Canoeing with kids

With the right preparation there is more fun to be had.

Canoeing- is an exciting outdoor experience for the whole family.

A canoe trip with the kids is a great experience.
The whole family are in one boat and joined together by teamwork and team spirit. Open canoeing is one of the few sports (as long as the water and the experience allow) where children of an early age can be taken along to share the fun. Whether you are bird watching and silently gliding along, running a rapid, which can be more exciting than any amusement park, or having a picnic on the banks (please be sure to leave no trace) being in the great outdoors and discovering new horizons, all this and much more is open canoeing. Modern management training courses use the positive aspects of open canoeing to teach teamwork.

Choice of open canoe
A large open canoe has room for the kids and their friends so for them it is double the fun. Or several families set out together to canoe… open canoeing isn’t difficult, in fact, it is easy to learn and before long the kids have taken over at the helm. The basic paddle strokes are easy to grasp and you don’t necessarily need a canoe course to learn them. Take a look on the Gatz- website under Canoe technique. There you will find sketches of the basic paddle strokes and information for entry level canoeists which will help you to get started. These sketches can also be found in the Gatz catalogue. The paddle stokes can be understood within 10-15 min. Make sure when you are choosing an open canoe that older children have a seat to themselves even though it is possible to sit two together on the wider middle seats. For smaller children it is better to sit them on the floor of the canoe using a lilo or foam mattress to ensure that they are comfortable on there inboard playground. On sunny days a parasol will help to protect the little ones. A safety life jacket for kids is an absolute must and you can find the most comfortable model in different designs on our special page “Kids Gear” set up because of its importance. Look for good advice on this subject.

Before your first trip
Go to a recommended Gatz dealer or rental company and ask for advice about which open canoe and route is most suitable for your first trip. The most important thing is that you receive safe and reliable equipment which will help you to make your trip become an unforgettable experience. Your own or rented open canoe can be transported using almost any vehicle with a roof rack. Loading your canoe onto the roof rack is fast and very simple when you know how to use the laws of leverage. To secure your open canoe on to the roof rack use straps with a buckle and tie down the front and rear of the canoe to the towing eyes.

For your first trip
With children we recommend a lake or reservoir and when the weather is warm you will quickly learn more about your open canoe and just how far you can go without capsizing. The next trip can be a slow flowing river to explore with the family. The first trip should not be too long because of the fact that you are out in the fresh air all day and use completely different muscle groups as opposed to Jogging or cycling.

What should I take with me?
You should look at the checklist in the download area. At first it is a good idea to take a change of clothing (in watertight containers or bags) toys to keep the kids happy a picnic basket etc. with you. Very often the kids paddle is enough to keep them interested and motivated just by doing the same as Mum and Dad are. We have good and light paddles which premium rental companies also have. Or buy a paddle as a keep sake and reminder of the lovely trip you had. It might be necessary to attach a line to the paddle and tie it onto the canoe. This will prevent you from doubling back to collect a lost paddle. If you don’t have a paddle for your child a stick will suffice, but under no circumstances should kids be blind passengers and not participate in the teamwork.

An outdoor experience.
Watching and discovering, playing and making different things, kids on the river take interest in the surrounding nature. Having there own equipment promotes this outdoor feeling. Collecting leaves or stones and researching in books, taking photos or looking at insects under a magnifying glass there are no boundaries to what you can do with the kids when you are in the great outdoors. Mum and Dad enjoy a picnic while the kids are on the prowl discovering animal tracks or a water mill or a beaver dam. Kids learn to be patient and quite outdoors and are rewarded by sighting an otter or fish on there way to spawn or even much more. Many things that you discover outdoors can not be planned they just happen but they leave you with lasting memories for years to come. Nature has a hoard of treasures to be discovered that will keep the kids’ occupied for hours on end. A simple competition can add to the excitement.

Last but not least
Dry clothes should be stowed in a watertight sack or canister. Light sport clothes and runners are adequate and under no circumstances should you wear Wellington boots or clothes which soak up a lot of water.

When you have prepared your trip, checked all your equipment, decided on the route, and the shuttle back to the start is in place, then you can “set sail” with the family on your open canoeing adventure.

We wish you lots of fun

your Gatz Canoe Team