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Top 6 Best Tandem Kayak Reviews in 2023

A tandem kayak is a type of kayak designed to accommodate two people. It is built with two seating positions, typically in a front-to-back configuration, allowing two individuals to paddle together. Tandem kayaks are popular among couples, friends, or thrillseekers in general who want to enjoy kayaking together.

Unlike other types of boats, kayaks are specially designed to increase the thrill of the ride, thus, it is highly preferred for adventure sports. However, kayaking is a very precarious sport that needs a lot of research and experience. So if you plan to buy a kayak, you should carefully check out the following points before getting one.

  • Kayak Type: The type of kayak you choose is necessary because it directly affects your overall experience and performance on the water. Different kayak types are designed for specific activities, conditions, and skill levels. When choosing a specific type of kayak, you need to understand some crucial aspects that are directly affected by that, such as performance, maneuverability, safety considerations, etc.
  • Weight Capacity: The weight capacity of a kayak refers to the maximum weight it can safely carry without compromising its stability and overall performance. Exceeding the weight capacity of a kayak can compromise its structural integrity, making it more prone to tipping or capsizing. This can be particularly dangerous in rough water conditions or if you’re far from shore. So, make sure the kayak you are getting exceeds the safety considerations regarding weight capacity.
  • No of Seats: The number of seats in a tandem kayak is important as it determines the capacity to accommodate multiple paddlers. While a lot of tandem kayaks are generally designed for 2 riders, you can find a handful of special choices which can accommodate 3 or more riders easily. However, keep in mind that housing more than 2 riders in a kayak that is built for only 2 raiders can be hazardous. So, prefer a more prominent option if you plan to go kayaking with more than 2 people.

Today, we are bringing you a selection of the best tandem kayaks available on the market that you can buy right now. We have carefully selected these options from the most popular brands that have already supplied kayaks for a very long time. So, you will surely find at least one option on our picks today that fits your requirements. If you are finding it difficult to choose an option, we will suggest going through our “Buying Guide” before you make a selection.

Best Tandem Kayak Chart

Tandem KayakKayak TypeWeight CapacityNo of SeatsBuy now
Driftsun Tandem KayakRecreational kayak450 lbs2Check On Amazon
Advanced Tandem KayakConvertible Inflatable Kayak550 lbs1 or 2Check On Amazon
Perception Tandem KayakSit on Top550 lbs2Check On Amazon
Pelican Tandem KayakRecreational kayak500 lbs2Check On Amazon
BKC Tandem KayakSit On Top Kayak595 lbs3Check On Amazon
Elkton Tandem KayakRecreational Tandem Kayak650 lbs3Check On Amazon

Best Tandem Kayak Reviews

1. Driftsun Tandem Kayak

Driftsun Tandem Kayak

Kayaks are quite expensive these days, especially if you are looking for a reliable option with all safety considerations taken care of. But, a few brands like Driftsun will still offer you all of these features with a budget choice.

In the 1st place, we are putting the Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Kayak. This is the cheapest option for you today for a tandem kayak which supports 2 people with a maximum weight capacity of 450 lbs. Even though this is a budget choice, this kayak has all the accessories you need for an adventure trip, including adjustable EVA padded seats, aluminum paddles, double action hand pump, and even a travel bag.

Coming to its size, this tandem kayak measures about ‎34.5 x 24.4 x 11.8 inches which offers enough space for a comfortable seating arrangement. Plus, you will be able to inflate the kayak completely within just 5 minutes, making it possible to easily travel with the kayak and inflate it as soon as you reach your destination. The bottom of the kayak comprises heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin, which offers durable protection against punctures and wear.

Best Features:

  • This is a recreational kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 450 lbs
  • It supports 2 members
  • It measures about ‎34.5 x 24.4 x 11.8 inches

Pros:

  • Most affordable tandem kayak in this selection
  • Material quality is very good for the price
  • Kayak itself weighs only 27 lbs

Cons:

  • Not the best option for turbulent rivers

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2. Advanced Tandem Kayak

Advanced Tandem Kayak

The Advanced Elements brand offers a wide range of inflatable kayaks and accessories. The following kayak is also one of the finest of options created by this brand.

In the 2nd position, we are putting the Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak. As the name suggests, this is also a convertible kayak that you can inflate when you are near the shore and deflate when traveling with it for better portability. This is a rather larger option for a budget choice measuring about 36.5 x 22.5 x 12.25 inches in size. Plus, the built-in aluminum bow and stern of the kayak ensure its build quality and reliability.

3 layers of materials are used to produce this kayak to offer extreme resistance against wear and tear. It also offers a total load capacity of up to 550 lbs. The kayak weighs around 52 lbs, making it a bit bulkier and difficult to carry around. The most important part is that you won’t have to perform any assembly on your part. All you have to do is unfold the unit and inflate it before it’s ready for use.

Best Features:

  • This is a convertible inflatable kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 550 lbs
  • It supports 1 to 2 members
  • It measures about ‎36.5 x 22.5 x 12.25 inches

Pros:

  • One of the budget options with better durability and reliability
  • 3 layers of materials for extended puncture resistance
  • Pre-assembled unit before shipping

Cons:

  • Kayak weight is relatively higher than a few other choices

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3. Perception Tandem Kayak

Perception Tandem Kayak

Moving up towards the premium range of options, we have a beautiful 2-seater kayak from Perception. This sit-on-top kayak is also perfect for going in challenging streams.

Our 3rd choice for the best tandem kayak is the Perception Rambler 13.5. It has managed to secure a higher position on our list because of its spacious design and compatibility with a wider range of use. It also allows up to 2 passengers at a time with a total weight capacity of 550 lbs. Also, this is a single-piece kayak, making it an ideal transportation choice. With that, you can easily travel with this kayak and use it around lakes, ocean bays, and rivers.

The molded seats of this kayak make it easier to go in and out of the kayak. And if you want, you can easily replace the backrest with an option of your choice since these seats have removable molded backrests. Furthermore, you can also adjust the back support based on your paddling style and comfort. The entire kayak comprises polyethylene material and weighs about 78 lbs, ensuring its durable build quality.

Best Features:

  • This is a sit-on-top kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 550 lbs
  • It supports 2 members
  • It measures about ‎162 x 34 x 14 inches

Pros:

  • Single-piece molded kayak
  • Additional storage space for accessories
  • Spacious design for a comfortable experience

Cons:

  • Paddles are not included in the package

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4. Pelican Tandem Kayak

Pelican Tandem Kayak

Pelican is also one of the brands we have chosen for this list today, focusing only on water-based adventure sports. Thus, you can find many options designed by Pelican, along with paddle boards, sleds, fishing boats, etc.

The Pelican – River Gorge 130X Tandem Kayak is up next on our list. This is also a budget-friendly choice compared to many other kayaks you can find on the market now. This recreational kayak also offers a front-to-back sitting arrangement that easily fits 2 riders. You also don’t have to worry about the weight capacity as this kayak is rated for up to 50 lbs. Plus, it has some upgraded features you won’t find with all kayaks, such as extra storage space, look hatch, a bungee cord tank, etc.

Coming to the reliability and stability of the kayak, you will find this 160 x 35 x 13 inches kayak to be perfectly balanced with the twin-arched multi-chine hull. It also makes it easier to jump in and out of the kayak easily. This kayak also meets the ABYC standard, ensuring the rider’s safety in all conditions. Pelican has chosen the highly durable high molecular density polyethylene for the material, making the boat weigh only 73 lbs.

Best Features:

  • This is a recreational kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 500 lbs
  • It supports 2 members
  • It measures about ‎160 x 35 x 13 inches

Pros:

  • 4 different options are available
  • Comes with a bungee cord tank
  • Made up of a highly durable material

Cons:

  • It only supports up to 2 members

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5. BKC Tandem KayakBKC Tandam kayaks

Now that we are familiar with the budget-focused options for a tandem kayak, let us discuss some premium options which offer extended weight capacity with many additional features. BKC is also one of the brands which offer these features with its premium tandem kayak.

The BKC TK181 is yet another larger option available on our picks today for a premium tandem kayak. This sit-on-top tandem kayak has 2 soft padded seats and 7-rod holders available onboard. It also arrives in 4 different color options, offering your opinion to choose the option which suits you the best. This is a relatively lightweight kayak despite measuring about 152 x 34 x 14.25 inches in size since it weighs about 68 lbs.

The kayak consists of 2 soft padded seats and 2 adjustable aluminum paddles, making it a good deal. You will also notice a waterproof hatch on the kayak with 2 paddle parks and a bungee cargo tie-down for your safety. Just like our last choice; this option is also made up of high-density polyethylene material to eliminate any chance of leakage. Unlike most other choices, this kayak doubles as a simple fishing boat with 4 flush-mount rod holders and 3 additional adjustable rod holders onboard. 

Best Features:

  • This is a sit-on-top kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 595 lbs
  • It supports 3 members
  • It measures about ‎‎152 x 34 x 14.25 inches

Pros:

  • It offers a lot of accessories and adjustment options
  • Highly versatile opinion for a tandem kayak
  • Material quality is very good

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than other options

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6. Elkton Tandem Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak

For the last position, we have reserved the most premium choice on this list today for a tandem kayak. This is the only kayak you will find on our list today, which is not only the safest option for 2 riders but also accompanies 3 riders easily.

The last option on our list of the best tandem kayaks is the Elkton Outdoors Hard Shell Recreational Tandem Kayak. This kayak can easily accommodate 3 raiders at a time as it has a weight capacity of up to 650 lbs. Plus, the 2 EVA padded seats of the kayak offer ease of access, and you will also find 2 aluminum paddles which are highly durable and suitable for recurring adventures. The boat itself is constructed with the roto mold-injected body to avoid cracks or punctures of any kind.

You will also find 2 carrying handles on the kayak, making it easier to carry around. This is also one of the largest options available on our picks today, measuring about ‎147 x 35 x 13 inches in size. Thus, the added ease of transportation certainly comes in handy for this option. You will get an airtight storage compartment on each kayak end to store essential supplies with ultimate safety from external leakage.

Best Features:

  • This is a recreational kayak
  • Weight capacity is up to 650 lbs
  • It supports 3 members
  • It measures about ‎147 x 35 x 13 inches

Pros:

  • There is a storage compartment available on each side
  • Suitable for up to 3 riders
  • A most reliable choice for adventure sports

Cons:

  • Most expensive option for a tandem kayak

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Buying Guide For The Best Tandem Kayak

Tandem kayaks usually have a longer and wider hull than solo kayaks to provide stability and increased weight capacity. They often have multiple footrest positions and adjustable seats to accommodate paddlers of different heights and preferences.

 Some models also feature additional storage compartments for longer trips to carry gear or supplies. So as you can imagine, these kayaks are the perfect option for a couple of adrenaline junkies to seek out the calling of the turbulent rivers. If you have not purchased a kayak before, we recommend checking out our buying guide, where we will discuss some of the most important features of a kayak.

1. Kayak Type

Kayaks are designed with specific activities in mind, such as touring, paddling, whitewater rafting, fishing, or even sea kayaking. Each type of kayak will have features and characteristics tailored to enhance your experience for that particular set of activities.

 For example, a fishing kayak may have built-in rod holders and storage compartments for gear, while a touring kayak might prioritize speed and stability for long-distance paddling. Therefore, you must pick up the ideal kayak type designed for your intended usage.

Different kayak types have varying hull shapes, lengths, widths, and rocker profiles, influencing their performance and maneuverability on the water. So, the type of kayak you choose will also depend upon what type of river or lake you are getting into.

2. No. of Seats & Sitting Type

The number of seats in a tandem kayak determines how many people can comfortably paddle together without discomfort. Tandem kayaks are designed for two or more individuals to share the experience. Having the appropriate number of seats ensures everyone has a designated space, making it easier to distribute the workload and coordinate paddling strokes. This promotes teamwork and allows for shared enjoyment of the activity.

Apart from the number of seats, you should also pay attention to the sitting arrangement inside your kayak. There are usually 2 types of sitting arrangements available in a kayak which are front-to-back and side-by-side.

Communication can be more challenging in a front-to-back configuration as the paddlers have limited interaction available. However, this seating style can provide better weight distribution and balance, particularly in longer kayaks. So, it requires good communication and coordination to synchronize paddling strokes and maintain balance.

On the other hand, side-by-side seating allows for easier communication and immediate interaction between the paddlers. This configuration facilitates conversation, coordination, and shared decision-making while paddling. It can be a great option for those who prefer constant engagement with their paddling buddy.

3. Material & Size

The material and size of a kayak are key factors that directly impact its durability and suitability for different paddling environments. The material of a kayak determines its weight, durability, and overall performance characteristics. Choosing the right material depends on your paddling goals, budget, durability requirements, and transportation needs. Consider the intended use, the level of care you’re willing to provide, and the balance between weight and performance.

As for the size, the size of a kayak refers to its length, width, and overall dimensions. The width of a kayak affects its stability in the water. A wider kayak provides excellent initial stability, making it more suitable for beginners or paddlers prioritizing stability over speed. The length and shape of a kayak impact its speed and efficiency. Longer kayaks are faster and have better tracking abilities, making them suitable for touring or covering long distances.

4. Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a kayak is its quality that determines the maximum weight it can safely carry without compromising its stability. Adhering to the weight capacity of a kayak is essential for safety reasons. Exceeding the weight limit can compromise the kayak’s stability, making it more prone to tipping or being difficult to control.

This is particularly critical in challenging water conditions or if you’re far from shore. By staying within the weight capacity, you ensure the kayak maintains its stability, buoyancy, and handling characteristics, promoting a safer paddling experience. The weight capacity of a kayak is also directly related to its buoyancy and flotation. Kayaks are designed with specific volume and displacement to support a certain weight range.

Best Tandem Kayak – FAQS

1. Which type of kayak is safer?

Ans: The safety of a kayak depends on various factors, including the paddler’s skill level, the specific water conditions, and the kayak’s design features. Sit-on-top kayaks are generally considered a safer option. They have an open cockpit design, allowing for easy entry and exit. Whitewater kayaks are specifically designed for paddling in fast-moving rivers with rapids and obstacles. They have a shorter length and higher rocker profile, making them more suitable for experienced riders.

2. What type of kayak is best for beginners?

Ans: A sit-on-top or recreational kayak is generally considered the best choice for beginners. These kayaks offer stability, ease of use, and a comfortable paddling experience. Both sit-on-top and recreational kayaks often come with features that enhance comfort for beginners. These features may include padded seats, adjustable backrests, and footrests to provide ergonomic support during paddling.

3. Which kayak is most stable?

Ans: When it comes to stability, different kayak types offer varying levels of stability based on their design and intended use. Generally, wider kayaks with a flat or pontoon-like hull tend to provide better initial stability, while narrower kayaks with a V-shaped or rounded hull offer improved secondary stability. Recreational kayaks have these features, offering excellent initial stability. This makes them highly stable, beginner-friendly, and ideal for calm and protected waters.

4. What type of kayak is best for rivers?

Ans: Whitewater kayaks are designed explicitly for navigating fast-moving rivers with rapids, rocks, and obstacles. They are typically shorter and have a high rocker profile, allowing for quick turns and maneuverability in turbulent water. Whitewater kayaks have a more rounded hull, enabling them to surf waves and punch through features. They are equipped with safety features like reinforced hulls, thigh braces, and flotation devices.

Conclusion

Selecting the right kayak involves considering several important factors. The type of kayak depends on the intended use, skill level, and paddling environment. Additionally, the material and size of the kayak play significant roles. The material choice, such as plastic, composite, or inflatable, affects the kayak’s weight, durability, and performance characteristics.

Apart from that, there are many other considerations that you need to carefully check before you can decide which tandem kayak is perfect for you. Therefore, We are bringing you this selection of the best tandem kayaks you can find on the market now. You can also check out our buying guide for the best tandem kayak if you can’t decide which option is perfect. We also have some options for you if you want a quicker approach.

  • While almost all tandem kayaks are quite expensive, there are a few options like the Driftsun Tandem Kayak. This tandem kayak comes with 2 aluminum paddles, 2 padded seats, and a double action pump as well. Even though this kayak measures about 34.5 x 24.4 x 11.8 inches in size, it can be inflated within just 5 minutes. You will also find heavy-duty PVC bottom on this kayak, which is guaranteed not to leak in any condition. And as for the design, the rocker profile of the kayak and pointed nose entry make it possible to deliver excellent performance in different water conditions.
  • But, if you plan to buy a kayak for the long run, we suggest going with the Elkton OutdoorsTandem Kayak. Unlike most other options, this kayak is suitable for up to 3 members with a maximum weight capacity of 650 lbs. And as for durability, this kayak comprises a mold-injected body to avoid cracking and puncture to guarantee a long lifespan. This kayak is about 12.2 feet wide in length and 3 feet wide, which makes it perfectly balanced even with the extended weight.

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