length for growing older kids to feel comfortable, while still being short enough to not overwhelm younger beginners.

In addition to maneuverability, the Malibu Mini X is also super stable. Kids and teens alike can easily stand aboard the 33-inch-wide beam to cast a fishing line, prepare for a dive or simply see what’s over the horizon. In fact, it’s designed for just that purpose, with standing platforms to either side of the seat.

Check out the deets:

Malibu Mini X features

  • Product Dimensions: 43.7 x 13.4 x 4.7 inches
  • Product weight: 40 lbs

What do Malibu Mini X customers have to say?

Malibu Kayak Reviews

Malibu kayak reviews
Malibu kayak reviews

Did I miss your favorite kayak? Have your own reviews or recommendations for my 2021 roundup? Sound off in the comments below!

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