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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: 

Sea Kayaks | Touring Kayaks | Kayaks for Beginners | Sit In Kayaks | Kayaks Under $500

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Quick Answer - The Best Tandem Kayaks

  1. Advanced Elements Convertible
  2. Intex Explorer K2
  3. BKC TK219 Fishing
  4. Eddyline Whisper CL
  5. Aquaglide Columbia 145 XL
  6. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 135T
  7. STAR Paragon
  8. Perception Pescador
  9. Eddyline Shasta
  10. Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 Kevlar

 

Comparison Table - Best Tandem Kayak

PictureNameTypeLengthWeightWeight LimitPriceRating
Advanced Elements ConvertibleInflatable Sit-In15'52 lbs550 lbs$4.4
Intex Explorer K2Inflatable Sit-In10’3”36.4 lbs400 lbs$4.2
BKC TK219 FishingSolid Sit-On-Top12.2’70 lbs440 lbs$4.8
Eddyline Whisper CLSolid Sit-In18’73 lbs600 lbs$$$4.5
Aquaglide Columbia 145 XLInflatable Sit-In15’43 lbs600 lbs$4.5
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 135TSolid Sit-On-Top13’6”88 lbs600 lbs$$4.8
STAR ParagonInflatable Sit-In15’52 lbsN/A$$4.6
Perception PescadorSolid Sit-On-Top13’69 lbs500 lbs$4.7
Eddyline ShastaSolid Sit-In16’63 lbs450 lbs$$$5.0
Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 KevlarSolid Sit-In22’90 lbsN/A$$$5.0
PictureNameTypeLengthWeightWeight LimitPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Kayaks for Tandem Paddling

Advanced Elements Convertible

Specs
  • Length: 15'
  • Type: Inflatable Sit-In
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 550 lbs
Features
  • Multiple Air Chambers (so you stay afloat if one pops)
  • Multi-Layer Construction (protects the boat from punctures)
  • Aluminum Frame (for added reinforcement and performance)
  • Adjustable Seat Positions (for single or tandem arrangements)
  • Multiple Tie-Downs (for storage)

BEST FOR: TRANSITIONING BETWEEN SINGLE AND TANDEM USE

The seats of this inflatable kayak can be arranged in a number of ways to accommodate taller riders or switch to single-rider use. Because it’s inflatable and weighs as much as a small child, one person should be able to carry it to the shore by themselves. 

This kayak is a great alternative to a hard shell for those who have limited storage space. The aluminum frame and encased air chambers give the boat a sturdiness you wouldn’t expect from an inflatable too. It’s also really impressive how the entire boat packs up into the included duffel bag.

Intex Explorer K2

Specs
  • Length: 10’3”
  • Type: Inflatable Sit-In
  • Weight: 36.4 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 400 lbs
Features
  • 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.

BKC TK219 Fishing

Specs
  • Length: 12.2’
  • Type: Solid Sit-On-Top
  • Weight: 70 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 440 lbs
Features
  • Soft, Padded Seats (for all day fishing)
  • Comes With 2 Paddles and Integrated Paddle Holders
  • 6 Rod Holders (3 for you and 3 for your fishing buddy)
  • Room for a Third Person
  • 2 Waterproof Storage Hatches (for items you don’t want to get wet)

BEST FOR: CALM FRESHWATER FISHING

A fishing kayak is a sensible choice for those who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a decked-out fishing boat or who want to reach remote inlets and passageways. The 6 rod holders ensure you and your fishing buddy always have one or more baited lines in the water. The comfortable seats make your fishing excursion as comfortable as possible, even if they’re not biting.

Eddyline Whisper CL

Specs
  • Length: 18’
  • Type: Solid Sit-In
  • Weight: 73 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 600 lbs
Features
  • Deluxe Seats with Backrests (for optimal comfort)
  • Adjustable Foot Pegs (to brace yourself)
  • Rudder with Foot Controllers (to help navigate turns)
  • Front and Rear Watertight Storage Hatches (for food and dry clothes)
  • Front and Center Bungee Tie-Downs (for pack storage)

BEST FOR: FLATWATER CRUISING

For the price of this tandem kayak, you get generous bonus features along its 18 feet of length. First, you’ll notice this extra length adds ample leg and storage room, so you don’t have to leave anything at base camp. Then, you’ll be pleased by how comfortable those plush seats are on long rides. Even if your second rider doesn’t contribute as much to paddling, you should be able to navigate elegantly with the accessible rudder controls and responsive design. And the two seats are positioned close enough to be able to hear and pass things to each other.

Aquaglide Columbia 145 XL

Specs
  • Length: 15’
  • Type: Inflatable Sit-In
  • Weight: 43 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 600 lbs
Features
  • Stiff, Reinforced Floor
  • Bungee Tie-Downs at Both Ends (for storage)
  • Single or Tandem Set-Up With Center Child Saddle Seat
  • Front and Back Splash Guards (to keep you dry)
  • Comes with a Fin and Backpack

BEST FOR: LEISURE EXPLORATION ON CALM WATERS

As far as inflatable kayaks go, the XL Columbia is an all-star host for you and your loved ones. All it needs is a little air, and the portable boat takes you from apartment living to wild adventurer in less time than it takes to order an Uber. Load your overnight gear under the bungee straps and forget about your electric lifestyle for awhile.

The makers of this tandem kayak thought of everything. They reinforced the bottom so it feels rigid like a solid boat. They put neoprene pads along the sides to soften your entry and rowing arms and splash guards at the front and back to reduce wetness. The seating is above average too: attachment strips along the entire bottom allow you to arrange the seats however you want them, so a taller rider can spread out and a child can sit in between. What’s stopping you?

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 135T

Specs
  • Length: 13’6”
  • Type: Solid Sit-On-Top
  • Weight: 88 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 600 lbs
Features
  • Abundant Storage in the 2 Watertight Hatches and Front and Back Bungee Tie-Downs
  • Front, Back, and Side Carry Handles (to haul to the shoreline)
  • Built-In, Between-Leg Cup Holders
  • Adjustable Foot Pegs (to help you brace your legs)
  • Breathable, Ergonomic, Adjustable Seats (for long-term comfort)

BEST FOR: LONG RIDES IN FLATWATER CONDITIONS

If you need good back support for long rides on the lake, this Tarpon is your go-to kayak. The seats are breathable, so they don’t make you sweat, and functionally designed for your back. You can adjust both your seat positioning and foot peg arrangement to find a fit that’s just right for you.

Beginners who enjoy a little oomph will appreciate how fast and nimble the boat moves over the water. Grab your drinks, your photography gear, and a companion and head out to see what kind of scenes you can find.

STAR Paragon

Specs
  • Length: 15’
  • Type: Inflatable Sit-In
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Weight Limit: N/A
Features
  • 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.

Perception Pescador

Specs
  • Length: 13’
  • Type: Solid Sit-On-Top
  • Weight: 69 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 500 lbs
Features
  • 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.

Eddyline Shasta

Specs
  • Length: 16’
  • Type: Solid Sit-In
  • Weight: 63 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 450 lbs
Features
  • Adjustable Rudder System (for straighter tracking in the wind)
  • Front and Back Watertight Storage Hatches (for items you don’t want getting wet)
  • Adjustable Seats (for single or double passenger arrangements)
  • Front and Back Carry Handles (to haul to the shoreline)

BEST FOR: INTIMATE RIDES ON FLATWATER

The front seat of this canoe-like kayak moves back and swivels around so you can get to know your passenger a little better when you stop to fish or rest. Pack a homemade lunch under the storage compartments to earn extra points with your love interest.

A kayak is a great way to learn how you work together, so hand your companion a paddle (unless you want to do all the work) and find a steady stroke. The lightweight performance boat is easy to paddle, and that grace and the accompanying endorphins work in your favor.

Seaward Kayaks Passat G3 Kevlar

Specs
  • Length: 22’
  • Type: Solid Sit-In
  • Weight: 90 lbs
  • Weight Limit: N/A
Features
  • 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

PRICE

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.

 

WEIGHT

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.

 

WEIGHT LIMIT

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.

 

TYPE

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.

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

COCKPIT

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.

FOOT PEGS

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

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

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.

RUDDER

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)

READ MORE

For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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