Some adventures are far better with extra company. Kayaking is one of those adventures that you may want to share with your kids, partner, friends, or pooch. If you’re in the market for a two-seater, let us introduce you to the 10 best tandem kayaks.
Most tandem kayaks are longer and heavier than your standard single-person kayak, but you get to share the workload with your companion. These high-rated kayaks curate new memories of togetherness on the water, even if you’re a beginner. They make many inaccessible waters navigable and allow you to experience nature from an up-close-and-personal perspective.
For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:
Quick Answer - The Best Tandem Kayaks
- Intex Explorer K2
- STAR Paragon
- Perception Pescador
- Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 Kevlar
Comparison Table - Best Tandem Kayak
|Intex Explorer K2||Inflatable Sit-In||10’3”||36.4 lbs||400 lbs||$||4.2|
|STAR Paragon||Inflatable Sit-In||15’||52 lbs||N/A||$$||4.6|
|Perception Pescador||Solid Sit-On-Top||12’||64 lbs||375 lbs||$||4.7|
|Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 Kevlar||Solid Sit-In||22’||90 lbs||N/A||$$$||5.0|
Reviews - The Best Kayaks for Tandem Paddling
Intex Explorer K2
- Length: 10’3”
- Weight: 36.4 lbs
- Type: Inflatable Sit-In
- Weight Limit: 400 lbs
- Bright Yellow Color (for high visibility)
- Two Separate Air Chambers (so you stay afloat if one pops)
- Made of Puncture-Resistant Vinyl (so pops shouldn’t happen in the first place)
- Comes with Removable Seats, Two Paddles, a Pump, and Carry Bag
- Grab Lines and Handles on Both Ends (for hauling)
BEST FOR: SMALLER BODIES OF WATER
Go straight from the bustling city to the tranquil waters with this two-person kayak. You can single-handedly carry the boat to the water, fill it with air, and make your way into the blue in a matter of minutes. You can always go alone, but the boat can certainly accommodate the company of another person.
- Length: 15’
- Weight: 52 lbs
- Type: Inflatable Sit-In
- Weight Limit: N/A
- Comes With a Tracking Fin, Carry Bag, and Air Pump
- Two Removable High-Back Seats (for 1- or 2-passenger arrangements)
- Rigid Front and Back Keel Inserts (better tracking)
- Rigid Floor Insert (for better stability)
- Front and Back Splash Covers (to keep you and your belongings dry)
BEST FOR: BUDGET-CONSCIOUS MINIMALISM
You’ll have a hard time staying away from the water with this kayak calling you from the closet (and why would you?). First, you don’t have to have a vehicle with roof racks or a big garage to store this full-sized tandem boat because it fits inside a backpack. When the water warms up, you can get in whenever you feel so called.
Although the idea of an inflatable kayak may make you hesitant, the rigid front, back, and floor inserts add structure like a solid kayak. It would take quite a bit to puncture the thick, advanced abrasion-resistant material and high-tech seams. You should be able to trust the ‘yak to carry you, your chosen companion, and your overnight gear without worry.
- Length: 12’
- Weight: 64 lbs
- Type: Solid Sit-On-Top
- Weight Limit: 375 lbs
- Adjustable Seat-Back Positions (for your preferred recline)
- Center Molded Seat (for a child, dog, or solo rider)
- Multiple Footrest Positions (for different rider sizes)
- Between-Leg Cup Holders and Storage Hatches on Front and Back
- Bungee Storage Compartments at the Front and Back
BEST FOR: BEGINNERS AND PROS WHO NEED SPEED
If you’re looking for a tandem kayak that still allows for speed, the Pescador is your answer. At the same time, the width and buoyancy of the boat give you extra stability to make speed and wake feel manageable. It tracks straight and turns fast too. The ergonomic seats and ample leg room let you play out on the water as long as you want to.
Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 Kevlar
- Length: 22’
- Weight: 90 lbs
- Type: Solid Sit-In
- Weight Limit: N/A
- Multiple Bungee Tie-Downs (for above-boat storage)
- Greater Stability Than Most Single Kayaks
- 3-Hatch Design Allows Plenty of Storage Space And Possible Third Seat
- Padded Thigh Braces (to keep legs comfortable)
BEST FOR: LONG OR SHORT SEA KAYAKING EXPEDITIONS
Right away, you’ll probably notice the abundant storage capacity of this sea kayak. Every inch of the kayak has a purpose with no wasted space. The front, back, and middle bungee tie-downs and watertight hatches allow you to pack enough for a week-long expedition.
You should find the this vessel easy to maneuver as well, especially with help from your cabin crew. With plenty of stability for newbies and graceful speed for more experienced riders, this ‘yak strikes a fine balance between “lazy river” and “thrill ride.”
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A TANDEM KAYAK
Tandem kayaks tend to cost more than single-person versions, but price is also affected by type and engineering. Solid models and state-of-the-art features always cost more than more basic boats. Check your intended use and desires against your budget to determine your ideal price range.
Two-person kayaks can weigh upwards of 90 pounds. Typically, you’ll have another passenger to help carry the boat. However, if you or your passenger have weight restrictions or you choose to ride alone, make sure you can carry the boat yourself or make arrangements to get it to the water.
The weight of two full-grown adults plus their gear can add up fast. Check the listed weight limit on your tandem kayak to ensure you don’t exceed that limit. If you exceed the weight limit, the boat may sink deeper into the water and be harder to handle.
Tandem kayaks come in either solid or inflatable models with sit-in or sit-on-top designs. Your legs go inside the cockpit of a sit-inside kayak, which feels more stable, while sit-on-top styles may feel more open. The inflatable versus solid choice is usually just a matter of preference or how much storage space you have available at home.
For more advice about how to pick the right kayak, click here.
The cockpit is the area inside the kayak, where you sit. The cockpit should have enough legroom for you and your passenger to comfortably sit, plus extra space for your belongings if you need to bring them along.
Kayaks usually have either movable pegs or molded footrests where you can brace your feet while you paddle. If you’re on the short or taller end, you want to make sure the foot pegs accommodate your size for a more comfortable ride. Find out how to find the right fit.
Ergonomics is the science of efficiency and proper posture. Ergonomic seats, for example, allow you to sit with proper posture and back support. An ergonomic seat can make all the difference between a long, comfortable ride and a ride that’s cut short by back pain.
Splash guards are raised shields, almost like mini windshields, on the front and/or back of the boat that protect your body and clothes against splashing waters. Although you should expect to get a little wet when kayaking, a splash guard can help prevent you from getting completely soaked.
A rudder, or skeg, is a small fin-like attachment on the bottom of the boat that keeps the boat from getting pushed by crosswinds. The rudder helps you steer straight so you don’t have to expend all your energy paddling against the wind.
Learn more about parts of a kayak here (+ downloadable pdf).