Ultimate family camping activity…
What began as what I thought was a crazy ‘whim’ of my husband’s has ended up being one of my very favorite parts of camping!
A couple of years ago, during the fall, my husband came home and told me that a local shop had a great deal on kayaks, and that he was going to get a few to float the Yellowstone River with, and for the kids to play in at the lake when we were camping. I thought that he was crazy – that the kayaks would soon be gathering dust and end up an expensive decoration hanging from the garage ceiling. Over that winter, he proceeded to ‘collect’ 5 or so kayaks, and that spring we took them to our favorite local mountain lake.
We had such a great time with those kayaks; they have quickly become one of our entire family’s favorite camping activities!!! Despite my reluctance to jump on board (literally), I think that I now enjoy them even more than he does!
Kayaks are lightweight and easy to maneuver, are kid friendly, and are a great way for the entire family to enjoy the outdoors together. They are quiet, (fairly) inexpensive, and require no other paraphernalia than a paddle and life jacket. My husband and older kids enjoy taking them to fish calm mountain lakes, and also to shoot the rapids of the Yellowstone River. I prefer to leisurely paddle around my favorite little Park Lake with a sleeping baby in my lap, while the kids love to take a frisbee out with them and play Keep Away in teams. We just spent the past 2 weeks camped on a small, fairly remote (well, not too remote, hubby managed to get our 40′ toy hauler in there!) mountain lake that we love to frequent, and we spent several days enjoying the warmth from the seats of our kayaks. The kids love to dump each other in the middle of the lake, and have become really good at climbing back on board (it’s harder than it would seem!). Ultimate good times!
I am definitely NOT a expert when it comes to kayaks, but this is what has worked for us; when we first bought them, we bought both sit on top and cockpit kayaks, and even an inflatable that is great for remote, walk-in lakes. Kayaks are very versatle - they can be used on the ocean, mountain lakes, rivers and streams, and even the pond at your favorite RV resort! Since we have a lot of kids that would be using the kayaks, I ended up feeling more comfortable with the sit-on-top style since the kids would just slide off the top if they tipped over. We have found that kayaks come in different lengths, styles, and weight (lighter=easier to maneuver in our experience). While we would love to outfit our little ones in authentic kid-sized kayaks, for now they make do with smaller-sized adult ones (though we did find kid sized paddles that make propelling themselves easier!). When the kids are choosing which kayak they would like to take out, the one that is always chosen first is a smaller, lightweight, smooth-surfaced Hobie. We would love to get some more of them, but purchasing 10 matching kayaks would be a little detrimental to the checkbook (I’m a serious clearance shopper). Until we can swing it, I will just dream about Hobie wanting to sponsor our family to kayak around the US. ~If you are going to dream, might as well dream big! ROFLOL!!!
Recently, my hubby came home and told me that our favorite little sporting goods shop is getting in another of our favorite of kayaks, and I find myself asking if it is here yet! What started out as a ‘crazy whim’ of my hubby’s has ended up being a huge part of our camping fun! It is one of those ‘things that we do’ – part of our family identity – one way our family gets out there to enjoy creation together.
Check it out and maybe give it a try; it may just be a great way for your entire family to enjoy the great outdoors also!