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Tandem kayaks are a fantastic way to get out on the water with friends and loved ones. Numerous tandem designs cater to people of varying sizes, storage space requirements, and the type of water they’ll be paddling in.
In this article, we’ll break down our top ten best tandem kayaks. We’ll highlight their unique features and let you know what to look out for.
10 Best 2 Person Kayak
1. Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak : Best Tandem Kayak For Family
Families of three will love Crescent Crew’s sturdy, comfortable kayak. Two aluminum-framed seats sit high and have meshed backs, perfect for allowing airflow on a warm day. There’s also space in the kayak for a third person, ideal for a child.
The kayak is labeled a 2 + 1 tandem because it has two mesh seats and space for a third person to sit on the floor.
It can hold up to 600 pounds and has a sturdy design. It’s equipped with Crescent Crew’s patented hull and full-length keel. With this, a rounded front ensures buoyancy should a person be sitting in the bow. It also minimizes rocking.
This Crescent Crew kayak can easily convert between a tandem and solo kayak. Seats come with adjustable straps, and their backs can be adjusted to fit the size of the paddler. There are also foot tracks to accommodate the leg length of any paddler.
Injection-molded handles make it easy to carry this kayak. That being said, it’s a heavier product than some of the other kayaks we’ll be discussing here.
When kayaking with two or three people, you’re bound to get thirsty and hungry. Crescent Crew anticipated this with its four cupholders as well as a rear tank well. The tank well can hold a cooler or dry bag. Just make sure to bring some bungee cords with you to hold it in place.
- 35-inches wide to ensure a stable ride.
- Holds up to three people with a combined weight of 600 pounds.
- Adjustable mesh seats and foot tracks.
- American-Made with high-quality materials.
- Seats are elevated for ease of paddling.
- Heavy to lift and transport, although injection-molded handles help alleviate this issue.
2. Point 65 Tequila! GTX Tandem Kayak : Most Flexible Tandem Kayak
Heads are bound to turn out on the water when you paddle around with the Tequila! GTX. Designed by engineer Magnus de Brito, this ultra-lightweight Snap-Tap kayak is perfect for beginners to experienced kayakers who want an easy-to-store product.
The tandem version can be used as a solo kayak by removing the middle part, its genius.
You might save some bucks choosing the solo, but by choosing the tandem its like you bought two kayaks.
Snap-Tap is a design that allows the Tequila! GTX to be taken apart. That way, it’s easy to store and carry—gone are the days of having to fasten your kayak to the top of your vehicle. Because of its carefully engineered design, it’s quick to assemble so that you can spend your precious time on the water.
It’s made from the lightweight 1-layer PE material and is only 24.3 pounds. But don’t let its weight fool you; the Tequila! GTX can carry two people totaling up to 530 pounds. Because of its lightweight, it’s a fast kayak and also extremely stable.
The Tequila! GTX offers plenty of comforts. It has multiple footrests, AIR seats with mesh fabric, and adjustable backrests. EVA foam ensures you can spend hours on the water without feeling sore. You can easily access drainage points by your seat, footwells, and the storage area.
At only 29.5 inches in width, there isn’t a lot of storage space in this kayak. However, deck bungees allow you to secure small bags, and there are a couple of rod holders.
- Can switch to solo kayak on demand.
- Unique Snap-Tap take-apart concept designed by Magnus de Brito.
- Made from 1-layer PE, making it only 24.3 pounds.
- Easy to maneuver on land and in the water.
- Ideal for small storage spaces at home and in vehicles.
- Lacks storage space inside the kayak aside from deck bungees.
- Doesn’t always track straight, although it has a tracking keel.
3. The Sea Eagle 370 : Best Inflatable Tandem Kayak
When considering the best tandem kayak on the market, affordability and portability are critical. Costing only a few hundred dollars and weighing in at 32 pounds, the Sea Eagle 370 is an excellent choice.
Unique to inflatable kayaks, the Sea Eagle can support up to 650 pounds. There’s enough space for three passengers, although it’s most comfortable to use for two adults and a child. You can choose to purchase either SEC or Deluxe kayak seats.
Don’t let its reasonable price fool you—durability is a top priority for the Sea Eagle. Sun and saltwater resistant hull material ensures this kayak stays strong regardless of weather conditions.
A 5 tube I-beam construction floor offers added rigidity. It allows the kayaker to sit higher up, offering a greater range for paddling. Two skegs on the bottom of the Sea Eagle support the kayaker with improved tracking. Since they’re molded plastic, these skegs hold up well against rocks.
The Sea Eagle comes with five deluxe one-way valves. You can paddle confidently, knowing your kayak will stay inflated because of an inner diaphragm that permits air to enter but stops it from exiting. Molded O-rings, a tether, and an outside cap ensure air tightness and prevents parts from getting lost.
Certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the Sea Eagle meets the same safety standards as ski jets, yachts, and other equipment in the boating industry.
- Accommodates three passengers weighing a total of 650 pounds.
- Only 32 pounds and packs down to fit in a car trunk.
- Takes less than 10 minutes to set up.
- Two skegs for excellent tracking.
- It isn’t quite as speedy as a non-inflatable kayak.
- Inflatable seats aren’t ideal for passengers who are on the heavier side.
Aquaglide’s unique McKenzie kayak is ideal for adventure seekers. It’s a cross-over product that serves as both a kayak and raft for running rapids.
The two-person inflatable kayak is made with polyester fabric-reinforced material and can hold up to 600 pounds. At only 30 pounds in total weight, it’s the lightest kayak we’ve covered so far.
Extra loops, floor clips, and back straps ensure your belongings stay in place despite the whitewater rapids and swells you may encounter. It has mesh drains to keep water out and footrest adjustments to ensure you stay comfortable.
The sturdy McKenzie has an EvoBeam floor, making this a robust and high-performing tandem kayak even though it’s inflatable. It has a posi-track fin to maximize tracking, but this can also be removed depending on what you’ll be using the kayak for.
Inflating this kayak is quick and easy. It comes with three air chambers and Halkey-Roberts valves, which prevents leaking to ensure your kayak has plenty of air for a day out on the water. Back straps offer the option for users to adjust the seats to their preference.
The McKenzie kayak is a shorter kayak than others on this list, at just 12 feet, 2 inches. It comes with two removable seats, a storage backpack, and a one-year manufacturer warranty should there be any defects.
- Lightweight, making it super easy to transport.
- A hybrid kayak that can also be used for whitewater rafting.
- Duratex construction for a rigid feel.
- Removeable posi-track fin for superb tracking.
- Despite mesh draining, some water can accumulate in the recessed edges.
- The posi-track fin may be too long for certain uses, such as in rivers, but it’s possible to purchase a smaller one.
You’re bound to be the envy of other kayakers with Advanced Elements’ sleek designed 15-foot tandem kayak. Since it’s an inflatable kayak, it’s an excellent option for people with limited storage space in their homes and vehicles.
Setting up and taking apart this kayak is easy—simply inflate it with a pump using the user-friendly Spring and Twistlok valves and attach the seats. It can hold up to 550 pounds of weight between two people.
Advanced Elements offers the option for you to purchase spray skirts to make your kayak more versatile. There’s a spray skirt for a single-deck conversion for solo rides and a double-deck conversion for tandem paddling in rough water conditions.
Tracking performance is enhanced thanks to an aluminum frame stern that acts as a skeg. It also has a bow that easily slices through the water.
If the thought of an inflatable kayak alarms you because it could get punctured, rest easy. It has a triple-layer polyester fabric with double PVC coating. The seams are also welded together to minimize the risk of a puncture. However, the kayak comes with a repair kit, just in case you get in a bind.
Storage space is excellent in this kayak without decreasing the legroom. It even comes with paddle holders and pockets behind the seats.
Since this is an inflatable kayak, you must learn how to inflate it for safety and maximum performance. You should use a 12V electric pump, followed by a hand pump to reach ideal air pressure.
- Excellent tracking through the water.
- Easy to carry thanks to molded rubber handles.
- Lots of storage space, including paddle holders.
- Option to add spray skirts to increase versatility.
- Proper inflation is essential.
- At 52 pounds, this is a heavier kayak model.
The stylish Malibu is a sturdy kayak that can hold two adults and either a small child or dog. It has overlapping foot wells meaning you’ll have a place for your feet to push against regardless of how far back you position your seat.
Stability is a key feature of this kayak. It’s possible to walk around without it rocking too much. Dogs can even jump out into the water without you having to worry about it tipping over.
At 61 pounds, this kayak makes up for its weight by its roomy features, measuring 24 inches at its widest in the cockpit. As its name suggests, this kayak is designed for the ocean. However, it can also be used for recreational lake and river paddling.
If you happen to leave your family and Fido at home, the Malibu can easily be converted into a single-use kayak. Simply move one of the Comfort Zone seats to the center.
Storage is an excellent feature of this kayak. Side paddle keepers, a fishing pole holder, and buggies where you can store towels are all built into it. It’s also possible to fit items inside the hatches.
The hull is made of single-layer polyethylene and can carry up to 500 pounds in weight. It’s a great option for paddlers of any skill level and those looking for plenty of space in the cockpit.
- Carries two adults and either a small child or dog.
- Various footwells according to leg length that provide stability.
- Ample storage and a roomy feel.
- Performs well with wind and wakes.
- Slow to move and turn due to its weight and width.
- Works best with longer paddles, so you may have to purchase a new paddle set if yours are on the short side.
The sleek Old Town Dirigo is an excellent option for couples wanting a kayak for flat water. Despite being 72 pounds, because of a Stabil-form hull, it’s relatively easy to turn and maneuver this kayak in the water.
The Old Town Dirigo can hold up to 475 pounds. It’s also possible for a toddler to join two adults using a removable child seat, which is included with the kayak.
You won’t be at a loss for places to keep your important items dry, thanks to the glove box and Seal hatches. You’ll also have access to bungees at the bow and stern. Here, you can store items that are okay to get a little wet.
Although this kayak is designed to work best in calm water, there’s the option to purchase a separate Old Town rudder system. Installation is quick and easy, making it a good option if you plan on taking your kayak out in strong currents or high winds.
The Dirigo makes comfort a priority. It has contoured seats with cushioning, thigh pads, and a Glide Track foot brace. So, you can spend hours in your kayak without worry about your body getting too stiff.
- Removable child seat for a toddler.
- Seal hatches and a glove box to keep fragile belongings dry.
- Designed for easy installation of a rudder.
- Comfortable build with seat cushions and thigh pads.
- Some people may find it easiest to move this kayak around with wheels when it’s out of the water.
- It doesn’t track too well, which is why it comes with the option to install a rudder.
The Skipjack 120 is an affordable option for those seeking a stable tandem kayak for recreational use. It’s 12 feet long, and at 55 pounds, it’s a heavier weight kayak.
It comes with two seats for adults and a seat that can either be used for a small child or a pet, holding a total of 500 pounds. Four molded-in grip handles make it easy to transport from your vehicle to the water with two people. If you are trying it out solo, you may want to use a roller.
Stability is a huge plus to the Skipjack 120. It maintains a good track and doesn’t tip excessively, which is a huge plus if you’ll be bringing a child or pet with you. It also excels at handling wind and waves.
The kayak is equipped with specialized compartments. They include waterproof cargo hatches, cup holders, two paddle parks and paddle rests, and rod holders should you bring a fishing pole. However, overall, it has less storage than some of the other kayaks listed here.
People who love colorful kayaks will appreciate that the Skipjack 120 comes in Caribbean blue and a wildfire red.
It’s a well-rounded kayak that adapts to surf, rivers, and flat water. Because it’s so steady, it’s an excellent option for beginners but is loved by more experience kayakers too, especially those wanting to paddle with their family.
- A third seat that can hold a small child or pet.
- Exterior specialized compartments for paddles, drinks, and rods.
- Handles waves with excellent stability.
- Affordable tandem kayak for the value it offers.
- Not a lot of storage if you plan on bringing lots of belongings with you.
- Seats tend to slide, so you may need to tighten them.
The Island Voyage is an excellent choice for individuals wanting a compact inflatable tandem kayak for a low price. At only 11 feet, 2 inches, this kayak can hold up to two people totaling 400 pounds.
It’s lightweight and easy to store, weighing 31.5 pounds and measuring 31″ x 18″ x 10″ when folded. Therefore, it’s ideal for small cars and people wanting to avoid the hassle of strapping their kayak to the top of their vehicle.
The Island Voyage is ideal for paddling in rivers or lakes. It has a multi-layer inflatable polyester shell construction with PVC Tarpaulin hull material to offer excellent durability. Seams are also welded for added strength.
Thanks to high-volume side tubes, it offers excellent buoyancy. It’s a stable kayak for being an inflatable and handles well even when it’s windy.
Thoughtful features have been implemented into this kayak for comfort, including high back seats, grab handles, and bungee deck lacing to store your belongings. It comes with a removable tracking fin to help keep your kayak straight.
Accessories included with the Island Voyage include a duffle bag to carry the kayak, backrests, bottle holders, and a repair kit. There’s a drain plug in the rear of the kayak to make draining and cleaning it a breeze.
- Lightweight and compact design make this kayak perfect for tossing in the trunk of your car or traveling on an airplane.
- Polyester tube covers and PCV Tarpaulin hull prevent punctures.
- Side tubes are high-volume, which offers exceptional stability.
- Quick to set up: unfold the kayak, inflate, and insert the seats.
- Only holds up to 400 pounds, which is on the low side for tandem kayaks.
- Doesn’t offer a lot of storage space, especially if two people are using it.
To round out our review of the best tandem kayak, the Tarpon is a wonderful option for couples wanting a comfortable ride. It’s equipped with two AirPro seats, and both paddlers get their own cup holder, storage pockets, and Slidetrax rails.
At 88 pounds, it’s far from the lightest kayak on the market. However, it can hold up to 600 pounds in weight and, when paired with a rudder, handles waves and large bodies of water with ease. It can also move surprisingly fast, thanks to its narrower, sleek design.
The sturdy Tarpon is made of polyethylene and measures 13 feet, 6 inches in length. It’s equipped with two hatches, has 42 inches of legroom to the peg, and a total of 54 inches of legroom. It’s also made in the USA.
Storage is decent on this kayak for those bringing lots of belongings, as it has storage tank wells on the bow and stern with bungee lashing. Each paddler also has access to their own Orbix day hatch.
The Tarpon was designed to make handling it as easy as possible. It has rigid carry handles and a paddle park.
- Equipped with 8-inch Slidetrax rails to offer more legroom.
- Handles up to 600 pounds in weight, which is more than average tandem kayaks.
- Despite its weight, it’s a fast and agile kayak out on the water.
- Each paddler is within reach of an Orbix day hatch.
- At 88 pounds, it’s one of the heaviest kayaks on this list.
- When used in choppy or larger bodies of water, it’s best to use a rudder.
Best Tandem Kayak Buyer’s Guide
As you’ve now seen, there are excellent tandem kayak options on the market. But even so, every kayaker has different needs. For this reason, it’s essential to consider the following when choosing your tandem kayak.
Kayak Weight & Length
Generally speaking, tandem kayaks weigh more than solo kayaks since they need to be larger to accommodate two or more people.
For this reason, it’s important to consider how much weight you’re willing and able to lift and carry. If you’re keen on using a lighter weight kayak, consider purchasing an inflatable one. These can run as light as in the 20-pound range, whereas non-inflatable kayaks can weigh over 80 pounds.
One item to consider if you’re trying to figure out how to find a lighter kayak is the length of the kayak itself. The shorter the kayak, the lighter weight it’ll typically be.
While this is advantageous, keep in mind that shorter kayaks tend to be less stable and not have as good of track. Shorter tandem kayaks can also make it more difficult to paddle, as you may bump into your partner’s paddle.
Tandem kayaks typically hold anywhere from 400 – 600 pounds in total weight. Therefore, it’s important to consider who will be paddling with you before making your purchase.
Also, don’t forget to factor in the weight of coolers, drinks, and any other belongings you’ll be taking with you.
Number of People
Most tandem kayaks are designed for two people. However, as you’ve seen from this list, there are a few tandem kayaks that can hold a third person.
When looking at these family tandem kayaks, make sure to consider what all three seats will be like. Often, there will be two full-sized seats for adults and a third smaller seat for a child. Sometimes, the seat is even removable or only for toddlers.
Family tandem kayaks also sometimes come with room for a dog instead of a third person. So, if you have a furry friend, make sure to be on the lookout for this.
Storage Space on Kayak
Storage space is a crucial item to consider when purchasing a tandem kayak since adding an extra person on the kayak can sometimes equate to reduced space for your belongings.
Nonetheless, many kayak companies have carefully designed their kayaks to maximize storage space. Things to look out for include tank wells, bungee cords, and hatches.
Non-inflatable kayaks tend to have better storage than inflatable ones since non-inflatable kayaks offer more built-in storage options.
Another storage space factor to consider on tandem kayaks is the length of the users’ legs. Many kayaks offer adjustable seats to increase or decrease legroom according to the paddler’s height. So, the shorter a person is, the more storage space they’ll naturally have on the kayak’s floor.
Storage Space at Home
Solo kayaks can often be hard enough for individuals to store at home, let alone a large tandem kayak. Therefore, before purchasing your kayak, make sure to measure the space you plan on storing it so you know the maximum length your kayak can be.
If storage space is limited, consider purchasing an inflatable kayak. These kayaks fold down to under 40 inches. Not only is this ideal for storing in your home, but it also makes it easy to toss in the car. Gone are the days of struggling to move your kayak up and down from the top of your vehicle.
Plus, inflatable kayaks can be packed in a suitcase and flown on a plane. Many weigh under 30 pounds, so you wouldn’t even need to pay overweight charges.
Type of Water
Not all kayaks are created for equal bodies of water, and tandem kayaks are no different. Before purchasing your tandem, consider where you’ll be using it and what you need from it.
Will you be taking it out on a calm lake? Using it in the ocean? Is it typically windy where you are, requiring a kayak with excellent track?
The good news is that there are tandem kayaks to fit all niches of water types and needs. There are even some inflatable tandem kayaks that can be used as both a kayak and light whitewater raft.
Tandem Kayak FAQ
In your quest to choose the best tandem kayak, you’ve probably got some questions. We’ve put together some of the most common tandem kayak questions to help you out.
Do both people in a tandem kayak have to paddle?
It’s unnecessary for both people in a tandem kayak to paddle. However, it’s essential to determine who will be the primary paddler since this person will need to sit at the back of the kayak.
Are tandem kayaks slower than solo kayaks?
Tandem kayaks are typically faster than solo kayaks. Between the length of the kayak and two people paddling, it’s possible to move very fast over the water in tandem.
What should I keep in mind when paddling a tandem kayak?
You must paddle with your tandem kayak partner in unison. Otherwise, your paddles could hit each other. If you hit them hard enough, you may even flip your kayak. Paddling in unison will also help your kayak to move more quickly through the water.
How do you decide where people should sit in a tandem kayak?
The stronger paddler should always sit in the back on a tandem kayak. That way, they’ll have better control over the direction of the kayak and keep it moving forward with greater ease if the person in front of them stops paddling.
How do you turn a tandem kayak?
When you want to turn your tandem kayak, the paddler sitting in front should take a forward stroke. Simultaneously, the paddler in the back should take a stroke on the opposite side of the front paddler.
What happens if a tandem kayak tips over?
If a tandem kayak tips over, you should flip the kayak upright. Then, each person should climb in the kayak one at a time, which is easiest to do if you have a sit-on-top kayak.
If you have a sit-inside kayak, you may find it easier to swim with your kayak back to shore and get back on there.
Can one person paddle a tandem kayak?
Most tandem kayaks are designed with adjustable seats so that a single person can sit in the center of the kayak. From there, the person should paddle on either side as they would with a kayak designed for one person.
Is a single or double kayak better?
Whether or not to purchase two single or one double (tandem) kayaks come down to personal preference. Tandem kayaks tend to be more stable than single kayaks and can pick up great speed when both people paddle.
Of the many great options on the market, Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak is our favorite because of its ability to hold three people. It also has a patented hull and excellent storage space.
That being said, two strong contenders are the Point 65 Tequila! GTX Tandem Kayak for its Snap-Tap engineered design and the Sea Eagle 370 Inflatable Kayak, the best tandem inflatable kayak, since it is strong with easy portability.