Best Tandem Kayak

Solo adventuring is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. However, adventures tend to be more fun when you have the company of another person. This is where tandem kayaking steps in. 

If you and your friend, your partner, or your family love to kayak, a tandem kayak is the way to go. Not only do you get to share your interest in kayaking but you can share the workload making it far more enjoyable on long adventurous days out. 

Whether you’re looking for leisurely kayak trips or preparing for a race, your kayak will need certain features to suit your needs.

That is why we have researched the very best tandem kayaks on the market so you can sit back, relax, and simply choose which one suits you best. 

We have weighed up the pros and cons of each kayak so you can make an informed decision on which one will be joining you on your next tandem adventure. 

OUR TOP PICK

Intex explorer k2 kayak, 2-person inflatable kayak set with aluminum oars and high output air pump

We start with this inflatable tandem kayak from Intex. On the first appearance, its banana-like image stands out immediately. However, there is no banana peel here to slip you up. This kayak is the real deal!

This Intex Explorer K2 tandem kayak has an affordable price and has all the qualities to be used as a high-end kayak. It is made from sturdy vinyl and has proved, time and time again, to be reliable and ultra-durable.

Furthermore, this model is lightweight, compact, and very easy to assemble in just a few minutes, unlike non-inflatable kayaks. 

With an I-beam floor design, the K2 kayak offers rigidity. Its removable skeg offers stability in windy conditions as well.

The two built-in seats are highly comfortable and the fact that they are inflatable means they can be aligned with all body shapes for supreme comfort. 

Pros

  • Comes with a repair kit - Damage can easily occur with inflatable models but this has you covered
  • Bright yellow color - Easy to spot if you find yourself in an emergency
  • Adjustable and removable seats - Makes it easier for you to paddle in comfort

Cons

  • Unsuitable for larger people - This model will not support individuals with larger frames (maximum weight capacity is 400 lbs)

EDITORS CHOICE

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Measuring 10-feet tall and 2 seats wide, the Lifetime tandem kayak is a versatile piece of kit that can be used for solo or tandem purposes. With such a long kayak, there is even enough room for a small child or pet to sit comfortably in the center. 

The weight limit of this beastly kayak is 500 lbs so larger individuals should be able to take advantage of it. Furthermore, it is a highly stable kayak. Even strong winds will not budge this kayak so you should be safe in most weather conditions. 

We love the molded handles that are easy to grip and carry. Its ergonomic high and dry seats are comfortable and allow for a great view over your surroundings.

This Lifetime kayak also features rear storage to keep valuables and food items secure for long days out on the water.

And don’t worry about tough waters as this model is made from high-quality Polyethylene that will allow you to cruise serenely downstream in most conditions.

Pros

  • Small-ish dimensions - Easy to transport over long distances
  • Large weight capacity - Can support up to 500 lbs
  • 5-year warranty - This covers you for damages to your kayak giving you peace of mind

Cons

  • Plastic seats - These are not the most comfortable to experience over long distances 

BEST VALUE

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Here we have one of the most popular tandem kayaks for those looking for more portable touring models. The Advanced Elements  AdvancedFrame Tandem Inflatable Kayak is perfect for adventurous days out with a friend or on your own. 

Made from high-quality PVC tarpaulin, this kayak is also compatible with a BackBone flooring accessory and Drop-stitched flooring upgrade to allow for more rigid, high-pressure floors.

We were highly impressed by how portable this kayak is. Not only that, but it’s supremely comfortable and offers kayakers a very reliable level of maneuverability and stability when kayaking. 

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced kayaker, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Tandem Inflatable Kayak is an ideal choice. 

Pros

  • Can be used as a solo or tandem kayak - Easily converts from one person to two so you can choose what suits you best on the day
  • Highly durable - Tracks perfectly in the water and should last a long time
  • Ideal for flat water and lakes - Versatile piece of kit that will suit all kinds of kayakers

Cons

  • Takes some time to dry - You may need to leave this dry for a day or two which isn’t ideal 
  • Can take on water when under-inflated - If you do not inflate this sufficiently, water can start to fill the kayak

RUNNER UP

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Next up is the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak. If you want value for money on a top-quality fishing kayak, you’re looking right at it.

This is certainly one of the most versatile inflatable tandem kayaks for fishing but is also perfect for leisurely days out on lakes and rivers.

Made from thick-gauge PVC, this kayak is built to last a long time. It also boasts numerous air chambers to keep the kayak afloat if it suffers from any rare ruptures.

Adjustable Coleman seats keep you and your kayaking partner comfortable, especially when paddling for a long stretch of time. 

Moreover, if you feel like moving quicker, you can add a branded trolling motor and then store your paddles in the kayak’s convenient holders.

This kayak features Berkley Quick Set fishing rod holders that allow you to easily adjust the fishing pole angle when required. This means you can enjoy a hand-free fishing experience so you can just sit back and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Also, with your hands-free, it becomes easier to handle your gear which can be stored neatly in mesh pockets or D-rings attached. 

Pros

  • Great value for money - For an entry-level two-person kayak, this is one of the most affordable on the market
  • Perfect for fishing - Equipped with adjustable rod holders, a motor mount, and a plentiful supply of storage options, this is ideal for fishing trips
  • Adjustable seats - Ensure a high level of comfort for you and your kayaking partner

Cons

  • Not as stable as rigid kayak models - You may find it a little harder to keep stable which can be a nuisance when fishing

RUNNER UP

Ocean kayak malibu two tandem sit-on-top recreational kayak (sunrise, 12-feet)

If you have a larger budget to play with, this Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak might just do it for you.

While it is a little smaller compared to many other tandem kayaks, this kayak is the ideal choice for those who do not have sports utility vehicles to transport larger models.

It is also a great option for those of you who often paddle through confined spaces to get to a desirable kayaking destination. Remember, the smaller the kayak, the easier it will be to maneuver on both land and in the water. 

A stand-out feature of this Ocean kayak is its wrap-around seatbacks. Unlike many other kayaks that sport flimsy separated backings that break easily, this model’s seat contours to your back.

These seats are also taller than most giving you sufficient back support at all times. This makes this kayak ideal for longer trips on the water.

Just keep in mind that this Malibu kayak is shorter than many others on the market. Therefore, taller kayakers may feel pretty cramped inside.

Nevertheless, with a sit-on-top design, it remains a comfortable and forgiving experience for most paddlers. And, we can’t forget a third center seat allowing a child or pet to ride along as well.

Pros

  • Wrap-around backrests - The seats are extremely comfortable and provide ample support
  • A third seat is available - Can take your child along for a fun day out too
  • Compact size - Easy for traveling and in confined spaces

Cons

  • Not ideal for taller kayakers - May feel cramped when sitting in this kayak
  • More expensive - This is better suited to more experienced paddlers due to its higher price tag

Best Tandem Kayaks Buying Guide

Before you go ahead and make a decision on which kayak to get, there are some important factors to consider first.

Below are some key features to think about when buying the best kayak for your needs.

Best tandem kayak

Budget

We all have a budget in mind when it comes to buying new equipment. Therefore, you should not look for kayaks outside of your price range. The good news is that the range is pretty vast.

Some tandem kayaks can be found for less than $400 while others are well over $1,500. Set a budget before looking at kayaks and the field of choice will become easier to navigate.

Also, when considering your budget, look at the features that come with a kayak in this price range. This can help you decide if it is worth the price tag.

Check if the kayak comes with mounts, repair kits, and paddles. Purchasing paddles separately can set you back an additional $200 or so.

Warranty

You should check whether there is a warranty on offer. The majority of kayak manufacturers only provide limited warranties that protect against any manufacturing defects.

Because you will be spending a fair chunk of money, ensure that you try and find a model with the longest possible warranty available. 

Portability

Standard kayaks tend to range from 75 to 100 pounds in overall weight. Even if a kayak seems a little heavy, you should remember that you will have another person to assist you in transporting it most of the time.

Of course, inflatable kayaks, such as the models on our list, are not as heavy and are generally very easy to transport. However, the larger hardshell versions will usually benefit from the use of a kayak cart as well.

If you have ever tried to lift a 90 lbs boat on top of your head onto the roof rack of a station wagon or SUV, you will know it is no easy task.

Luckily, any vehicle that sports a trailer hitch can easily tow a kayak on a trailer. Just make sure you consider the weight you will be towing in case your vehicle and trailer don’t support it. 

This is why many people opt for inflatable kayaks, especially in the beginning. Some even come with duffel bags and storage options to neatly keep your kayak in when deflated. 

Durability

Your tandem kayak needs to be durable. They should be able to serve their purpose for many years to come. This is why you must inspect the materials used in its construction.

Check all parts of the kayak such as its handles, its composition, its paddle bars, and other physical elements. In general, the strongest tandem kayaks are made from heavy-duty plastic or PVC.

Best Tandem Kayaks - FAQ's

Can A Tandem Kayak Be Used By One Person? 

Tandem kayaks can be quite difficult to maneuver by yourself, especially if you’re a beginner. The longer shape of the kayak along with the possibility of windy weather can make it extremely tricky to navigate if you are a beginner.

However, it can be possible to use a tandem kayak on your own. Some kayakers find that if you sit at the back and then add some weight to the front for even weight distribution, it becomes easier to paddle and make smoother turns. 

Where Should The Heavier Person Sit In A Tandem Kayak? 

Heavier paddlers should sit at the back. The same goes for more experienced paddlers. A heavier weight at the stern is better than additional weight at the front.

However, when the weather is windy or counter-currents appear, the heavier person should sit in the front for better control. 

Kayaks tend to tilt forwards if the weight is not distributed evenly. This can slow down the boat and cause its tip to dip into the waves. 

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