You want to enjoy a day on the water with your best friend but you only have one yak. What do you do? You use a tandem kayak of course. It will have two cockpits so two people can use one kayak at the same time. It is the perfect solution if you enjoy kayaking with others but don’t want to haul around two or more boats. However, finding the best tandem kayak can be a pain in the backside. That’s why we decided to write this article. If you keep reading, you will find a shopping guide, helpful advice and reviews so you can find the perfect tandem kayak in no time.
Ultimate Tandem Kayak Guide
Tips for Choosing a Tandem Kayak
Think about the weight – Tandems can be extremely heavy because, after all, they are twice as big as solo yaks. If you don’t think you and your kayaking partner can lift 100 pounds, then you should look at ways of reducing the weight. You could purchase a kayak made from a lighter material such as composite but these kayaks will be longer, which won’t reduce the weight by much. Another option is to purchase a shorter tandem. This will reduce the stability which may be fine if you are an experienced paddler.
More control or less? – A tandem is hard to maneuver because it is much longer than a solo kayak. An optional feature with most tandem kayaks is a rudder. This will make the tandem easier to control for both you and your partner.
Who will be using the tandem? – If you are planning on using the tandem with a child, then you want to choose one with cockpits that are not very deep. This will make it easier for the child to paddle. If you are planning on using the kayak with your dog, then you will want a yak that has removable seats. Also consider how experienced your partner is with paddling. An inexperienced paddler will need a more stable boat. Read online reviews to determine which boat offers the most stability for the paddlers.
Advantages of Tandem Kayaks
Only one kayak needed – A tandem kayak allows you to enjoy time on the water with your friends and family without the need for more than one kayak.
Good for kids – If you have children who are not used to kayaking, a tandem is a good way to get them introduced to the sport. They can paddle if they want or they can sit back and let you do all the work for them.
Pets – They say that a dog is a man’s best friend so you will probably want to spend time on the lake with him or her. A tandem kayak is the best way to do this. The seats are often removable so your beloved pet can sit or lay down comfortably inside while you paddle around the lake.
Disadvantages of Tandem Kayaks
Heavy – As I’ve said before, tandem kayaks are extremely heavy. They often weigh 100 pounds or more which makes them hard to carry, even with two people. Sometimes it’s easier to have two 50 pound solo kayaks rather than one 100 pound tandem.
Storage is a problem – Since tandems are longer, they are also hard to store for the winter. It may be harder to find a place in your garage to hang it (the weight can be a problem as well).
Hard to transport – Tandems are longer than the typical kayak so they cannot fit on top of a car or SUV. Even if you can fit it on the top of your car, you and your partner would have to lift it up there which is no easy task. The best way to transport a tandem kayak is by purchasing a hitch mounted trailer to tow behind your car.
Less stable/hard to control – If you are inexperienced, then a twin kayak is not right for you. They are very unstable, tend to flip easily and hard to paddle. They have been known to cause arguments among partners when paddling, especially when the paddles keep hitting each other or each paddler is trying to go in a different direction.
Top 3 Best Tandem Kayak Reviews
The Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak is one of the best sit-on-top tandem kayaks. It allows you to easily surf, fish or sail with ease. The contoured seating can hold up to 3 people which is more than a standard tandem. The paddle holder, fishing pole holder, cargo area and receiver receptacle will make fishing a fun adventure.
The Manta includes two padded backrests and paddles so you and a friend can enjoy bonding time out on the water. The thing we love about this tandem is the lightweight construction. It weighs less than your typical tandem which makes it a whole lot easier to transport. If you are looking for a tandem that is stable enough for beginners, look no further than the Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak. Both beginner and experienced yakkers will love the design and functionality of this recreational kayak.
Another tandem kayak that we love here at Ultimate Kayak Guide is the Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus Double Kayak. The Dirigo Double is a longer version of Old Town’s solo recreational kayak with the same name. It contains convenient features such as two large cockpits with cushioned seats, a sealed dry hatch for storage, adjustable foot braches, retractable carrying handles, thigh pads, a paddle holder and a built-in cup holder. Our favorite feature is the removable seats that allows you to make room for a dog or small child. The Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus Double Kayak is a well-made tandem that is chalked full of features that will make all of your outings an adventure.
The Pelican Pursuit 140T Kayak has everything you need in a tandem. It contains plenty of room for two paddlers and has a ton of storage for all of your gear. This kayak is perfect for two people who want to share an adventure together.
Other features include adjustable backrests and foot braces, a drop down skeg for control, a day hatch, an eight inch dry bag and bungee cords to secure your gear into place. The Pelican Pursuit 140T Kayak is a great option for families who enjoy spending hours on the water together.