Take A Friend Out With You: Best Tandem Kayaks Reviewed

It can be quite difficult to determine which tandem kayak is the best one for you and your water mate.

Often times buying a tandem kayak will be a joint decision between two different people so this can make it even harder to decide on a singular kayak, especially if you both have pretty different personalities and tastes.

In order to help you be able to sway the other person, or help you to make a decision as to what kayak you should purchase, we have come up with a buyer’s guide that you can use in order to help you make a better informed decision.

And, we’ve taken the time to highlight some of our favorite options for the best tandem kayak for the money.

Quick Answer: What are the best tandem kayaks on the market?

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Things To Consider Before Buying

With so many good tandem kayaks on the market, it’s challenging to determine which model is the best for you.

Maybe you’re an angler and you want the best tandem kayak for fishing with your dad.

Or maybe, lazy river paddling is more your style.

Or even time out in the ocean or white water rapids.

Regardless of what you intend to do with your two-seater kayak, there are a few common things that you can look for when you’re shopping.

We’ll go over some of those things below.

Experience

Especially if you haven’t done a lot of kayaking in the past it is a good idea to think about how comfortable you are with paddling.

The thing about tandems is that if you start to travel in the wrong direction, it can be difficult to determine where the problem is.

If you think that you might want to go out kayaking by yourself at times, just realize that kayaking on your own with a tandem can be rather difficult to do.

You will also want to think about the person who you are kayaking with, if they are paddling at a slow rate it is going to be a lot harder for you to be able to travel at a fast pace which is something that you should keep in mind.

A longer kayak is going to be faster on the water than that of a smaller kayak of the same caliber and a wider kayak is going to be more stable than a narrow kayak.

Keeping these things in mind, a more experienced kayaker is going to have an easier time using a narrow and long kayak than that of an inexperienced one.

No kayak is impossible to learn on, but just keep these things in mind while thinking about which kind you would like to get.

Transportation

Probably one of the most important aspects of buying yourself a tandem kayak is how you are going to transport it.

A tandem kayak can be quite large in size and it can weigh as much as 100 lbs if not more if you have some gear inside of your kayak.

Especially if you plan on kayaking a far distance away from your primary residence you are going to want to think about how you are going to move the boat to and from that location.

Especially since tandem kayaks tend to be fairly expensive, it may be a good idea to set some sort of a transportation device into your budget if you are thinking about buying one of these units and you don’t have a way to move it around.

A tandem kayak can be a little heavy to just pick up and throw onto the back of a truck, especially if you only have one person who is loading the boat at one time.

It is always important to make sure that you are transporting your kayak legally, make sure that you have any lights and indicators working that you need to.

You should also double check to make sure that your straps are done up tightly as the last thing that you want to happen when you are driving is for a kayak to fly off of the back of your vehicle and hurt or injure someone in the process.

Features

One thing that may influence your purchasing decision is the amount of features that come built into the unit.

You should always make sure that you are on the lookout for things like comfortable seats, some kind of a method in order to be able to dock the kayak, as well as things like built in storage areas.

It is always important to make sure that you think about the potential things that you may use a kayak for before you purchase it.

Something like built in rod holders can be a really nice feature to have, but you won’t find them on all of the kayaks on the market. Another thing that you may want to look for is something like built in handles, or a kayak with external handles which can make carrying the boat a lot easier.

There are multiple other comfort and convenience features that you may come across including: stackable designs, molded foot wells, waterproof storage areas, and kayak paddles.

couple in tandem kayak

Price

One thing that you are definitely going to want to consider about buying a tandem kayak is the price that you are willing to pay for one.

A tandem kayak is a pretty expensive unit in general and they can actually cost more than two singular kayaks.

Especially if you don’t have much in the way of boating equipment it is definitely a good idea to check and see if any accessories come with the kayak as you will want to have a good quality set of paddles as well as life jackets in order to be able to use the kayak.

Boating regulations in different areas vary, but you should also check your local area in order to see if you need to have some sort of a boating kit with you or a license in order to be able to use the unit.

Size

Tandem kayaks do come in a variety of sizes and it can be hard to think about what size is the best one for you.

A shorter tandem kayak is going to be lighter in weight and therefore easier to transport around.

The main problem you will find with shorter tandems is that they aren’t as stable in the water.

A couple other things to think about are that a shorter tandem will have much less storage room than that of a longer kayak and you will also sit closer to the other person in the kayak which means you may accidentally bump paddles if your paddling doesn’t stay in sync.

You will occasionally come across tandem kayaks that have a small molded seat in the center of the kayak which will allow you to be able to seat a third person.

Generally you won’t be able to fit more than a child in one of these areas as they are normally pretty small in size and there will normally be too low of a weight limit on the unit which will prevent you from being able to fit three adults safely inside.

Material

Generally speaking you will find that tandem kayaks are made out of about three different materials.

These materials include: plastic, kevlar as well as fiberglass.

You will find that plastic is generally the cheapest option that will be available to you as this is the cheapest material for the manufacturer.

A plastic kayak can get up to about 18 feet long.

You will find that the kevlar and fiberglass units do come in larger sizes that are as long as 23 feet.

Kevlar and fiberglass have the benefit of being lighter in weight and therefore they are able to travel through the water at a faster speed than that of plastic kayaks of the same size.

You will definitely pay a bit of a premium price tag if you want a kevlar or a fiberglass unit, but these are very durable kayaks and you will often find that the manufacturers of these types of kayaks tend to offer some pretty lengthy warranties.

Conditions

One thing that should have a large impact on your purchasing decision is the type of areas that you plan on taking your kayak to.

If you plan on going on really long kayaking trips you will probably want a larger kayak as you are going to want to have a lot of storage so that you can hold all of the gear that you need.

Another thing to consider is the density of brush in the area that you are going to as well as if you are going to have to portage the kayak.

A lighter kayak is going to be easier to portage and a smaller kayak is going to make it that much easier to be able to get the kayak through tight areas of brush.

You should also consider the water conditions of the area that you are traveling to.

If you are headed to an area that has a really rapid current, a small kayak may not be your best option.

A small kayak will generally fill up with water faster when it is capsized as there will be less of an area walled off inside of the kayak to help with the flotation of the unit.

Our Tandem Kayak Reviews

To help make that decision a bit easier, take a moment to read the reviews of some of our favorite tandem yaks.

These should help you out if you’re trying to decide between two models and aren’t sure which is the better option for you.

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

If you are looking to get something in the low to average price range and still of a pretty decent size then this 12 foot kayak may be one that is of interest to you.

This kayak has a weight capacity of about 425 lbs, but it does have the room as well as the seating positions available in order to be able to fit three people at one time onto the kayak.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Another thing that you will like about this kayak is that it has two very comfortable seats as well as gear straps, foot well’s and molded in handles which helps make your all around kayaking trip that much easier and more comfortable.

This design is built so that you have the maximum amount of foot room possible so that people, no matter their height, can comfortably sit in the unit.

Pros:

  • Molded handles, three molded seats, two of which are comfortable seats that are built into the design
  • Hull of the unit is designed in order to be stackable
  • Can fit a kayaker no matter their height thanks to lots of leg room
  • Low price tag certainly appeals to a broad spectrum of people
  • Can fit up to three people at one time so long as you are under the 425 lb weight limit

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with accessories
  • Could have some more storage options built into the design rather than foot space
  • 425 lb weight limit may be a tough squeeze for three people

Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 Tandem Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

If you want an average size tandem kayak for fishing, then this could be a great kayak for you.

This kayak is 12.6 feet long and is available in four different colors in order to suit your personality tastes.

BKC TK122U 12' 6

The kayak is still relatively heavy for its weight at 74 lbs.

This kayak definitely has some nice comfort features built into its design.

You will find that there are some very nice kayak seats that come with this kayak and you will also find that there are a variety of convenience features.

Things like carrying handles, paddle parks, two aluminum ores, two paddle rests, adjustable rod holders and 4 flush mount all come with your purchase.

This kayak is capable of holding up to 770 lbs at any one time which is an important number to keep in mind, especially if you are wanting to load the kayak up with a bunch of gear.

And, a cool thing about this tandem kayak is that you can fit up to three people in it.

Pros:

  • Four colors area available
  • Kayak can hold 770 lbs and three people
  • Comes with two paddles
  • Has some nice features like paddle rests, three rod holders, carrying handles and bungee paddle parks
  • Low price tag is appealing to a lot more people

Cons:

  • 5 foot design may make this kayak easier to sink when capsized

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

If you are looking to get something on the extremely cheap side of things then this 10 foot long tandem kayak may be one that is of interest to you.

This kayak is built in order to provide its users with an optimal fishing experience.

Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak with Paddles

There are three rod holders built onto this canoe and there is a 6’ storage hatch on the unit which allows you to be able to store a lot of your fishing gear.

Although this kayak is small, it is actually designed so that it is capable of holding three people at one time.

It may be a little difficult to fish with three people on the kayak at once, but it definitely is nice that it has that capability.

It is important to note, however, that there is a 500 lb weight limit on the unit so if you are thinking about taking three people at once you may want to do a quick tally to make sure that the kayak can hold everyone up.

There are some pretty convenient features on this kayak in order to help make it as comfortable as possible for its users.

You will notice things like two double sided paddles that come with your purchase.

Other things you will find included are: multiple footrest positions located in the kayak in order to offer the most comfort possible, two padded backrests, as well as a generous five year limited warranty from the manufacturer to give you some peace of mind spending your money on the unit.

Pros:

  • Low price tag appeals to a lot of people
  • Capable of holding three people at one time
  • Fairly large 500 lb weight limit for a 10 foot kayak
  • Features like: three rod holders, two padded backrests, multiple footrests, two double sided paddles as well as a 6’ storage hatch help to make this unit a competitor
  • Five year limited manufacturer’s warranty on the unit

Cons:

  • Small kayak may sink fairly fast when capsized
  • You may find you are hitting paddles with the other person

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak Package

If you are looking to buy something at about the average to low price range and of a half decent size then this kayak may be of interest to you.

This design comes in three different color options in order to be able to suit personal tastes as best as possible.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 12 Foot Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with 2 Seats + Flush Rod Holders

This unit actually contains three different seating positions and is capable of holding two adults as well as a child.

The unit has some very nice features including: four handles which make it easy to carry the unit around, four rod holders for your fishing convenience, as well as a rear cargo storage area which is great for storing your fishing gear.

This unit comes with a nice bungee tie down system so that you don’t have to worry about your kayak floating away on you.

One feature that you won’t find on a lot of kayaks is that there are actually two storage areas on the unit which allow both of the users to be able to store their fishing supplies within reach rather than just the person at the rear of the unit.

This kayak is a modest 12.2 feet in length and has a pretty decent size carrying capacity allowing the kayak to be able to transport up to 500 lbs at one time.

For its size the kayak is pretty light weight at just 72 lbs and this definitely helps to make it easier to move the kayak around.

Pros:

  • Average price tag of the kayak is appealing to a fairly large group
  • Two covered storage areas for your convenience
  • Four carrying handles makes it easy to move the unit around
  • Four rod holders on the unit make it easy to place your rod down
  • Three seating locations allow you to be able to fit three people on the kayak
  • Comes with paddles

Cons:

  • Can start to get hard to transport the unit around easily at this kind of a length

Final Word

Hopefully after reading the buyer’s guide you now feel like you have a better idea as to the many options that are available to you.

Hopefully the product reviews have also helped to show you a few of the good options that are available to you and helped you to visualize some of the cool tandem kayak options available.

It can be quite hard to narrow down your choices and finally decide on something.

It may be a good idea to listen to your kayaking partner and hear their preferences before making your final decision on a unit.

Best of luck in finding a good tandem kayak and hope you have fun out on the water!

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