Best Tandem Kayaks – Our Top Picks for 2021 + Guide

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Kayaking is generally considered a single-person sport. But what about when you feel like paddling with your friend, a family member, or loved one? You are probably thinking each person will have to come with their own yak. Well, not necessarily thanks to tandem kayaks.

Tandem kayaks are designed to comfortably accommodate two people allowing you and the other person to bond over your shared love for kayaking. You also get to save money when you buy a tandem kayak instead of buying two single-person kayaks. Paddling a tandem kayak is also a lot easier with two people. There’s definitely strength in numbers.

You can’t just buy any tandem kayak you see on the market. All tandem kayaks aren’t made equal and it’s important you buy a quality product that will serve your needs while also lasting for a long time. Don’t worry, on this page, all the work has been done for you! After looking at various tandem kayaks on the market we have finally come up with a list of the very best tandem kayaks available today. Keep reading to find out what our top picks are!

The 7 Best Tandem Kayaks for 2021

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 Tandem KayakOur Top Pick

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Tandem Kayak | 13' 6" | Mango

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

This is an excellent tandem kayak that will make paddling fun for two people. With a high weight capacity of 500 lbs, this kayak is capable of carrying two people and their gear. And if you are the only one kayaking, you can easily convert this kayak for solo use. The signature rounded hull of this vessel confers swift acceleration, allowing you to cover long distances in a short amount of time. It’s also very easy to paddle this kayak, especially when there are two people on it.

This Wilderness Systems is very comfortable thanks to the phase 3 AirPro seats which are well-padded and cushioned. The seats are also fully adjustable and come with a ventilated mesh that’s designed to keep you cooler especially on hot days. There are also knee and thigh paddings for extra comfort.

The stern bulkhead foam makes this kayak extra buoyant on water. Also, this yak is very easy to maneuver and is very stable on the water. You’ll find a waterproof storage hatch in the rear where you can keep your items safe and dry. This kayak is guaranteed to last a long time so you can be certain of getting value for your money.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-inside kayak
  • Size:  13’6” ft x 31 x 14 in / 371 x 79 x 35 cm
  • Kayak weight:  72 lbs / 32.7 kg
  • Weight capacity:  500 lbs / 227 kg

Pros

  • High weight capacity.
  • Very fast.
  • Comfortable and easy to paddle.
  • Stable and easy to maneuver.
  • Waterproof storage hatch.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

Intex Explorer K2 Tandem Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

$180.95  in stock
108 new from $160.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

The Intex Explorer K2 is a great tandem kayak that comes at a great price while also offering top-notch functionality. This kayak is an inflatable kayak which makes it extremely easy to store and transport. Inflating this kayak is also fast and you are just minutes away from the water.

Made of high-quality and rugged vinyl, this kayak is very strong and resistant to tears, punctures, scrapes, abrasions, and UV. The I-beam floor makes this kayak very rigid. This combined with the removable skegs makes the Intex K2 a very stable vessel.

The two seats that come with this kayak are also inflatable and very comfortable as they align to the body shape of the kayakers for top-notch comfort. Paddling this kayak is easy and fun and this, in turn, makes it easy to maneuver the vessel.

I like the roomy cockpit of this kayak as it allows you to move around thus preventing the feeling of being confined. The Intex K2 also has two separate air chambers to ensure that the kayak will not sink in case there’s a hole in the vinyl, which will most likely not happen.

 Specifications

  • Type:  inflatable kayak
  • Size: 123 x 36 x 20 in / 312 x 89 x 50 cm
  • Kayak weight: 30.6 lbs / 14 kg
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs / 180 kg

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Stable.
  • Easy to inflate and deflate.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • High load capacity.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Performance on aggressive water is not very strong.

Driftsun Voyager Tandem Kayak

Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem Kayak Inflatable White-Water Kayak with High Pressure Floor and EVA Padded Seats, High Back Support, Action Cam Mount, Aluminum Paddles, and Pump

$1,119.00  in stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

The Driftsun Voyager is an inflatable 2 person kayak that has gained the reputation of being one of the best tandem kayaks on the market. Being an inflatable kayak, the Driftsun Voyager is very compact, lightweight, easy to store, and transport. Inflating this kayak is very easy and usually takes place in less than 5 minutes.

This kayak is very durable thanks to the 840D coated nylon oxford fabric top cover and the heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin that’s used on the bottom of the kayak to protect from punctures and holes as you move the vessel in and out of the water.

There are a number of features on this kayak that makes it very stable and easy to maneuver on water. Such features include a removable tracking fin, rigid high-pressure drop stitch floor, and ample rocker profile. I must also talk about the adjustable EVA padded seats that also come with high back support. This makes the Driftsun Voyager one very comfortable tandem kayak!

 Specifications

  • Type:  inflatable kayak
  • Size:  10 ft x 35 in x 16 in / 305 x 89 x 41 cm
  • Kayak weight:  27 lbs / 12 kg
  • Weight capacity:  400 lbs / 181 kg

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Easy to store and transport.
  • Stable and easy to maneuver.
  • Good weight capacity.
  • Top-notch comfort.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

BKC TK181 Tandem Kayak

BKC TK181 12.5' Tandem Sit On Top Kayak W/ Seats, Paddles, 7 Rod Holders Included 2 Person Kayak

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

Fishing enthusiasts are going to love this BKC tandem kayak as it comes with some features that make kayak angling easier. This kayak has 3 articulated fishing rod holders and 4 flush-mounted rod holders. And this allows you and your partner in fishing to get multiple lines into the water at once.

This kayak also has soft padded seats and adjustable straps that help you assume different sitting positions. And the result of this is more comfort for the paddlers of this yak. I also like that this kayak is very stable and performs well in both calm and choppy waters.

There’s a waterproof storage area where you can keep items you want to keep dry. The twin paddle rests allow you and your partner to take a break from paddling and go hands-free without the risk of losing your paddles. And the multiple carrying handles allow you to comfortably transport this kayak to and from the shore.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Size: 12’5” ft x 34 x 20 in / 378 x 87 x 50 cm
  • Kayak weight: 68 lbs / 31 kg
  • Weight capacity: 595 lbs / 270 kg

Pros

  • Ideal for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Padded seats and adjustable straps make this kayak very comfortable.
  • A stable vessel that performs well in stable and choppy waters.
  • Easy to operate.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • N/A.

Other Buying Options:

Pelican River Gorge 130X Tandem Kayak

Pelican Tandem Recreational Kayak | River Gorge 130X Tandem, 13 Feet

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

This kayak can comfortably accommodate two people thanks to the 500 lbs weight capacity. It’s also easy to carry and transport this yak thanks to the two retractable carrying handles. The Pelican River Gorge is a sit-on-top kayak and has the benefits that come with this type of kayak.

The well-padded and cushioned seat provides excellent support and comfort. There’s also an adjustable backrest cushion and molded footrests for better support. This makes his kayak very comfortable and allows you to spend as much time as you want on without experiencing any pain or aches.

There’s a two quick-lock hatch, which is very spacious, where you can put your gear. A bungee lacing helps secure your gear. The hull design of this kayak allows it to travel on water at a high speed allowing you to cover long distances in a short time. Paddle tie-downs hold your paddles when you want to go hands-free. The fact that this kayak has been proven to be long lasting means you are buying a durable product.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Size: 13 ft x 34 x 15 in / 396 x 86 x 35 cm
  • Kayak weight: 76 lbs / 33.1 kg
  • Weight capacity:  500 lbs / 227 kg

Pros

  • Retractable handles make it to easy to carry and transport.
  • Well-padded and cushioned seat provides excellent support and comfort.
  • Very spacious.
  • Good speed.
  • Easy to paddle.
  • Long-lasting.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Tandem Kayak

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

This Advanced Elements kayak is a two-person kayak that can be easily converted for solo use. The load capacity of 550 lbs means that this kayak can easily accommodate two people and their cargo. Thanks to the reinforced bow and stern, skeg, and hard edges, you’ll be cruising along the water with the Advanced Elements kayak.

The lightweight and compact design of this kayak make it easy to transport it anywhere. You can bring this yak along on a bus and even a plane. Thanks to the 3 layers of double-coated rip-stop fabric used to manufacture this kayak, it is resistant to scrape, cuts, leaks, and punctures.

Setting up and inflating this kayak is very easy. There is also the spring valve that helps keep this kayak inflated by preventing air from leaking. I like the adjustable padded seats and backrests that come with this kayak as they provide optimum comfort making it easy for you to paddle without any inconvenience. The storage compartment is spacious enough to accommodate your lunch, first aid kit, and other gear.

 Specifications

  • Type:  inflatable sit-inside kayak
  • Size: 15 ft x 32 x 12 in / 457 x 81 x 30 cm
  • Kayak weight: 52 lbs / 23.5 kg
  • Weight capacity:  550 lbs / 250 kg

Pros

  • High weight capacity.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Easy to inflate and deflate.
  • Very sturdy and stable.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Paddles and inflating pump are not included.

Other Buying Options:

Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Tandem Kayak

Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak 12ft (Blue)

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of June 15, 2021 1:26 am

With a length of 12 ft and a weight capacity of 551 lbs, the Vanhunks Voyager is a powerful tandem kayak capable of accommodating two people even if they are on the heavier side. There are two adjustable aluminum seats that can be positioned for comfort and different activities. You can easily position the seat higher when fishing for better visibility.

There are two swivel fishing rod holders in the package, a feature that fishing enthusiasts will appreciate. You also have two internal storage hatches that can hold your gear and keep them dry. I like that paddles are included in the package so you have nothing to worry about on that front.

This kayak is made from rotomolded plastic, a strong material that can easily withstand punctures, UV, scrapes, abrasions, and so on. This kayak is a bit bulky as it has a weight of 77 lbs. However, it’ll be easy for two people to carry especially when using the molded side handles.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Size: 12” ft x 32 x 15 in / 371 x 81 x 37 cm
  • Kayak weight:  77 lbs / 35 kg
  • Weight capacity:  550 lbs / 250 kg

Pros

  • Powerful and comfortable kayak.
  • Includes fishing rod holders.
  • Large storage area.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcoming.

Other Buying Options:

Best Tandem Kayaks – The Guide 

Now that you know the best tandem kayaks available on the market, the next thing for you to know is all the factors you should consider before buying one. And this is where the buying guide comes in. The information here will help simplify the buying process and help you choose a tandem kayak that best suits your needs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks have a number of advantages over single-person kayaks. Perhaps the most obvious advantage is that buying a tandem kayak is cheaper than buying two single-person kayaks. So you are saving money when you buy a tandem yak.

It’s also easier to paddle a tandem kayak. After all, there are two of you and there’s always strength in numbers. The more, the merrier, haha. So the paddling aspect is going to be a breeze. Also, carrying the kayak to and from the shore will be easier for two people.

You get to have company on the water. Paddling with your favorite people can only be fun. Tandem kayaks are generally more powerful and stable than single-person kayaks and can take on rough waters better.

Now, let’s talk about the disadvantages of tandem kayaks. The most obvious advantage of tandem kayaks is that you will need a partner. However, most of these kayaks can be converted for solo uses.

Tandem kayaks are also bulkier than single-person yaks. And carrying these kayaks can be troublesome if you don’t have a partner. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you have a kayak cart. Kayak carts help you transport your yak to the shore with ease.

Also, tandem kayaks are longer than single-person kayaks. This means you’ll need a car to carry them or have a garage or barn to store them. This problem can be easily averted by buying inflatable tandem kayaks. This type of kayaks folds up into the size of a backpack and can be easily transported. You can also store them easily by putting them under your bed, back of the closet, in a corner, and so on.

As you can see, there’s always a solution to most of the issues you might potentially have with a tandem kayak. So there is no reason for you to stay away from them.

Best tandem kayaks - Guide

Sit-Inside vs. Sit-on-Top Kayaks

Sit on Top Kayaks are types of kayaks where you sit on a molded-in depression on top instead of inside the kayak. It’s easy to enter and exit this type of kayak and you get more freedom of movement. This type of kayak is especially favored by fishing enthusiasts as they sit above the water level, can move more freely, and have better access to gear and casting, Scuba divers also use this type of kayak.

Sit Inside Kayak is the conventional type of kayak and what comes to the mind of most people when they are thinking of a kayak. This type of kayak has an enclosed cockpit and you actually ‘sit inside the kayak’. As the cockpit of this type of kayak is enclosed, water doesn’t get inside the yak, unlike the sit-on-top types. This makes this type of kayak ideal for touring and recreational kayakers.

The type of kayak that you choose will depend on the type of activity you intend to participate in as well as the climate. Sit-on-top kayaks are great in hot climates as you are exposed to the elements (wind) and the water that splashes on you will help keep you cool. However, you’ll have to use sit-inside yaks in colder climates as you most definitely don’t want water splashing on you in say, winter.

Rigid vs. Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks can be inflated as the name suggests. Rigid kayaks, sometimes referred to as hard-shell kayaks, are the traditional types of kayaks. Rigid kayaks may be made of plastic, wood, fiberglass, and so on.

Inflatable kayaks have the advantage of being lightweight and easy to transport and store. Also, inflatables are cheaper than rigid kayaks. However, inflatable kayaks have the disadvantage of requiring more maintenance than rigid kayaks. They are also less stable and difficult to maneuver when compared to rigid kayaks because they are lightweight.

Rigid kayaks have the advantage of being sturdier, more stable, and requiring less maintenance.

Can a Tandem Kayak Be Operated By One Person?

A tandem kayak is designed for two people as evident in the weight capacity and size of the kayak. However,  these kayaks can also be converted for solo use. Beginner kayakers will have a hard time operating a tandem kayak as it’ll be difficult for them to maneuver. However, advanced paddlers should have no problem operating a tandem kayak.

How to Choose Your Tandem Kayak

Materials & Durability

The type and quality of materials used to manufacture tandem kayaks have an effect on their durability. Below are common materials used to make tandem kayaks.

Polyethylene is widely used to produce kayaks because it is cheap and durable. However,  this material is susceptible to damage from UV, so you must store polyethylene boats in the shade.

Rotomold is another common material used to manufacture kayaks and is very sturdy and cheap. Like polyethylene, rotomold is susceptible to UV damage.

ABS is more expensive and resistant to UV damage than polyethylene.

Composite – These include kayaks made from fiberglass, kevlar, and carbon fiber. These materials are very expensive but are known to be very durable and lightweight.

However, you can get good and satisfactory functionality from yaks made from less expensive materials. Also, kayaks made from composite materials are hard to find.

Best tandem kayaks - Guide

Weight & Portability

Your home may be far from a water body thereby requiring you to transport your kayak over some distance. This means you’ll have to load the yak in your pickup truck, then transport the yak to the shore. Generally, tandem kayaks are bulkier than single person yaks.

However, tandem kayaks are easy to lift by two people. And you can also get a kayak cart to transport your vessel to and from the shore.

If you don’t own a car or have a garage/shed/barn to store a kayak, you should consider getting inflatable kayaks as they are easy to store and transport.

Weight Capacity

Tandem kayaks by design have a larger load capacity than single-person kayaks. You should consider the combined weight of yourself, your partner, and your gear. This will help you choose the type of tandem kayak to buy. Some tandem kayaks can accommodate heavier people while some cannot.

Going over the weight limit of your tandem kayak will be counterproductive in the long run as the yak will wear out faster thereby compromising its durability.

Kayak Length

You should put some thought into the length of your kayak as it affects performance and durability. Longer kayaks are generally faster and perform better on calm waters. This type of kayak is also more suited for longer expeditions as they are more comfortable and don’t require a lot of paddling.

Shorter kayaks on the other hand are easier to maneuver and are more suited to rapids or white water activities.

Storage Capacity

You should be concerned about the storage space of your yak if you have a lot of gear. Also, some activities will require you to have more space in your kayak. Fishing enthusiasts may want kayaks with larger storage space so they can take ice boxes and other fishing gear onboard.

You’ll also need more storage space to stockpile supplies if you intend to go on long kayaking expeditions. Have a look at the storage space in a yak before buying. Touring yaks also tend to have more space than other types of kayaks.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the very best tandem kayaks, and a buying guide to help you choose a kayak that best suits your needs. No matter your budget, preference, or skill level, there is a tandem kayak for you on this list. Choose the one that best suits your needs and start cruising the waters with your family and loved ones.

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