What is the Best Tandem Kayak? ~ Buyer’s Guide + Reviews

Jason Loomis
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Are you thinking about taking up tandem kayaking? Maybe you’ve been out a few times already but are looking to get a new boat?

Tandem kayaks are a blast and a great way to spend a day on the water with friends and family. They are also a great way to introduce people to kayaking, allowing you and a friend or family member to paddle calmly together, or even allowing another kayaker to get their first taste of paddling.

Below is a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best tandem kayak for you, plus in-depth reviews of the best tandem kayaks you can buy.

NameCategoryProduct
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational KayakBest OverallOcean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Intex Explorer K2 KayakBudget PickIntex Explorer K2 Kayak
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable KayakUpgrade PickAdvanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to transport and store
  • Tracks and maneuvers well
  • Can be used on rivers, lakes, and waves
  • Multi-use ~ an excellent starter boat ~ can double as a fishing vessel or solo kayak
  • Has a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • The thigh pads are a little flimsy
  • Can smudge on the glass

You can’t go wrong with the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak. It’s extremely versatile and an awesome kayak for beginners.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak is a highly versatile kayak that can be used for both recreational and fishing purposes. It’s more suited for rivers, lakes and waves and can accommodate two adults.

The kayak is available in two sizes, 14-foot and 16-foot. If you’re not sure what size to get, we recommend going with the smaller 14-foot option and can always upgrade to the larger one if needed.

2. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 7 / 10

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

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Pros:

  • Comfortable seating (lots of cushioned pads and adjustable backrests)
  • Convertible from one to two seater
  • Considered an ideal kayak for beginners
  • Made from quality components

Cons:

  • Width of about 20 inches limits capacity
  • Pad mounting points tend to sag

The Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak is a great two person kayak package for beginners. The kayak is made from high quality components that are meant to provide years of fun. It has comfortable seating with lots of cushioned pads and adjustable backrests. The seat bottoms have air chambers that allow you to adjust the firmness of the seating pads. Storing the kayak is also not hard as it has a convenient storage area under the seats.

The Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak is considered an ideal kayak for beginners due to its stability and its high weight capacity.

A lot of kayakers have commented on the width of this kayak, which is about 20 inches. There are a few complaints about being unable to fit two large adults comfortably in the Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak. Some even say that at times, one adult will have to sit on the other’s lap, making it difficult to paddle without tipping over.

3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

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Pros:

  • 200-pound weight capacity
  • High output pump can fill the kayak in minutes with air
  • Can hold two people up to each weighing 280 lbs
  • Very durable and stable, made of heavy duty materials
  • Extremely comfortable seats
  • It’s easy to inflate and deflate the kayak for easy storage and travel
  • A wide hull provides great stability as well as speed
  • The storage compartment for your gear, belongings, and clothing provides easy access while paddling and keeps them dry
  • 2 air chambers keep the kayak afloat even if there is a puncture
  • Includes 2 deluxe aluminum oars that are adjustable

Cons:

  • Shipping can take several weeks, so factor in extra time for the kayak to arrive
  • The weight capacity is so high that heavier people may not be comfortable paddling for a long time
  • The seating arrangement only allows for 2 people, so larger families may not be suited for this kayak
  • The kayak can be difficult to paddle in strong winds, waves, or currents
  • Wind can make the kayak go away from its original course

210T Polyester.

If you’re looking for a tandem kayak that can easily hold two people and their belongings while you navigate the waterways, this is the kayak for you.

4. BKC TK219K 12' 6" Tandem 2 or 3 Person SIt On Top Kayak w/Soft Padded Seats

Our rating: 6 / 10

BKC TK219K 12' 6" Tandem 2 or 3 Person SIt On Top Kayak w/Soft Padded Seats

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Pros:

  • Beautiful design, high-quality Cane Creek
  • Able to hold up to 350 pounds
  • Additional gear mounts included (hydration bladder, etc.)
  • Adapts well to different water conditions
  • Quick and easy initial set-up

Cons:

  • Not easily portable
  • Too wide to fit on a standard kayak rack
  • This kayak cannot be used for whitewater or rapids

Sun Dolphin/Intex BRAND.

When looking for the best tandem kayaks, it is important to have a sense of how many people you will be carrying. If you will be hauling multiple people, it may be important to look for something that comes with seat padding and seating for more than two people. Even if you won’t be carrying multiple people, it may be a good idea to invest in a kayak with extra cargo storage on the kayaks. A spacious cargo storage area can be used for gear and provisions, which can be accessed easily while the kayak is in motion.

5. Lifetime 10 Foot

Our rating: 5 / 10

Lifetime 10 Foot

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Pros:

  • Roomy enough for two people
  • Lightweight hull design
  • Quiet and smooth paddling performance
  • Easy to carry
  • Weather ready
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to transport and store
  • Prevents back and butt fatigue

Cons:

  • Interesting side profile poses a challenge for lakeside tying
  • Tracking is a little off around corners
  • Not intended for rough water

Lifetime’s 10-foot, 2-person tandem kayak is a great find for anyone who’s ready to upgrade from a single to a double.

To give stability to the craft, it features a wider center of gravity. Also, there are self-bailing drain holes to keep water out of the hull when you’re on the water. The thermoformed deck offers edges for you to hold on to and offer a wider area of support. Its contoured, smooth seats are molded to offer a more comfortable ride. And for storage, there is a dry compartment at the bottom of the kayak.

All in all, this is a great entry-level kayak for people on a budget.

6. Old Town Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak

Our rating: 3 / 10

Old Town Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The 2.5-inch layer of X-Flex Limiting Layer FOAM decreased the hull weight and provides a rigid and stable ride
  • The 14 and 9mm floor thickness is lighter, stronger and more durable
  • The Heron model has a rudder system for tighter control
  • The molded handles in the rear deck make the kayak easy to transport
  • The kayak is made in America
  • Plenty of storage
  • Durable and Long Lasting
  • Great for fishing and for larger cargo
  • Enough room for larger people – up to 300 pounds

Cons:

  • The kayak comes fully equipped, with the scupper holes already drilled, but the holes are not reinforced to ensure they do not crack with use
  • The kayak is heavy and bulky to carry
  • Geared more for fishing than for speed
  • Some storage areas are not waterproof
  • The seat is not comfortable for longer journeys

Many people want to buy a kayak that can be used individually or with a partner or spouse, particularly if you plan to use it for fishing. Ideally, the kayak needs to be lightweight, comfortable, sturdy, and easy to paddle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best tandem kayak?

The best pair of kayaks should be equipped with the best seats, the best storage features, the best paddles, and should be the best tandem kayaks for the price.

Notice the key word here is the best tandem kayaks. They should be the best because not many of them are up to snuff. If you’re in the market for the best tandem kayak, you’ll need to look at a lot of different boats to ensure you find the right one.

Should I get a tandem kayak?

An excellent time to go tandem kayaking is with your kids! Small, light children enjoy feeling like they are floating along with the adults.

Taller and heavier adults may find that the extra weight of a second kayaker on the boat is uncomfortable. If you have made it through this review, you will be able to tell whether you will be comfortable balancing the extra weight. If you are on the fence, it can be a good idea to go ahead and get the tandem kayak and try it out with a local class or two and see how you feel.

What is the most stable kayak on the market?

The most stable kayak on the market is something that is always up for debate, but there’s not much debate on this one. The Pelican Ultra Sun Dancer 2 Tandem Kayak is a stable kayak that is self-bailing and performs on all water conditions.

One good thing about the Pelican Ultra Sun Dancer is that it is lightweight. At a mere 65 pounds, it can be easily carried around. Lightweight kayaks are preferable for various purposes, especially if you want to use it on multiple kinds of water.

This tandem kayak is also very spacious. The front and rear hatches give you ample storage, so you can bring a lot of things with you. This is particularly helpful if your tandem kayak is your main source of transportation.

What is the best kayak to buy for beginners?

The Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak is the best choice for beginners because it provides the ability to practice basic kayaking techniques without exposing the novice to the danger of open ocean. Hobie provides detailed instructions, along with paddle and life vest for those learning to row.

Conclusion

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational KayakBest OverallOcean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Intex Explorer K2 KayakBudget PickIntex Explorer K2 Kayak
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable KayakUpgrade PickAdvanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak