Updated: Jan 7
Kayaking is the perfect way to get the whole family outdoors, enjoying fresh air, beautiful scenery and having fun at the same time. There are many benefits to kayaking, and as a family, it is a healthy and fun way to exercise, it provides for some family bonding time, while creating a whole family experience anywhere in Ireland.
Here at MCGKayaks we have seen a large increase in the number of families taking up kayaking in the last year. The photos we get sent in after these trips really highlight how much of an enjoyable experience kayaking is for families. Here we run through some of the main questions and factors to consider when heading out as a family.
1. What type of kayak?
The main question we get is, what type of kayak would be most suitable to get started. We will take you through some options and added extras to help you start your family kayaking journey for 2022.
A kayak that is suitable for the whole family is the sit on top kayak, this is due to the open, wider design which makes them more stable than other kayaks in the water. So which kayak to choose? Here are some options.
Option 1: 2+1 Seater Tandem Kayak
The tandem kayak is a family favourite with two adult seating areas, there is also a third middle seat for a young child, (up to age 6). This middle area can also be used to kayak individually, which allows for a multi-purpose use of this kayak. The weight capacity is 350kg and comes in a range of colour options.
Ideal for two adults and one child.
Website Link: https://www.mcgkayaks.ie/tandem-kayak
Option 2: 1+1 Seater Kayak
The 1+1 Seater Kayak is a new product to our range, there is an adult seating area and also a child’s seating area. Again, we advise that this would be suitable for a young child, (up to age 6). This kayak is suitable to be kayaked individually by an adult at any time. With a weight capacity of 150kg, it is wider than a traditional 9ft kayak.
Option 3: Children’s Kayak
This is suitable for a child who is slowly starting to make their own way on the water. It provides freedom for children to kayak individually, while being observed by parents or guardians in their own kayak. This is a very handy kayak to transport and it can be carried in any car with a length of 180cm and a weight capacity of 150kg. We advise this kayak for the age range of (6-10). This package comes with seat, paddle, buoyancy aid and 30 litre dry bag.
Website Link: https://www.mcgkayaks.ie/store?page=3
If you have teenagers who are looking to start kayaking with you, we will cover this at a later date, but you can contact us on 0852249507 with any questions 😊.
2. What to wear kayaking?
Wear the right clothes, it is going to be cold!!
First and foremost, we cannot stress enough how important it is that everyone is wearing a buoyancy aid at all times, no matter how good a swimmer you are and depending on where you are going paddling. wearing a helmet is also a good idea. Safety is always your first priority when out in the water.
Buoyancy Aid €30: We have a range of these and we would happy to guide you on which would be the best option for you. These come as standard with our packages.
Helmet: Price €45
Even when the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day, it is important to remember that the water will still feel cold if you fall in, so it is important to dress appropriately for this this. Wearing a wetsuit when out on the water leaves minimum water in, see below, while having a change of clothes immediately when you finish kayaking, which is something we cannot stress highly enough.
These wetsuits are made of a tight-fitting layer of neoprene that is designed to keep your child warm if they get wet. Wetsuits only let in tiny amounts of water when you get wet, it is important to pick the correct size wetsuit as the looser fitting the wetsuit, the more water will get in and the colder you’ll get. Our wetsuits are 2.5mm and we have wetsuits for younger aged children (5-12) while we also have different 3mm wetsuits for teenagers. Wetsuits ensure a dryer more enjoyable experience for all.
The dryrobe is an essential item to put on immediately after kayaking. These fleece lined changing robe with two outer pockets and one zipped inner pocket. These are excellent to ensure you warm up directly after coming out of the water. These are available in pink and blue. We currently have dry robes for ages (10-16) and we will have dry robes for younger ages available in late January.
3. What to take with you??
Always make sure you have a means of contacting people - you need to think about where you’re going and if you’ll have signal to contact people for help. Also, check that your phone is fit for purpose; iPhone’s can turn off if they get too cold and touchscreens may not work if your hands are too cold. We include a 30 litre dry bag for all your essentials in our packages while on the water, while we also sell phone protectors.
Website Link: https://www.mcgkayaks.ie/product-page/universal-waterproof-phone-case
It is important to make sure you have the correct safety equipment with you also, a throw rope is a very important piece of safety equipment to take out with you which you can assist others if they do capsize.
Website Link: https://www.mcgkayaks.ie/product-page/15m-throw-rope
Make sure to bring food and drinks with you, which can be stored in your 30 litre dry bag, kayaking is a workout, you will be using energy so it is important to refuel.
4. How to plan the trip ahead??
It is important, before you set off, to know exactly where you will be paddling to and how long you intend to go for. It is important to let people know this also. Don’t paddle out too far out if your kids won’t have the energy for the return journey, slowly build up your kayak experience. It is also always important to research your trip before kayaking, the RNLI are a fantastic support and your local branch can provide you with advice. There are also many kayaking pages being setup on Facebook in Ireland such as the East Cork/West Waterford Kayaking page where you can ask for advice on local routes.
Check the weather:
As we know the weather in Ireland is very changeable, it is very important to check the weather and keep an eye on this throughout your trip. You need to particularly focus on tides, wind and wind strength as this could make paddling very difficult, there are a number of useful weather apps available freely which we will be discussing later on in the year, please take the time to download these before setting off.
While there seems to be a lot to consider before heading kayaking, and it is very important that we draw your attention, constantly to safety. Following this, we cannot state highly enough the wonderful family experience you will have. It is a hobby that no matter what age it is something that you can do as a family. Make it a hobby for you and your family in 2022 and it will be a hobby for life.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and we hope you enjoyed it.
We are available at any time for questions if you message us on 0852249507 or across any of our social media channels.