Every year we look out for the best tandem kayak, and 2018 is no different. Tandems are without a doubt the most joyful version of kayaking. Nothing beats sharing the great open waters with someone else, and a 2 person kayak is tailor made for it, literally.
As you probably know, tandem kayaks come in different shapes and sizes. To be more precise, every type of kayak can and most often does come either as a solo 1 person configuration or a 2 person configuration.
Even though its best to get a kayak that is versatile and can cover each activity like champ, some are better suited for one type vs another.
Tandems are designed with two seats (hence the name), making them the perfect solution for individuals who enjoy kayaking with others but don’t want to haul around double kayaks.
Choosing a tandem is also a good way of introducing your children or other individuals to the sport. Plus, if you do choose to go solo, you can remove the extra seat and even let your beloved dog sit or lay down comfortably inside the ‘yak while you paddle around the waters.
Finding the perfect tandem for your needs can be a pain now a days. There are many tandem kayak reviews and forums online that offer a wealth of information about various kayak models, but it is important to match your needs with the kayak features.
This is because user preferences, usage, and experience level vary which makes it important to find one that matches both your needs and those of your partner’s. Some of the questions you should think about when choosing the right type of kayak for you and your partner are:
Let’s go over the most common activities and uses:
Recreational – There is nothing like a weekend paddling with your friend or a loved one.
Sea & Touring – Thinking of a 2 day long kayaking trip? Getting an expedition rated kayak is exactly what you need.
Fishing – I am sure you know that you need a kayak that tracks well, stable both in open oceans and local rivers, and one that has plenty of storage for all you catch.
Check out this video for additional help:
Finding the right kayak to fit the bill doesn’t have to be difficult. The ones below can handle anything you throw at them, especially our top pick.
Here is why the 380x is our top selection and well worth taking on any waters. It shines for both pro and beginner anglers, specially if you get the fishing upgrade pack for a more well rigged conversion. Its long and roomy for multi-day touring trips. And if you want to take it out for a quick run , it’s really easy to store in the back of the car, quickly inflate (under 8 min), and deflate again.
Which is why it’s one of our highest recommended kayak. In our opinion it’s the best 2 person kayak for any type of activity.
Considering that Sea Eagle makes one of the best kayaks year after year, it definitely made our pick easy. In fact, they even have tandem to solo conversion kit which just goes to show how versatile they are (for those times you want to go kayaking alone and need the extra space).
A new category in kayak design, modular kayaks are making a big splash in the paddling market. The durability of solid hard-shell material on the water, in a compactable size that can fit in any car. These newly designed ‘yaks are here to stay.
From beginner to expert, this Swedish engineered Point 65N’s Martini GTX Modular kayak is great for recreational and fishing usage. Its ok to use for touring but not recommended. I would stick to rivers and lakes and avoid open ocean waters. The kayak is very durable, but playing it safe in any sport is just a good idea.
Our kids love it, as easy to carry, similar to an inflatable, and can be fun to put it together like a lego/puzzle before going on fishing and take it apart when done.
The seats are super comfortable so you can paddle for hours and relax without your back hurting. Best part, if you just want to paddle alone, you can always remove the mid-sectional piece and transform it to a solo kayak!
You can expect the market selection for modular kayaks to only increase, and as they do, we will update our top pick, especially when pretainting to tandems.
Considered one of the top tandem kayaks from Old Town, the Twin Heron was designed for outdoors families looking for a versatile water craft. It features a removable front seat that affords extra storage space and quick access to gear when needed and will allow a dog to ride along comfortably.
The most intriguing thing about the Twin Heron is the Auto Trim, hull design that prevents bow lift when a solo paddle is seated in the kayak’s rear seat.
The Twin Heron is also equipped with Old Towns new Glide Track foot braces system; an intuitive, easily accessible adjustment system that includes contoured foot pegs with an asymmetrical design that cradles the foot.
You do not have to worry about comfort, safety and ease of maneuvering as this kayak is equipped with cushioned seats, thigh pads and a rudder. The carry handles, paddle holder deck bungee and cup holder are just a few of the convenient features included in the canoe.
Looking for as boat that you won’t have to drive around with on your rooftop? The AHTK-2 Montana Performance is a 12 foot inflatable tandem kayak that would fit easily into the trunk of your car, suitcase or duffle bag, all for under $300. (click here for more reviews on inflatable kayaks).
One of the most common problems with inflatable ‘yaks is stability and buoyancy but the tubular I-beam hard plastic flooring offers adequate support for superior buoyancy, comfort and tracking.
The hull doubles up as a scuff resistant layer and a water barrier so you won’ have to worry about the boat taking on water between the air chambers and the outer shell. For extra safety in water, the kayak is made of high visibility Orange colored PVC.
The kayak weighs 37 pounds and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds
Designed to seat up to 3 people, the 10 foot Lifetime Manta is the ultimate multiple recreational tandem kayak. It offers balanced, comfortable seating for solo, tandem or family fun paddling. Thanks to its tunnel hull design and 500 pound weight capacity, it is almost impossible to tip over, making it one of the safest kayaks on the market in 2018.
The “High and Dry” seating profile ensures that paddles are kept off the kayak’s floor. To accommodate different sized riders, the Manta comes with multiple footrest positions.
What makes this kayak so versatile is complete set of built in features it was designed with. These include a paddle cradle, a forward cargo area with shock cord straps, a fishing pole holder, and a mast receiver receptacle. This means that you can either paddle or sail the canoe or use it for fishing or family paddling.
If recreational use is what you are looking for, try these highly recommended recreational kayak brands.
However at 55 lbs, it could be a bit awkward for one person to carry the canoe but the molded hull handles make carrying by two people a pleasure!
This kayak is best suited for beginner paddlers, couples and kids out to enjoy kayaking for the pure fun of it. Pelican designed the pursuit 140t with two molded seats and adjustable backrests.
Adjustable foot pegs for different sized paddles are also included. While adjusting the foot pegs is quite easy the shorter paddler should ideally be in the back seat.
The Pelican Pursuit 140T Kayak canoe comes with a rear bungee, two paddle holders, and a 5 inch semi waterproof hatch at the front. The paddle holder features paddle tie downs which is a nice addition that will help keep you from losing your paddles.
With regards to maneuverability, the drop down skeg helps kept e rear from wriggling and is design to turn only when the two paddler have the same stroke. This is an exploring kayak so no fishing accessories or add-ons are included, not like the fishing kayaks made for anglers, but it does have two handy pivots to keep your water bottles when kayaking.
Given the huge range of tandem kayak models on the market, choosing the best tandem kayak can be a daunting task. It sure doesn’t help that tandems tend to be heavier and longer than their solo counterparts.
You can make small weight savings choices by going with a boat made of lighter material such inflatable PVC, instead of fiberglass, or choose one that is shorter in length if hard-shell is a requirement. But these will come at the expense of stability.
Which is why we like the 380x as our a around number pick. Its light and stable, short enough for solo when needed, and can be used of almost any time of activity.
You can always check out additional kayak reviews we curated as we cover tandems in different lists, but for pure tandem kayak reviews the above is as good as it gets when it comes to our top recommendations.