Whether it’s going to a tropical island, staying at cabin near a lake or even visiting the Maldives for a much-needed vacation, everyone should get the chance to try out water sports. They are a departure from the regular lives we live and are much needed to freshen us up for what’s to come. Kayaking is one such activity that you definitely need to try out.
Island resorts have jet skis and water gliding but they are pretty expensive. They are also a form of extreme water sports not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a much more relaxing paddling activity, kayaking would be your best pick. They are a great way to bond with someone while you paddle your way through the crystal clear waters. Kayaking is also cheaper and there are many free kayaking places available near such vacation spots.
Buying your own Tandem Kayak can be a much better option, because you can take the kayaks back every time you visit a water source. There are many ways of picking out the best tandem kayak according to your needs.
What is a Tandem Kayak?
Tandem kayaks are small boats you can use to traverse across a water source. They are a great way to not only exercise through paddling but for fishing and just having the time of your life.
Kayaking in itself is thought to be a single person sport. However, there are days where you wish to go out paddling with a friend or family member or maybe with your girlfriend. That’s when you look for a tandem kayak because it allows for more than one person to fit into a boat. They are generally heavier than single kayaks but are twice as fun. They also require less effort as the other person assists you in paddling throughout.
There are cons to choosing a tandem kayak however and they revolve around the idea of teamwork. If you and the other person are having a fight or aren’t on good terms, then do not go kayaking. Unless both of you want to make things right, kayaking will only make things worse. People have termed tandem kayaks as the ‘divorce kayak’ for a reason.
How We Picked the Best Tandem Kayaks?
There are several things to look into when making the purchase. Tandem kayaks are different from single kayaks and generally cost more. Making sure you have the right requirements and then making the purchase can help you from a world of regret. These are the things that we found particularly important while making the list:
– The Weight:
The journey from your home to the water source can be a long one. Having to lift it up, put it in your pickup truck and then unload it can become really tiring. We made sure we chose kayaks that generally were made of a lighter and stronger material so that two people could lift them up. This did however increase the price range of the kayaks but choosing a stronger kayak is key to safety. Choosing a lighter kayak also helps people to paddle faster than anyone else. Less amount of effort is put in both in the water and out of the water.
– The Length of the Kayak:
The length of the tandem kayak is important because it goes on to describe how stable the kayak is on water. People tend to choose short kayaks because they are easy to carry but fail to realize there is a higher chance for them flip. We chose tandem kayaks that were just in the right area of the spectrum so that they could have both balance and were faster.
– The Size of your Family:
Tandem kayaks allow for two people to fit in. Some also allow for three but are pretty expensive if you are on a tight budget.
That is the reason why you have to check the size of your family before you make the purchase. If you have an odd numbered family, you might want to consider purchasing a single kayak so they do not feel left out. Nonetheless, the size of the family is a key factor to take into account before buying your first kayak.
– Is it Sit in or Sit on top:
The traditional sit in kayak gives you the feeling of being close to the water. These kayaks have spaces designed to fit in your legs properly. The new sit on top kayaks provide a much more open experience. If you are claustrophobic, choosing a sit on top kayak maybe the best option. The function of both the kayaks is the same but the experience of each individual will vary.
– Where you are going to Use it:
The kind of water source you are going to use the kayak in matters. Rivers require kayaks that are much more durable and strong because of the current in them. Lakes are calmer and a wider but require much more effort to paddle. This is due to there being no waves and no push factor for the kayak.
If you are kayaking near the sea however, a much more balanced kayak with both the functions should be your ideal purchase. It all depends on the kind of area you like to kayak for.
– Does it have a Paddle Rest?
Ask any seasoned kayaker or anyone who goes out for fishing a lot and they will tell you the importance of a paddle rest. There is always a chance of you losing the paddle once you are out in deep waters. Once it falls, you have the option of either diving in towards it and getting all wet or forsaking it to buy a new one.
The paddle rest helps save you from the unnecessary hassle. It keeps the paddles safe on-board when you wish to lay back and relax. Enjoying the view is as important as kayaking.
– Storage Space:
The storage space of the kayak is important because where else can you keep your belongings if not on board. There is always the risk of a good phone or wallet getting wet incase the waves run high. Especially when you are riding the strong currents of a river and you cannot focus on your equipment. You will most probably end up losing it. Instead, look for a kayak that provides ample amounts of storage.
This can also come in handy while taking food on-board. Other than that, you can bring an ice box and keep it in the storage to store your fresh caught fish.
How We Tested the Best Tandem Kayaks
Our team went on and checked a total of six tandem kayaks across the market. All these tandem kayaks were of different variety and had several perks that made them unique. We tested each kayak for durability and sturdiness. The kayak is supposedly going to be used very roughly and in several different waters other than the one it is designated for. That is why we made sure we added some all-purpose tandem kayaks to the list as well.
We then checked the paddles. The paddles with a lighter weight were easier to use and were chosen because of that reason. We also tried to find out whether there was a place especially designated for the keeping the paddles while people tried to use their rods for fishing. Not a lot of kayaks had designated places for that, but we did manage to find a few.
Next, we weighed the overall kayaks. Since tandem kayaks weighed a lot more than normal ones, we chose ones that mostly weight between 400 to 600 pounds. We also looked for Kayaks that were easily inflatable with an inflator along with whether or not the kayak had a safety belt for young children. The safety belt feature could be particularly useful when you paddle out to much deeper waters.
Lastly, we tested the tandem kayaks out on water to check their actual stability. We scored them out of 10 and the most stable kayaks were generally the ones that were longer in size with a fewer exceptions. These kayaks were then added to the finalized list because of their strong material and their stability in different bodies of water that included a lake, river and the ocean.
1. Intex Explorer K2:
The overall length of this tandem kayak is 10ft and 3 inches. The tandem kayak also has a depth of 15 inches providing average space for sitting. It can get really painful if you just sit in one position throughout a ride therefore need space to move about. This also discourages a lot of claustrophobic individuals from ever using the kayak. They don’t know what they are missing out on!
The tandem kayak is made from a strong, puncture resistant fiber that enables the kayak to withstand rougher terrain as you drag it along to the water source. The kayak can also weather sharp rocks that may puncture a hole. Usually, the strong current of a river may take your kayak across shallow rocky surfaces that can damage your kayak and put your life at risk. You can rest assured knowing that will not happen with the Intex Explorer K2.
Other than that, the kayak can support 2 people with a combined weight of 180kg. It also consists of an inflatable I-beam floor for rigidity and better performance in rougher waters. The boston valves of the kayak are a standard feature you find in all tandem kayaks as they help you with easy inflation and deflation of the kayak.
The unique feature about the kayak is that it comes with a removable/ adjustable seat that is a lot more comfortable than most seats on tandem kayaks. The company understood the fact that people spend quite a few hours when they are out kayaking therefore the seats prevent unnecessary discomfort. The kayak comes in a bright yellow color that is very visible in the water therefore allowing emergency rescue in the case of any mishaps.
- Heavy-duty puncture resistant surface.
- Two separate air chambers help fill the kayak faster.
- Boston valves for easy inflation and deflation of kayak.
- Increased visibility in water.
- Amazing stability.
- Made for smaller bodies of water therefore is limited.
- Paddles are not the best there are in the market.
2. Sea Eagle SE370:
The SE370 is designed to hold three people with a combined weight of 650 pounds. The tandem kayak itself weighs a total of 32 pounds. The tandem kayak is one of the few in the market who can hold more than two in its chambers. The product has an NMMA certification with three deluxe one-way valves that help you inflate and deflate the kayak faster.
The kayak comes with two skegs at the bottom for better tracking and speed therefore making this kayak best for downstream river activities. The hull is made with tough PolyKrylar material that can withstand any pokes at the kayak’s surface. It is also saltwater and sun proof that adds to the overall strength and appeal of the kayak. The pack also comes with a repair kit along with a pressure gauge to ensure the right amount of air filled into the kayak.
The length of the kayak is around 10ft and 9 inches and has an assemble time of 8 minutes which is good for anyone who doesn’t like to wait. The total depth is around 20 inches. This feature allows individuals to sit comfortably while they paddle away in the water. Sitting in one position can be a daunting task hence the company felt the need to make more depth. Imagine being big in size and getting stuck in the kayak. You won’t be able to get out without the help of a friend.
Usually, it is the kids who get impatient when they see a body of water and want to go rafting on it. Many reviews online showed that even dogs can be carried on the kayak without the fear of the dog’s paws punching a hole in the hull. The downside to the kayak is that by adding more space, the company has increased its instability.
Reviews online show that the overall stability of the raft falls if there are more than one people riding on it. This effect is particularly high when all the people on top of it cannot decide where to go. Its price on Amazon starts at $373
- Lighter in weight and easy to inflate.
- NMMA certified kayak.
- Comes with bow and stern grab line for user balance.
- Strong PolyKrylar hull that is tough enough to withstand any pokes.
- No ropes on the sides to tie down gear.
- The light weight makes it more susceptible to blowing away in the wind.
- Weak paddles that require more effort.
3. Advanced Elements:
This tandem kayak is one of the more expensive kayaks out there however, that is justified when you hear the kind of features it possesses. The built-in ribs are made of aluminum and increase the strength of the kayak’s structure while also helping to improve tracking. The overall puncture resistance is also quite high compared to any other kayak in the market. The hull is built with three different materials that adds to durability.
The tandem kayak is 15ft long and can be paddled solo or with a partner. Imagine how lovely it would be to sit close to them while surrounded by the quite space of just water and good scenery. It’s a dream come true for a lot of people who wish to escape the busy life of the city.
The total depth of the kayak is 22 inches making ample room to sit in. The advanced double deck conversion frame allows for the kayak to become a closed deck tandem in under a few seconds. You can therefore make it a single-spaced kayak that provides ample room for your legs to relax in.
Multiple reviews online have spoken about the kayak’s incredibly comfortable seat and its strength even when the users treated it without any regard. The Advanced Elements is grade A tandem kayak that provides you support for however long you wish to be in the water. Even the look of the kayak will get your insides screaming to purchase it. The Advanced Elements streamlined design is made to ensure faster kayaking on calm waters. It weighs around 52 pounds and costs $700 on Amazon.
- Advanced Convertible technology that helps to change raft from dual to single use.
- Comfortable seats for longer hours of kayaking.
- Strong, three layered hulls for added strength.
- Built-in aluminum frame along with puncture resistant material.
- Can withstand strong currents or class 3 rapids.
- Requires full dissembling so it could be dried off which takes time.
- Paddles and inflating pump are not included.
4. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T:
This tandem kayak can support up to three people and is specialized for people looking to go on fishing trips. The kayak is 13ft in length and weighs around 76 pounds. The total depth is 25 inches giving it enough room to sit down properly. The Yellowfin can support an overall weight of up to 500 pounds and is one of the most successful kayaks in the market.
The price of the kayak is higher but that doesn’t stop customers because of the given features. The vibe hero framed seats are extremely comfortable for long hours spent on fishing trips. The kayak also includes a rotomolded single piece polyethylene surface that is strong enough to withstand any force along with six scupper holes.
The short length of the kayak does not mean the company compromised on any features. For starters, the kayak comes with four easy grip handles along with adjustable foot braces for foot comfort. The kayak has designated areas for where your legs and feet are to stay. The kayak also comes with its own cargo capacity chambers with a 9” sealed hatch. You can store the catch of the day or just slip in any extra equipment you are carrying with you.
The kayak is priced at $1,079 on Amazon and despite the higher price, the kayak still has a lot of customers due to its incredible comfort during trips.
- Very mobile on different bodies of water.
- Specialized for fishing trips.
- Contains separate compartments for cargo.
- Contains several storage points for keeping accessories.
- Amazing strength because of rotomolded single piece polyethylene surface.
- No skid plate included.
- There are no rudders.
- Reviews online speak of instability on whitewater.
5. Sun Dolphin Bali:
This green kayak can accommodate three people all at once. The tandem kayak is 13.5ft in length and has two comfortable seats that can be adjusted to add a third person on board. The fishing kayak has three compartments for storage of equipment or any catch you make for the day. It also has onboard shock cord deck rigging for added balance to you in the case of any sudden movements in the water.
The kayak also has a depth of 20 inches for leg-space. When you’re out on the water and your leg muscles become sore, you will definitely thank the company for adding that extra space in. This is especially good in the case where the customer is above 5’7’’.
The kayak also comes with scrubber holes to drain out any water that has entered into the kayak but you should wait till you get out of the water to do so. This Shrek-colored kayak is fun for kids and average when it comes to stability. Reviews online have mostly focused on the kayak’s ability to maneuver across the water quickly along with its deluxe seat option. This adds further comfort to longer trips.
The drawback to the kayak is that it’s not light as other kayaks are. It requires two people to handle with loading and unloading. Many reviews also spoke about the incredible stability of the on different bodies of water.
The kayak is one of the cheapest of the list and is priced at $598 on Amazon.
- High density polyethylene surface for added strength.
- Narrow bow with good tracking and stability.
- Three waterproof, storage compartments.
- Comfortable seats.
- Does not perform well on high waves.
- Storage space is small therefore not a lot can be put inside.
6. Old Town Twin Heron:
Old town products have been around for quite some time now. The company has spent over a century in the business and have come up with some premium designs. A first glance at this canoe-looking kayak will take you back to an American-Indian movie. The kayak has amazing stability and is designed in such a way that if anyone were to be seated, the bow would not pop out.
The overall length of the kayak is 13ft and 6 inches. The kayak also has a depth of 22 inches for you to feel comfortable while paddling. The Heron is known for having ample space to sit comfortably in. You can even fit a large Great Dane inside of the kayak because it is built to provide you with enough room. The Heron also weighs around 62 pounds and can carry a weight of 500 pounds in capacity. The adjustable Comfort Flex seat is a marvel as stated in reviews online by customers.
The supportive seat back and extra padding can provide you with as much comfort as you need the entire day.
Moving on to its performance on water, the streamlined design along with the glide track foot brace system helps you maneuver through any kind of rough waters you may encounter on your adventure. This tandem kayak is generally used in river sports and is good for exercising the arms while having a good time with the paddling. If you are out fishing and want to relax your arms for a bit, the kayak also comes with two fishing rod holders.
There is also space for a foot brace system with contoured rubber which is excellent for resting your feet or gripping on when you wish to paddle harder. The built-in handles allow for you to carry the kayak in an out of the water quite easily.
- Comfortable, removable seating.
- Secure footing for premium paddling experience.
- Fish rod holders for arm rest.
- Easy transportable built-in handles.
- Inconvenient front storage.
- No drain plugs for taking out water.
- Heavy to lift and take around.
7. Ocean 12-Feet Malibu:
The kayak is another three-seater that allows for you to have as much fun with company as possible. The kayak’s amazing comfortable seats make sure you can spend longer hours on water either fishing or for just chilling out with a friend or dog. The seats come with a four-way adjustability option that allows you the flexibility to change them according to your need.
The kayak also comes with a foot brace system that is there to keep your feet intact. It is built with contoured rubber that provides excellent footing for powerful paddling in the case you want to race your friends or while riding a current in a river.
The kayak also has a depth of 20 inches for leg-space. This feature is important when you go on longer routes. It can get really painful if you just sit in one position throughout. This also discourages a lot of claustrophobic individuals from ever using the kayak. It also discourages a lot of overweight people from using the kayaks simply because they might not fit in.
Furthermore, it is very easy to get on top of the kayak because of its open, sit-on-top seats. The overall weight capacity of the tandem kayak is 425 pounds and is 12ft long making it one of the smallest on the list. The Ocean 12’s hull also has a life time warranty increasing the kayak’s credibility. Many reviews online talk about the tough structure and the tandem kayak being used as roughly as possible but still not a scratch on it.
The triple-layered, polyethylene hull ensures no harm comes to the tandem kayak even on the roughest water bodies. This ensures the kayak’s stability therefore making it both fun and safe.
The product is price at $638 on Amazon.
- Comfort plus seats for longer hours.
- Strong and sturdy triple-layered polyethylene hull.
- PFD system sold separately for added safety and comfort.
- Foot embrace system for help in paddling.
- No cup holders for drinks.
- Low storage capacity.
8. Lifetime 10 Foot:
This two-person, 10 foot tandem kayak is one of the smallest in the market. The kayak offers a range of features despite its size, so customers shouldn’t fall prey to prejudice while they look at it. Despite being small, the design of the kayak allows it to withstand a weight of 500 pounds which is more than some of the longer kayak’s in this article.
The kayak also has a depth of 20 inches for a comfortable ride. When you’re out on a longer journey, the ample space provided by the kayak’s design will surely make you thank the company. The kayak also has the design that gives its hull the extra edge on the water. This means that if you take this kayak out for racing in body of water, the kayak will surely pull through for you.
The kayak also includes two backrests along with two double sided paddles that help make paddling a lot easier. The 60-pound structure helps you race across the water and the molded front and rear carry handles for easy transport. One person can easily drag the kayak along a rough terrain and into the water without the slightest worry of puncturing the hull.
The kayak is backed by a 5-year warranty by the company. It also comes with high-and-dry seating system that keeps the person’s rear safe from getting wet. The kayak also contains a pair of fishing rod holders for when you feel like resting your arms for a bit and just enjoying the view.
Finally, the back and front of the hull provide a 6’ storage space for storing a dry box along with a few drinks amongst other things. The Lifetime is priced at $480 on Amazon.
- Designed for both single and tandem use.
- Ample amounts of storage.
- Comfortable seating system.
- Tunnel hull design provides extra stability and tracking.
- Rod holder placement not very suitable.
- Not enough scrubber holes on the tandem kayak.
9. BKC UH-TK219:
The BKC UH-TK219 is one of the top-notch tandem kayaks in the market. The amazing stability, tracking along with the edge in the design gives it the right to be called one of the best. The tandem kayak is perfect for people who like fishing and comprises of 6 fishing rod holders. Yes, that’s right. The company has especially designed the kayak to hold as many fishing rods as possible and tops that with ample storage space for the catch.
The waterproof storage can safely stow away all your belongings and can also store a small icebox for drinks and the newly caught fish. The paddle rest feature on the tandem allows for you to secure your paddles while you sit back and relax. The BKC also comes with 4 carrying handles and a total of 3 people are needed to lift the tandem up off the ground the ground and into the water.
The kayak also has a depth of 22 inches for leg-space. People often complain about not having enough space on the kayak but fail to realize that the whole point of a kayaking is surrounded by that concept. The kayak is built to provide its user with the feeling of being close to the water. That’s what makes it all the more fun!
The tandem kayak is quite heavy, but it provides ample strength through the hull. The kayak weighs 68 pounds and can support a total of three people. Two however is the recommended capacity with a load capacity of 440 pounds. The hull is made from heavy-density polyethylene material and is also sun proof. This feature makes it much more durable and long-lasting than other tandem kayaks in the market. It also gives the BKC the ability to ride rougher water bodies.
The BKC is priced at $797 on Amazon.
- Great tracking and stability.
- 6 fishing rod holders.
- 5-year warranty.
- Padded seats for comfort.
- A waterproof storage.
- Heavy in structure.
- No back support on seats.
10. Hobie Mirage:
The Hobie Mirage is the highest price tandem kayak on the list. The company’s exceptionally high price is backed by the features it offers to its customers. The tandem kayak is 12ft and 1 inch in length also making it the smallest kayak. It comes with a standard Caribbean blue color that is amazing to look at but may get camouflaged in different water bodies.
The Hobie Mirage has a large covered bow hatch that provides you with ample amounts of space to store anything you like. The hull is designed to make tracking through the water as easy as possible along an ease of maneuverability that comes along with it. The redesigned deck is equipped with a class A, Vantage CT seat that maximizes comfort along with storage. The kayak has can hold an overall capacity of 500 pounds
The unique feature about this kayak is the Lowrance ready system that allows for easy installation of sonar on the tandem kayak for research work amongst other activities. You can also use the sonar to look for rich fish spots to maximize the fishing experience. You also get a pair of rod holders to res your arms while fishing. The tandem also includes cup holders as well as a mesh covered storage system.
The water-proof system has enough capacity to store a medium sized icebox. You also get utility trays and enough rudder control to have the best time of your life using the tandem kayak.
The Hobie Mirage is truly one of its kind and is priced at $2800 on Amazon.
- Pedal power through mirage drive pedal system.
- Adjustable seats.
- Ample storage for gear and fresh catch.
- Fishing rod holders.
- Cup holders.
- Very heavy to lift.
- Extremely expensive in the tandem kayak’s category.
Tandem kayaks provide you with a fun water-based activity that you can execute with your friends and family. Having the best one is not necessarily the goal. But do make sure the kayak is strong enough to handle the type of water body you are going to ride it on so that it can help keep you safe. The overall experience of any tandem kayak can be understood from the comfort it provides on longer trips.
Make sure you purchase the kayak after having once sat in it in the market or checking out the dimensions. The leg space that it provides is key to the comfort you will receive overall on long trips on water. No compromise is to be made on that.
Imagine going on a kayaking trip on a river and paddling your way through rough currents. The features of a foot rest or a comfort-plus seat will only aid you in your quest for thrill and action. The tandem kayaks are the best way to bond over as well. You can test your coordination and teamwork skills with your significant other through this activity or built it using this sport.
All in all, buying the right tandem kayak depends on you. The features of a cup holder or a proper storage or even a paddle rest may seem small now but once you own your first kayak, you will realize how important they are. Don’t forget to keep checking reviews online. The more reviews you read about the kayak you have chosen, the more you will get sure of whether the purchase is good or not. Ultimately, not regretting a buying decision is the ultimate goal of every customer.
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