Best Tandem Kayak – Guide & Reviews

The best tandem kayak is well-loved among novice and veteran kayakers because of because of its faster speed, greater stability, and better handling.

Since there are two people paddling, the kayak can plow through water faster and, thus, cover more territory in a shorter time and with lesser effort. Double kayaks are also significantly wider than one-person kayaks.

This design contributes to the perfect combination of stability and maneuverability, even in tricky situations where skilled handling is required.

In contrast, single-person kayaks are likely to feel less stable and, thus, have greater risks of tipping over, especially in the hands of beginners or in rough conditions.

Plus, double kayaks make it possible to share the joys of kayaking with a loved one, either your family member, your partner, or your friend. Your kayaking adventures are best shared, indeed!

Recommended Best Tandem Kayak

Every single one of these kayaks can be the best tandem kayak! You must, nonetheless, make the final choice based on what your skills are, where you plan to go, and what you plan to do on your kayaking trips.

Your choice may be the Sun Dolphin while mine can be the Ocean Kayak Malibu, for example.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak

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This is touted as a sit-on-top kayak but it’s more like a hybrid kayak.

When you’re on it, your body sits close to the bottom of its hull with a foredeck covering your legs.

You have a roomy and comfortable seating area featuring adjustable foot braces and protective thigh pads, which reduces splashes to your lower body.

Made from sturdy and strong ultraviolet-stabilized high-density polyethylene material, the kayak can withstand constant exposure to the sun and rain, especially during the summer months. But air-drying it after using and patching up punctures ASAP is also a must for longevity purposes.

You will find that the kayak tracks easily, which means maximum stability for both riders. You can paddle with ease using a standard aluminum paddle.

You may even rock it back and forth to test its stability and it will hold, unless you really put your back into it.

Since this is a sit-on-top kayak, there are no scuppers for draining the cockpit. Your best uses for it are in flat lakes and rivers, not in the open seas because otherwise you’ll be scooping water instead of paddling it.

For an hour’s worth of riding, the kayak will likely accumulate about a cup of water from the sprays and paddle drips.

Other features include a paddle holder, a carry bag, and a cord deck rigging. You can also easily get in and out of the kayak, thanks to the open cockpit design.

You can place a few of your personal items, such as wallet and mobile phone, in the bow’s small watertight area.

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak 2016

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Ocean Kayak Malibu two-person kayak is popular among kayakers with larger body sizes, thanks to its longer and wider dimensions.

You can either paddle with an adult kayaker, a child, or a pet without worrying about its claws tearing into the thick PVC material.

You can even bring along your pet plus your kayaking buddy because it’s that large. Your kayaking trips can either be done solo or in tandem with this kayak – just use the rear or front seat as extra storage area, which will also balance the load.

Even with your basic paddling skills, you will appreciate the kayak’s stability and maneuverability, especially in crowded lakes or rivers. You needn’t worry about tipping over unless you purposely did it or you encountered a big wave.

The kayak also features two backrests for the comfortable seats. Your back will appreciate the rest after an hour or so of tracking down the river or turning round the lake. Your feet can be comfortably rested on the overlapping foot wells, which can also be used to find the optimum paddling position.

Other notable features include side-mounted carrying handles for ease of carrying the kayak in and out of the water; paddle keepers for securing the oars when not in use; and deck bungee and skid plate. You also have several options like the Gaspachi hatches and Cross Lock Hatch.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

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The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is considered as the best tandem kayak for beginners because of its low-profile, removable skeg, and streamlined design.

Your first kayaking trip – or even your nth trip, for that matter – will be easy since the kayak package already contains everything you will need in a recreational boat.

You have the inflatable two-person kayak, plus the two 86-inch foldable aluminum oars, high-output pump, and repair patch kit.

The bright yellow color of the sturdy hull not only attracts your attention in the store but it’s also a great safety feature – you will be easily seen from the water.

Of course, if you’re two adults wearing life vests, such visibility may be unnecessary but when kids are using it, you will appreciate the feature.

You should have an easy time carrying it in its carry bag to the site, such as the lake or river shore, inflating it with the manual pump, and pulling it toward the water.

This is because of the kayak’s light weight and compact dimensions although it can easily carry the weight of two adults and their gear.

The inflation time varies from 10 to 15 minutes depending on your pumping speed, but once it’s inflated, it’s a breeze to use on water. The Boston valve also makes it easy to inflate and deflate the kayak, a convenient feature when you’re in a remote area.

Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem Kayak

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This is such a durable kayak that it can actually carry a 500-pound weight without tipping over or sinking under normal conditions.

You can also use it for solo and tandem kayaking without affecting its performance on water, especially when you already have advanced skills.

You may use the extra seat for storage purposes, a great feature when you plan on a few weeks’ worth of kayaking and camping. But no worries about lugging around a heavy kayak – it’s just 60 pounds, as is.

You can quickly inflate Manta Tandem Kayak just before use and then deflate it, when necessary, such as when you want to hike further up the mountain or stow it in your car. You don’t have to buy an overhead rack since a deflated kayak can fit into your car’s trunk.

When transporting the fully inflated kayak, you can use the molded carry handles at the front and rear. You may or may not ask for assistance depending on whether you’re going solo or tandem. You can even take a third person on your trip!

The tunnel hull design is the best among inflatable tandem kayaks. Your kayak should be nearly impossible to top over because of its high level of stability, a great safety measure when there are skittish beginners on board. You can also be as dry as possible, thanks to the High and Dry seating arrangement.

There are plenty of innovative built-in features, too. You will love the convenience of the paddle cradle, the fishing pole holder, the mast receiver receptacle, the forward cargo area, the cup holder, and the multiple foot wells. Your trip will definitely be fun every mile of the way!

Coleman Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

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Coleman Big Basin™ 3 is such a large inflatable kayak that it can actually carry three adults and their cargo for a total weight of 490 pounds!

Such is its stability, too, that rocking it side to side and back and forth will not likely result in it tipping over and sinking under the water.

This feature comes from the streamlined hull designed coupled by the multiple air chambers, which allow the kayak to stay afloat even with one or two punctures in a single chamber.

You can use the Big Basin to test your kayaking skills in more rugged conditions in lakes, rivers and bays. But keep in mind that it heavy-duty PVC construction will not live to see the light of day in rapids filled with jagged rocks.

Your best bets are in flat water where the tarpaulin bottom can withstand the occasional protruding branch or root.

Even when you’re in the kayak, you will want to stay as dry as possible particularly in your lower limbs. Stay wet for prolonged periods down there and discomfort quickly sets in. Be sure to use the spray covers, which will help in keeping you dry.

Other notable features include 2 strakes for better directional stability, a tracking fin, and bottle holders. You can stow a few of your personal items in the back seat’s storage area.

Final Verdict

Every manufacturer will assert that theirs is the best tandem kayak. But it’s up to the user to determine whether the inflatable kayak satisfactorily meets their needs and wants in the product.

You may want to buy the Manta kayak over the Big Basin because it appeals to your sense of aesthetics, as well as your need for more paddling features.

For my part, I recommend all of these kayaks because of their excellent performance on and off the water.

If you follow my recommendations, you will end up with the best tandem kayak – and I stake my reputation on it, too. Buy one or two of these kayaks now and let your family and friends enter the exciting world of kayaking!

Barry J. Robinson
 

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