2018 Tandem Kayak Reviews – Best Tandem Kayak For The Money

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 types. 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. Which is why the 380x is our top selection.

Our Top Pick

Sea Eagle 380x
  • Versatility
  • Construction
  • Stability
  • Appearance
  • Price
4.7

Where To Buy

Seaeagle.com offers a 180-day return and free shipping:  Check Price

This kayak is so versatile, it covers each scenario like champ:

Recreational – There is nothing like a weekend paddling with your friend or a loved one. The 380x is easy to store, deflate, and inflate.

  • Brother or sister coming to town for a visit and you have nothing to do? Grab a kayak and go to a local river to tire each out out paddling instead of arguing.
  • Wife is bored and wants to get out of the house for a quick adventure? You know the drill, grab a kayak, head to open waters, and swipe her away with your spontanitos insta-travel idea.

Sea & Touring – Thinking of a 2 day long kayaking trip? Getting an expedition rated kayak is exactly what you need. The 380 got you covered.

  1. First, you need a kayak with large rear center skeg so you and another person can go paddling for long flat-water touring trips comfortably.
  2. Second, make sure you get a kayak that has sailing add-on option so you can take breaks and chill with your partner and enjoy the scenery.

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. The 380x shines for pro and beginner anglers.

As you can see, there is only one kayak we can recommend that has the above covered and then some. The best 2 person kayak for each one of the above types, hands down, is the Sea Eagle 380x Pro.

  • It’s without a doubt the best tandem sit on top kayak for recreational purposes.
  • Its inexpensive, fun, light, and can handle 2 people and a dog.
  • It is easily or top pick and the best tandem touring kayak for our open sea adventures.
  • The is the best tandem fishing kayak for both beginner and pro anglers.

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 kayaks which just goes to show how versatile they are (for those times you want to go kayaking alone).

Not sure if today is the day to spend on a kayak? Sea Eagle has a special offer going that let’s you try their kayak for 6-months and if you are not happy you can return it no questions asked. Plus free shipping.

Check The Sea Eagle 380x Pro Today

If the above kayak doesn’t fit the bill, no worries, we still got you covered. You can browse the ones below for additional comparison. But take it from us. We live and breath water. The 380x is well worth taking if for a trial on the water and see if you both match up.

Top Tandem Kayaks Comparison

ModelRatingTypeMaterial
1st-place-badgeSea Eagle SE370
(Reader's Choice)
A+IntermediateInflatable PVC
2nd-place-badgeOcean Kayak 12 Malibu TwoA+IntermediatePlastic Shell
3rd-place-badgeIntex Explorer K2B+BeginnerInflatable PVC
badge-best-seller-miniSea Eagle 330 w/ Deluxe PackageA+ProfessionalInflatable PVC
Sevylor Coleman ColoradoAIntermediatePlastic Shell
AIRE Tributary TomcatA+IntermediateInflatable PVC
Old Town Twin HeronA+IntermediatePlastic Shell
Lifetime MantaAIntermediatePlastic Shell
Pelican Troupe 129TB+IntermediatePlastic Shell

Choosing the right one is also a good way of introducing children or other individuals to the sport. You can even remove the seats to let your beloved dog sit or lay down comfortably inside the ‘yak while you paddle around the lake.

As you can see 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.

However, finding the perfect tandem for your needs can be a pain in the butt. Tandem kayak reviews and forums offer a wealth of information about various kayak models but it is important to match your needs with the features on offer.

tandem kayaking with Matt

Kayaking with my buddy Matt on a Ocean Kayak Malibu TwoXL

This is because user preferences, uses and experience level vary and this makes it important to find one that matches both your needs and those of your partner. Some of the questions you should think about when choosing the right kayak for you and your partner are:

  • Where will you be paddling?
  • What is your combined weigh?
  • What is your paddling skill level, confidence or abilities?
  • What do you intend to use the kayak for?

Top 5 Tandem Kayaks

AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak

AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak orange

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 (click here for more reviews on inflatable kayaks).

>> Click here for other owners experiences on this 2-person ‘Yak

One of the most common problems with inflatable canoes 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 weights 37 pounds and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds

Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrests

Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrests Yellow

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.

>> Click here to get the details on this solidly safe Lifetimer

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!

Pelican Pursuit 140T Kayak

 

Pelican Pursuit 140T Tandem Kayak Review

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.

>> Click here to get more than the gist on this good looking Pelican

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.

Old Town Twin Heron 2 Person Kayak

Old Town Canoes Kayaks Twin Heron Kayak Sunrise

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.

>> Click here for even more intriguing thoughts from actual owners

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.


How to Choose The Right Tandem Kayak In 2018

Given the huge range of tandem kayak models on the market, choosing the best tandem kayak can be a daunting task.

Check out this video and the below tips to help you out:

  • Think about the weight: Tandems are quite heavy since they so the work of two solo boats. You should look for a kayak made from lighter material such as composite. Another option is to invest in a shorter tandem. While this may affect stability, it should not be a problem if you are experienced paddler.
  • More control or less? – It is harder to maneuver a tandem since it would normally be longer than a solo kayak. The rudder is an optional feature in most kayaks but it is an “almost must have” on a tandem to make it easier for you and your partner to control the kayak.
  • Who will use it: If you plan to paddle the tandem boat with a child, then you may have to ensure that the cockpit is not too deep so that the child can paddle with ease. If you intend to bring a pet, then removable seats are recommended.
  • Sit-in or sit-on-top? The choice will depend on you skill level. Sit-on-top kayaks are extremely easy to use and a safe way to spend time on water. This is unlike sit-in canoes where training to deal with capsizes, getting in and out of Eskimo Rolls are essential for safe use.

Tandems kayaks tend to be heavier and longer than solo canoes. You can make small weight savings by choosing a boat made of lighter material such as fiberglass or choose a shorter kayak, but this will come at the expense of stability. Definitely check out additional kayak reviews and tandem kayak reviews for detail specs and recommendations.