There is nothing better than spending a day out with your friends and family. On top of that, if you get to spend a day near the water, then kayaking is a must. Kayaking will help to improve your happiness and fitness in the long run. You might currently own a kayak or are looking to purchase your very first. Tandem kayaks are the best kayaks for everyone. You get more storage, more room, and have an extra seat for a kayaking partner.
Being alone on the water with nothing but nature is great. But sometimes, you want that extra company to keep the journey alive. So, to help you decide the best tandem kayak, we’ve compiled a list of the eight best on the market. They range from different price points and materials – so, there’s sure to be one (or more) that perfectly suits your needs. To help you even further, we’ve included a buying guide and FAQ section to answer any of your questions.
QUICK ANSWER : The Best Tamdem Kayaks
- 1. Brooklyn Kayak Company TK181 Tandem Sit On
- 2. Brooklyn Kayak Company TK219
- 3. Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set
- 4. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T Tandem Sit On Kayak
- 5. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak
- 6. Driftsun Rover 220
- 7. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5-Foot Sit On Top
- 8. Driftsun Voyager 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Brooklyn Kayak Company TK181
|Length: 11 12 ft. 5 in.|
Weight: 68 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 440 lbs
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin
|Length: 13 ft|
Weight: 80 lbs
Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
Brooklyn Kayak Company TK219 Tandem Sit On Kayak
|Length: 12 ft. 3 in|
Weight: 70 lbs
Weight Capacity: 440 lbs
Intex Explorer K2
|Length: 10 ft. 3 in|
Weight: 31.3 lbs
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
|Length: 15 ft|
Weight: 52 lbs
Weight Capacity: 550 lbs
Driftsun Rover 220
|Length: 12.5 ft|
Weight: 28 lbs
Weight Capacity: 600 lbs
Sun Dolphin Bali
|Length: 13-½ ft|
Weight: 70 lbs
Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
|Length: 11ft 2 inches|
Weight: 32.5 lbs
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
Top 8 Best Tandem Kayaks
Though Brooklyn Kayak Company is not a fairly well-known company in the kayaking world, the TK181 12-foot Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak model shows that they will be soon. It contains some great features as well as a great design. The first thing that most people will note about this, is the color options available. It’s available in six different color schemes, including Blue, Desert Sand, Green Camo, Grey Camo, Red Yellow, and Yellow Orange. The green and grey camo models are great for 2-person fishing expeditions, as bright colors can scare the fish. For visibility purposes, you should go for brighter colors.
The model comes with great tracking and maneuvering capabilities. 2 person kayaks are harder to maneuver around as they are longer, but the TK181 12-foot Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak model can maneuver with ease. Though kayakers often focus on the calmer waters, it best to own a one that can handle rougher waters. This has a carefully balanced full, which helps to provide it with maximum stability even when the waters are rough.
Though the TK181 12-foot Sit On Top cannot be called lightweight at 68 lbs., but two adults can carry it together. It comes complete with two lightweight, high-quality aluminum paddles. It also provides three mount rod holders and two high-quality bungee paddle rests.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC) TK219 12 ft. Tandem Sit On Top incorporates modern technological features into their kayak. The price point sits this model in between quite a few of the other models on this list. However, unlike others on this list, this can hold up to three riders, instead of just the typical two. It’s more lightweight than other options, but not by much. Though the 70 lbs. Might be hard for one person, it should be a problem for two or three riders holding it together.
The TK219 12 ft. Tandem Sit On Top Kayak has enough space to hold all of your fishing gear. It also features four flush mounted rod holders and two adjustable holders. The large vestibule allows plenty of deck lashing. This model by BKC has everything that you could need in a tandem kayak. Along with the features, it also has a stylish design. The color choices include Camo design, Grey Camo design, Red and Yellow Sunset, and Sky Blue design.
If you’re in the market for your first tandem kayak, or you’re looking for a replacement – price wise, you won’t get much better than the Tandem Intex Explorer K2, which costs under $100. It will suit most budgets without sacrificing the features offered. The two-person inflatable kayak can hold up to 400 lbs. It’s also fairly lightweight at 31.3 lbs.
One of the most recognized aspects of this Intex Explorer K2 is the wide beam that offers riders with the highest amount of stability and tracking ability. The high back seat comes with lumbar support, which increases your comfort while you’re paddling. Though this is cheaper than most two people, it still manages to retain the overall quality.
The rid frame’s patented material of the Tandem Intex Explorer K2 allows it to withstand the test of time. If you’re someone who spends a fair amount of time on the water, this is the ideal one for you. It even features abrasion pads and air chambers to offer you with extra durability. Even if the chambers get punctured, the Explorer K2 stays sturdy.
The Vibe Yellowfin 130T 13 ft. Tandem Sit On Top Kayak is loaded with all the features. It has to be one of the most feature-rich kayaks on this list. Just as it is feature rich, it is also high in price – but the price to value ratio makes it worth every penny that you spend. You might see quite a few that feature molded footrests set at predetermined intervals, but the Yellowfin 130T takes it a step further. The footrests on this model are fully adjustable, which means that you can dial them to be perfect for your needs.
In addition to all of that, you’ll also find two sealed hatches on the body of the Vibe Yellowfin 130T 13 ft. Tandem Sit On Top, which are doubled with drink holders that have been molded into the design. So, you can enjoy a cozy brew while you’re on the water. If that doesn’t sound like it’s enough, you can also easily store the two fishing rods on the flush mounted rod holders. You’ll also find shock cord lashing on the front and bad of the kayak for fishing tackle or extra gear storage. This 2-person fishing kayak is best for those looking for all the features and doesn’t mind spending that extra bit of money.
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The Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible is unique and inventive in design. This is sure to solve a lot of problem by offering all the features that it does. The boat can be used as a solo, with the seat in the middle, or as a tandem kayak with a seat in the back and one in the front. The seating can be swapped easily and performs well regardless of how it’s used.
The aluminum frame of the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak provides it with the rigidness that it most inflatable boats do not possess. That does come with a price though. Though it’s more likely to perform as a traditional kayak instead of an inflatable one, it will cost you more than a normal inflatable one. The three-layered materials for the construction of the inflatable kayak make it puncture resistant.
Though this is an tandem inflatable kayak, it still manages to have an open feeling cockpit, so you are able to move around without feeling restricted. The bungee system is great for strapping the waterproof duffel bags. It comes with a repair kit, two folding seats, and a carrying duffel bag.
This minimized and lightweight Driftsun Rover 220 enables you to enjoy kayaking regardless of where you go. The kayak remains sturdy through the rough vinyl finish along with the inflatable I shaft bottom that allows it to give a laid-back ride. It also features a removable skeg. It’s lightweight and durable. It can even be fully inflated in less than ten minutes.
The rigid high-pressure drop stitched floor provides unmatched control and stability in flat and rough water. The Driftsun Rover 220 is built for class III and class IV rapids. Designed with the outline of a traditional river runner, the Driftsun Rover 220 can handle rapids with control and speed. The high-pressure drop stitch floor can rival against the feel of a traditional, hard kayak.
It even includes tie-down points, self-bailing ports, and a front action camera mount. This comes with a travel bag, repair kit, rear tracking fin, double action hand pump, and adjustable aluminum kayak paddles.
If you’re in the market for a tandem that is a good combination of price and quality, the Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 ft. is a great option. It’s a great choice for those on a budget or beginner kayakers. The adjustable footrests allow you to have some flexibility, as the center of the boat can become a jump seat for the third rider. Though three people can fit onto this kayak, the middle seat is best suited for children as its quite small and molded plastic.
The other two adjustable seats are a nice touch to the overall design. The best feature of the Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 ft. tandem is the storage option available. The kayak has two large storage hatches with both placed between the paddler’s legs. In addition to that, there is another smaller sealed hatch that is placed in the middle for extra storage. At the rear of the kayak, you’ll also find another one that’s covered with shock cord lashing to store more gear.
The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 ft. has the design of a sit on top model, which means that it’s easier to dump water out if it does happen to make its way in. It’s also easier to upright the kayak again if the boat happens to tip.
The Driftsun Voyager 2-Person Inflatable Kayak is one of the best two-person’s currently on the market, with its quick setup process and compact design. With the inflation time being under five minutes, you can get on the water faster than any other kayak. The kayak is designed to be durable regardless of the weather conditions. So, even if you end up kayaking in harsh water conditions, the kayak will be able to deal well due to the pointed nose entry and rocker profile.
The compact design of the Driftsun Voyager 2-Person Inflatable means that it’s inevitable that you’ll lose some storage space, especially if you’re riding with two people. For extended ventures, this can cause a problem. However, the webbing in the front and back can be used for storage. The included pump isn’t as sturdy, so if you’re planning on using it frequently – you may need to purchase a sturdier one or know that you will need to get it replaced.
The Driftsun Voyager 2-Person Inflatable comes complete with a pump, a repair kit, tracking fin, paddles, and padded seats. While it’s not cheap, it has everything that you need for a good kayaking experience. It’s even easy to carry at 27 lbs. and pump quickly.
How to Choose the Best Tandem Kayak – Buying Guide
There are certain features that are important to look out for when purchasing a tandem kayak. In this buying guide, we’ll be going through everything that you’ll need to know before you purchase your very first or next kayak.
Tandem kayaks have come a long way. The materials have become stronger and puncture resistant. Some even feature high-quality denier material and military grade PVC. Now, they are ultra-portable and can even fold into a small backpack. There are different types of materials that could be used to make a tandem kayak. You’ll find that the material often is directly related to the durability and weight of the rig.
Polyethylene is the plastic material that’s often found in kayaks. It’s a durable and lightweight material that’s great for resisting scratching and absorbing impact. This is why polyethylene is a great choice for the hull, as that’s the part that comes in contact with rocks and sand along the shore.
However, it’s important to keep kayaks of this material out of direct sunlight, as that can make it warm and brittle as time passes. If you keep that in mind, your tandem kayak will last for years to come.
Composite is a mixture of different high-end materials. It is a concoction of carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass materials that create a strong material that is very durable. A bonus to this mixture is that all the materials used are lightweight.
On the downside, you should be more careful with these materials as they are easier to damage that kayaks made with polyethylene. Though if it does get damaged, it’s quite easy to repair. However, the hard part is finding a shop to repair it.
The length correlates with its abilities. A longer kayak will be harder to maneuver, but it will be better at keeping a line and handling larger waves. On the other hand, a shorter kayak will be easier to control and turn, but will not be ideal for longer journeys.
Different Types Of Hull Shape
The shape of the hull determines how the kayak performs while on the water. There are three main shapes that can be found on these.
These are usually found on kayaks that are ideal for beginners. The flat bottom of the kayak gives riders the maximum stability in calm water conditions. This type of shape is not recommended for ocean or rough water conditions, as they won’t be able to cut through surfs.
Rounded shaped hulls allow you to cut through the water, which makes them faster. These take less effort to get them faster as there is less friction on the water. However, this does lose a little stability compared to the flat-bottomed kayak, so this shaped hill is recommended for intermediate riders.
If you’re looking for the fastest speeds, then the V-Shaped Hull is the choice for you. It’s great for fast speeds and long distance traveling. Though these are the least stable, they offer riders with secondary stability, which means that they can still be saved even when they are tipped on their side. These are also great for quick, sharp turns and can be maneuvered easier than other types. However, these should only be used by expert kayakers as they take a special skill set to ride.
The weight of a tandem can range from 30 lbs. to 100 lbs. The construction and features can either add to or decrease the weight of the kayak. So, a rigid polyethylene kayak, for example, could weigh almost double of what an inflatable might weigh.
Every single one features a different weight capacity. While researching, you’ll often find that their weight capacity ranges from 400 lbs. to 800 lbs. Some factors that might determine this limit include the amount of gear you’re carrying and the number of people riding it. The material that is used for the construction of the kayak can also play a large role in determining the weight capacity.
Doubling the paddling power means that you’ll generate more speed. If you’re looking to pick up the maximum speed. The longer boats will be able to cut through the water quicker and with more ease. Though they are generally wider than a solo kayak, the dual paddling power will make it much faster.
Though you might not always be looking to speed through the water, this boating style makes paddling more efficient. So, you can take it a bit easier as you’re sharing the power with a peer, which allows you to go at a more leisurely pace.
Tandem kayaks are known to be far superior in terms of stability with a comparison to other kayak types. This feature makes them great for teaching kids how to kayak, as they will be able to gain confidence and experience while sharing the load. If you’re heading or planning on going on choppy waters, 2 person kayaks give you that extra bit of stability that might come in handy.
In comparison to a solo, two people kayaks are great for allowing you more space to bring along your gear. On average, you’ll find that tandem kayaks allow you to bring roughly 50% more onto your boat than that of a standard solo kayak. Though this might seem like a very desirable feature, you should pay attention to the weight of cargo that you’re bringing onto your boat. Kayaks that are weighed down by cargo will perform significantly less than lighter boats.
Storage (Important If you want to go on trips)
As the previous section states, you’ll find that 2 person kayaks offer you more space and more storage options. These boats generally have a much more efficient design that is great for storing your gear along with holding more people. This makes the more practical, while also being faster and more efficient. On average, these can hold about 1.5x the storage of a solo kayak, which is why they come in larger sizes.
Price (How Much Should I Pay)
As with any other purchase, it’s important to consider your budget before making a big purchase. You’ll find that most are investment pieces. For this reason, you should be aware that these often come with heavier price tags than their solo counterparts. This is simply due to the fact that they have double the capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is Paddling On A Tandem Different To That Of A Solo Kayak?
A. It takes more effort to paddle a tandem kayak when compared to a solo kayak, as with tandem kayaks you have to be in sync with your partner. To make sure that you are in sync, the person in front should be the one to set the pace. That way, it will be less likely that you will bonk paddles. However, just note that you’ll still end up hitting paddles once in a while, especially when first starting. While the person in front sets the pace, the person in the back ensures that they do not veer off course.
Q. How Long Are Tandem Kayaks?
A. The length of a kayak & canoes depends on the use and the brand. On average, you’ll find that they range from 10 ft. to 23 ft. The longer the kayak, the more stable it is on the water; however, they will also weigh more. It might also mean that they have more storage.
Q. What Are The Weight Capacities Of A Tandem?
A. Due to the fact that they are designed for two riders, they will have a much more generous weight capacity than solo kayaks. Tandem kayak’s weight restrictions can range from 400 lbs. to 650 lbs. By asking yourself how much gear you’ll be bringing, the weight of you and your partner combined, and your intended use, you’ll be able to figure out which is the best kayak for you.
Q. How To Store A Tandem Kayak?
A. Storing takes the same amount of steps as a solo kayak would take. It is important to note though that this type of kayak will typically be longer, therefore you should invest in a carrier that helps to store it off the floor. This will help it to take up less space and make it safer. For those with an inflatable kayak, you will have an easier time with storage, as you simply have to dry it and deflate it.
For those that do not have enough space, you can store your tandem kayak outdoors. However, just ensure that it is not in direct sunlight. This will increase and maintain the durability of your kayak. Regardless of what type of kayak it is, you should ensure that you rinse it before storing it away.
Spending time on the lake is always a fun plan. Adding tandem kayaking into the mix just makes it even better. To top it all off, being able to kayak with a partner to share the weight and have some laughs along the way just make the trip even better. Our list of the best products currently on the market, along with our buying guide and FAQ section is specially designed to get you the best information possible. All that’s left to do is for you to get out on the water with your brand new tandem kayak.