The only thing more enjoyable than kayaking is to have someone along for the ride and that’s where a tandem kayak shines. Since it’s all too easy for brands to say they have the best tandem kayak, we decided to compare the most popular ones and picked out ten of the best you can buy. The Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Kayak has comfortable backrests and suitable for single or tandem use, so this should suit many kayak enthusiasts.
The Hobie Oasis is for those who want a reliable and stable kayak that is still easy to use. The Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak is ideal for those who want consistent performance and suited for Class III whitewater. If you’re looking for stability and greater visibility, you may like the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak.
The Lifetime 10 Foot Sports Fisher Tandem Kayak has a 3 person seating capacity so if you want to bring two friends along, check this out. The Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T has a storage area if you plan to bring some gear with you. The BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak is a lightweight kayak and suited for those who want a storage area and deluxe seats.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 10 Best Tandem Kayaks in 2021
- Top 10 Best Tandem Kayak Reviews in 2021
- 1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak With Aluminum Oars
- 2. Sea Eagle 330 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
- 3. Lifetime Two Person Tandem Kayak
- 4. Driftsun Rover Inflatable Tandem Kayak
- 5. BKC Tandem 2 Person Fishing Kayak
- 6. Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak
- 7. OC Paddle Ocean Tandem Kayak
- 8. Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak
- 9. Perception Kayaks Pair With Paddles
- 10. Vibe Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak
- Features to Look for in a Best Tandem Kayak
- Types of Tandem Kayaks
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best Tandem Kayaks in 2021
|Intex Explorer K2 Kayak||Check Price|
|Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe Kayak||Check Price|
|Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak||Check Price|
|Driftsun Rover Tandem Kayak||Check Price|
|BKC UH-TK181 Fishing Kayak||Check Price|
|Elkton Tandem Fishing Kayak||Check Price|
|OC Paddle Ocean Tandem Kayak||Check Price|
|Lifetime Tandem Kayak||Check Price|
|Perception Tandem Kayak||Check Price|
|Vibe Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Tandem Kayak Reviews in 2021
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak With Aluminum Oars
The K2 makes our list of the best tandem kayak for fishing with its versatility and dependable performance. An inflatable backrest is included for your convenience, and it also comes with a skeg for greater stability. The vivid yellow color is not only aesthetically pleasing but also improves visibility in the water.
Designed for lakes and small bodies of water, the K2 is ideal for solo, tandem, or family kayaking. The paddle has a simple design but is effective, and it won’t wear you out the way other kayaks do. Some assembly is needed but the procedure is straightforward and the instructions are clear.
The K2 is made from durable vinyl and it should hold up well even with constant use. The seats are adjustable so you’ll feel comfortable and not have to wrestle with the kayak. The K2 is not the most advanced kayak out there, but for those who are into weekend kayaking, this will suffice.
Whether you’re solo or going with a friend, the K2 delivers an enjoyable experience. People who have used the K2 say it is fun to navigate and setup is quick. They also say it’s easy to get into and out of it. Kayakers also agree this is a good option for those who have never tried kayaking.
- Comfortable backrest
- Easy to paddle
- Easy to inflate/deflate
- Drying takes time
- The carry bag is flimsy
2. Sea Eagle 330 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle has made some of the best tandem kayak models today and the 330 is a good example of that. Once you have assembled and inflated the kayak, you will realize it weighs just 26 pounds, but it has a 500-pound capacity.
With space for two people, the Sea Eagle 330 is ideal for kayaking in rivers and other bodies of water. The material is puncture resistant and the K-80 poly hull is thicker than on your typical kayak.
The kayak has been rated for Class III whitewater and has I-beam construction and the seams have been welded. All of this speaks volumes about how well the kayak is built. With the inflatable spray skirts, kayaking is more comfortable here. The Sea Eagle 330 is designed for users of different levels so even first-time riders won’t have trouble figuring it out.
The kayak tracking is also decent and works fine on water. It has received mostly good responses from those who have tried it. Some say it is perfect for solo and family kayaking. Others like the tracking too and how convenient it is to paddle. There are a few complaints about the seat design, but most are content with it.
- Inflatable spray skirts included
- Easy to inflate
- Seats are a little low
- Can ride a bit high on the water
3. Lifetime Two Person Tandem Kayak
The best tandem kayak reviews for the Sports Fisher have been positive thanks to its performance and stability. The kayak itself is made of high-density polyethylene, which makes it more durable than the typical kayak. The Sport Fisher has a seating room for three individuals (two adults, one child), so this tandem kayak can double up as a family kayak.
With a weight capacity of 500 pounds, the Sport Fisher should suffice for most people. The hull has been designed for extra stability, so even if filled to capacity the kayak moves where you want it to go. Tracking has also been improved from previous versions. The Sport Fisher has several footrest positions to accommodate people with different physiques.
Because the kayak is well balanced, you’ll feel comfortable using this alone or with a companion. Feedback for the Sport Fisher is generally positive. Kayakers agree it works great for solo or family kayaking. Other customers say the kayak is stable and paddling is easy. While it is a little slow, most buyers are content with its performance and stability.
- 5-year warranty
- Durable construction
- Comfortable backrests
- Better for kayaking than fishing
- Slower than other kayaks
4. Driftsun Rover Inflatable Tandem Kayak
This Driftsun Kayak is suitable for white-water, and that should tell you that it’s very durable. Specifically, it is ideal for up to class III and IV rapids. You might be doubting whether an inflatable can hold up against the harsh conditions, but this kayak is made of 1000D layered PVC side tubes, so it’ll just bounce back off of obstacles.
The bottom is also a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin so that it will hold up a lot of abuse. Another thing about the construct I liked is the high-pressure drop stitch floor. The lightweight kayak itself is only 28lbs, and together with all the gears, it’ll weigh a little less than 40 lbs.
However, when fully loaded, it can take as much as 600lbs of weight! This kayak comes with clear instructions, so you’ll be able to inflate and set it up within as little as 10 minutes. Deflation is just as simple. Although, keep in mind that the kayak needs to be dried before you can store it away. Otherwise, it’ll grow mildew.
Despite being a two-seater, this kayak can be converted into a one-seater thanks to the removable, EVA padded high-back seats. You can set these seats anywhere on the kayak, and that’s how the conversion is possible. The hardware and accessories that come with this kayak are all relatively high-end. The front action camera mount, paddles, high-end air valves, reinforced carry handles, removable flatwater tracking fin- these are all sturdy and well made.
- Inflates in less than 10 minutes
- Weighs only 28 lbs
- Lots of tie down points
- Corrosion resistant hardware
- Heavy-duty construction
- Can be converted to a one-seater
- The skeg is a little tough to attach and detach
- Paddles come in pieces, which some users might not like
5. BKC Tandem 2 Person Fishing Kayak
The TK181 has support for two people with a combined weight of 440 pounds, which makes it suitable for most kayakers. The best tandem touring kayaks should come with comfortable seats, and that is what you get here. Even as you paddle the seats keep you comfy.
The kayak comes with a two-piece aluminum paddle so you can kayak smoothly and with confidence. Even though it’s lightweight, the paddle gets the job done. The rod holders are adjustable and the carry handles provide additional convenience. There is a cargo and a couple of bungee paddle parks so you can keep your stuff organized.
Even when packed the kayak remains balanced and comfortable either in solo or tandem. The kayak is solidly built and won’t leak even with regular use. Even with two people, the kayak doesn’t lose any stability. Those who bought the TK181 are mostly happy with it. Most claim the kayak is stable and the paddles are well-designed. Others say the kayak tracks well and offers good value for your money.
- Stable movement
- Has a storage area
- Rod holders easy to adjust
- Packaging could use improvement
- Tilting too much to the left or right flips the kayak over
6. Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak
The Elkton is equipped with four carry handles so it’s easy to use, and the bungee tie-down system for the storage is well-designed. The covered hatches for the storage are a nice touch, and overall the kayak is well-constructed.
Versatility is one of the reasons we consider this one of the best tandem sea kayaks, as it is good enough for fishing, exploring or just leisure kayaking solo or with a companion. The Elkton is also well balanced so you can use this in rivers, lakes, and flat waters.
The kayak paddle is light but durable and dependable, but it is easy enough for anyone to try. There are 3 seating positions, good enough for two adults and a child. Or you can use the extra space for your cargo if there are just two of you or you’re kayaking solo.
Whether you’re kayaking or fishing, the Elkton is comfortable enough for both. Kayakers who bought the Elkton like how it handles. Kayakers also like the mounting options as it simplifies adding accessories, and they also agree the kayak remains steady whether used solo or tandem.
- Storage has hatches
- Well-designed bungee tie-down system
- 500 lb. weight capacity
- Tracking could use improvement
- Buckles are plastic
Also Read: Best Kayak Trailer – Top Reviews to Buy
7. OC Paddle Ocean Tandem Kayak
Inflatable kayaks might not be what you’re looking for. In that case, you’d have to be prepared for a tandem kayak that’s a little heavier and a little pricier. Considering all that, the OC tandem kayak seems to have a lot of potential.
This kayak is made of high-density polyethylene; therefore, it’s expected to last quite a while. It does weigh around 80 pounds, so don’t expect it to be accessible to transport or store. Make sure you have at least two strong people with you to carry it anywhere.
However, the upside to being a hefty and large kayak is that it will accommodate quite a lot. You can use it solo, tandem, and even tandem with a child or a pet. However, if you have a lot of gear, there might not be enough space for more than two adults.
You’re probably wondering how to use it solo since most tandem kayaks don’t have a seat in the right place for a solo paddler. Well, this one does. It has three molded-in seat wells at bow, stern, and middle. Therefore, you can place your seat anywhere. Extra features like side carry handles and gear straps are also molded in. So durability is a given. The kayak also comes with two gel seats and two paddles. If you want a third seat for a child, you’ll have to purchase it separately.
- Heavy and sturdy kayak
- Includes a molded-in center seating position
- Can be used solo, tandem, or tandem with a child
- Equipped with overlapping foot wells
- Quite heavy to be maneuvered around
8. Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak
The Lifetime has a 500-pound capacity and is meant for solo or tandem use. The kayak comes with a couple of backrests so you feel comfortable. The Lifetime weighs only 60 pounds so it is lighter than other kayaks. It also has molded rear and front and there are carry handles so you can lift this without difficulty.
As one of the best tandem fishing kayaks today, the Lifetime sports a unique hull that provides extra tracking and durability. The seat is higher than those on other kayaks, and this is what keeps you dry even when you’re kayaking in heavy waters. Because of the way the hull has been designed, the Lifetime is very hard to tip over.
The paddles included with the Lifetime are simple but effective. Just like the kayak itself, the paddles are comfortable and easy to use. The seats are comfortable and stable: they have room for two or three people depending on size. The kayak is also small enough to fit in a truck or SUV so you can take this with you wherever you go.
The kayak also has a forward cargo area, a receiver receptacle, and footwells so you remain in control as you paddle. Those who bought the Lifetime agree that it is well-made and suitable for family and solo kayaking. Buyers also like its durability and that it is easy to assemble and load. While it’s not for racing, most agree the kayak is stable and reliable.
- Good storage capacity
- Very stable
- Fits in an SUV
- Paddles are a little short
9. Perception Kayaks Pair With Paddles
This is another great model of kayak that you can even use to fish for medium to small fish species. Additionally, this model of sport kayak comes with a perfectly designed body that will allow you to balance yourself with ease even if you weigh a little more than average. Moreover, customers have reported that it is easy to carry as the sides have several padded handles.
Also, the manufacturer has stated that you can use this kayak on all sorts of water bodies including lakes, rivers, and oceans. However, if you are going to plan on using this Perception Kayak in the ocean then ensure that you wear a life vest as the kayak could potentially overturn despite its super sturdy build.
As for its size, it might look small at first but individuals who have purchased this kayak have reported that it feels comfortable and roomy for up to 2 individuals. Lastly, keep in mind that you will need to think thoroughly before buying this kayak as the manufacturer does not include any warranty and the customer service was reported to be lacking in helpfulness.
- Beautiful design
- Comfortable and roomy
- Great for lakes, rivers, and even oceans
- Can be used for fishing
- No warranty
- Kayak can tip over
10. Vibe Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak
Moreover, it is available in three different sizes as well as four different colors thus you will be bound to find just the pair that will suit you. This kayak can be used either by two persons or three people provided that one will sit on top of the kayak.
The seats have been reported to be very comfortable and come with extra padding however if a 3rd is to seat just on top of the kayak then keep in mind that he might be uncomfortable as the body of the kayak is made from hard BPA-free plastic so as to prevent the kayak from easily overturning.
Furthermore, this model of kayak comes with additional accessories such as and mounting gear for flashlights as well as two holders and 4 cap places. Also, this model of the kayak has been tested by several extreme sports research facilities and was found to be safe for use by adolescents above the age of 15 provided they have basic safety knowledge as well as training.
- Safe for use by teenagers
- Can accommodate up to 3 people
- Comes with two seats and two paddles
- Available in several different colors
- Lack of clear instructions in the packaging box
- Bad customer support
Features to Look for in a Best Tandem Kayak
Reading a best tandem kayak review is one way to determine what to buy, but you also have to consider other factors. Even if you’ve decided you’re going for tandem or three-seater, keep the following in mind.
Tandem fishing kayak reviews emphasize length because it affects the kayak’s performance. Longer ones maintain straight lines well and easier to paddle when traveling long distances. Shorter kayaks are more portable.
Wide tandem kayaks provide stability. However, if you want speed, look for a narrow kayak.
If you and your companion are tall and physically large, get a deep kayak so there’s sufficient legroom. A deep kayak also keeps water out, though the drawback is they’re vulnerable to strong winds.
4. Weight Capacity
Even if the kayak says that it is two or three people, the weight capacity will vary. Some have a 450 lb. limit, while others are 500 pounds or higher. You should know the weight limit so you don’t overload the kayak.
5. Manufacturer Reputation
What is the feedback from the manufacturer? Do they stand behind their product? What is the warranty and customer support? What do people have to say about their kayaks? Do they last long or breakdown in just months or weeks? Researching the company’s reputation should be part of your buying process.
Types of Tandem Kayaks
1. Sit on Top
These kayaks are suited for kids, beginners, family, and leisurely activities. They are often made of plastic, with the seats above water level so the riders are dry. Sit on top kayaks are stable and ideal for fishing and first-timers.
2. Folding Kayaks
These are convenient to transport and small enough to it in a backpack. They are similar to inflatables, but these have a more durable frame. Foldables also have a greater storage area and are made from durable materials.
3. Inflatable Kayaks
Inflatable kayaks are easy to carry and suited for recreational activities. Modern inflatables are durable and have seats for 1 to 3 people. The kayak is inflated by an electric pump, hand, or foot. Once deflated the kayak is small enough to put in a carry bag.
4. Whitewater Kayaks
Most whitewater kayaks are four feet long, while some are ten feet or so. They’re designed for whitewater, with ends turned up and the bottom rounded for moving in rapids. Some inflatable kayaks are classified as good for whitewater.
5. Fishing Kayaks
If you read through the best tandem kayak reviews you’re going to find that many people use them for fishing. However there are kayaks that are made specifically for anglers. These are more stable than the typical kayak and they have compartments for fishing tackle and water coolers.
6. Modular Kayaks
Modular kayaks are often made of polyurethane. Unlike regular kayaks, these can be separated into two or three parts for easy handling. Modular kayaks are often used by a single person, but two-seaters are now available as well.
7. Touring Kayaks
These are most appropriate if you’re going to kayak for long distances. They cost more than inflatables, but these have more storage space and are more durable. These are often made of hard plastic or other durable materials.
8. Kayak Materials
Polyurethane is the most widely used, as it is affordable, durable, and resistant to abrasion and impact. Other kayaks are made from thermoformed ABS, which is acrylic over ABS. It has a glossy look and is stronger than polyurethane. Other kayaks are constructed from various composite materials. Manufacturers often use different materials to construct their kayaks so it is lightweight and durable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can You Use a Tandem Kayak Alone?
A: While tandem kayaks are meant to be used by two, sometimes three people, often you may need to ride one by yourself. However, it can be a frustrating experience as you’ll find it hard to control a tandem kayak by yourself. It will be off-balance and might be unsafe for you.
Q: Where Do You Sit in a 2 Person Kayak?
A: If you’re using a tandem kayak by yourself, you should sit in the middle seat (if one is available considering the design of the kayak) to have the best control over the kayak. You could also pick the back seat as it affords good control too. Avoid the front seat as you’ll have the most trouble controlling your kayak from here.
Q: Is Sit-In or Sit-on Kayaks Better?
A: If you’re using your kayak for angling or something similar where you’ll need better support, pick a sit-in kayak with a backrest on the seat as you’ll be more stable in the cockpit area. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner or just looking forward to paddling around in your leisure with your family, you can pick a sit-on kayak.
Also Read: Kayak vs Canoe – Choose Which Is Better
Kayaks are a lot of fun but only if you can paddle them properly. Comfort, stability, and durability are important and all 10 kayaks here meet those criteria. After comparing and reviewing them, however, it’s clear to us the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak offers the best value for your money.
As our tandem ocean kayak reviews have shown, the K2 holds up well with the others. What we especially like about it is the seats are very comfortable and its stability is the best in its range. Add the yellow color for emergency visibility and even first-timers will find this enticing.