Select Page

Reviewed by Gear Geeks:

The Best Tandem Kayaks Reviewed in 2020

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:
Test 35different Tandem Kayaks and write reviews of the best.

The result is 12 of the best tandem kayaks on the market today.

Anastasia Hamurari

Travel and Gear Writer
An ambitious writer with a thirst for content creation through storytelling.

torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.

There are adventures that are simply better when experienced with another person, and tandem kayaking is one of them. Not only do you get to bond over a shared interest, but you also get to share the workload, which considerably improves the experience. .

Whether it’s fishing or a tandem race you are preparing for, you want your kayak to have all the necessary features to avoid any mishaps. This is why it makes sense to evaluate essential characteristics before purchasing your tandem kayak.

You may be wondering:

  • What features should I look for in a tandem kayak?
  • Can a tandem kayak be used by one person?
  • Where should the heavier person sit in a tandem kayak?
  • How do you paddle a tandem kayak?

We answer all your most burning questions in our handy buyer’s guide Q&A below.
To save you time searching endlessly, we’ve compiled a brilliant list of the best tandem kayaks in 2020. You can thank us later.

The Best Tandem Kayaks In 2020

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Still unsure as to what tandem kayak to choose? We have answered the most popular questions about the tandem kayak in the last section of the guide.

This inflatable tandem kayak that looks like a banana is a real deal – it doesn’t cost much and is as efficient in use as a high-end kayak. Made from rugged vinyl, this model is proven to be sturdy and durable. Unlike non-inflatable kayaks, the Explorer K2 by Intex is lightweight, compact, and easy to assemble in a matter of minutes.
Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Rugged Vinyl
  • Air Chambers: 3
  • Skegs: Standard Directional
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Dimensions: 123 x 36 x 20 inches
What we like:
  • The repair kit that comes with the kayak is handy when unexpected damage-related events occur
  • The seats are adjustable and removable, which makes it easy for you to paddle in complete comfort
  • The bright yellow color helps in emergency situations
What we don’t like:
  • It is not suitable for large bodies
The l-beam floor provides you with rigidity, while the removable skeg gives the kayak the stability it needs in windy weather conditions. The 2 built-in seats are inflatable, which means they can be easily aligned with your body shape for the ultimate comfort.

Whenever you feel like you’re starting to lose your balance, grab onto the handle located at each end of the kayak and you are safe and sound again. It comes with 2 paddles, a high-output pump, and a carry bag thus eliminating the need for making separate purchases.

The convertible kayak by Advanced Elements is a 15-foot device that has an open-back design for easy access. Whether you are paddling with your kayaking partner or by yourself, you will still have sufficient space for storing your fishing equipment or other essentials. It is extremely easy to set up – all you have to do is unfold the kayak, inflate it, and attach the seats.
Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: PVC Tarpaulin, Aluminum
  • Length: 15 ft.
  • Air Chambers: 6
  • Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
  • Dimensions: 180 x 32 x 12 inches
What we like:
  • You can turn it from a two-person kayak into a one-seated kayak thanks to the customizable deck configurations
  • It will last you considerably longer than some other tandem kayak models
What we don’t like:
  • You have to purchase paddles and high-power inflator separately
This model comes with customizable deck configurations that allow you to transform a kayak from an open deck to a closed deck in the span of a few seconds. The built-in aluminum ribs combined with drop-stitch technology-infused floors make it a durable piece of equipment that will last you a long time.

It is able to hold up to 550 pounds of weight, making it an impressive boat that can fit people of all shapes and sizes. Pack it into the carrying duffle bag and make sure to bring an owner’s manual when you’re headed out for your first kayaking trip.

Coming at 10-feet tall and 2-seat wide, Lifetime fishing kayak is a versatile piece of equipment that can be paddled either solo or tandem. If you have a small child or a dog, you can fit one in the center too. This beast can withstand up to 500 pounds of weight and not budge under pressure even in the nastiest weather conditions.
Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 10 ft.
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 120 x 36 x 19 inches
  • Warranty: 5 years
What we like:
  • The small-ish dimensions of the boat make it an easy device to transport at long distances
  • The ridges help to make you feel more comfortable during long hours of kayaking
  • The 5-year warranty gives you peace of mind in case some damages are done to your kayak
What we don’t like:
  • The plastic seats are not that comfortable
The molded handles, ergonomic high and dry seatings, and rear storage hatch are just a few of the features that make the kayak stable. It is built from high-quality Polyethylene that fosters an easy cruise through tough waters and doesn’t let you slip.

You get a storage compartment at the back of the kayak where you can keep your fishing gear, and a whopping 5-year warranty on the boat. The last statement alone is worth investing in this tandem kayak and reaping its benefits for years to come.

Originally designed to accommodate 2 people, SUNDOLPHIN Bali kayak has been proven to fit a third person. This is great news for families with one child or a pet they can’t leave behind when going on a trip. Featuring a lightweight design and a handful of useful features, this kayak can easily become your go-to companion.
SUNDOLPHIN Bali Tandem Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the SUNDOLPHIN Bali Tandem Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 13.5 ft.
  • Width: 34.5 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 163 x 34 x 17 inches
What we like:
  • The amount of storage in this kayak allows you to bring all your belongings on board
  • The scupper holes don’t allow any leakage
  • The foot braces can be easily adjusted for your comfort
What we don’t like:
  • Not the most stable tandem kayak on the market
Besides the adjustable footrests and carrying handles, you get a big storage space that differentiates this boat from others. The two large storage hatches are not the only location where you can keep your stuff – there also is a sealed hatch in the middle of the kayak and a shock cord lashing space in the back. This allows you to bring on board not only essentials but also non-essentials items that will keep you entertained all along.

The seats integrated into the kayak are both padded and adjustable, and so are the foot braces (well, there is no padding there, but plenty of adjustment options). You are basically set to sail away into the sunset on this boat.

There is plenty to love about the sit-on-top kayak developed by Brooklyn Kayak Company in spite of its hefty price tag. The manufacturer built this piece of equipment from high-density Polyethylene that has UV protection so that it stays looking and feeling new for longer. The 34 inches width is impressive too – it significantly adds up to the boat’s stability on the water.
Brooklyn Kayak Company Sit-on-Top Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Brooklyn Kayak Company Sit-on-Top Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 12.2 ft.
  • Paddles: 86 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 440 pounds
  • Dimensions: 146 x 34 x 20 inches
What we like:
  • The built-in rod holders allow you to keep several baited lines in the water at once when paddling
  • You can store your keys, wallet, and a smartphone in the watertight hatch integrated into the boat
  • The seats have a memory foam padding and a supportive backrest
What we don’t like:
  • It is not an affordable kayak
The deck of the kayak comes with adjustable backrests for proper support of your back and average-sized padded seats for ultimate comfort when paddling.

The hatches integrated into the kayak are fully waterproof, which means your belongings won’t get wet even if they happen to get in contact with water. Not to mention the large bungee cord storage space at the rear of the kayak and its many benefits for avid kayakers.

If you are tight on a budget yet are not willing to settle for the mediocre quality, Sevylor Coleman Colorado fishing kayak is right up your alley. Made from the tough PVC material, a sturdy Tarpaulin bottom, and a tough Nylon cover, it will survive through everything.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: PVC, 1000D Tarpaulin, 840D Nylon
  • Weight Capacity: 470 pounds
  • Air Chambers: Multiple
  • Inflated Dimensions: 10 ft. 9 inches x 3 ft. 3 inches
  • Warranty: 1 year
What we like:
  • The Boston Valve integrated into the gear is double-threaded, which helps in inflation and deflation
  • You can paddle in this kayak in the river, lake, and ocean bays with no leakage
What we don’t like:
  • Not the highest quality tandem kayak on the market
The Kayak has adjustable seats for your comfort. and air chambers that will bring you back to the shore at any point. The manufacturer ensures there are rod holders you can use along with the trolling motor when ‘on the road’.

This allows you to take a break from paddling and actually enjoy the fishing process. When your hands are free, you can freely reach the stuff you brought on board with you, and keep yourself entertained throughout the day. D-rings, pressure gauge, and a carry bag are there to help you with the task.

The mix of an attractive price and outstanding quality is the perfect description of the Challenger kayak developed by Intex. The bright green color makes this equipment visible in poor light conditions and provides an element of fun. It is crafted from the UV-resistant Vinyl that is meant to last with minimum signs of wear (if properly cared for.).
Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Length: 11ft. 6 inches
  • Width: 30 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Warranty: 90 days
What we like:
  • The cockpit is quite spacious and includes a bottle holder and a mesh cargo storage space
  • The hand pump and paddles are included in the packaging
What we don’t like:
  • Some users complain about the cheap built of the gear
You get 2 paddles made from aluminum and a high output pump for easy inflation and deflation of the kayak. This means there are no extra purchases required for operating the gear. Featuring 400 pounds of weight capacity, it easily transports in a backpack. You’ll be surprised by how stable it is on the water despite being made from seemingly lightweight materials. Thanks to the double-welded seams, the Challenger will stay looking new for a long time.
You can enjoy paddling in this inflatable kayak by Druftsun both solo and with another person. Choppy waters are no longer an obstacle to a pleasant time in the water – the boat’s pointed nose, removable tracking fin, and a rocker profile are the reason behind it.
Driftsun 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Driftsun 2-Person Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: PVC Tarpaulin, 840D Nylon, EVA
  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10 ft. x 35 x 16 inches
  • Use: Recreational
What we like:
  • The heavy-duty construction allows you to continue using it for many years
  • Aluminum paddles, hand pump, rear tracking fin, and carry bag are all included in the packaging
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for professional kayakers due to the lack of features
The rugged PVC Tarpaulin bottom along with the coated 840D Nylon Oxford material provides protection from tears and prolongs its life. With continuous use, you’ll soon see your return on investment.

The back seats are padded, the skegs are removable, and the bungee storage is spacious – there is hardly anything else you would need from a kayak. Make use of the paddles that are adjustable between 0 and 60 degrees and sail from one shore to another even with beginner level skills.

The popularity of inflatable kayaks must have started with Coleman’s Tahiti gear, just as much as it has with Intex and Sevylor models. No wonder – this kayak is made from 21 gauge PVC material that is proven to withstand harsh turns and stormy days.
Coleman Tahiti Classic 2-Person Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Coleman Tahiti Classic 2-Person Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: PVC
  • Weight: 19.3 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10 ft. 4 inches x 2 ft. 9 inches
  • Use: Recreational
What we like:
  • The spray covers help you remain dry throughout the entire ride
  • The 90-day limited warranty means you can return the equipment in case you don’t like it
What we don’t like:
  • The quality of the product is not as good as that of Intex
The wide array of air chambers work together to provide you with protection in case one or two of them gets punctured. Tahiti can hold up to 400 pounds of weight, which gives you the possibility to hop onto it with your furry friend or a buddy without worrying about damaging the kayak.

You can paddle for long hours due to the built-in padded backrest that keeps you comfortable and safe. Just lean back and relax. The grand handles allow you to easily carry your water equipment in and out of the water without outside help.

Whether you go camping, exploring new places, or practicing for races, inflatable kayak by Airhead Montana will be a great option for you. It fits in the back of your car, in a suitcase, and in a duffel bag with no problems.
Airhead Montana Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Airhead Montana Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: 840D Nylon, Stainless Steel
  • Length: 12 ft.
  • Weight: 36.3 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28.5 x 19.8 x 11.9 inches
What we like:
  • The air chambers are protected by the Nylon fabric for the highest level of durability
  • The elbow guards provide additional comfort for those long paddling expeditions
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for windy weather conditions
The 12-foot beast is built from 840D Nylon and is coated with the UV water-resistant layer that ensures the ultimate long-lastingness. The 6 d-rings at the stern and the bow of the kayak help in securing the gear, while the tracking grab handles allow you to quickly get in and out of the boat.

The seats are movable and are comfortable to use, which comes in handy when paddling for long hours at a time. You even get Neoprene elbow guards – this is a nice bonus to have.

The bright orange exterior helps to make you visible in case of an emergency and differentiate you from other kayakers.

Although there is no designated seat for the second person, you can use the Saturn fishing inflatable kayak for paddling with a companion of your choice with no issues. Its narrow profile combined with the high buoyancy tubes makes it stand-out equipment that won’t flip in sight of waves.

You can fish all day long while also bringing your fishing essentials with you on the boat – there is enough room for a good supply of necessities.

Saturn Fishing Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Saturn Fishing Inflatable Kayak :
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: 1100 Dtex PVC
  • Length: 13 ft.
  • Weight: 43 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 700 pounds
  • Dimensions: 156 x 36 x 20 inches
What we like:
  • It can hold up to 700 pounds of weight, which is a rare feature for inflatable kayaks
  • The many seating options allow you to choose your preferred way of seating
What we don’t like:
  • Not the most optimal kayak for uses other than fishing
Made from heavy-duty 1100 Dtex PVC fabric, this kayak is built to last you at least several rigorous years of use. Its floor is equipped with a high-pressure air deck and a double layer of PVC fabric in order to prevent fishing hook accidents.

You can either sit on the aluminum benches that come with this kayak or attach foldable boat chairs to the benches for additional comfort. Or, you can completely remove the benches and replace them with the regular kayak seats – your imagination can go wild here.

Intex has already appeared twice in this guide and this is not a mistake. Rather, it’s the indicator of how qualitative the company’s products are. The Excursion kayak is just as feature-rich as the other models – it has adjustable footrests, a removable seat booster, mounting bracket for fishing accessories, and a shallow water directional skeg.
Intex Excursion Inflatable Kayak
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Intex Excursion Inflatable Kayak :
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Material: Laminate PVC, Polyester
  • Weight: 43.6 inches
  • Air Chambers: 3
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Dimensions: 151 x 37 x 18 inches
What we like:
  • The seats are removable, adjustable, and feature a booster for younger kids
  • Every accessory you would ever need already comes with the kayak
What we don’t like:
  • Not the most long-lasting kayak on the market
It’s built from tough laminate PVC with Polyester core that makes it lightweight and abrasion-resistant. The high-pressure inflation means this model has a great level of stability that will help in staying afloat no matter what turn the weather takes.

You’ve got storage space both in the front and in the back of the boat, and d-rings that help tie down dry bags and other gear. Feel free to bring your GPS systems, swivel fishing rod holders, and a repair kit on the boat that can all be stored in the mounting bracket part of the kayak.

The best part is, there is no need to purchase paddles, a high-output pump, or a carry bag separately – everything you need for a memorable kayaking trip is included in the package.

Buyer’s Guide Q&A:

1. What features should I look for in a tandem kayak?

Before committing to purchasing a tandem kayak, you need to decide what are your deal breakers and what features the water gear must have. You should also establish a budget and stick with it no matter how appealing other models of tandem kayak look. When choosing it, consider the type of tandem kayak, its material, engine type, design peculiarities, and weight capacity.

If you are serious about purchasing a tandem kayak, you already have an idea of how and when you will be using it. Depending on your usage intention, you can choose among touring kayaks, folding kayaks, recreational kayaks, fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and modular kayaks. Their names speak for themselves, which helps you in determining what type fits your needs the best.

Since a tandem kayak is an investment, you should pick a model that will last you at least several consecutive years. Regardless of whether the manufacturer offers a good warranty or not, the material the kayak is made from has to be of high quality, sturdy, and durable. Tandem kayaks are usually crafted from either plastic or PVC and include paddle bars, handles, and other elements that can be made from aluminum and steel.

Although the majority of tandem kayaks are powered by paddling, there are some that are solely automatic and motor-driven. The most advanced tandem kayak models can be upgraded to an electric trolling motor that enables them to have a lifetime supply of power. If high-tech kayaking doesn’t sound appealing to you, it is perfectly fine to stick with the equipment that uses good old paddling.

Design-wise, there are tandem kayaks of different lengths and widths that meet different standards. For instance, if you’re planning on kayaking with a second person and are in need of storage space for snacks or fishing essentials, it makes sense to get a longer kayak. This way both of you will be comfortable paddling for hours at a time without having to take breaks. Besides, you’re bound to have more stability when in the water, which can’t be said about shorter kayaks.

The bigger the weight capacity of your tandem kayak is, the higher are the chances of you enjoying your kayaking trip. It has to support both you and your kayaking partner’s weights and have just enough space for fishing or other gear. Otherwise, the boat can tend to tip over, and instead of being in the moment, you’ll constantly be worrying about making the wrong move.

2. Can a tandem kayak be used by one person?

Tandem kayaks are made for two people rather than for one, which is why it can be tricky to maneuver by yourself (especially if you are a beginner). Windy weather combined with amateur paddling skills and the long-ish shape of the kayak won’t help either.

That being said, some kayakers claim that it can be done if you sit at the back and add some weight in the front to distribute the weight along the whole body of the boat. This will make it easier to handle the paddling and make smoother turns with not too much effort.

3. Where should the heavier person sit in a kayak?

Tandem kayaks are best operated by heavier and the more experienced person seated in the back. He takes the role of a helmsman who adapts to the speed of the front-seated person while paddling a bit harder. The practice shows that heavier weight on the stern is better than extra weight at the front of the boat. It is only when the weather gets windy, or the counter currents appear, the heavier front side of the boat is more advantageous.

The correct seating position is crucial for two reasons. The first one is that the kayak tends to tilt forward in case the weight is not evenly distributed. Not only does it slow down the boat, but it also causes the tip of the kayak to dip into the waves. The second one states that during long-distance kayaking trips, excess weight in the front can make the boar drift sideways. This poses a huge problem for kayaking in tours that require everyone to paddle at the same pace.

4. How do you paddle a kayak?

You would expect a two-person kayak to be harder to paddle than a one-person kayak, and you would be right. The bigger size of the boat along with the syncing you have to do with your kayaking partner affects the increased difficulty of paddling. That being said, if you establish some ground kayaking rules, it shouldn’t be hard to paddle it.

The person sitting in the front should be the one to set the pace – this will decrease the chances of you bonk paddling (although not completely eliminate them). The person in the rear should be put in charge of bouncing back when the kayak seems to go off course. When you achieve a synchronized rhythm, both of your paddling efforts will result in a smooth sail.

5. How to transport a kayak?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no difference in transporting a solo kayak and a tandem kayak. The latter is slightly bigger in size, but the transportation mechanism remains the same.

You can use either a roof rack for placing a kayak on top of the car, or a kayak trailer that can be carried by hand or attached to the back of the vehicle. When at the destination, bring your kayak into the water through portaging – let each of you grab to the opposite sides of the kayak, flip it over, and carry it to the water.

6. How to store a tandem kayak?

Keep in mind that tandem kayak is generally longer than a solo kayak, which means that you will need more space for storing it. For this reason, it makes sense to purchase a kayak trailer that will help keep your kayak away from the ground. In case you are not willing to spend extra for a kayak carrier, consider storing it vertically on a cushion-like surface (a pile of towels will do the trick) to keep it looking new for longer.

Before storing your tandem kayak, make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed and put in a dark place away from direct sunlight even if it has to stand outside. The less sunlight it gets, the longer it will last you without the need for repairs.

So now, you know (virtually) everything you need to know about buying a kayak. You’ve been presented with an array of the best tandem kayaks in 2020. The only question is; which one will you choose?

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *