Best Tandem Kayaks

swim on a kayak on the lake

Kayaking with your friends, spouse, kids, and pets can be a lot more fun, safe, and convenient in the best tandem kayaks than a single one. We’ve reviewed some of our favorite tandem rigid and inflatable boats. Here are the most important considerations.

Owning a tandem kayaks is a great option when:

  • You want to travel longer distances
  • You want to save money
  • You want to pack large items like a two-burner stove in your boat
  • One paddler is stronger than the other
  • You want stability for beginner paddlers or when navigating open  oceans
  • Efficiency and speed are essential

Things to consider when buying a tandem kayaks:

  • A single paddler cannot paddle them
  • They’re harder to maneuver because of their length
  • They’re harder to store because they’re longer and heavier
  • They will likely require additional straps to secure to your vehicle
  • They’re much heavier than a single kayak which makes them harder to load onto your vehicle and carry down to the water

Top 6 Best Tandem Kayaks

  • Best Inflatable: Aquaglide Blackfoot 160
  • Most Stable: Brooklyn Kayak Company
  • Mild rapids, Good Tracking: Aqua Marina Steam 412
  • Best Performance Tandem: Seaward G3 Passat
  • Best Hybrid Kayak and SUP: Isle Switch SUP & Kayak
  • Best Mid-Range: Advance Elements AdvancedFrame

 

Best Inflatable: Aquaglide Blackfoot 160

Weight: 50 lbs |Width: 38″ |Length: 16′ |Capacity: 800 lbs

Aquaglide Blackfoot 160

Overall Review 2

Features:

  • The Blackfoot Angler 160 is perfect for two people on fishing trips, exploring lakes and gentle rivers, and another recreational flat-water paddling.
  • The Blackfoot Angler 160 is perfect for two people on fishing trips, exploring lakes and gentle rivers, and another recreational flat-water paddling.
  • 2-person, 800 lb. (363 kg) max weight. Dimensions: 16’-4” (498 cm) L x 38” (96.5 cm) W x 13.5” (34.3 cm) H x 11.5″ tube diameter.
  • Includes kayak, (2) seats, fin, fishing cooler, storage bag, Halkey-Roberts Valve adaptor, and repair kit.

Finding a recreational kayak that’s transportable, durable, versatile, and also performs well might sound like mission impossible. But if you’re looking for an inflatable kayak built with fishing and adventuring in mind, look no further. The Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 is an inflatable tandem kayak that perfectly mixes a small fishing vessel and a performance kayak.

Whether you’re out for a day chasing the perfect catch or braving choppier waters on an overnight expedition, the Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 Tandem promises a robust and comfortable ride. Packed with features and accessories for all your angling needs, the Blackfoot 160 is Aquaglide’s highest capacity and most stable kayak on the market. It accommodates up to three people, plus a cooler, rods, kayak trolley, and overnight gear.

Built with longevity in mind, this inflatable kayak mimics the performance of a hardshell and can withstand all the bumps and bruises of a rotomolded plastic or fiberglass kayak. The high walls also add stability, making it the perfect kayak for hooking that elusive catch, capturing the action with your SLR, taking the kids out for a cruise across the lake, or braving whitecaps with your favorite K9 in tow.

Whether gliding down a river or getting battered by wind and spray on an exposed peninsula, the Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 Tandem tracks well using the Posi-track Weedless Fin to maintain your course as you move through the water. This impressive inflatable kayak has so many features you will continue discovering its many conveniences months into its use.

Pros:

  • Ideal for fishing
  • Packed with features
  • Versatile and comfortable seating
  • Durable
  • Stable
  • Great tracking
  • It comes with a cooler bag
  • Scupper holes allow for self-bailing
  • Can be paddled tandem or solo

Cons:

  • It takes a little longer to inflate than other inflatables
  • Pump not included
  • More expensive than other tandem inflatables
  • Heavier than other inflatables
  • Bow and stern storage areas are not waterproof

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Most Stable: Brooklyn Kayak Company

Weight: 440 lbs |Width: 29″ |Length: 12’2″ |Capacity: 440 lbs

Brooklyn Kayak Company

Overall Review

Features:

  • The elevated seats or on the deck. If you sit on the deck, there’s no back support, and it’s uncomfortable, BUT the storage wells are easy to access. If you put, the seats in the rear compartment are inaccessible unless you get off the chair and lift it.
  • The tie-down points along the deck are a little flimsy. They are not kickable because they are for holding a kayak to a dock or bungee a bag down, but don’t expect to use them to secure the kayak to your vehicle. The carry handles are much more substantial.
  • The paddle restraints are just bungee cords. They wear out pretty quickly.

Despite its hefty price tag, there is plenty to love about the sit-on-top kayak developed by Brooklyn Kayak Company. The manufacturer built this equipment from high-density Polyethylene with UV protection to stay looking and feeling new for longer. The 34 inches width is impressive, too – it significantly adds to the boat’s stability on the water.

The kayak deck comes with adjustable backrests for proper support of your back and average-sized padded seats for ultimate comfort when paddling. The hatches integrated into the kayak are fully waterproof, which means your belongings won’t get wet even if they happen to get in contact with water. Not to mention the ample bungee cord storage space at the rear of the kayak and its many benefits for avid kayakers.

Pros:

  • When paddling, the built-in rod holders allow you to keep several baited lines in the water.
  • You can store your keys, wallet, and smartphone in the watertight hatch integrated into the boat.
  • The seats have memory foam padding and a supportive backrest

Cons:

  • It is not an affordable kayak

 

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Mild rapids, Good Tracking: Aqua Marina Steam 412

Weight: 34.2 lbs |Width: 35″ |Length: 13’6″ |Capacity: 34.2 lbs

Overall review 4

Features:

  • Super-tough reinforced PVC material for both air chambers and I-beam floor
  • The inflatable high-back cushion seat provides great back support and comfort
  • Adjustable footrest design for a comfortable journey
  • High-performance fin system for excellent tracking ability
  • The superfast self-bailing drain system

The Aqua Marina Steam 412 is a hybrid recreational kayak with the performance to paddle long distances and the durability and features of swimming in whitewater.
Versatility is one of this inflatable kayak’s best features. Made from PVC, the Steam 412 is durable, relatively lightweight, and affordable for a boat that is rated to tackle class 3 whitewater.

The Steam’s excellent tracking and performance are due to its newly designed hull built for more incredible speed and the double fin, which provides superior search. In addition, the high-density drop-stitch floor and welded tube construction create an incredibly wooden craft, which includes safety when running rivers and excellent performance when traveling long distances.

We experienced only a few drawbacks with this boat. Admittedly, they are minor design oversights related to production efficiencies. But all in all, the good points of the Steam 412 far outweigh the negatives.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Great performance and speed
  • Robust and rigid
  • Double fin a for superior tracking
  • Center carry handles for easy transportation
  • Removable drop-stitch floor for easy drying
  • Comes with pump and 10L drybag
  • Comes with pump and 10L drybag

Cons:

  • D-rings too close to the floor
  • Footrest only has two adjustments
  • Positioning of the front chair can get in the way of the center carry handles
  • Hard to drain out water
  • Fins are hard to slide on and secure

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Best Performance Tandem: Seaward G3 Passat

Weight: 90 lbs |Width: 26″ |Length: 22’ |Capacity: 90 lbs

Seaward Kayak

Overall Review 5

Features:

  • Molded Padded Seat
  • Lockout Foot Pedals
  • Anodized Aluminum Rudder
  • Rudder Stay-with Tie Down
  • Padded Thigh Braces
  • Cockpit Cover
  • Recessed Deck Fittings

The G3 is a Rolls-Royce of tandem kayak. It’s a composite kayak made with fiberglass, a powerful and robust boat. It comes with molded padded seats, a Smart Rudder System, 89 gallons of storage, and the option to add a child seat into the center hatch.

The Seaward G3 Passat is one of the most iconic tandem kayaks on the Pacific NW Coast. Seaward builds several single and tandem touring kayaks on Vancouver Island in BC, but their G3 Passat is their best-seller and most acclaimed kayak design.

Pros:

  • Best performance tandem touring kayak on the market
  • Unrivaled storage capacity
  • Outstanding balance between stability and efficiency
  • Incredibly robust

Cons:

  • Hard to get your hands on
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

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Best Hybrid Kayak and SUP: Isle Switch SUP & Kayak

Weight: 19 lbs |Width: 35″ |Length: 16’ |Capacity: 425 lbs

Isle Switch

Overall Review 6

Features:

  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Comfortable seat and foot brace for kayak use
  • Comfortable seat and foot brace for kayak use

The Switch is a SUP kayak hybrid from Isle Surf & SUP. This is one of the most versatile inflatable craft we’ve seen in the last few years. It’s got cargo features and accessory options that are designed in unique ways. As a tandem kayak, these features shine through.

As a stand-up paddle board, the Switch is a pretty awesome touring board with the maneuverability to match the best all-rounders. To top it off, the Link System allows for more attachments while eliminating all the D-rings used by other boards. That makes this one of the best yoga boards as well.

Pros:

  • Doing yoga, fishing, tandem kayaking, tandem SUPping
  • Most comfortable 2-in-1 seat
  • One of the most lightweight models out there
  • The seat can also be used as a trekker chair
  • Looking forward to future accessories with the 40-loop Link System
  • The Isle Link System removes D-rings, making space for yoga
  • There’s a foot brace (inflatable pillow) for better core training
  • Paddle holder for yoga sessions

Cons:

  • Currently, no Action Mounts
  • Now, no Action Mounts

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Best Mid-Range: Advance Elements AdvancedFrame

Weight: 23.6 lbs |Width: 32″ |Length: 15’ |Capacity: 550 lbs

Advance Elements

Overall Review

Features:

  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking
  • Three layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
  • Pre-assembled at the factory
  • unfold, inflate, and attach the seats
  • High support, adjustable padded seats provide comfort for hours of paddling
  • Three-seat locations allow for paddling solo or tandem

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame tandem inflatable kayak is a popular choice for kayakers looking for a portable touring kayak for day trips or expeditions. This kayak is made of high-quality PVC tarpaulin and is compatible with the BackBone accessory and Drop-stitched flooring upgrade for rigid high-pressure floors.

The Advanced Element tandem inflatable kayak is portable and easy to set up after the first time. In addition, it provides kayakers with a reliable level of stability and maneuverability compared to many other similar boats.

Overall, the Advanced Elements tandem inflatable kayak is a choice for kayakers who like to get out on the water in calm conditions or protective waterways but don’t have the space to store a rigid boat.

Pros:

  • Convert from single to tandem
  • Great for flatwater and lakes
  • Can deal well with challenging weather conditions
  • Very durable and tracks very well in the water
  • It has paddle holders at the sides

Cons:

  • It has paddle holders at the sides
  • It takes a long time to dry
  • Will take on water if underinflated.

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Best Tandem Kayaks Comparison Table

 

Name
Length
Width
Weight
Capacity
Type
Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 16′ 38″ 50 lbs  800 lbs Inflatable
Brooklyn Kayak Company 12’2″ 29″ 440 lbs 440 lbs Stable
Aqua Marina Steam 412 13’6″ 35″ 34.2 lbs 34.2 lbs Mild Rapids
Seaward G3 Passat 22’ 26″ 90 lbs 90 lbs Best Performance
Isle Switch SUP & Kayak 16’ 35″ 19 lbs 425 lbs Hybrid
Advance Elements AdvancedFrame 15’  32″ 23.6 lbs 550 lbs Mid-Range

Sit-on-top vs. Closed Cockpit

Are you looking for a kayak for paddling around on secluded lakes, basking in the sunshine? Or perhaps you’re looking for a fishing platform for two. A sit-on-top kayak is often the perfect choice for a tandem kayak, they give you plenty of space to move around and get comfortable, and they tend to be the most adaptable boats. 

But there are times when a closed cockpit is the answer. A secure cockpit will protect you from the elements if you want to take on long journeys through waves, down-frothing torrents of white water, or in cold climates.

Length of Double Kayaks

Now, a two-person kayak will be considerably longer than a solo boat, but they still come in various sizes. A longer two-person kayak usually carries more speed through the water than a shorter one. The faster option is usually far better at making tight twists and turns.

If you want to cover long distances on the water, a longer kayak will help you get there with much less effort. These longer kayaks are also usually far better at tracking through the wind, so you won’t be pushed around as much as you can be in shorter boats.

However, a comprehensive, short tandem kayak is perfect for rivers and bodies of water where you need to twist and turn or weave between rocks.
Length and width are two of the critical features which dictate how stable a kayak is. A wide kayak is usually a regular kayak and many recreational and fishing two-person kayaks are far broader than their solo counterparts to make up for the movement of two people.

Hull Shape

man and woman paddling kayak

Hull shape will also impact precisely how steady your dual kayak is and how quickly it goes. Without obtaining the technology below, a broad, flat hull, as you locate on most sit-on-top kayaks, is usually the best regarding initial stability. A rounded hull is typically much less steady, yet it can be better suited for tight turns and rivers.

A V-shaped hull supplies much less first stability but may give even more secondary strength. It is ideal for cutting through the water on long trips and carrying maximum speed.

There are balances to be located on every one of these, so weigh up what you need many. If you want to get more technical with types of stability, look into our Kayak Anatomy item from our Understanding Facility.

Outfitting

Kayak furnishing will undoubtedly affect the degree of control you have over your watercraft. Upper leg straps, a backrest, and footrests will all permit you to drive the kayak better and give you much more links, indicating it is easier to turn the kayak. This is specifically beneficial in rough problems or solid currents.

However, outfitting is also essential when selecting our kayak because it lets us be comfortable on long days out on the water.

A helpful seat, more supportive seats, and footrests to hold you into those seats are the minimum conventional you intend to search for. Encouraging only sometimes indicates one of the most crafted or expensive seats. Some seats are molded right into the plastic style of the watercraft and can be perfect for shorter trips or family members’ splash-around.

Think of how long you wish to spend on the water, whether you prioritize link and control or comfort, and choose your seats from there.

Ability

Two friends are swimming

Just how heavy are you? How severe are your possible paddling partners? What concerning all your equipment, your pet, your lunch, and your clothes? You wish to avoid buying a kayak to locate that when you have loaded everything right into it, it sits too low in the water.

Every boat has an optimum ability, and many have a minimum. It is recommended to stay within 70% of the optimum capacity for the finest efficiency, even with all your stuff!

 

What to Look for When Purchasing the Best Tandem Kayak

Kayaking is like meditation on the water

Kayaking is a fantastic way to explore the waterways, whether you’re a solo adventurer or prefer to share the experience with a companion. Tandem kayaking, in particular, offers a unique bonding opportunity and allows you to enjoy the adventure together.

However, choosing the right tandem kayak can take time and effort, considering the variety of available options. In this article, we will guide you through the key factors to consider when buying a tandem kayak,

Purpose and Intended Use

The first step in selecting a tandem kayak is determining its purpose and how you plan to use it. Are you looking for a kayak suitable for leisurely paddling on calm lakes and slow rivers, or do you intend to tackle more challenging waters, such as coastal areas or whitewater rapids? Understanding your primary use will help narrow down the options.

Kayak Design and Type

Couple Kayaking

Tandem kayaks come in various designs and types, each offering unique features and capabilities. Here are some popular techniques to consider:

  • Sit-On-Top Kayaks are easy to enter and exit, making them ideal for beginners and warm weather. They provide a more relaxed and open paddling experience.
  • Sit-In Kayaks: Sit-in kayaks offer a more traditional paddling experience and are better suited for colder climates. They provide better protection from the elements and have enclosed cockpits.
  • Inflatable Kayaks: If portability and storage are a concern, inflatable tandem kayaks are an excellent option. They can be easily deflated and packed into a compact size for transportation and storage.

Stability and Maneuverability

When selecting the best tandem kayaks, it’s crucial to consider their stability and maneuverability. Strength is significant for beginners or those who prefer a more relaxed paddling experience. Look for kayaks with a broader hull design or a more critical overall width, as they tend to provide better stability on the water.

Maneuverability, on the other hand, is crucial for navigating tight spaces, winding rivers, or when dealing with currents. Kayaks with shorter lengths and a more pronounced rocker (upward curvature on the bow and stern) generally offer enhanced maneuverability.

Weight and Capacity

Consider the weight and capacity of the tandem kayak, as it affects its transportability and overall performance. Ensure that the kayak can comfortably accommodate the combined weight of the paddlers and any additional gear you plan to carry. Also, check the kayak’s weight, especially if you frequently load and unload it independently.

Storage Space and Features

Evaluate the storage options and features offered by the tandem kayak. Look for kayaks with enough storage space for your needs, such as dry hatches, bungee cords, or deck rigging. These storage options are essential for keeping your items, food, and safety equipment secure during your kayaking adventures.

Consider additional features that enhance comfort and convenience, such as adjustable seats, foot braces, cup holders, paddle holders, and fishing rod holders. These features can significantly improve your overall experience on the water.

Wrapping Up

Purchasing the best tandem kayak involves considering multiple factors to ensure it aligns with your intended use and preferences by understanding its purpose, design, stability, maneuverability, weight capacity, storage options, and durability.

Remember to read reviews, seek recommendations, and test kayaks whenever possible before making your final purchase. With the right tandem kayak, you and your partner can embark on exciting adventures and create lasting memories on the water.

Quick Answer: Best Tandem Kayaks

 

Name
Length
Width
Weight
Ratings
Price
Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 16′ 38″ 50 lbs 4.8 Price Button
Brooklyn Kayak Company 12’2″ 29″ 440 lbs 4.6 Stars Price Button
Aqua Marina Steam 412 13’6″ 35″ 34.2 lbs 4.7 Stars Price Button
Seaward G3 Passat 22’ 26″ 90 lbs 4.7 Stars Price Button
Isle Switch SUP & Kayak 16’ 35″ 19 lbs 4.9 Stars Price Button
Advance Elements AdvancedFrame 15’  32″ 23.6 lbs 4.8 Price Button

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Best Helmets for Kayaking

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References:
https://www.divein.com/kayaking/tandem-kayaks/
https://paddlingspace.com/best-tandem-kayaks/
https://www.watersportswhiz.com/best-tandem-kayak/

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Our team of experts always takes into account key factors such as durability, price, quality, and overall value when conducting their assessments, so you can rest assured that you are getting the most accurate and relevant information possible.

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