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Before you can embark on your next adventure, you’ll need the perfect kayak. If you want to share your watersport experiences with someone else, there’s nothing better than a tandem, or double, kayak. They can hold multiple people at once, so they’re perfect for large float trips. Need something for the ultimate fishing trip? You got it. Want to bring Fido along to the lake? Definitely.
There’s plenty of options available on the market today, but finding the best one for your needs can be a little tricky. After all, the best kayak for anglers is definitely not going to work well for whitewater enthusiasts. To help you out, we’re taking a closer look at 3 top products on the market today. If you’d like some more in-depth information, though, head on down to our buying guide below so you can choose the best tandem kayak for your needs.
Coming in at number one on our list, this Sea Eagle kayak can carry multiple people at once, or up to 650 lbs. That’s an incredible maximum weight capacity, so you’ll definitely be able to fit an extra cooler on board. Setting up and taking down this model is a breeze, with assembly only taking 8 minutes and the whole thing only weighing a little over 30 lbs. You’d be hard-pressed to find a lighter kayak with a higher weight limit.
This package comes with two skegs, inflatable spray skirts, and a sun- and saltwater-resistant hull. This design makes it great for whitewater activities.* With its versatile construction, convenience, light weight, and high carrying capacity, we give this model a solid 9.0 rating (which also makes it the best inflatable kayak on this list).
Anglers can find a lot to love in the Brooklyn Kayak Company sit-on-top, 12-foot tandem kayak. Firstly, you’ll have plenty of space for your rods. This baby comes with 6 total rod holders. 4 are stationary while 2 are adjustable for maximum convenience. You can take home plenty in a cooler if you strap it into the decently sized cargo area. For your wallet and keys, don’t worry. There’s watertight hatches on board: one for you, and one for your rear paddler. You can easily rest your paddles in designated paddle holders as well. BKC has truly designed this product with the avid angler in mind!
Available in multiple colors, you can buy it on Amazon for $797.00. While this isn’t cheap, it’s still a decent price for the quality of kayak that you’ll be getting. Handling this kayak can be a little awkward due to its length and weight, although it does come with carrying handles. Its size also means storing it will be a little trickier than an inflatable version. However, with two people on the job and a nice storage space, this little canoe could be just the thing to enhance the next fishing trip.
This inflatable tandem kayak from Intex Explorer is a steal at only $75.00 on Amazon. With adjustable inflatable seats for maximum comfort, this little guy is perfect for outings on either lakes or mild rivers. This model is lightweight, weighing only a little more than 30 lbs. Combined with a removable skeg, this kayak can be quite easy to use and handle.
While this inflatable model is sturdy enough, it’s still possible to puncture the hull. Fortunately, a patch repair kit is included with a purchase. Given its design and weight capacity, this model is great for mild outings. However, if you’re an intense whitewater rafter, you’ll need to look for something else.
*Sea Eagle suggests nothing more intense than Class III whitewater activities.
Now that you’ve seen our top picks, head on down to our in-depth buying guide so you’ll know what to look for when searching for the best 2-person kayak.
If you enjoy kayaking and want to share the experience with your family or friends, a tandem kayak might be for you. Tandem kayaks, or double kayaks, are a great way to share your joy of kayaking with others. This can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Not all tandem kayaks are the same, though. We’re here to help you figure out which one is best suited for your adventuring needs!
A tandem kayak can seat two adults. They typically range from 18 to 24 feet in length. One person sits on the front seat, or bow cockpit, while a second person sits on the back seat, or stern. It is similar to a single-person kayak in that it has storage space in the bow and the stern, and you can use a tandem kayak in the same way that you use a traditional one. Many can even have a small third space, which can accommodate a small child or a dog.
There are several reasons why a tandem kayak could be perfect for you. Getting one means you can:
With a tandem kayak, you might save money by purchasing one kayak rather than two separate ones.
By kayaking together, you and your partner might have a more enjoyable experience and paddle more efficiently, once you get the hang of it. If you get tired, it’s possible to take turns paddling. Tandem kayaks will also help you achieve more speed and travel greater distances.
Tandem kayaks can be great for couples with a child or for kayakers who enjoy sharing the experience with friends. Tandem kayaks are great for kids because of their size and stability. A child in the front seat can enjoy the view, while a parent or guardian does most of the heavy paddling from the rear seat.
On separate kayaks, it can be hard to stay together. This is especially true for kayakers of different levels and abilities. With tandems, it’s much easier to stick together in groups. Double kayaks also make it easier to transport someone to safety if an accident should occur. Because of their added storage capacity, tandems are a great choice for camping trips or similar expeditions.
They are also a good choice if you want to bring your dog along for the ride. Just be sure to use a pet life jacket along with food, water, and a blanket to keep your pooch safe and comfortable.
Tandems are a good way to introduce a new kayaker to the sport or to take a non-kayaker along.
If you don’t have enough storage space in your home for two separate kayaks, a tandem kayak is a great solution.
The main disadvantage of a tandem kayak is the lack of freedom that comes along with it. After all, a second person means you do not have complete control over the boat. Some people jokingly refer to a tandem as a "divorce boat" because of the need to work together and the tendency to blame the other person for difficulties. Another disadvantage is that if you use a tandem kayak by yourself, you will find that it can be harder to control that a traditional kayak due to its larger size.
With a tandem, you will also have less space to store cargo than on two separate kayaks. Although, a tandem typically has one and a half times the storage capacity of a solo kayak. Tandems are also heavier and harder to load and unload.
There are many considerations to take into account when selecting a tandem kayak. You will want to look for one that is durable, comfortable, and comes with the accessories that you need. Here are some of the important features to look for when searching for the best tandem kayak:
Manufacturers make these canoes from a variety of materials. Polyethylene, composite, and inflatable kayaks are some of the more common varieties.
Made from a plastic powder that is poured into a mold, polyethylene kayaks are the least expensive and the most common type. They are very durable, but can be heavy and degrade if left out in the sun for too long.
Composite kayaks are made from a blend of fabrics like carbon fiber, aramid, and graphite, which is layered and molded into the shape of a kayak. A coating of gel is applied to form the surface, foam or honeycomb panels might be added, and vacuum bags and resin are applied. The deck and the hull are attached to each other with fiberglass tape and resin. These kayaks are the most expensive hard-shell kayaks. They are durable but their stiffness makes them more fragile when they experience sharp or direct impacts.
Inflatable kayaks are made from strong poly-based fabric, and they use air to stay afloat. They are extremely puncture-resistant, lightweight, and compact canoes. They are ideal for traveling and storage. They're also a great choice for beginners. The biggest disadvantages of inflatable kayaks are the time it takes to inflate them and the possibility of them getting punctured from a strong impact. (Always bring a patch repair kit!)
When choosing a tandem kayak, you should take into account what type of activities you will use it for. There are several types of kayaks, including sea, whitewater, racing, fishing, recreational, and surf varieties.
When choosing between different hull designs, it is important to consider your level of expertise. The most common type has a flat bottom or planing hull. It is wide, stable, and easy to maneuver. Rounded or displacement hulls are shaped like a torpedo. They are fast and do well in tough conditions. V-shaped hulls are the fastest type, but they are not as maneuverable as rounded hulls.
Another set of considerations when choosing a tandem kayak is weight and size. They generally come in three sizes: small, medium, and large, and they typically measure between 10 to 20 feet long. Longer kayaks are more stable but harder to maneuver. Shorter ones are easier to maneuver but are more prone to tipping over. Shorter tandems are also more difficult to paddle with two people. This is because you will be sitting closer together. If your strokes are not in sync, you will end up hitting each other’s paddles. They also have less storage space.
Kayaks also come in different widths. A wider kayak is more stable and might be better for fishing, while narrow kayaks are faster. Keep in mind that the larger the kayak, the more space you will need to store it.
Non-inflatable tandem kayaks usually weigh around 75 to 100 pounds. Since they are on the heavy side, you will likely need a few people to carry one or put on a storage rack. A kayak trailer that your vehicle tows is a great option for transporting your kayak more easily. Weight capacity is also important to consider. You will want one that holds your weight plus the weight of your partner and gear.
Tandems come in two basic models, sit-on-top and sit-inside. A sit-on-top, or open, kayak is just what it sounds like. Instead of sitting inside of an enclosed cockpit, you will sit on top of the boat. This makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak, it is simpler to learn how to use, and more fun for kids. You are more likely to get wet in a sit-on-top kayak, which makes them more agreeable to warm weather. It is also easier to flip them back over if you happen to capsize.
If you plan on touring, you will want sit-inside, closed, or sit-in kayaks. These models are more likely to keep you dry due to their cockpits, backrests, and potential to add a spray skirt. They will be faster moving and will keep you safer and warmer in rough waters, although it will be harder to get into and out of them. They are also much harder to recover in if you happen to flip over.
If you're looking to take your phone, camera, and wallet along for the ride, you will need a kayak with watertight storage compartments or dry bags. Other items can be attached with bungee cords to your kayak, like a cooler or other gear.
Another feature to consider is comfort. Sufficient legroom and space in the cockpit along with cushioned seats can make the kayaking experience much more pleasant. Beverage holders are also a great feature. Optimally placed paddle holders can also make more leisurely activities, like floating or fishing, much easier.
Besides paddle holders, anglers will also appreciate fishing rod holders. After all, you can't hold all of your fishing rods for the entire trip! Some holders will be stationary, while others are adjustable. Whichever you prefer depends on you.
Some other great accessories include a spray skirt to protect you from the water, a skeg to help stabilize the kayak, and a rudder to help you control the direction of the boat. A rudder is strongly recommended for a tandem kayak because it will make it easier to maintain a rhythm and avoid clashing your paddles with those of your partner. Unlike regular canoes, opt for double-sided paddles when using kayaks.
Paddling a tandem kayak can be a bit of challenge at first. However, once you get used to it, you will enjoy the camaraderie it offers. To avoid your paddles from clashing, it is more effective to paddle in tandem and to work on developing a rhythm.
The back paddler will be responsible for steering the kayak, while the front paddler sets the pace. So, it is best to put the stronger paddler in the back. In a touring tandem, there is enough room between the paddlers so that paddling in tandem is not essential.
To turn a tandem kayak, the front paddler should stroke forward while the back paddler strokes backward on the opposite side. If you have a rudder, that can be used by the person in back to turn the kayak.
When first taking up kayaking, it’s especially important to seek out the help of a professional guide or take classes to learn proper techniques and other safety considerations. According to the USDA Forest Service, some things to keep in mind when setting out to kayak or canoe include (but are not limited to):
Some other items to bring along can include first-aid kits, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
Whether you are just getting started or you are an experienced kayaker, a tandem kayak is a great choice. With one, you can share your adventures with your family and friends (or even your pets). Once you have picked out your tandem kayak, get ready to enjoy all that kayaking together has to offer.
Disclaimer: This article should not replace professional safety advice or technique recommendations.