Kayaking is a recreation that is fun to do on your own, but even more fun with two people, so giving yourself the option with a tandem kayak with two seats makes sense. Of course, you can still use the kayak alone if you want to, so this way the choice is up to you. We’ve got the best tandem kayaks reviewed here for you on thewatersporter.com as we look to find the very best equipment for your needs.
Tandem Kayaks tend to cost a little more than a solo kayak, which is not exactly a surprise due to the fact it is bigger and takes more material to build, but they come with so many benefits, allowing you to take a beginner out on the water or for a couple of you to go out on a tandem kayak for fishing and have a day out on the lake.
Things to Consider When Buying a Tandem Kayak
Working out what criteria you are looking for is the first step to choosing a kayak of any description, whether you need a tandem kayak for fishing, racing or just for leisure activities. There are a lot of different things to consider, and what is the best choice for one may not be the best for another. We’ve listed below a lot of the features, considerations and information you need to think about when you are shopping for yours.
- Weight. The options for weight are quite varied, especially as some are inflatable and some aren’t. The weight isn’t just to be considered because of transporting the kayak, but of course you’re going to have to paddle or row the boat, so you need to think about what you (and your kayak partner) are capable of.
- Portability. Obviously this is tied with weight to an extent, but you also need to think about if you need something you can put on a roof rack (probably the best way to transport) or even deflate and stick in the back of your vehicle.
- Control. This is largely down to whether the kayak has a rudder or not. Depending on what type of body of water you’re going out on, you need to consider how much control you need and how challenging the water will be.
- Sit-in or Sit-on-Top. This is down to personal preference, and is down to the design of the kayak. It is more to do with what you will be more comfortable with than having a big impact on the performance of the kayak.
- How many people! Tandem, of course, implies two people, but there are kayaks out there that have three or more spaces on them. Many tandem kayaks can easily be used by one person too if they are ballast. You must use the rear seat if this is what you plan to do, but being able to use it with a solo pilot is a big advantage and gives more flexibility.
- Price. This is always going to be a consideration. There are models of inflatable kayak which are pretty cheap, there are models of non-inflatable products out there for under $500 which can do a good job, but at the top end of the market you’ll do well to find one under $1000.
Top Inflatable Tandem Kayaks
We definitely need to talk about inflatables. The top inflatable kayaks have a lot of plus points. Of course there are pros and cons, and you’re going to be sacrificing a lot of stability and sturdiness if you buy an inflatable on top of introducing the chance of puncture, but the chances are you will be saving a huge amount of money by opting for something to inflate rather than a rigid kayak. On top of the cash saving you’re introducing the element of portability which is great for those who don’t want a roof rack or just want life to be as easy as possible when you head to the lake, coast or river. The models reviewed below include some inflatable models to let you make your mind up on what might be the best for your needs (and budget of course).
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Review
This is an inflatable tandem kayak, and it takes a lot of beating. This has an excellent reputation and definitely deserves its place on our list of the best. It comes with everything you need to get started, and is very affordable when compared to a lot of the other models on the market.
This is 123 inches long and has a capacity of 350 lbs, so make sure that those riding it are coming within the capacity to stay safe. It has a removable skeg which is designed to help with the stability and steering. It is bright yellow for high visibility and the material it is made out of mean that it is hard-wearing and tough to puncture. One of the main benefits of course is the portability, but it isn’t just about whether it is inflatable, it comes down to how easy it is to deflate and inflate. Nobody wants to be inflating for hours before you get started, and the Intex explorer doesn’t take long to get up and running.
Intex are a brand with a lot of history of making these type of products, and this is well and truly one of the best reviewed products on the market. A quick look at the reviews and you will find a lot of people who are very happy having bought this kayak, with users speaking highly of the durability, ease of use and quality of the K2. The only reservation I have seen regularly is people discussing the removable skeg, though it has not been a problem on my model, many take a precaution of drilling a hole in it and running string through it to ensure it doesn’t fall out and get lost on the water, and if it should come loose then it will stay attached at least.
Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem Kayak Review
Another one of the top selling kayaks out there here, the lifetime 10 foot tandem kayak is flexible, well made and exceptionally reviewed, but is it the right model for you?
As you can see from a quick look on Amazon or other online retailers, buying a kayak that isn’t inflatable is going to cost more, but if you’re serious about it, the benefits are clear to see.
- Great for single use or tandem with a weight capacity of 500 pounds.
- Comes complete with paddles and backrests for comfort.
- Extremely lightweight considering the size and comes with handles to carry it around.
- Has a five year limited warranty which shows the faith the manufacturer have in their product.
- Seating designed to keep riders off the floor of the kayak.
- Can even fit up to three people.
- Has a cargo area making it a great tandem kayak for fishing and allowing you to carry items with you.
- Tunnel Hull for stability and is ‘virtually impossible to tip’.
This is probably the best kayak for fishermen I’ve ever seen and even has a fishing pole holder, it is amazingly well thought out, and if you want something for you and a friend or two to head out on the water for some fishing or paddling, this is a model you must consider. The fact that it is so hard to tip also makes it very good for beginners or those who are a little less confident on the water. This is so well thought out that it even has a cup holder!
Easy to transport and of course to store, as well as being simple to use and amazing for beginners and experienced paddlers. It isn’t hard to see why this is in our list of the top models of tandem kayak, and there are lots of positive reviews from consumers to support our opinion! Is this the cheapest product you’ll ever buy? No, but with an amazing warranty from the manufacturer and the fact that it is so well built mean that it is likely to last you a long time and many trips out on the lakes, rivers and even on the sea.
Useful UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak Review
Well, this model from Useful is truly a treat. Of course, on any list of products, I want to recommend what is the best for the money, and this is a bit more of a pricey addition, but it is packed with features to justify its price tag, not to mention how incredibly well made the UH-TK181 Fishing Kayak is. Just a look at this kayak shows you what detail has been put into its manufacture.
- Weighs just under 70lbs with a capacity of 450 lbs.
- Has two light paddles and deluxe, very comfortable seats.
- Comes with paddle rests and three sturdy, impressive rod holders.
- Has a set of four carry handles, two bungee paddle parks and even has cargo so you can take all of your fishing kit (and even some lunch if you want).
This is another model which describes itself as almost impossible to tip, this is great if you’re new to kayaking but is also wonderful for fishing as of course your mind may be on other things! It doesn’t have to be used for fishing and is equally good for simply paddling. The storage compartments are watertight and the numerous attachments and additions are all well-made, well positioned and well thought out.
The Useful model certainly lives up to its name. Some of the features, the size and the price may be overkill for a lot of people, but for others this will be the very best of all, and there’s little denying that the UH-TK181 is superb.
We are in a ‘horses for courses’ situation here, of course. What is best for you depends on what you’re looking for in terms of features, how many people will be using it, how portable it is and all of the other features we’ve mentioned above. The models we’ve picked out and reviewed for you are all, in our opinion, both reliable and good value for money. If you have more thoughts and experiences with the products we’ve pointed out, leave us a comment below!