Best Tandem Kayak Reviews 2020

It has always been fun to kayak in open waters given it gives both the relaxation and thrilling experience at once. However, there is nothing more enjoyable to share the activity with a loved one or friend. There may be tons of kayaks around, but not all can accommodate two persons.

This is the time you should look for a tandem kayak. This a type designed with dual cockpits to make it easier for partners to use the boat at the same time. Similar to others, you also have to consider several guidelines to follow before deciding to purchase a product.

The perfect will not only solve your dual seating need but give you utmost experience while kayaking without disregarding safety.

Best Tandem Kayak Review

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak


The tandem kayak review is one of the most sought for by consumers. Ocean Kayak Malibu is considered as the most popular lightweight type for partners, friends, and family members who want a fulfilling experience on the water. It features a sit-on-top design with versatile and stable made.

The product has dimensions of 3.7 meters by 0.864 meters and weight of 25.9 kilograms. Besides accommodating up to two people, you may also use it for a solo sailing. If you are parents to a small child, this tandem kayak could also give you a great ride with convenience.

One of its significant features is its two-comfort plus seat backs. Though design for two riders initially, it is structured with tri-seat wells for families. The foot wells are designed for extra convenience without the tight feeling.

Moreover, Ocean Kayak Malibu tandem kayak offers three round Gaspachi hatches, which are stern, bow, and center. It also has a skid plate and side-carry handles for manageable transportation. If you have tons of gear to bring a long trip, it has a deck and hull design for seamless storage.

If you are looking for a versatile tandem kayak, this one could serve as purpose. Given its ample space for additional gear, you can set up for fishing by getting sufficient space for your fishing crate, pad eyes, and rod.

Besides its appealing aesthetics, the performance of the tandem kayak is proven trustworthy since it has easy tracking design. Moreover, no one can deny Ocean Kayak products last long.


  • Effective tracking
  • Designed for two to three persons
  • Customizable storage space
  • Comfortable cushions
  • Allows modifications for fishing, sailing, and surfing


  • Heavy and bulky for storage

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Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak

This product is meant for both recreational kayaking and fishing. It is designed for both beginners and advanced paddlers to enjoy a day out on the water. It could work on flat water, rivers, and seas.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T boat has dimensions of 12.2 feet by 35 feet. It could also hold up to 500 pounds of cumulative weight. The made of this item is out of rotational molding with the use of single piece polyethylene.

It has a capacity of up to two adults and a child. This allows families to share the fun. Alternatively, if you need a day out alone, you could simply sit in the center seating.

There is utmost comfort provided by the tandem kayak not only due to its two deluxe seats. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T also has two molded-in holders for cups and four convenient grip handles for transporting the boat. Included in the package are pairs of Vibe Journey Paddle, four mounting points, two side bungees, two capped flush fixation for holding rod, and dual rests for paddles.


  • Easy to maneuver kayak
  • Very stable for fishing
  • Comes with useful accessories
  • Convertible to single paddling
  • Available with gear storage


  • Requires assistance when being transported

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Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak


This, in particular, is meant for two people who love fishing while enjoying a good weather on the water. Lifetime Sport Fisher features a high and dry seating. Moreover, it follows the sit-on-top design.

To add stability while you are paddling, Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak has a tunnel hull. Compared to other tandem kayaks, it is easy to carry. The lightweight profile of the boat makes it ideal for storage.


  • Useful for recreational kayaking
  • Makes standing, casting, and sitting down easy
  • Higher build allows easier paddling
  • Lots of room for fishing gear
  • Solidly built hull


  • Has insufficient seat cushioning

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Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Tandem Kayak

The tandem kayak is also designed for fishing activity with your loved one or friend. Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing kayak has a construction meant for rugged lake use as proven by its 18-gauge PVC material. Moreover, it has a cover out of 840D nylon and bottom manufactured from 1000 D tarpaulin for added protection.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing also features multiple chambers for inflation, Airtight System, Sevylor trolling motor, and Berkley Quick Set Rod holders. The kayak has paddle holders when you prefer to stay immobile.


  • Can stay on water for long periods
  • Doubled walled construction for weather resistance
  • Plenty of pockets and holders
  • Easy to set up and deflate
  • Valves do not require integration


  • Rod holders distract paddling

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Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Tandem Kayak

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This one has a low profile suitable for mild waters, such as rivers and lakes. Intex Explorer K2 kayak is designed with athletic graphics for improved visibility even from afar. This makes your fleet detectable in times of emergencies.

Intex Explorer K2 has inflatable seats for two paddlers with backrest. The bottom also has skeg you can put or remove for navigational stability. Other features of the product are its dual air chambers, I-beam floor, Boston valves, and robust vinyl material.


  • Quick maneuverability
  • Easy to use controls
  • Suitable for fishing
  • Easy to inflate
  • Effortless storage


  • Paddles have poor grip

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Types of Tandem Kayak

Not all tandem kayaks are created equal. This is why you have to pinpoint which of your options is the best two person kayak. To narrow down your choices, you can categorize these based on types.

  • Recreational Tandem Kayak – This is the best boat for calm and relaxing ride on the waters. Compared to the rest of its kind, it is more affordable. Recreational tandem kayak provides stability and navigational ease.

People who may find this kayak useful are beginners, casual paddlers, sailers, or photographers. Take note that this tandem kayak is not meant for the rough current or strong winds. Moreover, this type is only valuable for short day journey given its smaller compartment space.

Usually, recreational tandem kayaks have lengths from 10 to 12 feet. There is a wide beam to keep the fleet steady. An easy-access cockpit could also be found in the fleet.

However, paddlers should be warned that it could be difficult to recover when this tandem kayak flips over. It may also be difficult to carry since it has bulkier made.

  • Touring Tandem Kayak – If you want extended trips on the water, this is an alternative to recreational tandem kayak. It could also withstand unpredictable waters, making it suitable even for seas. It is made out of industry-standard materials, which are now usually improved with water resistance feature.

The best ones are those with a bigger central area having a V shape and hulls with three forms. The latter is highly crucial in easier navigation. Furthermore, the most trustworthy touring tandem kayaks today are with a V-shape secondary cross section to either side of the boat.

  • Modular Tandem Kayak – The type of which is made from standard polyurethane material. It is a great option for easy and quick transportation and storage since it could be folded into two or three parts. It could even be stored in your SUV trunk easily.

Modular tandem kayaks come in various designs similar to sit-on-top, touring, and recreational purposes. This kayak gives you the problem to not only ride in tandem but in threes as well.

  • Fishing Tandem Kayak -The boat features two backrests for dual seats with padding. The package also comes with two pieces of paddles for water sports. Normally, fishing tandem kayak may also be customized for one more paddler.

This kayak has extreme stability and deep hull for great navigation. You will have compartments or holders for shock cord straps, fishing pole, and rod. Most of these are made out of durable and light plastic.

  • Sit-on-Top Tandem Kayak – This is also called as the sit-in tandem kayak. The safety it offers has been tested by professional kayakers. This is further proven by its common construction of hollow girth, providing a comfortable seating prior to paddling.

Nonetheless, this design will expose you and your partner from the harshness of water. This is why it is always necessary to complete your water sports gear beforehand. In contrary, sit-on-top tandem kayaks offer quick entry and exit.

  • Inflatable Tandem Kayak – There are advanced inflatable tandem kayaks today that are also usable in water sports or competitions. Usually, inflatable types are from 10 to 15 feet long. There are holes that you could use to pump air in.

Many prefer inflatable tandem kayaks since these are easier to set up, use, and store. It is simply the disadvantage in terms of requiring more effort in padding. Compared to traditional kayak, it is also slower.

High-quality inflatable tandem kayaks today are made of stiffening bars for the floor and frame. These help enhance navigation and wavelike motion. Moreover, inflatables are often made from polyester coated with PVC.

What to Look For When Buying

The best tandem kayak could be bought provided you know the features and specifications to look for. For instance, tandem kayaks may need sturdier material since these will accommodate more than a single person. There are cases that others even guarantee an addition of one more rider, totaling to three paddlers.

  • Hull Material – You need to look for a tandem kayak that has a durable made. The construction is a big factor not only in determining the lifespan of the fleet, but also in backing its effectiveness, stability, and navigational ease. Most of the time, you will find sea tandem kayaks made from fiberglass or polyethylene plastic.

If you prefer an aesthetically appealing yet rigid material, you may look for composite kayaks. Alternatively, if you choose to have cut through rough sea environmental, plastic kayaks could be a great choice. Plastics are often resistant to premature breakage and generally regarded flexible.

  • Turning and Tracking – You will notice that a tandem kayak will not turn well if it tracks or goes to a straight direction perfectly. In contrary, there are kinds that could turn seamlessly but difficult to track. Nonetheless, there are boats that turn well that could be handled to navigate easily depending on your skills.
  • Stability – You have to check if the tandem kayak you will buy could offer quick entry and exit for you and your partner. Moreover, it must prevent the feeling of tipping over when you are not paddling the boat. If you prefer to go sunbathing, bird watching, or sailing with a partner or friend, find a stable one that is ideal for low movement activities.

If you and your kayaking buddy are beginners, you should find a balanced one while not in motion. Most professional kayakers would not mind kayaks that provide tipsy sensations when not being paddled since they are trained for hours-long maneuvering of the boat. Oftentimes, advanced paddlers prefer a speedy kayak.

  • Cockpit Construction – All the areas meant for knees, feet, bottom, and hips must be comfortable enough both while resting or in motion. Regardless of turning, your knees and feet should still be supported. Additionally, padding should have a tight yet convenient fit on your legs.
  • Volume – Since there will be two people riding on a kayak, there must be a larger boat volume. This is specifically crucial if you will be going on long trips. There must be enough compartments for accessories tents, provisions, and sleeping bags among others.
  • Hatches – You should find those with waterproof hatches. If you will bring numerous items with you, the kayak must have a bigger opening for the hatches. Most paddlers trust hatches when they bring clothes and food that must be dry at all times.
  • Bottom Structure – If both of the paddlers are beginners, a flat bottom is a must for it delivers extra principal stability. Flat bottoms also prevent frequent exposure to water.

Alternatively, round bottoms are advantageous if you need a recreational kayak minus the stress. It has reasonable resistance to capsizing.

Using/ Safety Tips

Since you will be paddling a kayak in tandem, you must consider utmost coordination not only for a good performance but for protection. This is highly recommended if you will be facing harsher water conditions.

  • Seating Arrangement – This could be solved with both of the kayakers deciding who will sit in either front or rear side of the kayak. However, there are also standards being followed, such as depending on the experience. If you are a more advanced kayaker compared to your partner, you should sit at the back.

The rear paddler is the one that steers the kayak. Besides he or she is responsible for the recourse.

Weight could also be used as a factor in deciding the seating arrangement. It is best to let a heavier kayaker to sit at the back. The boat will handle it better if the stern has larger load than the bow.

  • Front Paddler Should Manage the Rhythm – There is a tendency for paddling collisions when two people are involved. For better kayaking without ruining the track, the front paddler should manage the rhythm. Obviously, the person in the front will not see his or her companion’s maneuverability.

It is understandable that he or she should be the guide of the kayaker behind. Nonetheless, it is a reminder for the front paddler to try steering the boat him or herself. Unless the paddler behind suggested turns, you should only go forward in one direction.

  • Rear Paddler Should Follow the Front Paddler – If the front paddler serves as the rhythm manager, the person at the back should follow through. He or she has a full view of what the front paddler is doing. There must be an effort to mimic the strokes of the front kayaker.

By doing so, both paddlers will not suffer from collisions or a mess in controlling the boat. However, the person at the rear is responsible for exerting extra effort when the kayak is steering to a different direction. Although the front paddler also has to control the boat, you will be responsible for taking a powerful stroke.

  • Democratic Course Decision-Making – Although the rear paddler is often asked in terms of course decision-making, it is best to have a democratic system. You must be a team, which means each of your suggestions matters. If you have a contradicting idea with your partner, you should state the facts on why you prefer such settlement.
  • Keep Communication Effective – This may be difficult since the front paddler often does not hear what the one at the rear has to say. His or her ears and mouth are pointing forward. In situations one has to convey a message, he or she must turn his or her head to the side.

Communication must be open, particularly when obstacles are seen by the person in front. Apparently, the rear kayaker will not be able to anticipate what is to come since the person in front blocks his or her view. The front paddler must be generous enough to share the issue and his or her suggested solution.


Choosing a tandem kayak is easy given the high-quality products featured above. Apparently, Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak won the round-up. It has better versatility than other two-person kayaks – solo, tandem, or family paddling.

In terms of storage, you will not even have any problem since it comes with multiple hulls. Comfort is also at best regardless of your height and weight. Besides, who would not prefer its classic design that has been trusted by kayakers for years?

The flexibility of the tandem kayak is not limited to the number of people allowed. You could also customize the storage compartment based on your needs. No rider will even complain about the material choice since even the seat cushioning is sufficient even for adults.

The fact it has everything you need from a tandem kayak is already a reason for you to try it.

Last update on 2021-09-26 at 00:57 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. More info.