Still, being able to share the adventure with someone else requires a tandem kayak. Tandem kayaks are longer and heavier than single-person kayaks, but they’re ideal for paddling in the company of your friend or partner.
Choosing a tandem kayak isn’t always so straightforward because there are many models on the market. These many pieces to choose from make the entire search a bit overwhelming for some people.
For this reason, take a few minutes to discover the best tandem boats and their pros and cons in the article below. Make sure also to check our buyer’s guide for some more valuable information on how to pick the best kayak for your next trip.
Our Top 8 Rated Tandem Kayak Review
Intex Excursion Pro
This inflatable kayak is made of laminate PVC, featuring a polyester core that’s resistant and durable. It’s lightweight and resistant to sunlight, impact, and abrasion.
It has spring-loaded valves for quick and hassle-free inflation and deflation. Keep in mind that using a high-pressure pump gives better inflation and, with that, more stability and rigidity.
Another thing worth noting is the adjustable mounting bracket that’s also removable. It allows you to attach different accessories such as swivel fishing rod holders, fish finders, GPS systems, and others.
This one includes two floor-mounted footrests, two skews for shallow and deep water, two adjustable bucket seats, and two integrated fishing rod holders.
Its weight capacity is 400 pounds, so make sure that you and your partner fit within that limit. This one comes with a repair patch and a carrying bag.
Advanced Elements Convertible
Advanced Elements Convertible is a good choice if you’re looking for a reinforced and durable tandem kayak. It features built-in aluminum ribs that improve tracking and define the bow and stern.
It includes three layers of material for some added resistance and safety. It’s resistant to puncture, impact, sun exposure, and salt.
This one weighs 52 pounds and has a total weight capacity of 550 pounds. It measures 35x21x12 inches when folded, which means you probably won’t have any issues trying to store it away.
It comes pre-assembled, so all you have to do is unfold and inflate it. Attach the seats, and you’re good to go since the entire process lasts less than 20 minutes.
Also, it has three seat locations that allow you to paddle solo or with a friend.
Driftsun Voyager Tandem
This Driftsun Voyager is easy to inflate in about five minutes using the included high-flow double-action hand pump. It measures 10’x35’’x16’’ when fully inflated.
When deflated, it measures only 26x16x8 inches, which allows easy storage and transportation. It weighs only 27 pounds and comes with a carrying bag for some added convenience.
This one has a PVC Tarpaulin bottom, providing strength and protection from potential punctures. Plus, it has Boston valves that are double-threaded and unlikely to leak.
Another thing worth noting is the 840D coated nylon oxford fabric top cover that’s resistant to tearing and ripping.
It has EVA padded seats that are comfortable and supportive even when you cruise for hours. The included paddles are made of aluminum, while it also features ergonomic grip handles.
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
This fishing kayak is sturdy, durable, and designed to withstand frequent use. It’s made of UV-protected high-density Polyethylene that provides resistance, stability, and durability.
The most important thing to mention is the flat bottom. It provides maximum stability, which is especially important for beginners.
It has adjustable padded seats and multiple footrest positions to accommodate different people regardless of their height.
Another thing worth noting is the number of accessories it comes with. It has two flush-mounted fishing rod holders along with one top-mount holder. It also has front and rear shock cord straps.
This one includes two 6’’ storage compartments in the center and rear. It has front and rear T-handles for easier transportation. On top of that, it has deep hull tracking channels and a paddle keeper.
Wilderness Systems Pamlico
Wilderness Systems Pamlico is among the most convenient and versatile options on the market. It converts to solo use to fit your everyday needs.
This one has a rounded hull that delivers swift acceleration. The construction makes it easier to paddle across long distances in less time.
It features three AirPro seats that are ergonomically designed and comfortable. They’re adjustable and features ventilated mesh to keep you comfortable and cool.
Another thing worth noting is the knee and thigh padding. It provides comfortable support while allowing optimal boat control at all times.
This one has large footrests that are padded and comfortable to use for hours. Plus, the footrests lock in different positions to accommodate people of different heights.
Keep in mind that it weighs 72 pounds, which might be a bit too heavy to transport around.
Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak
This Sevylor is a 3-person kayak designed to provide safety and stability while allowing you to enjoy your time in the water.
It features heavy-duty PVC construction that’s perfect for lake use because it’s resistant and rugged. It won’t show any signs of wear or tear even when exposed to the sun for a long time.
The tarpaulin bottom provides some added protection from punctures as well as stability. It has multiple air chambers that allow one to stay inflated in case another chamber is punctured.
Another thing worth noting is the Airtight System that adds more to the overall safety and stability. It also includes a Boston Valve that’s double-threaded for easier inflation and deflation.
It includes adjustable seats and carrying handles for easier portability. This one can hold three people that weigh up to 490 pounds.
Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable
Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe is a three-person inflatable tandem kayak with a capacity to hold up to 650 pounds. It weighs 26 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around and store.
This one is pretty comfortable to use for hours on end. It features two movable, comfortable seats with great back support and two paddles. It also comes with a carrying bag and a foot pump.
Another thing worth noting is that it comes with two four-part paddles with an asymmetrical blade as well as an aluminum shaft. It features high-frequency welded seams for some added durability and resistance.
It has an open/close drain valve, along with five deluxe one-way valves for inflation and deflation. The two skegs on the bottom are included for better acceleration and tracking.
Driftsun Rover Inflatable Tandem
Driftsun Rover is a great choice if you want a lightweight and durable kayak. It takes only about five minutes to inflate this one, and you’re ready to take it to water.
Keep in mind that it weighs 22 pounds, which means it’s easy to carry around at all times. Still, it’s pretty durable, featuring a resistant PVC Tarpaulin bottom and 1000D reinforced layered PVC side tubes.
It has a rocker profile for superior stability and control regardless of whether you’re in flat or rough water.
It has five self-bailing ports, a camera mount, and several tie-down points. Another thing worth noting is the EVA padded seat that’s adjustable and has great back support.
This one comes with a two-piece aluminum paddle and a hand pump for easier inflation.
Tandem kayaks are typically more expensive than those meant for a single person. However, the price is almost always affected by other things like the overall quality, weight capacity, and additional features.
Feature-rich models usually cost more than simpler boats, so make sure to think about what fits your needs and preferences better.
These can weigh as much as 90 pounds. This is usually too heavy for a single person to carry it, so you might need help from another passenger.
Still, you might want to go for a kayak you can carry on your own in case your passenger can’t help you or you ever decide to ride alone.
Max Weight Limit
This is one of the most important things you should pay attention to before buying a tandem kayak. You want to be sure that the model of your choice can carry you and your passengers.
These can typically carry from 200 to 600 pounds, but you should always double-check the exact limit so that you don’t exceed it.
Tandem kayaks are available as inflatable and solid models. Some are designed as sit-on-top while others are sit-in, which is something you’ll have to choose between.
A sit-in kayak feels more stable as your legs go inside the cockpit. A sit-on-top model is a bit more open and might be more comfortable for some.
Choosing The Right One
Padding With a Friend
Although tandem kayaks are fun and exciting, they can also be a lot of work. Paddling with a friend can be a great bonding experience, but it usually takes a bit of learning.
Trying to paddle in a team can be very frustrating, especially if you’re on different levels as far as skills and experience go.
Failing to communicate about turns and routes can result in frustration, argument, and chaos. For this reason, you should agree on patience and understanding before entering your kayak.
It might take a bit of time before you fall into rhythm with your partner, but you’re going to enjoy it once it happens.
2 Person vs. Single
The biggest advantage of tandem kayak over single-person models is that it’s usually cheaper to buy one tandem than two single-person boats.
Also, it’s far more efficient when you paddle with another person than on your own. Still, it takes a bit of learning and lots of patience.
Another great thing about tandem kayaks is that you can relax a bit while your friend paddles. This way, you don’t get as tired as when you’re paddling on your own.
Still, a two-person model requires you always to have a partner. This can be rather frustrating at times, especially if your partner doesn’t have as much experience.
A single-person boat is more suitable for people who want to explore the water on their own. It’s shorter than most tandem models and easier to carry by yourself because it’s not as heavy.
As we mentioned, there are two styles that you’ll have to choose between. The newer version is called a sit-on-top kayak, while the older and more traditional one is called a sit-inside or a cockpit kayak.
Both types have their pros and cons, so it’s just a matter of learning about each of them so that you can pick what suits you the best.
A sit-inside allows you to sit inside with your legs in the boat while your torso is exposed. Although these are often pretty stable and easy to use, you might feel a bit cramped, depending on how tall you are.
Sit-on-top models are completely open and somewhat more comfortable for tall people. There’s more space for your legs, and you’ll probably find it easier to get in and out.
These are often recommended for recreational use.
Single kayaks don’t really have a lot of storage space for all the gear most people want to bring. Sadly, it’s the same case with two-person kayaks as well.
Tandem boats don’t have any more storage space even though they’re made for two or three people. Most models have deck lashing and shock cord as the only storage options.
Sit-on-top boats are somewhat more exposed and might have more space for storing different things. However, all your stuff will be exposed to water, which can be a problem, depending on what you want to carry.
Watertight hatches are another option, although they’re often not fully waterproof. They’re only suitable if there’s a danger of flipping the boat when in rough water.
A watertight compartment might not keep your items completely dry, but it will at least prevent them from ending up at the bottom of the lake.
The first thing you should keep in mind is that a tandem kayak is always longer than a single-person boat. Being that it’s longer, it’s also trickier to carry around, which is why you’ll usually need help from at least one more person.
Also, keep in mind that longer boats are more challenging to maneuver with. This means it might take some time before you and your paddling partner align and start working as a team.
Some kayaks are longer than others because some can fit two, while others fit three people. In most cases, the length varies between 12 and 16 feet or longer.
Inflatable or Solid
Although many people think that solid boats are more durable, that’s not always true. Inflatable models are easy to use and quite reliable, regardless of your experience and skill level.
However, inflatable models require a pump, and most come with manual pumps that are somewhat tiring to use. Trying to inflate a large boat using a manual pump might take some time and muscle.
This isn’t so much of an issue if you have a high-pressure pump. In this case, the entire process takes a few minutes.
Another great thing about inflatable boats is that they’re easy to store. Once you deflate it, you can fold it so that it fits the smallest space in your storage room.
On the other hand, solid boats are a bit more difficult to break. They’re not as easy to puncture and can only be broken if bumped against another solid material.
Hopefully, you’ve found yourself the best tandem kayak for your next adventure. If not, we suggest you check the Intex Excursion Pro as our recommendation.
It’s an inflatable tandem kayak made of durable laminate PVC and a polyester core. The construction is quite durable and resistant but still lightweight and easy to carry.
It has two floor-mounted footrests and removable skews for different water conditions. It also features two integrated fishing rod holders and adjustable bucket seats.
This one is easy to inflate thanks to its spring-loaded valves. It comes with a carrying bag and a repair patch for emergencies.
Keep in mind that its weight capacity is 400 pounds, which should be enough to accommodate two people. As always, make sure not to exceed this limit.
Although Intex Excursion Pro is our selected winner, you should still consider other models as some of the best on the market.
It’s up to you to choose among these models, always keeping in mind your needs and preferences so that you can pick what suits them the best. It’s the best way of ensuring that the tandem boat of your choice is the right fit for your next adventure.