A tandem kayak is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the water with a companion, be it a friend, member of the family, or significant other. Tandem kayaks are designed for two people instead of one, thus paddling is a more social activity. In addition, you only need to buy a single kayak for two people, making them ideal for places with limited storage. Another scenario in which a tandem kayak would be the best choice is when an experienced paddler would like to take out a novice or a little child and an adult.
However, there are several limitations to using a tandem kayak instead of a smaller, more manageable single kayak. Tandem kayaks are longer and more difficult to maneuver than single-person kayaks, but paddling with a friend can be a great deal of fun. “With rookie kayakers not understanding their roles, they tend to blame each other for the zig-zagging,” explains Kyle McKenzie, proprietor of Adventure Paddle Tours in Frisco, Colorado, or Naples, Florida. Couples and family members can be affected.
When paddled by experienced paddlers, nevertheless, tandem kayaks are both more swift and stable, allowing their occupants to cover more ground than would be possible in a single kayak. What’s more, they convert a solitary activity into a social experience.
Tandem Kayak Buying Guide
Shopping for a tandem kayak can be difficult due to the numerous factors to think about. As a service, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the most crucial factors to consider before making a purchase.
Intended Use & Kayak Type
Understanding your intended purpose for a tandem kayak is essential before making the investment. There are hundreds of kayak varieties available, each tailored to a different paddling style.
Consequently, before going kayak shopping, it’s important to figure out what you’ll use the boat for and how you prefer to paddle.
Most tandem kayak buyers must decide between sit-inside and sit-on-top designs.
Most tandem paddlers prefer sit-on-top kayaks because they are simple to enter and exit. In addition, there is typically more space for the paddlers’ legs.
You can get more out of your kayaking experience with a sit-inside model if you plan on paddling in coastal areas or if you’re searching for improved tracking and agility. While convenient, larger paddlers may find the sit-inside tandem kayaks uncomfortable.
There isn’t a universally ideal kayak design. However, it will be easier to select the boat that is perfect for your needs if you know what type of tandem kayak users want before you start shopping.
The kayak’s performance on the water is heavily influenced by its length and width. There is no exception for tandem kayaks.
For example, a kayak’s length has a major impact on how well it tracks over long distances. Given that tandem kayaks are often longer than solo kayaks, this isn’t usually a deal breaker. However, a tandem kayak with a little larger length can be useful for touring or another long-distance paddling.
On the other hand, the stability and controllability of a kayak are greatly affected by its breadth. When paddling with a companion, it’s best to use a wider kayak because of the increased stability it provides. The mobility of a shorter, broader kayak may be comparable to that of a longer, narrower kayak, but the trade-off is in tracking performance.
Most paddlers will find a happy medium between stability, maneuverability, and tracking in a tandem kayak that is at least 13 feet long and 31 inches broad. However, a broader kayak may be preferable if stability is a top need. Instead, a longer kayak may serve your purposes better when you need to strengthen your tracking skills.
Maximum Mass Capacity
A kayak’s maximum weight capacity is an essential spec that shouldn’t be overlooked. This spec tells you how much weight you can safely load into a kayak, so it’s a vital thing to consider whenever you buy a kayak.
This spec is even more critical for tandem kayaks because you need to ensure that whatever kayak you buy can accommodate you, your fellow paddler, and all of your gear. The anglers among us should also factor in the weight of any fish that they might catch during their outings.
Also, note that you should avoid loading a kayak beyond about 80% of its stated weight capacity. For example, a kayak with a 500 lbs weight capacity shouldn’t be loaded too far beyond 400 lbs. This helps ensure that the kayak is easy enough to maneuver on the water.
Cockpit Space & Comfort
The cockpit’s dimensions and design have a major role in the kayak’s ability to provide a pleasant paddling experience. If you’re paddling with a friend, you’ll want to make sure you both have enough legroom to be comfortable even in a cockpit that’s a little tight for solo paddlers.
Therefore, it is crucial to invest in a tandem kayak with such a roomy, open-deck, or open-cockpit design. This can make sure nobody is feeling too cramped or uncomfortable when paddling.
Be aware that the short cockpits of some tandem kayaks (especially inflatable and folding types) may impose maximum height limits. If either you or your kayaking companion is on the taller side, it’s crucial to take this into account so that you may both have a pleasant experience.
The convenience of transporting a kayak from and to the ocean is affected by its weight. Tandem kayaks are typically heavier than single kayaks because of their larger length and width.
The search for a lightweight, hard-sided, sit-inside tandem kayak can be frustrating. However, there are kayaks that can weigh more than 120 lbs.
Some boats, like the 41-pound Oru Haven TT, are an exception to this rule. But before you buy a tandem kayak, you need to think about how much it weighs. That way, you can easily carry it from one paddling trip to the next and store it on the roof of your car when you’re done.
Accessories are the last thing on your mind when looking for just a tandem kayak, but they could be quite useful. The quality of your paddling experience can be improved by accessories like rod holders and dry hatches.
The ability to convert a tandem kayak together into a single kayak is another useful feature for paddlers. The seating arrangement of many modern tandem kayaks may be changed in a flash. If you’re looking to get out on the lake but your usual paddling buddy isn’t free, this option can come in handy.
Bear in mind that the price and the weight of a kayak will likely go up if you tack on any more features. It would be worthwhile to spend the money if having these options would improve your time spent on the water. However, before purchasing a kayak, it is important to think about whether or not you will make use of the extra features.
5 Best Tandem Kayaks To Opt For In 2023
Aquaglide Blackfoot 160
With its 160-liter capacity and rock-solid stability, Aquaglide’s Blackfoot 160 Tandem Kayak is the best kayak you can buy. This high-end inflatable kayak is built with commercial-grade materials for superior performance, giving it the feel and stability of a hard-shell boat while yet satisfying fishing aficionados with its wide array of convenient features.
The Blackfoot 160 is versatile enough to be paddled in harsher waters thanks to its scupper emptying holes that enable self-bailing and its splash shield that prevents water from entering the cockpit.
The open cockpit makes it simple to get in and out of the boat while you’re out on the water casting for and reeling in your fish. Each paddler can modify their seat height to their preference, allowing them to sit low for increased stability or high to facilitate standing. When you go to the beach, you can use them as seating.
Brooklyn Kayak Company
Although the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s sit-on-top kayak is on the pricier side, it has a lot going for it. The producer used UV-resistant high-density Polyethylene in the construction of this tool. The boat’s width of 34 inches is also noteworthy because it greatly improves the vessel’s stability when in the water.
The kayak deck features adjustable backrests and standard-sized padded seats for optimum comfort during paddling.
If any of your possessions fall into the kayak’s hatches, you need not worry about them becoming wet because they are completely watertight. What’s more, serious kayakers will appreciate the kayak’s enormous bungee cord storage place located in the boat’s rear.
Isle Switch SUP & Kayak
Isle Surf & SUP has developed a hybrid paddleboard/kayak called the Switch. Inflatable boats like this have been increasingly popular in recent years due to their practicality.
It offers one-of-a-kind storage and accouterment characteristics. These qualities are especially useful in a tandem kayak. The Switch is an excellent touring stand-up paddle board with the agility to compete with the top all-around boards.
Furthermore, the Link System replaces the D-rings seen on competing boards with more attachment options. Because of that, we can confidently say that this is also one of the finest yoga boards available.
Advance Elements AdvancedFrame
If you and a friend want to go on day outings or longer expeditions on the water, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame tandem pneumatic kayak is a great option. In order to accommodate users who prefer a more solid and high-pressure floor, this kayak can be outfitted with the optional BackBone flooring accessory or upgraded with Drop-stitched flooring.
The Advanced Element tandem inflatable kayak is easy to transport, offers a high level of comfort, and is both stable and maneuverable on the water.
For a portable touring kayak that provides a satisfactory but fun experience, the Advanced Elements tandem inflatable kayak is an ideal option for paddlers of varying skill levels.
Razor Kayaks R2 Ultra Tandem
In comparison to other inflatable tandem kayaks on the market, the Razor Kayaks R2 Ultra has been built to last. This inflatable kayak can be paddled by people of varying heights and weights due to its sturdy design. The boat can then be used for other purposes, such as fishing or sailing while carrying a larger cooler.
A day’s worth of kit or enough for a short overnight stay can be easily packed and stored in its larger volume.
The Final Thoughts
If you want to take some friends or family members out on the lake with you, a tandem kayak is your best bet.
It is evident from this assessment of the top tandem kayaks that you can pick from among a plethora of excellent models. The Aquaglide Blackfoot 160, for instance, is highly recommended since it strikes a great balance between ease of use, versatility, and cost.
Furthermore, an inflatable kayak, such as the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible, simplifies storage without compromising performance. Anglers will especially like the Isle Switch SUP & Kayak’s various fishing-oriented extras.
What’s most important is making sure the tandem kayak you buy is suitable for your needs, rather than focusing on the brand or style. Thank you for reading this article and we hope to see you on the water soon!
When going kayaking, what should one wear?
In the event that you plan on going kayaking during the summer when the weather is nice and the water is warm, you may want to bring along some swimwear and be prepared to get wet on it sometimes. A personal floatation device, however, is an absolute necessity in the event of an accident, regardless of clothing choice. Even on warm days, paddlers in frigid waters should be prepared for the water temperature by wearing appropriate clothing, which may include a wetsuit.
Can a single person paddle a tandem kayak?
Yes. These days, you may find many tandem kayaks that can be easily converted for usage by a single paddler. Many of Adventure Paddle Tours’ operators use tandem kayaks as solos for stability and storage, according to owner Kyle McKenzie of locations in Frisco, Colorado, or Naples, Florida.
Can a tandem kayak be steered if both paddlers are in charge of movement?
Due to the frequent paddle collisions, tandem kayak paddling is difficult. If roles are clear, fewer disagreements are likely to arise, according to McKenzie. The front kayakers must relinquish control to the person in the rear.