Paddling around on a kayak yourself can be a very enjoyable experience, there’s no doubt. However, getting out onto the water with another one or even another two people can make the experience all the more enjoyable.
Even though you may not have thought it, there are some kayaks on the market that will, in fact, allow up to 3 passengers on board. Some of these might only be for two adults plus a small child or pet, but will still allow 3 passengers nonetheless!
Advantages Of Tandem/3 Person Kayaks
There’s 2 or 3 Of You
This s arguably the most obvious advantage to have a 3 person kayak. If there’s more than one person, there’s no way that you’d all be able to get on a regular kayak, at least, not at all safely. A larger kayak such as a tandem or 3 person kayak allows you to take the boat out with another 2 or 3 people.
If the kayak that you are on has a small section in the middle in addition to 2 normal seats, this is for a smaller passenger such as a small child or pet. This space is not designed for, and should not be used by adults at all. If you are using the middle section, it is important to make sure that the adult is seated towards the rear of the boat, with the two children seated towards the front of the boat. This is important for safety, as it allows you to make sure that both children are in a safe place at all times since this seating position means that the adult can see everything that’s ahead of them at all times.
More Storage Space
Whether you have a two-person kayak with a space in the middle or a full-sized 3 person kayak, there is a lot more space in both compared to a regular one-person kayak.
Depending on what your main use for your kayak is going to be, an extra amount of storage space can be a very useful thing to have indeed. If there’s two of you on a 3 person boat, you’ll have a lot of extra space for equipment. However, it is also important to remember that if there’s two of you paddling a 3 person kayak that’s been heavily loaded with equipment, you might find that it gets very difficult very quickly. Keeping the weight to a minimum regardless of how much storage space you have is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Less Stressful Paddling
If there’s two or three of you on the boat, there’s a good chance that one of you will get tired at some point and want to take a break. With two or three people paddling, one person can easily take a break whilst the other two keep paddling. This allows you to keep moving at all times, and get to take some much-needed breaks at the same time.
Not only does having another person paddling mean that you can take breaks, it also means that you can free up your hands from time to time to eat lunch, take photos, or do anything that you want!
A tandem or 3 person kayak allows you to move across the water far more quickly than you would be able to on your own. This is simply due to increased paddling power:weight. Even though everyone’s goal isn’t to go as fast as they possibly can, it’s always a good thing to know just in case!
Downsides Of Tandem/3 Person Kayaks
Like all different types of kayak, tandem and 3 person options come with their disadvantages. That said, what one user considers to be a disadvantage, another may not. Below, we’ve explored a few of what the most common disadvantages that we think would affect most people.
They Aren’t Nearly As Portable As Smaller Options
The factor of portability is, in our opinion, the most considerable disadvantage of larger kayaks and the one that will affect the largest number of people. Of course, 2 and 3 person kayaks are considerably larger and heavier in all respects than their smaller solo counterparts. Not only does this mean that they’re more difficult to move around, it’s also far more difficult to find a good place to store them/a place that can actually accommodate them.
Transportation of a larger kayak is, of course, a lot more difficult too. Due to their increased length and weight, they will require a larger vehicle such as a van, or to be mounted on the car roof. A lot of tandem kayaks are so large that they may be unsuitable for even mounting on a car roof at all.
Won’t Fit As Much Equipment As 2 Solo’s
If you’re looking to take a large amount of equipment out onto the water, you’ll probably find that you won’t be able to take as much in one tandem or 3 person kayak, as opposed to splitting it across 2 or 3 solo kayaks.
The Best 3 Person Kayaks
Sevylor Big Basin 3 Person Kayak
The first in our guide of best 3 person kayaks is the Sevylor Big Basin. It’s an inflatable boat and is therefore extremely lightweight and easy to move around. Since portability is typically one of the most major downfalls of kayaks of this size.
The Big Basin from Sevylor is definitely designed with calmer and more leisurely kayaking trips in mind. It’s best-used on flat and calm waters, it’s not been designed to be taken down a fast-flowing river, or out into the waves of the ocean for that matter.
Understandably, one of the main concerns that people have when buying an inflatable kayak is that of durability. There’s no doubt that an inflatable model could be punctured more easily than a hard-shell, since puncturing a hard-shell is impossible. However, the chances of the Sevylor Big Basin getting deflated is extremely small, since it’s made from extremely tough PVC and tarpaulin, is reinforced and is made of a number of air chambers to ensure that the boat does not completely deflate in the unlikely event of a puncture.
Some Key Points
- 3 seats and plenty of space
- Inflatable, so easily portable
- Durable, and reinforced with a number of individual air chambers
- 12’3” in length
- Weighs just under 35 lbs
- Can carry up to 490 lbs
BKC UH-TK219 – High End 3 Person Kayak
The UH-TK219 is a high-end, high-quality kayak from the Brooklyn Kayak Company. It’s fitted with two main seats, and a third extra space for another person. One of the main advantages of the TK219 though, is that you could use it on your own if you so desired to. Due to its lightweight construction and design, it’s pretty easy for one person to use without any other paddlers. This makes for an extremely versatile boat that’s perfect for so many different situations. It is advisable though, not to fill the boat up with equipment if you’re using it yourself as it’s likely to become heavy.
Even though the TK219 isn’t an inflatable kayak, it’s still lightweight and easy to carry around at only 68 pounds in weight. The TK219 is also 34” in width, making for a very stable platform indeed. This stability means that the boat is versatile and suitable for different uses such as fishing, as well as more relaxed paddling.
Being a high-end kayak, the storage options are ample and very useful. It’s got a variety of storage areas that are perfect for larger items, as well as some smaller water-tight storage areas for keeping any valuables that you might need to take on board.
The TK219 is well equipped for fishing too, coming with 6-rod holders as standard. In addition to rod holders, the TK219 also has paddle rests that make the whole experience far more relaxing. If you’d like to slow down and take a rest, you can simply lean your paddles from the edge of the boat without worrying about losing them.
The main point that’s fantastic about this kayak though, is the build quality and outstanding level of durability. Being a high-end model, it’s constructed from polyethylene that is both lightweight and durable.
Some Key Points
- Suitable for 2 or 3 people
- Excellent storage options
- Highly durable and excellent build quality
- Equipped for fishing
- Easy enough for one person to use at a time
Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe – Inflatable 3 Person Sport Kayak
The Sea Eagle 370 is a value for money, inflatable 3 person kayak. Being inflatable, it’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry around. It hardly takes up any space in the car or storage space and is, therefore, a fantastic boat if you need a kayak that can carry up to 3 people, without burdening you with the added portability and storage problems of a 3 person boat.
The Sea Eagle 370 can go from box to inflated in not even 10 minutes time, it’s very convenient to use. It’s extremely durable, and as a result, is able to accommodate up to 3 people on board at any one time. It also only weighs 32 lbs and is therefore extremely portable too.
Something that a lot of boats in the inflatable category are not able to excel in is versatility. However, the Sea Eagle 370 is not one of them. It’s rated for traveling in both calm waters as well as faster-flowing waters such as those found on a river.
The Sea Eagle 370 can be purchased to suit a particular need too, with each boat being tailored towards a different use, such as fishing for example.
Even though the Sea Eagle 370 only weighs 32 pounds, it’s able to accommodate an astonishing 650 lbs of weight on board once inflated. This, combined with its extremely durable construction, make it a great boat for taking large amounts of gear out onto the water.
Some Key Points
- Can be inflated in only 10 minutes
- Tailored to a number of different purposes
- Very lightweight at just 32 lbs
- Large Maximum Capacity of 650 lbs
- UV/Salt Water Resistant
Final Points To Consider When Purchasing A 3 Person Kayak
If you’re still unsure as to whether or not a 3 person kayak is right for you, there are a few points that you should consider and remember. After all, there’s no use in purchasing a 3 person boat if you’d be more suited to a regular tandem kayak.
Size/Portability – Kayaks that are designed for 3 people are, of course, larger than average and are therefore more difficult to transport and store as a result. Not only does this increased size mean that transportation is more difficult, but also usage, in some aspects. For example, if you wanted to use a regular tandem kayak by yourself and use the rest of the room for equipment, the chances are that you’d be able to relatively well. However, due to the increased size of those kayaks designed for 3 persons, this would be considerably more difficult.
On the other hand, if you’re going to have 2 or 3 people in your boat at all times, a large 3 person boat would make for the most sensible choice.
Where It Can Be Used
Another factor that may influence your purchase is where and how you are planning on using your new kayak. For example, if you’re hoping to use your boat in small, narrow rivers, a large 3 person boat may struggle with this.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to use your boat in a larger area of water, a 3 person kayak would be perfectly suited.
Whether or not a 3 person kayak is suitable for tour needs is very subjective. However, there is no doubt that a 3 person kayak can be a fantastic piece of kit to own, that can allow you to massively increase how many people/how much equipment you can take out onto the water with you.