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Tandem Kayaks - Reviews & Guides For 2024

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Tandem kayak buying guide

Love kayaking with family and loved ones? Tandem kayaks are the best option to go for. The incredible kayaks provide enough space to include your loved ones and allow you to enjoy the relaxing experience.

Moreover, the kayak is portable and highly user-friendly. All you need is to select the best option for yourself. But wait a second. Are you confident that you know how to pick the best fit for yourself?

With a plethora of options available, even the experts in the sport can fall for a poor-quality product. To save your hard-earned money and time, we have put together a comprehensive buying guide that contains all the necessary aspects to ponder.

The guide will help you select the best product that caters to all your needs and fits your budget.

Let us first know a little more about the product.

Tandem Kayaks: Why they are the Best Choice for You

Paddling and splashing around the water with your friends and enjoying the serenity of the scenario sounds like a dream come true. And tandem kayak boats were invented to do just that.

These small boats which accommodate 2 provide you with a possibility of enjoying a variety of water sports that can range from paddling and fishing with a friend or relaxing in the middle of an ocean alone.

Tandem kayaks are small enough to store easily and provide enough room for you to not paddle alone if you do not wish to. The features it provides help you reduce the hassle of paddling. If you are a family man planning on a fishing trip with the kids or other recreational activities that are fun and safe for the whole family, these boats are the best choice for you.

Some significant advantages of tandem kayaks are as follows:

  1. It has a high weight capacity. This means that you will have space for all the fishing equipment or other water sports gear apart from the comfortable 2-person seating capacity.
  2. Their long built enhances performance and smoother strides in the water despite high-speed capabilities.
  3. The sharing of a load of paddling makes it easier for the users to travel longer distances because the burden does not fall on a single person.

Need to read a buying guide

Evaluating every option can be a tiresome task. Also, you may miss out on some crucial details due to the salesman's over-piling. To save you from being duped, this buying guide presents all the critical factors that vary the product's performance.

Deem about all of them and make an informed decision.

Let us dive into the characteristics of the product in detail.

Types of Tandem Kayaks

The style of the kayak differentiates it into two types based on seating arrangements. There are the sit-in kayak and sit-on kayak boats that you can choose from.

  1. Cockpit or Sit-In Kayaks

These provide for seating in a type of hole where you have space to fit your legs. In such cases, only your upper body from the chest up is out of the boat to facilitate rowing. They come with enhanced back support and more stability for paddling with added protection. Even if the waters get rough, you have minimal chance of falling off-board.

The confinement of the body may feel restrictive and uncomfortable warm, especially if you are boating in summers. But this becomes an added bonus if you plan to go boating in winters when you need all the warmth you can get. Also, this type protects you from getting all wet.

  1. Sit-On Kayaks

The Sit-On tandem kayaks provide a free environment as you sit on the top of your boat rather than in a hole. This provides you with access to all the legroom you want. It is also much easier to get in and out of this boat.

There is a very high likelihood that you will get wet when you go boating and exploring in this boat. But this will become an unwelcome feature if you are planning to go boating in winters. These are preferred only by those looking to explore the water for swimming and not just paddle and row.

Things to Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Tandem Kayak


The weight of the boat, the resistance to damage and wear-and-tear, the stability, and several other features that contribute to tandem kayaks' key functionality depends upon the material used in their making.

  1. ABS Plastic

This material is known to be quite durable. The usual wear and tear damage do not affect this robust material as it does to other materials. It makes for a great outer shell material as it is resistant to UV damage as well. Repair and fixing of dents or cracks in this material are also quite convenient. This allows for the boat to be in good shape for long.

  1. Polyethylene

A type of plastic that is often used in the making of watercraft, this material is quite sturdy and also lightweight. It makes the boat's shell resistant to scratching and roughening up against wear and tear while also being light and stable to make paddling convenient.

It is inexpensive too, so the kayak made of this material is cheaper. However, sun damage is a real issue for this type of boat. For use in long afternoons under the scorching heat, this material is not suitable.

  1. Composite

Blending several synthetic materials like fiberglass or kevlar gives you a composite material that is popular for its strength but also for being quite expensive. But the lightweight enhances performances to quite a degree, which puts this type of kayak in the high-end.


The weight of any watercraft is essential because it ascertains the stability and performance, ease of paddling, and the effort required in loading and unloading it.

Technological advances have made materials that shed off weight and keep the boat in high working conditions and damage resistance.

Tandem kayaks that are lighter and yet quite sturdy and durable will be easy to handle in and out of water. This is important for the durability of the boat as well. Off-water, it is easy to lift it from the sea, set it on the vehicle, and transport it. Heavyweight will obstruct this management.

On the water, lightweight is no less essential. The paddling-power will enhance, and lesser effort will be required. Lightweight material will also make the boat appropriately buoyant and stable in water for better performance.

Hull Shape

The bottom of the boat is called its hull. It determines a great deal of the overall performance of the tandem kayaks, and so you must put considerable thought into the shape of the hull for optimum use and fun.

  1. Rounded Bottom

This type of hull shape allows for easy striding and cutting through the water, and so paddling is made relatively effortless. You can row to higher speed with much more convenience. But if you are an amateur boater, this shape is not the best choice for you because of a lack of stability.

  1. Flat Bottom

Unlike round bottoms, this hull shape makes the tandem kayaks quite stable and so it is highly recommended for beginners. This will help you improve on your paddling and increase confidence on the water. Efficiency and speed are not the strong suits of this hull shape. It creates a lot of traction between the boat and water, making it challenging to stride through.

  1. V-Shaped

This hull shave makes the kayak long and sleek. The efficiency and smoothness of cutting through water and speeding are maximum in these types of boats. But the trade-off is, as the rounded bottom, the stability. Least traction with water allows for high speed and easy paddling but only for those who can handle rough waters.

Size of family

Tandem kayaks are developed to accommodate two people easily. Some manufacturers make a larger one to accommodate three people, but they become too expensive for most to afford. However, if you wish to go on fishing and boating trips with your family, the family size is an important consideration.

Depending on the number of family members, you can opt for a three-person kayak or two two-person kayaks. Whichever option is more suitable for you depending on the preferences, budget, and family size, your kayak purchase should take it all into account.


Tandem kayaks are more extended than single kayaks because of the requirement to accommodate another person. This length, however, also differs from one tandem kayak to another. The perfect kayak length for you all depends on preferences, experience in the boating, and type of waters that you choose for boating.

Varying from 12 inches to 16 inches and sometimes even longer than that, tandem kayaks options swarm the markets. But you need to remember that longer boats are much more challenging to maneuver, and they also add to the weight. But the upside to longer boats is stability.

Shorter boats are much easier to flip over in rough conditions. But they do provide much more convenience in paddling and transportation. Depending on your preferences and requirements, it is best to choose the adequate length that does not add much to the weight but is not the shortest boat either.

Weight Capacity

Generally, an average kayak is built to accommodate two people, along with a little extra capacity for gear and equipment for water sports and recreational activities. This total capacity ranges from 400 to about 800 pounds and sometimes even more. Depending on your needs, you can choose the weight capacity.

The seating style of the kayaks determines weight capacity. Whether it is sit-in or sit-on tandem kayaks, it depends on the material used in the making of the boat and, additionally, the hull shape determines how stable the kayak will remain with certain weight onboard.

The weight capacity can often allow for additional riders, massive gears to be carried, and even kayak's performance. This will significantly affect your water explorations and kayaking adventures.


The space that a kayak allows you to determine your comfort, legroom, facilitation in body movement for enhanced paddling, and gear space too. It is convenient to have more room. Sit-in kayak style has the least area in terms of legroom and free body movement.

Overall, tandem kayaks are much more spacious than usual single kayaks. This allows for accommodation of sports equipment, packing picnics, boat stability, and buoyancy too. It is a desirable feature and goes hand in hand with weight capacity.

Some boats may have a lot of space but not enough weight capacity, so the performance will be adversely affected. Ensure that you use the area wisely so as not to cross weight capacity.


Whenever you make a purchase, the product you buy must be cost-effective and up to your expectations. It is not necessary that the only viable option for the best quality is purchasing the most expensive of all options. Merely doing your research and narrowing options according to your budget can land you with the best choice of purchase.

Tandem kayaks are more expensive than single kayaks, but they also allow for more room for another rider, better stability, and performance. It again depends on your preferences and needs, but tandem kayaks are more often than not, worth the price hike.


Tandem kayaks cover larger surfaces because of increased size and are often quite stable. They are definitely much more stable than single kayaks and can be maneuvered by beginners and intermediate boaters.

The hull shape also ascertains stability and the material used, so one must be mindful of these considerations for the boat to cater to your needs and requirements.

The increased stability provided by kayaks, especially sit-in kayaks, can help newbies gain confidence in the water, enhance technique, and then make their way to high-end models with lesser stability and higher performance.

Availability of Paddle Rest

It is quite essential that your kayak has paddle rests because losing a paddle to the vast bodies of water can leave you quite helpless in the middle of nowhere. One may like to take a break from strenuous paddling, and so your kayak should come equipped with this provision.

Kayaking is not just paddling till your arms go sore. Enjoying the waters, kicking back to relax, and having fun every once in a while is what boating is all about. The availability of paddle rests provide a way out of lifting the paddles in & out of the water every time you want to take a break.

Area of Use

The water body you plan to go kayaking must be taken into consideration to ensure that you make a worthwhile purchase. Depending on this factor, your kayak should have reasonable traction with water, seating style, durable material, etc.

If you plan to kayak in rougher areas with waves and tides, it is essential that you go for more stability that can be provided by flat hull shape and sit-in or cockpit-style tandem kayaks. These ensure extra safety. Longer boats also make it near impossible for the boat to flip over.

Calm water kayaking, on the other hand, can be managed with lighter, smaller boats. This would involve lake kayaking as opposed to rough rivers.


The tandem kayaks are not merely built to accommodate people but also equipment and gear. A picnic basket containing food for a long day of fishing, an ice bucket for the fish you may catch, and the fishing equipment require space where they can be stored safely.

Rough waves can hit anytime, and there is always a chance that your electronic gadgets like phone or tablet, your wallet, or any other personal belongings may be rushed away if they are not stored. For this purpose, enclosed storage, which can be locked safely, is often a necessity.

The storage of the boat itself can be trickier than a single kayak because of its size and weight. They are longer because of more space required to accommodate more riders, gear storage, etc. Even then, options for more manageable tandem kayaks that are easier than other models to store and manage are available.

Additional Features

  1. Spray Skirt

This feature allows you to stay dry as much as possible from splashes that may turn your way when you row and paddle. This can be a lifesaver in winters, especially when getting wet is equivalent to getting sick.

  1. Skeg

This is a feature that adds to the kayak stability and can help you paddle more efficiently even when the waters may get riled up due to high-speed winds. They are in the form of detachable fins.

  1. Rudder

This addition to the kayak can help you accurately determine paddling's direction so that you can row quickly to the desired destination without much hassle.

  1. Rocker

The rocker refers to the depth or design of the arc in tandem kayaks. Turning becomes much more convenient in a kayak with a more significant rocker or, in other words, a more curved arc.

Steps to Store a Tandem Kayak

Most tandem kayaks are large in size, and this can make storage tricky. Some considerations that you need to be mindful of to make storage convenient are as follows:

Where to Store

  1. Find a place of storing that limits exposure to sunlight, moisture, and extreme temperatures.
  2. Excessive sunlight exposure will turn most material that does not have UV protection brittle, which will have adverse effects on the kayak's durability.
  3. If you store the boat in a place where rains and snow can reach the kayak and expose it to moisture for long corrosion, the shape of the kayak will be endangered.
  4. Extreme exposure to heat will melt some materials and ruin the health of others. It is essential that you store the kayak in a relatively cool place.
  5. Extreme cold, too, can pose a threat to moisture-damage. Freezing and melting can put the kayak's durability in danger.
  6. It is thus best that you store it indoors like a garage or a shed. But if you are forced to store your kayak outdoors, ensure that there is shade and protection from moisture with the help of waterproof covers.

How to Store

You have to store the kayak in such a way that it is easy for you to access it whenever you plan your next trip, it is not under continuous pressure from being stored under something heavy.

  1. On a Rack

Storing the kayak on a rack can be helpful because it will not be directly on the ground. However, you need to ensure that the rack is strong and stable enough to hold the kayak's weight.

  1. Suspension

You can store your kayak by hanging it. Suspension cords and pulleys are readily available and can be installed conveniently. It is best to hang the kayak in a manner that the hull faces the ceiling.

However, you plan to store it, make sure that you have easy access, it is regularly cleaned of any debris or moisture it might come in contact with, its weight is distributed evenly, and there are no extreme pressure points.


1. Are composite materials worth their investment?

The composite materials are very light in weight and present incredible features. They are a little challenging to find but will return the proper value of your investment with their fantastic features over the other options.

2. How to paddle efficiently while maneuvering the tandem kayak?

Paddling a tandem kayak requires proper sync with your partner. To ensure smooth function, it is best for the front paddler to set the pace, and the back paddler should focus on steering it on the right path.

3. Can sunlight damage my kayak?

Yes, exposure to high heat and UV rays for a long time deteriorates the quality of the kayak material. Store your product correctly to ensure the long life of your kayak.

4. What are the ways to maintain safety during kayaking on the sea?

Here are some essential tips to follow:

  1. Accurately assess the weather conditions and go only if you can handle rough situations.
  2. Wear a proper life jacket to ensure your safety.
  3. Keep your safety gear up to date for proper functioning at the time of need.

Final Verdict

The tandem kayaks ease the addling process and make your sport's experience smooth and relaxing. Choosing the best option is ideal to ensure proper safety and avoid unnecessary injuries.

In this buying guide, you will find all the necessary characteristics that alter the kayak's performance and usability. To choose an elite product, go through the guide, and evaluate all the pros and cons against the essential elements.

Purchase the best tandem kayak and have a fun-filled kayaking experience with your loved ones. / - © Copyright 2020