Best Tandem Kayaks

10 Best Tandem Kayaks: Your Ultimate Guide in 2019

Ahh the tandem kayak, a lovely invention but what is the best tandem kayak for you? And whoever is riding with you, of course.

The tandem kayak is almost as adorable as the tandem bicycle but not quite. Still, there are a lot of reasons to love the tandem kayak and if you’re in the market for one you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll analyze 11 of the best tandem kayaks in the world.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, we’ve put two models right at the top for those of you that want a quick answer. The first is the editor’s choice which is the top pick and the second is the best value which is the low-cost bargain option.

editor's choice

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T | 12 Foot | Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak (Caribbean Blue)
  • 13 foot V-shaped hull is the fastest design for a fishing rig
  • Tons of storage options from sealable hatches to bungees
  • Made in the USA with great customer service

best value

Intex Explorer K2

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Absolute lowest price to get you in a kayak
  • Inflatable build is lightweight and compact
  • Sturdy, durable, and safe enough for all ages

How to Find the Best Tandem Kayak For You

We’ll look at three different metrics to consider based on what you plan to do with your tandem kayak:

  1. Carrying capacity
  2. Weight
  3. Length

Carrying capacity

A 120 pound woman planning to tandem with her 50 pound dog on the local reservoir needs a different kayak than a sumo wrestler and his professional basketball playing wife heading for the open ocean. Do yourself a favor: Dust off a calculator and take 30 seconds to add up how many pounds worth of humans, dogs, and gear that you want to bring. It’s best to air on the side of caution because there isn’t much downside to getting a kayak with more capacity than you need but you’ll be very disappointed if, when you load it down, it sinks.

**A word to the wise: The maximum capacity that is listed is more of a last resort, “will stay afloat but good luck going anywhere” weight. Being well under the weight limit will maximize performance.

Weight

Even if it’s super heavy you only have to carry it a short distance right? This is really only true if you happen to be part pack mule because almost no one likes to schlep things around, especially if they are heavier than they need to be. This is even more important if you’re going to need to portage your kayak on an overnight trip or even a long day trip.

Length

The short and sweet on length is that longer kayaks track better and are generally faster and shorter kayaks turn easier and are generally more stable. Boxy looking kayaks will be harder to tip over but won’t win any speed races. Conversely, if the kayak is shaped like a knife it’ll be pretty fast but you’ll need good balance not to roll it. Again, it all depends on what you want to do with kayak.

10 Best Tandem Kayaks in 2019

If you’re just getting into kayaking, buying a brand new kayak will seem like a daunting purchase. The price tag on some kayaks is certainly an investment -- but trust me, the return that you get from them is well worth it.

Also, don’t worry TOO much about getting the perfect kayak because what’s important is that you get one and that you get out and use it. I don’t know anyone in the kayaking world that has just one kayak; you’ll figure out exactly what you like in a kayak and for what purposes as you go along.

Without further ado, here are the 11 best tandem kayaks that the internet has to offer.

Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 12’0
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Material: Heavy gauge PVC
  • Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Accessories: 4 bottom fins, front and back spray covers, 3 separate air chambers, neoprene elbow guards
  • Price: $$

The AIRHEAD Montana TK-2 is two feet longer than it’s younger brother, the TK-1, and it weighs a little more. You get a ton of extra capacity and an extra seat. This is one of the only blow up kayaks made with whitewater in mind, although it can only handle moderate whitewater.

Heavy gauge PVC material protects it from getting poked by your gear and the bottom of the kayak is reinforced to protect against rock scrapes.

Why Choose This Model?

For the price and how much it weighs this really is an amazing kayak. It’s so versatile that it’s a great option whether it’ll be just you, you and a friend, or you, your spouse AND a child or a dog. The AIRHEAD Montana TK-2 is a great first kayak and it will continue to be even until you become an expert.


Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Envy, 12 Feet

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 12’0
  • Weight: 57 lbs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Maximum Capacity: 425 lbs
  • Accessories: 3 seating positions, comfort plus seats, 2 molded handles, skid plate, lifetime warranty
  • Price: $$$

With a reputation for making good kayaks for the whole family you can’t go wrong with the Ocean Kayaks Malibu Two. Three seating positions means a variety of options from two people riding tandem, one person a dog and a kid, or even three kids.

Why Choose This Model?

Ocean Kayaks offers a lifetime warranty which is pretty impressive since not many other companies do this. Buy an ocean kayak once and you’ll never have to buy one again!


ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE-1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 15’0
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Material: PVC Tarpaulin
  • Maximum Capacity: 550 lbs
  • Accessories: Pre-assembled, durable ripstop fabric, adjustable back support, skeg tracking fin
  • Price: $$$

At 15 feet this kayak can CRUISE, but where the heck do you keep it?

Have no fear, the AdvancedFrame packs down to the size of a duffel bag; even if you live in a postage stamp sized apartment you can still have a killer kayak.

Why Choose This Model?

If you have limited space for a kayak but you still want a serious piece of equipment that cuts through water like a kitchen knife, the AdvancedFrame is for you.


Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Pro Package

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 10’8
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Material: Polykrylar
  • Maximum Capacity: 650 lbs
  • Accessories: Foot pump, carry bag with shoulder strap, dual removable skegs, spray skirts, 2 paddles
  • Price: $$ 

The Sea Eagle is strong enough to hold 650 lbs worth of people, animals, gear or whatever else you want to put in it, it’s durable enough to withstand the clawing of dog paws, AND it fits into a storage bag weighing merely 26 lbs! Thousands of people have loved this kayak so it’s likely that you will too.

Why Choose This Model?

Conversation flows when you’re on the move in a tandem kayak. The simple act of going somewhere sets our mind in motion and you’ll love the intimate bonding opportunity that comes with that. The Sea Eagle is the lightest most affordable kayak out there.


Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 10’9
  • Weight: 40 lbs
  • Material: 18 gauge PVC
  • Maximum Capacity: 470 lbs
  • Accessories: Multiple air chambers, 1000D tarpaulin reinforced bottom, mesh storage pockets
  • Price: $$

Blow up kayaks are catching up to hard shells on several metrics due to advances in technology but some may not hold up to heavy wear and tear. The Sevylor Colorado is made of heavy gauge PVC and would be hard to puncture even if you tried.

Why Choose This Model?

This tandem fishing rig is has a high weight capacity, two seater capability, and I don’t know about you but I love the forest green color. This is perfect for taking you and a friend or loved one out for a paddle, whether you plan to fish or not.


Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrest, Camouflage

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 10’0
  • Weight: 80 lbs
  • Material: High density polyethylene
  • Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Accessories: 5-year warranty, 2 paddles included, 3 rod holders, rear storage hatch
  • Price: $$$

This boat is designed such that the portion of the hull that is in the water has three tracks, also known as a tri-hull design. This makes the Lifetime Tandem one of the sturdiest kayaks on the market. Go ahead, stand up and jump around a little, you won’t fall off unless you want to!

Why Choose This Model?

Simple design, sturdy build, and a five year warranty. The warranty would be enough for me but add in the fact that it’s so sturdy that it feels like you’re standing on a dock and we have a winner in the Lifetime Tandem.


Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T | 12 Foot | Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak (Caribbean Blue)

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 13’0
  • Weight: 80 lbs
  • Material: Single piece rotomolded polyethylene
  • Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Accessories: 4 rod holders, 2 rod holders, 4 mounting points, 2 sealed hatches, 2 tackle tray holders, bungee covered front and rear well, adjustable foot rests, 4 carrying handles
  • Price: $$$$ 

This boat is a beast. Vibe Kayaks, a small company out of Atlanta, Georgia, makes awesome kayaks that are certainly tailored to fishing but don’t forget that a kayak is, first and foremost, a boat. At 13 feet long with a 500 pound carrying capacity the Yellowfin 130T will take 2 people and all of their gear wherever they want to go.

Why Choose This Model?

The price tag is higher than the rest of these kayaks but, and somehow people forget this so I’ll say it again: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and you get what you pay for.

If you’re a dad, the Vibe Yellowfin 130T is hands down the best kayak to take your boy (or girl) fishing with.


Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 10’3
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Material: Puncture resistant vinyl
  • Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Accessories: Removable skeg, inflatable seats, two-person capacity, repair kit included, quick inflation valves
  • Price: $

Seats that are inflatable and adjustable for comfort, a removable skeg for surprisingly smooth tracking, AND it packs down small enough to fit in the backseat of your car. The Explorer K2 is perfect for smaller bodies of water like lakes and rivers.

Why Choose This Model?

The Explorer K2 is affordable, reliable, and compact at a price that is so low that you actually think, “am I seeing this right”? If you aren’t sure whether you’re in to kayaking yet, forget about renting and just get the Explorer K2; it will pay for itself over renting after only a few outings.


SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali Tandem Kayak (Lime, 13.5-Feet)

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 13’6
  • Weight: 70 lbs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Accessories: 3 seating positions, 3 covered storage compartments, adjustable seats, onboard shock cord deck rigging
  • Price: $$$

With three seating positions and lots of covered storage space the Sun Dolphin Bali Tandem is the quintessential family kayak. It’s a little heavy but it’s a tandem so you should have help carrying it!

Why Choose This Model?

For specific settings like the ocean or fast rivers or specific activities like fishing or overnight trips there are better kayaks. But none of them are as family oriented as the Sun Dolphin Bali.


Perception Kayak Tribe Sit On Top for Recreation

Model & Accessory Specs:

  • Length: 11’6
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Accessories: multiple lengths available, stylish colors, multiple footrests, large front and rear storage, comfort seating system
  • Price: $$$

The Perception Tribe 11.5 is a great fit for larger paddlers. It’s also is a good match for discerning, price-conscious beginners, as well as seasoned paddlers ready for their next adventure. An included, replaceable, skid plate helps to prolong hull life for those that have a bit too much fun.

Why Choose This Model?

This kayak offers playful surf action, fun color options, and trusty durability. It performs as well playing in the surf and rough ocean as it does in flat water and lazy rivers, the Perception Tribe 11.5 is the everyman's kayak for almost everything!


Benefits of Owning an Amazing Kayak

Maybe you’re taking your kid out for a little paddle, maybe you and the wife are enjoying wildlife together, or maybe you’re buying your husband a birthday present hoping he’ll get out with you a little more.

Whatever your reasons, buying a tandem kayak is a great option for bunch of reasons:

Kayaking is great exercise.

It’s a great opportunity to converse and bond.

Plus, most tandem kayaks ride perfectly fine with just one person.

“...great list of the best tandem kayaks, lots of great reasons to get a tandem kayak, not that many bad reasons to get a tandem kayak…”

Sounds like you should get a tandem kayak!

10 Best Tandem Kayaks: Your Ultimate Guide in 2019

A minute ago you were talking but now both of you have decided to just paddle. Without trying, your paddles strokes are suddenly in sync. It’s just you and the water.

In that moment, nothing else exists.

Only one way to enjoy that experience, folks -- get a darn tandem kayak and head for blue waters!

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