If you want to paddle with a buddy and share the fun on the water, you’ve come to the right place – our selection of the best tandem kayaks will help you make that possible. While being alone with the ocean is a great way to relax, kayaking is a lot more fun if you bring someone along.
A tandem kayak makes paddling easier (by sharing the load), and greatly increases your options when it comes to fun water activities. There is even plenty of space to bring your kids on a fishing trip or take your dog on a ride.
Doing all this will be much easier if you find the best tandem kayak for your activities and paddling style. Our tandem kayaks reviews and buying guide will walk you through the selection process, so all you have to worry about is enjoying yourself on the water.
How To Choose A Tandem Kayak – Buying Guide
There are key features to consider when searching for the perfect tandem kayak. To help, we’ve listed all the information you need to choose the best kayak for two people!
There are many different types of materials a tandem kayak can be made of. The material directly relates to the weight, durability, and functionality of the rig, making it a key factor to consider when choosing between different kayaks.
Polyethylene is a plastic material that is commonly found in kayaks. It is a durable material that is also lightweight. It does a good job of absorbing impact and does not scratch easily. This makes it an excellent choice for the hull which routinely comes in contact with sand and rocks along the shore. However, polyethylene does have its drawbacks. If it spends too much time in direct sunlight it can warm and become brittle over time. But as long as you keep this in mind and ensure you don’t subject your polyethylene kayak to the elements, your tandem two-seater kayak will last for years to come.
Composite is a mixture of high-end material. The fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon concoction create a strong material that will stand the test of time. An added bonus is that these are exceptionally lightweight materials. Just be careful when launching and landing this kayak type as the materials are more easily damaged than the polyethylene counterpart. This material is quite easy to repair but can be a hassle to find a shop.
PVC is often featured in inflatable kayaks. Believe it or not, inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years. The material has become strong, even puncture-resistant, and features military-grade PVC or high-quality Denier material. These are ultra-portable usually folding into a small backpack. There are also many air compartments, ensuring that you make it back to the shore even if you spring a leak.
The hull shape will determine how the kayak performs in the water. There are three main types of hull shape:
Flat bottom hulls are usually found on beginner boats. The flat bottom allows the maximum stability in calm conditions. However, taking this type of hull into rough or ocean conditions is not recommended as they will not be able to cut through the surf.
Rounded bottom hulls allow kayaks to cut through the water, increasing their speed over flat bottom hulls. Achieving faster speeds also takes less effort in a rounded bottom hull as there is less friction against the water. However, this extra speed sacrifices some stability, therefore this type of hull is recommended for intermediate riders.
A V-shaped hull will propel you at the fastest speed and is good for long-distance travel. Even though they are the least stable, they offer secondary stability. This means they can be saved when they are tipped on their side. These types of hulls will be able to turn on a dime and be maneuvered easier than the other two types. They should only be used by expert kayakers.
Every kayak has a different weight capacity. Tandem kayaks will range from 400 to over 800 pounds. The weight capacity determines important aspects of your kayaking adventures, including how many people can ride in your kayak, and the amount of gear you can bring. The materials used to create the kayak play a key role in determining the riding capacity.
The weight of these top-rated kayaks varies from 30 to 100 pounds. The features and construction can add and decrease weight. For example, a rigid polyethylene kayak could weigh double that of an inflatable. Kayak weight is an important factor to consider when choosing a kayak as you need to ensure you have the ability to carry it to and from the water, and also to transport it from your home.
The length is also a factor that determines the abilities of your kayak. A longer boat is harder to maneuver but is better at handling large waves and keeping a line. A shorter kayak will be easier to turn and control but is not the best choice for long journeys.
Why Choose A Tandem Kayak?
Of the many styles to choose from, a two-person kayak is one of the best options. Not only do you get tons of storage but you also get to bring along a friend. This is particularly useful for families and those with young children. This will allow you to bring your child along with you in the kayak and allow them to build their confidence in the water. Recreational kayaks are often quite a bit longer than solo kayaks making them move faster in the water.
Sit-On-Top Or Sit-Inside Tandem Kayak?
When you choose one of the best tandem kayaks, you will notice that there are two different styles of kayaks for you to choose from. This is your sit-on-top and you sit-in kayaks. For sit-on-top tandem kayaks, you will find both of these styles available for both your solo and tandem kayaks. You may think that these types of boats are only made of hard plastic but you also do get them both in inflatable boats as well.
These kayaks, while they have many differences, share many of the same characteristics. In both kayak designs, you refer to the bottom of the kayak as the hull and the top of the kayak as the deck. As with other watercraft, you still refer to the front of the boat as the bow and the back as the stern. In both styles of boat, you will find the deck of the boat covered in bungee lines allowing for maximum storage. Both boat styles will also feature a seat and foot supports.
Of course, there are many differences as well. Sit-inside kayaks have an enclosed cockpit that allows riders to sit lower in the water. As the name suggests you sit-on-top of your kayak which gives you a significantly higher center of gravity. Sit inside kayaks always come with some sort of backrest in their seating area as well.
Choosing the style of kayak that is best for you may not be as straightforward as you think. There are many benefits to both types of kayaks that should be considered before making your choice. To start with, you may want to ask yourself a few questions, such as determining the type of water you are going to be paddling in as well as the temperatures of the water. From here, consider the pros and cons of each two-person kayak type.
Sit-on-top tandem kayaks are generally the most user-friendly as they are very easy to get in and out of. They tend to deliver a stable ride giving you a very freeing feeling as you are not confined in a cockpit. This kayak style does not have any protection in the water and guarantees you to get wet. Luckily these boats come equipped with self-bailing features that allow you to stay safe. This does, however, mean they are designed solely for warmer waters. This type of kayak is incredibly easy to get in and out of making them ideal for paddlers looking to swim.
Sit inside tandem kayaks give you a place to lower your body into making them much warmer. Providing shelter from wind and rain these kayaks are ideal for paddlers in cooler waters. Due to this protective shell, you are far less likely to get wet in this style of the kayak and therefore can paddle while wearing a full outfit of clothing. They offer a great amount of stability but unfortunately do not have the same amount of freedom to move in and out of the water as their sit-on-top partners.
There are many advantages to choosing a two-person kayak. The biggest advantage is the ability to carry more. With a larger weight capacity, you are able to bring along more gear and more people or both. With this added space you can even bring your furry friend along for the ride. As these boats are often much longer in size you will even be able to enjoy improved performance. This is due to the long and slender shape of the kayak that allows you to cut through the water with ease. Having the ability to carry two paddlers onboard also means that you will have double the paddle power.
Below, we explore the many advantages of opting for this type of kayak.
Family Style Kayak
Young kids will love this style of two-person kayak. They can sit on the deck without feeling like they’re going to fall off. The best tandem kayaks will have enough space so you can watch your kid ensure they stay safe. You can take the rear seat and give them the front one. This allows you to paddle while they just sit there and take in the scenery.
There are also boats that will allow you and your partner to have seats with enough room for a youngster to sit between you. This may not be ideal for long commutes but a short boat ride will be perfect.
Tandem Kayak For Your Dog
Recreational tandem kayaks also give you the ability to bring along your dog. Most are made of hard plastic material that won’t get damaged by their paws. A kayak with removable seats will be ideal so they have room to sit and move around without tearing up the seat. We recommend bringing along a blanket for your furry friend so they will be more comfortable. This will also provide a barrier between the kayak and your pup’s sharp nails.
It is important to consider safety before bringing your pup along on the water. This isn’t meant to be a stressful situation so deciding whether your dog is mentally fit to handle this is important. You will also want to pack for your furry friend as well. You will want to provide them with plenty of water along the trek.
This includes a safety life jacket. Even strong swimmers can struggle to get their bearings in deeper waters. It isn’t worth your dog’s life so be sure to always have them wearing a safety vest. Be sure to always consider how much heat your dog is being exposed to as well. Some dogs really do not have a strong resistance to heat.
Being able to go on trips with a partner will allow you to rest without losing time. You can trade off shifts so both of you get a chance to paddle without getting too tired. This is also ideal for people who love nature photography. The person sitting at the front of the kayak can snap some pics while the person at the back can continue paddling.
Double the paddle power means that you will have a lot more speed. Tandem kayaks are a great way to go if you are looking to pick up maximum speed in the water. The longer boat cuts through the water easily and quickly. While this type of kayak is generally a bit wider, specifically through the stern, the dual paddling power works to make these boats travel much faster through the water.
While you may not always be looking to tear through the water at top speeds, this boating style is much more efficient. That means that you can take it a lot easier when paddling with a friend if you are looking to go at a leisurely pace.
The stability found in a tandem ocean kayak is superior to that found in many other types of tandem kayaks. This is a key feature specifically amongst novice paddlers. This is why teaching children with this type of kayak can be incredibly beneficial. These types of tandem kayaks are a great way for kayakers to gain experience and confidence in the sport. Stability is an important feature to consider, even for more experienced paddlers, when heading into choppy waters and those with a current.
This type of kayak allows you to bring along more gear than a solo kayak. On average tandem kayaks offer around 50% more storage than standard solo kayaks allowing you to pack along more gear. While this is a desirable feature you will still want to pay close attention to your boat’s weight capacity. Kayaks that are weighed down to their weight capacity offer significantly less performance than lighter boats. For those who are packing quite a lot of stuff, you will likely have much more success on two solo kayaks than maxing out your kayak.
In Case Of Accidents
A kayak is a great safety measure that you may not think of. This is especially true when out for longer trips or when traveling with children. Having a 2-person kayak will allow you to have a backup in case of an accident or emergency.
In this situation, in the event that someone in your party is tired, ill, or has an accident you are able to safely put them in a seat and have the other paddler pull their weight. Having solo kayaks makes it hard to help a friend to safety in the event they are unable to paddle anymore. Having an extra seat in your kayak is a great safety measure and can greatly improve your day on the water. This is especially convenient in the case of kids where they are unable, or unwilling, to paddle all of the time.
Tandem kayaks are expertly designed to not only hold more people but also more gear. These boats are great for the fact that they have a longer, much more efficient design. This allows them to not only excel with practicality but also propel through the water with maximum speed and efficiency.
These boats on average are able to hold about 1.5 more storage than a regular solo kayak. This is typically seen through a mix of both internal and onboard storage. These tandem kayaks are equipped with internal storage in both the bow and the stern giving you all-around storage convenience.
Tandem kayaks are meant to hold two people and about 50% more storage than regular solo kayaks. That is why these kayaks come in at a much larger size than other tandem kayaks. For this reason, they are quite a bit harder to store. This is also true for transporting your boat. This is important to consider before making your purchase. Having a boat of this increased length will require you to have different equipment to transport your boat and significantly more space for storage. Preparing for this change is important. For those tight on space but still looking for the convenience of a kayak, we recommend opting for an inflatable version.
As always it is important to consider your budget when making any big purchases. Most tandem kayaks are quite an investment. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the costs associated with different styles of boats. Tandem kayaks come with a heavier price tag than most solo boats. This is quite simply because they have double the capacity. While this is true, tandem boats are most often considerably cheaper than buying two solo kayaks. For those looking for a good deal who often travels with a partner, opting for a 2 person kayak is a great choice.
Q: How Do You Paddle A Kayak?
Q: How Do You Steer A Kayak?
Q: How Long Are Kayaks?
Q: How Do I Transport A Kayak?
Q: What Is The Lightest Kayak?
Q: What Are The Weight Limits For Kayaks?
Q: How To Kayak?
Q: How To Paddle A Kayak Solo?
Q: How To Flip A Kayak?
Q: How To Pack A Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak?
Q: How To Store A Kayak?
Globo Surf Overview
Spending your day on the lake is always a good idea. Whether you are going out for an hour, a week, or for a fishing adventure, kayaking can do it all. Bringing a friend along for your next adventure will allow you to get even more from this experience. Bring your family, or even just your dog, for a day on the water soaking in the sunshine. A great bonding activity that happens to double as an excellent upper body workout. Tandem kayak reviews agree that the best 2 person kayak should have a ton of space and high weight capacity.
More Kayak Reviews:
- Recreational Kayak
- Lightweight Kayak
- Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Beginner Kayak
- Kayak Seat
- Motorized Kayak
- Fishing Canoe
- Ocean Kayak
- Folding Kayak
- Kayak Anchor
Do you love kayaking with a friend? Have you tried one of the best tandem kayaks on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.