Going out on a river or a lake to enjoy some kayaking is what summer is all about. If you want to be able to enjoy this activity with a friend or your significant other, then it makes sense to buy a tandem kayak.
If you’re in the market for a good tandem kayak, it’s important to learn as much as you can about them before making a purchasing decision.
In this article, I’ll review the best tandem kayaks for 2018. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about buying one that fits your needs.
Quick Picks: The Top Tandem Kayaks for 2018
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a convenient way for two people to enjoy kayaking together. It has a maximum weight capacity of 425 pounds. That allows you to fit two average-sized adults and potentially an extra child.
Here, see for yourself:
Comfort is one of the critical features of this tandem kayak. The two seats are made for maximum comfort while you’re on the water. It has a lot of room as well so you should be able to have a comfortable place to put your feet while paddling.
The kayak itself weighs 57 pounds, so it isn’t too hard to pick up when you need to. It’s made to be very durable while providing the best stability on the water. You’ll feel very natural and safe while using this kayak.
- Can hold up to two adults and one child
- Maximum weight capacity is 425 pounds
- Measures 144 x 34 x 20 inches and weighs 57 pounds
- Two seats, built for maximum comfort
- Feels very spacious
Overall, this is a great tandem kayak option for people to consider. It feels terrific out on the water. You’ll never feel as though the kayak has any stability issues so you’ll be in control at all times.
Paddling feels nice when you have enough room inside of the kayak to plant your feet properly. The spacious design of this kayak is fantastic. If you plan on taking any long kayaking trips, then this will be a perfect kayak to use for that purpose.
The Malibu is a kayak that you’ll want to buy if it fits your specific needs. It’s very durable and feels great to move out on the water. You won’t regret choosing a quality product such as this.
- Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
- A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
- Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably.
- The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak and includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate.
- Maximum capacity of 425 pounds; measures 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. Lifetime warranty on the hull.
When you look at the Lifetime Manta 100 tandem kayak, it’s easy to think that it appears simplistic. Although it does have a very unassuming design, it’s quite a capable kayak.
This kayak has been designed well in many ways:
- Weight capacity of up to 500 pounds
- Hull design is for top-notch stability
- Very durable
- Multiple footholds are present for your comfort
- Simple but elegant-looking design
If you want to purchase a very reliable tandem kayak, then this is the one you’ll want to buy. It can hold a lot of weight and will feel safe no matter what. One of the most critical aspects of kayaking is feeling comfortable out on the water, and this kayak can provide that for you.
It feels incredibly durable while maintaining stability on the water. You’ll feel comfortable and in control the whole time you’re out kayaking. The multiple footrest positions are a nice touch as well as they do aid in making the experience more comfortable.
- Designed for single or tandem use; 500 Lb. weight capacity
- Includes 2 soft backrests and 2 double sided paddles
- Lightweight 60 lb. design with molded front and rear carry handles for easy transport
- Tunnel hull design provides ultra stability and tracking; Almost impossible to tip over
- "High and Dry" seating keeps riders off of kayak floor; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
This kayak is another very durable kayak from Lifetime. The Lifetime Angler 100 is a tandem kayak that is designed specifically for fishing. You can use it for other purposes, but anyone who wants to enjoy throwing a line out on the water can make great use of this kayak.
For a kayak to be used well for fishing, it needs to be unconditionally stable. You’ll need to be able to stand up if need be; with this kayak, you can do that without an issue. It’s a very large kayak as Lifetime kayaks tend to be.
This kayak was molded to be very strong. It even comes with a five-year warranty that allows you to buy with confidence. It can hold up to three people with 500-pound weight capacity.
- Holds up to three people
- 500-pound weight capacity
- Perfect for fishing
- Designed to be sturdy and durable
- Hull provides top-tier stability while being resistant to cracks and other damage
- Comes with five-year manufacturer’s warranty
If you want to do any fishing with your kayak, then this is going to be the one you want to buy. It’s going to be an incredible kayak that will last you for many years to come. The five-year manufacturer’s warranty guarantees that this kayak is high-quality.
Recommending this kayak is simple because it’s spacious and comfortable. You’ll be able to take it out on the water and will feel very comfortable fishing. It’s stable enough for you to stand if need be and has a reasonably high weight capacity.
Overall, this kayak is probably a little better for two people than it would be for three. If you take a third person out on the kayak with you, it should probably be a child. The kayak is massive, but three large adults would run the risk of going well over the weight limit so do be careful.
- Blow molded from High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
- Designed to seat up to 3 people; 500 lb. weight capacity
- Hull design provides ultra stability and great trackingDurable High-Density UV-Protected Polyethylene HDPE Construction Resists Fading, Cracking, and Peeling
- Multiple footrest positions for different size riders
- Includes: 2 double-sided paddles, paddle clips, 2 padded backrests, 3 fishing pole holders, and a 6' storage hatch
The Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC) UH-TK181 is a very capable tandem kayak. When you want to get out on the water for some fishing with a friend, this is a kayak that will aid you in making your fishing trip fun. It has very comfortable seats, and the paddles are high-quality.
Being designed as a fishing kayak means that it has a very high amount of stability. If you need to stand up to aid in reeling in a fish, it shouldn’t be an issue with this kayak. There are also convenient fishing rod holders placed all around the kayak, and three of them are adjustable for your convenience.
- Has seven fishing rod holders and three adjustable holders
- Has waterproof storage compartments to keep your keys safe
- Convenient paddle rests included
- Has multiple carrying handles to make transport a breeze
- Feels very stable
This kayak is another good one to buy for fishing enthusiasts. It’ll allow you to fish while having a stable experience out on the water. It’s important to feel at ease when you’re trying to troll, and this kayak can provide that for you.
A lot of the small things make this kayak stand out as a convenient option. The fishing rod holders are an especially nice touch. Having access to waterproof storage compartments is also very useful.
It’s worth noting that this kayak is more useful for fishing than other purposes. You could take it down a river for recreational purposes, but it’s explicitly set up for fishing. If you want to fish, then consider buying this kayak; however, for other purposes, you would be better suited with a different kayak.
- 2-person tandem sit on top fishing kayak
- Fishing rod holders: 7 fishing rod holders, 3 are adjustable for convenience and 4 are flush-mounted for stability
- Multiple storage areas: Features waterproof storage compartments for wallet, keys, etc.
- Paddle rests: Two secure paddle parks that prevent paddles from falling overboard when not in use
- Multiple carrying handles: Four comfortable carrying handles for easy overland transport
If you wanted a kayak that was more catered towards multiple purposes, this Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK219 kayak fits the bill. It can fit up to three people and has two paddles included in the package. You’ll also have access to five fishing rod holders if you’re into taking your kayak out for fishing purposes.
It has a bit more room than the other BKC model intended for fishing. The extra room will allow you to fit an extra person if need be. It’ll also mean that there is additional room if you decide to stick to going out with only two people.
- Five fishing rod holders
- Has waterproof storage compartments for your belongings
- Has paddle rests to store paddles when not in use
- Four carrying handles allow you to transport the kayak easily
- Suitable for multiple purposes, including travel and fishing.
This model is a bit more versatile than the other BKC kayak. It works very well for fishing purposes still, but you can use it for travel. When you want a kayak that you can use in many different ways, this will fit the bill nicely.
All of the little conveniences are nice touches. You have the fishing rod holders, the waterproof storage compartments, and the paddle rests as added benefits. They will make your time out on the water much more comfortable and convenient.
The spacious nature of this kayak makes it a good recommendation for people who want to take two or three people out on the water. It feels comfortable and stable while in use. It’s a good kayak and should help you create a lot of fun memories.
What Qualities Are Important in a Tandem Kayak?
There are many qualities you should seek out in a tandem kayak. The first thing you want to ensure is that the design of the kayak is very durable. You’ll need the kayak to be somewhat rugged to stand the test of time.
When you’re out on the water, you don’t want to have to worry about whether or not your kayak will be able to handle a few bumps. These situations happen when going down the river so buying a good tandem kayak that is made to be strong makes sense. Most modern kayaks are built with durability in mind so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a good one.
It’s also essential that you buy a kayak with excellent stability. If your kayak is stable, then you’ll be able to feel much more comfortable on the water. You don’t want to feel as if your kayak is ever in danger of tipping to the side so try to find a kayak that’s stable.
Other essential qualities depend on what you want to do with your kayak. Kayaks can be used for many different purposes so you’ll need to consider what you want to do. If you wish to go down the river and enjoy being out in nature, then a reasonably typical kayak should work wonderfully.
7 Things to Look for in a Tandem Kayak
Before buying any old tandem kayak, you need to know how to buy one. Here are some significant things to consider before making your decision:
Size and Weight
Tandems are substantial in size. Lifting it on top of your vehicle can be a significant challenge, so you may need to consider a shorter tandem to reduce the weight (though it often has a lot of limitations).
For instance, a shorter kayak displaces less water, making it less stable for the passengers. They also have reduced space, and you will not have enough space to store your stuff. Unlike a shorter tandem kayak, a more extended tandem is suitable when you want to go camping and make your paddling more stable.
Most of the tandems weigh between 75 and 100 pounds. That is a lot compared to most kayaks, and you may not be able to lift it to your vehicle alone. Most people consider buying a tow sled to help them launch and boost quickly, and replace it when finished.
Some manufacturers make fiberglass tandems to reduce weight (and to some extent, cost). There are other materials like plastic, fabric-with-frame, and inflatable plastic, too. Here are a few things to note:
- Plastic is more cumbersome than other materials but harder to damage
- Fiberglass is efficient in the water due to it being light, but can easily get damaged
- Inflatable, plastic material is suitable for whitewater and surfing conditions because it can move smoothly over the water
- Fabric-with-frame kayaks suit hiking because they are easily portable, they can be collapsed and carried more easily than others
So before you buy your tandem kayak, consider the material and determine what is best for your interests and intended usage.
Mode of Transportation
You may or may not be willing to use a trailer to transport your kayak (rather than car topping). If you choose to strap your kayak to the roof of your car, you’ll need to know if it’s feasible for you and your friend or a family member to lift it up onto the roof of your vehicle.
If you use a trailer, you’ll need to have a tow hitch mounted on your vehicle – and this is an excellent way of transporting a tandem kayak. So consider how you’ll move your ‘yak and who’s going to help you.
If you need some comfort, better ergonomics, and faster paddling, then you need to look for a larger tandem kayak rather than a shorter one. A shorter tandem has limited space, and the paddlers may hit each other’s paddles because they are too close to one another. Consider a kayak that will give you the right distance between you and your partner.
There are many types of tandem kayaks with different models and specifications. For instance, a sit-in kayak can have either one or two cockpits, and you’ll sit inside the kayak.
Hatches, a rudder, and length and width are some other features you need to consider, too. A kayak with a narrower and V-shaped hull moves faster but is less stable compared to a broader and shallower shell, which is slower and more stable.
Note that not all tandem kayaks have a rudder. A rudder allows for better steering but is not necessary if you use your kayak on flat rivers and lakes.
Some tandem kayaks also feature concave surfaces that allow you to strap gear down more easily. A kayak with this kind of feature is great if you’ll need to store cargo for a long weekend trip on the river. Be sure to check out all the features of the kayaks listed below before making up your mind.
Your Paddling Skills
Different types of tandem kayaks require different levels of skills and experience. Before you buy one, consider the level of your abilities. The learning curve for tandem kayaking is much steeper than singles.
For instance, you will not be able to get immediate feedback on a tandem like you would paddling a single kayak. When you are using an individual, you can slow down when you are doing something wrong almost instantly. In tandem, you spend more time judging who might be amiss between you and your partner.
You also need to learn extra skills on how to work together as a team. You can roll a tandem kayak, but you can’t do it if you haven’t mastered the skill together with your partner. So consider whether you’re a beginner or experienced at tandem paddling before you buy one.
Think about how often you’ll use a tandem. Many people buy them thinking they’ll hit the water with their spouse or friend all the time, but it doesn’t happen. Yes, you can ride a tandem by yourself, but that’s not what they were designed to do.
Also, don’t buy a tandem if you and your partner are new to kayaking. You should get used to paddling a solo ‘yak before jumping in one together. You may not like the feel or style of a tandem.
A tandem kayak is incredible if both you and your partner are on the same page. You can save a ton of space, go on amazing trips together, and experience the incredible fun of kayaking as a team.
Are Tandem Kayaks Good for Fishing?
Kayaks can be great to use for fishing. You’ll find that many tandem kayaks are great for fishing. Some of them will have individual holders for your fishing rods and are quite convenient to take out on the lake.
Using a very stable kayak for fishing is necessary. When you’re fishing, it’s possible that you may have to stand at some points to reel in an unusually tricky fish. If the kayak is stable enough, this shouldn’t be an issue.
You’ll also want to try to find a spacious and comfortable kayak for fishing purposes. Fishing is an activity that takes time, and you’ll want the seats of the kayak to be sturdy enough to keep you going through your fishing session. Most kayaks designed with fishing in mind should be perfect in this regard.
There are also kayaks that can hold three people. Sometimes these are ideal for fishing as you may want to take a couple of friends out with you. Keep the size of the kayak in mind when you’re buying it because you want everyone to fit comfortably.
Are Tandem Kayaks Safe for Children?
Tandem kayaks can entirely be safe for children. It’s up to the discretion of the parents when it comes to how safe they feel anything is. It’s important to note that many kayaks are great for children, though.
You’ll find several tandem kayaks that will fit two adults and one child comfortably. Having this kind of capacity is an excellent way for parents to take their child with them for some outdoors fun. It’s always a good idea to wear life jackets to keep the situation as safe as it can be.
Some tandem kayaks are a little easier to handle than others, too. If you get a kayak that is easy to maneuver, then your child will be able to feel as if he or she is helping and contributing to the activity. If you plan on taking your child out, it might be good to look into buying a kayak that is exceptionally easy to control.
Does the Maximum Weight Limit Matter?
You should pay attention to the maximum weight limit listed on any kayak. Going out onto the water in a kayak when you’ve exceeded the weight limit can be dangerous. It isn’t likely that the kayak will sink if you’re slightly over the weight limit, but it probably isn’t going to perform as well as it should.
If you vastly exceed the weight limit, then it would be a terrible idea to try to use the kayak. Most tandem kayaks will have a generous enough weight limit to fit two average-sized adults comfortably. There are many situations where two adults will slightly exceed the weight limit of a tandem kayak, though.
Big and tall people will need to seek out kayaks that are designed specifically with them in mind. Sometimes these kayaks will be a little bit more expensive, but you’ll be able to feel as though you’re safe using them. If you feel as if the weight limit is going to be an issue for you, go out of your way to find a tandem kayak with high weight capacity.
Is It Difficult to Care for a Tandem Kayak?
Caring for your tandem kayak shouldn’t be too hard. You need to make sure that you’re storing it in a safe place when you aren’t using it. Just leaving it out in your yard might not be the best solution.
If you have room in your garage, putting your tandem kayak in, there would be ideal. It’ll keep it safe from the elements and ensure that it’ll be ready the next time you want to take it out. These kayaks are pretty stable, so you don’t need to worry too much.
You don’t want it to get all dinged up for no reason. That’s why storing it in a safe place is the best bet. If it needs to be stored outside, covering it with a tarp is an excellent solution to keeping it safe from wildlife and other hazards.
Cleaning and drying your kayak is also essential. When you get back from taking it out, take the time to clean it off thoroughly. That will keep it in good condition so that you can use it for many years to come.
What Are Some Good Tips for Someone New to Tandem Kayaking?
If you’re new to kayaking, then you’re in for a lot of fun. Kayaking is a significant activity that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. That means you’ll need to understand how to get the most out of your kayaking experience.
It’s important to be as safe as possible when you’re out kayaking. For this reason, many people take life jackets with them. A life jacket will be able to assist you if you have any troubles and need to abandon your kayak for whatever reason.
Dressing in the right clothing is also essential. Even if it feels sweltering outside, it’s possible that the water might be cold. There is no guarantee that you won’t get wet so dress appropriately by assuming that you may have to go into the water at some point.
If you’re careful, then there isn’t a reason that you’ll get knocked out of your kayak. Most kayaks are very stable so staying safely inside them isn’t too complicated. Even so, you should try your best not to go down a terrible-looking river if you don’t feel that you have the experience for it.
Stick to waters that are calm when you’re just starting out. Going out in your tandem kayak will mean that you have someone with you. If you know someone who has a lot more experience with kayaking, taking him or her as your second can help you to gain more confidence.
Always remember to paddle safely and efficiently. Looking up some tutorials for tips on how to paddle in a kayak might help you if it’s your first time. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience without feeling too nervous.
Don’t forget to have fun. Kayaking is all about enjoying nature and having a great time out on the water. As long as you take the proper safety precautions ahead of time, you’ll always have an excellent experience kayaking.
Kayaking is an incredibly enjoyable experience. Buying your first tandem kayak is a step towards enjoying what could become your new favorite hobby. As long as you consider what your specific expectations are before buying a kayak, you should be able to get the perfect kayak for your purposes.
Remember to make sure that the kayak you buy is durable enough to withstand many years of use. This way, you’ll be able to feel as though you’re getting the most out of your purchase. If the kayak has a good hull and a durable frame, then you’ll be able to be confident that it’ll stand the test of time.
Comfort is also essential when you’re looking at tandem kayaks. You want both you and your partner to have a very comfortable experience. Ensure that the kayak is spacious enough for you to have fun.
If you need to buy a tandem kayak that can hold three people, then you’ll want to ensure that it’s extra roomy. Think about the places where you’ll put your feet, too. Kayaks with footholds can be helpful because it’ll allow you to get a proper motion going while paddling.
Take care of whatever tandem kayak you wind up deciding to purchase. When you take good care of your kayak, it’ll last you for a much longer time. Remember to store it properly and always clean it after you get back from taking it out.
Pick out a kayak that fits your personal needs the best. You might want a kayak that caters to fishing, or you may be more interested in an easy-to-control kayak to use with your child. Whatever your desires are, it’ll be possible to find the perfect tandem kayak.