If you know her a tandem bicycle works, then you will be quick to understand the concept of a tandem kayak. Tandem kayaks offer a more social alternative to a single kayak and allow you to enjoy the experience whilst having another person in the same boat.
At this point, you may be unsure as to whether or not a tandem kayak is the best option for you. We hope that after you have read our guide on tandem kayaks, that you’ll feel more informed on the various advantages and disadvantages that a tandem kayak can offer, as well as how they differ from solo kayaks in many ways.
As well as taking a look at the various advantages and disadvantages of a tandem kayak, we will review some of our favorite tandem kayaks from the best kayak brands available.
Why Consider A Tandem Kayak?
Just like anything else, tandem kayaks have advantages and disadvantages too. Some kayakers prefer tandem kayaks over solo kayaks, and some don’t – it is entirely down to personal preference. In this guide, we’ll give you as much information as we can think of from both points of view.
Advantages Of A Tandem Kayak
There’s A Group Of You That Would Like To Be In The Same Kayak
This is arguably the most obvious advantage of having a tandem kayak. Just like a tandem bicycle – tandem kayaks allow for more than one person to be sitting inside at once. Whether or not you’re a group of friends or a family, there is a wealth of advantages that can be offered by a tandem kayak.
If you are a family with young children, tandem kayaks can be great as they allow for you as the parent and your children to sit in the same boat. Not only does this mean that you can enjoy the paddling experience together, it means that you can keep a close eye on your children and ensure that they are safe.
If you’re traveling with more than one person in the tandem kayak, you should always remember to ensure that the heavier person sits towards the back (or stern) of the boat. This ensures a safer ride and better weight distribution. You should also always ensure that younger children are positioned towards the front of the kayak. This means that you can make sure that they are safe at the same time as looking ahead to see you at where you are paddling. Sitting upfront in the boat is also a better experience for your child!
If you are a family with two adults and one child, it is more advisable to have a separate single kayak as well as the tandem kayak. Even the tandem kayak that offers a small space toward the front for a third person, this position is much more vulnerable and will be much more difficult to paddle from. It’s a far more enjoyable experience for both people in the tandem to be able to paddle too.
It’s A Less Strenuous Experience
Paddling along and a tandem kayak can be far less physically exerting than a solo kayak. The reasons for this are fairly obvious – there are two people paddling, and the boat is not double the size. Tandem kayaks also allow for one of the paddlers to take a break whenever they would like to. If one of you is getting tired, you can simply stop paddling and allow the other person to do all of the work. Will be to the displeasure of the other person is the question!
Tandem kayaks also allow you to do more than one thing at the same time. For example, one paddler could have lunch whilst the other paddles along making progress.
Whilst there are kayakers that paddle for the physical exercise, we think that the majority enjoy a more relaxing and tranquil experience. A tandem kayak will ensure that you get exactly this, whilst also allowing you to share the experience first-hand with whoever you are in the kayak with.
They’re Faster And More Stable
Tandem kayaks have the ability to be considerably quicker than a solo kayak. For one, there are two of you powering the boat. If you have never been in a tandem kayak before, you will be extremely impressed at the amount of speed that you can pick up in a short space of time if you manage to synchronize your strokes with each other.
Tandem kayaks are inevitably longer and wider than solo kayaks too. This allows them to travel at a higher speed much more easily. Due to this increased length and width, they are also much more stable than their solo counterparts. Being in a tandem kayak that’s more stable can be more reassuring should you hit a rougher patch of water.
There’s More Space
It is true that tandem kayaks are able to offer more space than solo kayaks, of course. But, this does not necessarily mean more space per person. The general rule of thumb is that a tandem kayak can carry approximately one and a half times the amount of gear that a solo kayak can. When’s this is a fair bit more space, a tandem kayak is also a fair bit more difficult to operate at full capacity than a solo kayak at full capacity is.
The best thing that you can possibly do when out kayaking is travel light – the more gear that you take, the more energy you’re going to have to put in to shift around the water. The less you can carry, the better you’ll allow your kayaking to be.
There’s A Spare Seat In The Event That Someone Falls Ill or Becomes Injured
This is, unfortunately, a point that a lot of people forget to consider when they are purchasing a kayak. Obviously, this is not the ideal situation and is unlikely. It is, however, a good idea to have precautionary measures in place in the event that it were to happen.
A tandem kayak means that there’s a seat should either one of you become ill or injured. Should this take place, you’ll still be able to get back to shore easily as one person can simply paddle the kayak. If you’re on two individual kayaks however, this can be considerably more difficult. When was this is entirely possible to tow a kayak along behind another, it is much more difficult, particularly if you are a fair bit away from dry land.
Just like everything else, there are disadvantages to tandem kayaks too.
They’re Harder To Navigate
Whilst this may not apply quite so much if both kayakers in the tandem are experienced, tandem kayaks are, generally speaking, much harder to move around. This is due to the fact that they are heavier and longer. They have a much wider turning circle than single kayaks, and due to their weight, they are much more difficult to make agile turns in. This means that they’re not as well adapted to traveling down faster-moving waters.
More Difficult Storage and Transportation
This is another major disadvantage of tandem kayaks. Inevitably, do you two they are larger sized tandem kayaks are more difficult to store and transport when out of the water. A tandem kayak requires a much larger car to transport, as well as of course a much larger space to store. It is important to ensure that you have both of these before purchasing your kayak.
Whilst it is, of course, possible for just one person to use a tandem kayak, they are more difficult to move around. If you are a smaller person or have a heavier kayak, you may struggle to move the kayak around when it is not in the water.
More Space Available In Two Solo’s
If you are planning on taking a lot of equipment out onto the water with you, a tandem kayak is not the best option for this. Even though the boats are bigger than single kayaks, there is not more space per person. It’s also important to remember that a heavily loaded tandem kayak gets very difficult to move around when compared to a solo kayak.
You’re Restricted To The Agreement Of Both People
Of course, one of the main advantages of the tandem kayak so that you can share the experience with another person. This, however, may not be the best option for everyone. Everyone is different and everyone is looking to get something different from there paddling experience.
For example, if you’re in a kayak with a person that likes to paddle along and relax and you’d like to go fast, you won’t be able to!
A solo kayak does offer you the benefit of being able to do whatever you want exactly when you want to.
The Best Tandem Kayaks Available
Advanced Elements Straightedge 2 Kayak – A Great Kayak For Fishing and Transportation
The Advanced Elements Straightedge 2 rules out some of the main disadvantages of purchasing a tandem kayak completely – mainly the storage and transportation space. It’s very durable, and resistant to puncture.
If you’re looking for a large tandem kayak that you can take anywhere easily without worrying about storage and transportation space, the Straightedge 2 is a fantastic option.
It has been built specifically as a tandem fishing kayak, with built-in rod rests at either side of the kayak.
It’s very lightweight too since it’s inflatable – the kayak inflates between the aluminum-constructed front and rear of the boat. This extremely lightweight construction makes for a high-performance kayak that’s very easy to move around quickly in the water.
The Straightedge 2 has all the benefits of a solid-construction kayak, but without the problems of transportation and storage space!
It’s rated to travel in waters up to Class 3 and is a very comfortable place to be in all conditions with adjustable padded seating.
Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition – The Touring Tandem
The Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition has been designed primarily for longer trips, such as those that you’re spending a full day or two on the boat. It’s fitted with a 19” seat towards the bow of the boat, and an 18” seat towards the stern of the boat. These sizes make for ideal comfort when cruising along over longer periods of time.
The Zest Two strikes the perfect balance between speed and comfort, in our opinion. Being a longer boat, it’s easy to travel along at a good pace whilst remaining in comfort – ideal for longer tours.
Both of the seats in the Zest Two are padded and comfortable, with a smaller space towards the bow of the boat for a smaller passenger, which can also be used as a great little storage space for that extra luggage that you might have on a longer trip.
At more than 16 feet long, this is a pretty long kayak indeed. There are good storage spaces towards the front and back of the boat, with options to secure your luggage further if you’d like to do so.
The Zest Two comes with a lifetime warranty too, what more could you ask for from a fantastic touring kayak?
Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem – Relaxing Tandem Sit On Top Kayak
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem measures up at 12 feet long. It’s a little wider than some of the longer touring kayaks, such as the Straightedge 2 though, which makes for a but more comfort.
The two seats in the Malibu are 20.25” and 18.5” wide at the stern and bow respectively – both of which are fully adjustable and padded to ensure that you can get into your most comfortable position for your voyage.
Due to the sizing of the Malibu, it is best to be used on calmer waters for a relaxing cruise. Since it’s a shorter and wider kayak, less experienced paddlers might find it more of a challenge to control on rougher areas of water.
If you’re interested in the Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem, read our full review on the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two here!
Sea Eagle 370 Sport Kayak – Lightweight and Agile Large Capacity Kayak
The most amazing features of the Sea Eagle 370 is the amount that it weighs, in comparison to what it can withstand. The 370 weighs only 32 pounds but can carry along weights of up to 650 pounds whilst on the water.
The inflatable polykrylar material that this kayak is made from makes it very durable, and means that there should be no fear of deflation should you bump into any slightly jagged objects for example.
This 370 makes the ideal kayak for a people that are travelling together, or even one person that would like to carry large amounts of equipment – due to its immense light weight. Even as just one person, the Sea Eagle 370 takes only 8 minutes to assemble and inflate.
Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak – Everyone Loves It
The Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem has been designed for use by up to 3 people , although the third person being slightly smaller for the seat in the middle of the boat.
It’s made from PVC, and is very lightweight weighing in at only 60 lbs – it’s a very easy kayak to transport around.
This tandem kayak is a great option for those paddlers that might not be quite as experienced. Due to the tunnel hull design of this boat, Lifetime says that it’s extremely difficult to capsize.
Even though it only weighs 60 lbs, it can take up to 500 lbs in weight. It’s a great option that’s very well-reviewed if you’d like a solid kayak that’s lightweight and economic.