Tandem Kayak: The 6 Best Models to Available in the Market Today

Kayaks are great recreational fun for a single person, but that does not mean they have to be enjoyed alone.

Though single person kayaks are quite popular, a tandem kayak is a great way to get multiple people involved in a trip.

The boats double the fun of normal kayaking, enabling you to share the experience with the other people in your life.

tandem kayak

New Ways to Rock the Boat

As with any water vessel, a tandem kayak can be a significant purchase. For that reason, it is extremely important to make sure you do adequate research before figuring out which one you want to buy.

To do that, weigh the important qualities. Look at everything, from comfort to durability to speed to style. Kayaks are not one-dimensional.

There are many aspects, and all of them should be researched in-depth.

The six models in this guide are the best of the best. They hit all of the general check marks, but fill enough niches to provide something for all different types of kayakers.

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Every tandem kayak comes with its own specialties. Some are great for small trips, some are for lazy days on the lake, and some are meant to handle rivers or oceans. The Eddyline Sandpiper is unique in that it can handle everything.

This is one of the most versatile kayaks on our list because its features enable you to take it on just about any waterway for any amount of time.

This 18-foot tandem kayak has the durability to handle tougher waters, but it also can smoothly glide across calmer seas with little worry.  Such options are important because they allow you to fully customize your experience.

If you want to go on a longer trip, this has you covered. However, if you just want a quick day journey, it enables for that as well.

The size of the kayak allows both long or short rides, and the comfort adds to that versatility. The Eddyline Sandpiper comes equipped with an infinity seat and unique backrest to ensure all paddlers are relaxed.

It is also fully adjustable, ensuring everyone can enjoy the ride in their own way.

Eddyline has also provided the craft with foot controllers in the rear cockpit, as well as adjustable foot pegs in the front cockpit.

The bow and stern deck bungees provide additional storage options (great for people who like to bring a lot of gear onto the water) and the bulkheads have watertight hatches that can be used for either flotation or storage.

No matter how you want to enjoy a tandem trip, this model has you covered.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak,...
  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improves tracking
  • Three layers of material for extreme puncture resistance.Folded size 35 X 21 X 12 inches. Max Weight-550 pounds....
  • Pre-assembled at the factory; simply unfold, inflate, and attach the seats

Another fantastic all-around tandem kayak option is the Advanced Frame from Advanced Elements. This model is great because it has a smattering of features that enable it to be used on many different waterways.

Everything about this craft focuses on high quality. The built-in aluminum ribs improve general tracking, while the adjustable padded seats allow both paddlers to get a comfortable ride over any type of tough or rocky waves.

It is also incredibly easy to set up. This is not quite as big of a deal as some of the other features, but being able to get your kayak and immediately put it out on the water with little hassle is a fantastic bonus.

As the Advanced Frame is preassembled at the factory, all you need to do to get it going is unpack it, inflate it, and then attach the seats.

Of course, no matter how many features a tandem kayak has, they don’t matter if the boat can’t stand up to constant use.

Luckily, the Advanced Frame is incredibly durable.

It comes with 3 material layers that provide it with, not just inherent strength, but extreme puncture resistance. That covers you, not just from the water, but from any debris that might be in the water as well.

It also has three seat locations so that it can be paddled solo should you want to paddle by yourself.

There are many ways to enjoy a tandem kayak, but one of the best is using it with your family. Taking your spouse or children out on the water is a great bonding experience and makes for a wonderful day.

While many family-oriented boats exist, the Old Town Diringo is one of the best towards that end.

This tandem kayak measures 15-feet-3-inches in length, allowing it to move easily through the water, and it comes with a unique Stabil-form hull for enhanced stability. Not only do those two features give the driver more control, they also make the boat much less likely to flip.

Getting wet can be a fun part of kayaking, but it is nice to know that you’ll only go into the water with this model when you want to.

Another bonus specifically for families is the removable, snap-in child seat that enables any child up to 60 lbs. to sit in the cockpit with or without an adult. That means you’ll be able to bring anyone, regardless of age, along for the ride.

This model also comes with a wide range of exciting and important upgrades. It has a unique bow console to store electronics like cellphones, a stern cockpit cup holder, a stern bulkhead to keep your items dry, and an adjustable glide track foot brace system for barefoot kayaking.

Those features make it so that everyone can paddle or relax in the boat with ease.

Even if you’re not in the mood for company, like the Advanced Frame, this tandem kayak can support a single paddler by moving the stern seat forward.

That versatility means you’re not just getting an incredible family tandem kayak, you’re getting a boat you can use in multiple ways depending on what you need.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum...
  • Comfortable for Anyone: Kayak Includes an Adjustable Inflatable Seat With Backrest; Cockpit Designed for Comfort and...
  • Dimensions: Inflated Size 10 Feet 3 X 3 Feet X 1 Feet 8 Inch; Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
  • Directional Stability: Removable SKEG for Directional Stability

Moving back to the idea of versatility, the Intex Explorer K2 is a fantastic budget tandem kayak perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy relaxing day trips with a significant other, child, or close friend.

As noted above, kayaks can be quite expensive. Though many affordable options do exist, it is hard to know when you’re getting something that is worth the discount, or when you’re simply buying a cheap model.

The Intel Explorer K2 is the best of both worlds, giving you a wide range of fun and exciting features at a more than reasonable price.

There are many reasons to love this kayak, and the biggest is how comfortable it is.

Even on relaxing day trips, you don’t want to be stuck in a
hard or rigid seat. Rather, this model uses a fully adjustable inflatable seat
that comes with a backrest so that any rider, regardless of size, will be able
to fit.

The cockpit has plenty of room as well. That means both paddlers can glide along without worrying about being too cramped or shut in.

Other great aspects of this tandem kayak are its removable skeg, easy inflation, and extra visibility. The skeg provides the craft with directional stability, while the bright yellow color means it is easy to spot in any environment.

Simple inflation also makes it so that you never have to worry about being able to blow it up and keep it inflated throughout a trip.

The only thing to take note of with this model is that it should only be used on calmer bodies of water, like easy going lakes or small rivers. While that can turn some people off, if you’re into easy paddling or want a relaxing day trip, this is the best tandem out there.

Old Town Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak, Urban Camo, 13 Feet 6 Inches
  • Old Town's innovative auto trim hull is designed to prevent the bow from popping up when someone is seated in the stern...
  • Remove the front seat to store extra hunting or fishing gear or to give your dog plenty of room to ride along.
  • The adjustable comfort Flex seat includes a supportive seat back and extra padding for all-day comfort.

As mentioned, no matter how many features a tandem kayak has, they all come with their own specialties. While we’ve seen a few different niches in the above models, none of them specifically concern fishing.

That is where the Old Town Twin Heron Angler comes in.

This tandem kayak is one of the best options for anglers who don’t want to haul in their catch alone.

Fishing is about relaxation, and this boat does everything to encapsulate that experience. Not only does it come equipped with six cannon mount receivers and two rod holders, but it also has cup holders for the maximum fishing experience.

This is not just a cramped kayak outfitted for a single pole. It is a larger model that enables all paddlers to cast their rods, eat, and drink in peace.

Old Town has also outfitted the model with rear bungee storage. This characteristic is particularly important for a fishing tandem kayak because it ensures you can bring along all of your favorite gear without running out of room.

Kayaks, even wider ones, fill up fast. As such, it always helps when you have a bit more space to work with.

This craft also has adjustable, padded Comfort flex seats, glide track foot braces, and carry handles on the side so that you can easily get it from your car to the water.

As an added bonus, this offers a 450 to 500 pound carrying capacity, which ensures the craft can hold both riders as well as any-sized catch.

Like so many other models on this list, it also has the ability to switch to a solo option just in case you want to go out by yourself. It does that through the fully removable front seat.

Lifetime Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10...
  • Versatile Design Allows for Solo or Tandem Paddling | 500 lb. Capacity
  • Self-Bailing Scupper Holes Drain Cockpit Area of Water
  • Molded Front Carry Handle | 10-Foot Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage

Finishing up our tandem kayak list is the Lifetime Manta. This model, like the Intex Explorer, is an affordable-but-reliable option perfect for those who don’t want to break the bank when getting a boat. However, it differs from the previous model in that it excels in oceans.

The Manta is one of the most stable and sturdy tandem kayaks on this list, a mark that ensures you can use it in just about any waterway you could imagine. Bays, lakes, rivers, or the open ocean, it can handle them all.

Though the hard bottom is not quite as comfortable as some other kayaks, the ability to take it anywhere is a great bonus for avid and casual paddlers alike.

With a 500-pound weight capacity, this can handle two people of just about any size. Even so, it is quite lightweight, clocking in at just 60 pounds.

Ease of use is an important aspect of any kayak, and few are easier to operate than the Lifetime Manta.

Not only can anyone carry it (thanks to the molded handles at the front and back of the boat) but it also has two double sided paddles and a special tunnel hull design built to create the maximum amount of tracking.

This kayak is practically impossible to tip over, which is vital when using it on much rougher or open water. You never want something that will flip at the first sign of trouble, which is why this is such a good purchase for thrill seekers.

That reliability is then complemented by a list of extra features. There are two soft backrests, drain holes, multiple foot rests, as well as “high and dry” seats to prevent riders from getting too wet.

It is rare to find a tandem kayak with so many characteristics, especially one at such a great price.

Comparison Table

A Kayak Ride for Two

Tandem kayaks are quite a great experience. Though you can always take two different kayaks out on the water, and though that can be fun, it’s not quite the same as being right next to the person you’re paddling with.

Enjoying a rocky rapid ride with your kid, scooting across the open ocean with a friend, or heading across the lake with a significant other, is a wonderful experience.

You have many ways to make those come to life, but none are better than the above six kayaks.

Janice Friedman

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