tandem kayak children

Top 10 Tandem Kayaks [Reviews & Buying Guide 2019]

Shaun Chung Kayak, Tandem Leave a Comment

Tandem kayaks are great way for two or three people paddle together.

When you rent a kayak for a day to enjoy with your friend or family, then tandem would be perfect choice to have fun together.

However, you need to be cautious when you plan to own a kayak. You have to ask yourself whether you have a partner who wants or needs to be on the same kayak with you most of the times when you go kayaking. Because eventually most adults want to enjoy with their own kayak rather than paddling together with someone else.

Many people go kayaking to feel freedom, to relax, and to release your stress from work or home. I have seen people who start kayaking with tandem kayak and buy another ones with single kayaks very shortly. When you go kayaking, you will see many couples enjoying kayaking separately with single kayaks.

If you are looking for a kayak to enjoy with your children, then tandem kayak is best choice for you without any doubt. Also, tandem kayaks could be useful when fishing because you can remove one seat and use that space to carry lots of fishing gears and equipment.

Quick Answer: Best Tandem Kayaks

Whitewater Kayaking: 2. 380x Explorer™

Racing: 5. 473rl RazorLite™

Touring: 10. Advanced Frame Convertible

Fishing 

Top 10 Tandem Kayak Reviews

1.  Vibe – Yellowfin 130T

Vibe Yellowfin 130T hardshell sit on top tandem fishing kayak

Vibe is well-known brand for fishing kayak.  Yellowfin 130T is one of the popular tandem kayak model.

You can choose to paddle double or solo. Many people choose tandem model even if they paddle solo because they want to load lots of fishing gears. Some people load battery for their fish finder, tackle boxes, rods, coolers and even camping equipment on their kayak.

This kayak has great stability, so you can stand-up fishing. People are very impressed with the overall quality of the product and the customer service.

Yellowfin 130T is great value for the money especially when it is compared to kayaks from other well-known brands such as Hobie, Jackson, and Old Town.

Kayak Activity Type: Fishing, River, Flat water, Touring

Average Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Total 24 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 13 x 2.9
  • Hull Weight: 80 lb
Features & Warranty
  • Comfortable, adjustable seats and foot braces
  • 2 Flush mount fishing rod holders
  • 2 Mounts for rectangular base accessories (Fish-finder)
  • Tackle tray holders: Fits PLANO™ 3600 tackle tray
  • Tackle toss tray for quick tackle changes
  • 12 scupper holes and rudder included
  • 1 Year Warranty

2.  Sea Eagle – 380x Explorer™ Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle 380x Explorer inflatable sit on top tandem kayak for whitewater kayaking

If you are looking for a 2 person inflatable kayak which you can use from any type of water condition, 380x Explorer™ would be a good choice.

To learn more about this kayak, see 1. 300x Explorer™ from Top 10 Inflatable Kayaks (2019 Review).

380x Explorer™ and 300x Explorer™ have exactly same features, but just different sizes, weights, and weight capacity.

Kayak Activity Type:  Whitewater, Flat water, Ocean, Surfing

Average Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Total 91 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 750 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 12.5 x 3.2
  • Interior (ft): 11.7 x 1.2
  • Hull Weight: 40 lb
  • Inflation time: 8 min
Features & Warranty
  • 16 High capacity self-bailing drain valves
  • 24 D-rings to secure seat and gear
  • Front & rear spray skirts with carry handles and bungee cords
  • Super rigid, high pressure, drop stitch floor
  • 3 Years warranty, 180 days risk-free period

3.  Brooklyn Kayak Company – PK14

Brooklyn Kayak Company - PK14 - sit-on-top hardshell fishing tandem kayak with pedal system

PK14 is an ideal tandem kayak for fishing and touring.

This model is awesome because of the Dual Pedal Drive System. Pedal system allows your hands to be free from paddling, so it helps a lot especially when you are fishing. Also with the Rudder-Controlled Steering, it allows for precise, responsive turns with no paddle steering required.

Usually when you are on kayak for fishing, you stay longer than you probably think. So, the quality of seats is very important thing you should consider. When you are on the uncomfortable seat for long hours, next day you will have terrible back pain. Then, you don’t want to go or you may not able to go for kayaking for a while. This model provides very nice seats with ergonomic design.

The downsides of this model are the price and the weight. Starting price for kayaks with pedal system is normally about $2000. If you are not big fan of the pedal system and not into fishing, this is not recommended to you because you are actually paying a lot for the pedal system. The weight for this kayak is 99 lb which is really heavy. If you always have a partner, helping you to launch your kayak and loading it back to your roof rack after use, it should be fine. But if that is not the case, we wouldn’t recommend this model.

Instead,  BKC-PK13 model is recommended for 1 person kayak with pedal system.

Kayak Activity Type: Fishing, Flat water, Touring

Average Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) Total 9 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 660 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 14 x 2.8
  • Hull Weight: 99 lb
Features & Warranty
  • Dual Pedal Drive System
  • Rudder-Controlled Steering
  • Ergonomic Seat Design
  • 3 Watertight Hatches with Dry Bag insert
  • 12 Scupper Plugs
  • 6 Different Colors Option: Blue, Red, Yellow, Camo, Blue Camo, Grey
  • 5 Years Warranty: Hull and deck
  • 1 Year Warranty: Parts and accessories

4.  Sea Eagle – 385fta FastTrack™ Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Sea Eagle385fta fasttrack inflatable fishing kayak for 1 person or 2 person

385fta FastTrack™ is a best tandem kayak for fishing. If you want to learn more about this kayak, see Top 10 Fishing Kayaks (2019 Review).

Kayak Activity Type: Fishing, Flat Water, Calm Ocean

Average Review Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) Total 16 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 635 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 12.5 x 3
  • Interior (ft): 11.6 x 1.5
  • Hull Weight: 44 lb
  • Inflation time: 7 min
Features & Warranty
  • Plenty of storage for fishing gears
  • Built-in 36″ fish ruler
  • 18 D-rings to secure seat and gear
  • 2 Open and close drain valves
  • Front & rear spray skirts
  • Built-in rod, tool, hook and lure holders
  • Non-slip crocodile hide EVA foam padding on floor
  • More durable 29% thicker 1000 denier
  • 3 Years warranty, 180 days risk-free period

5.  Sea Eagle – 473rl RazorLite™ Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle fastest inflatable kayak razorlite 473rl tandem

473rl RazorLite is just tandem setup of 393rl RazorLite. They have exactly same features except that 473rl has 2’8″ longer and its weight capacity is 250 lb higher. If you are interested in this model, check 4. 393rl RazorLite review from Top 10 Inflatable Kayaks (2019 Review).

Kayak Activity Type: Flat water, Racing

Average Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) Total 30 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 750 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 15.5 x 2.5
  • Interior (ft): 14.8 x 1.7
  • Hull Weight: 44 lb
  • Inflation time: 8 min
Features & Warranty
  • Fully Constructed with Drop Stitch Technology
  • 14 D-Rings to Secure Seats and FootRests
  • Ultra lightweight, easy to transport, inflate and pack up
  • 2 Open and close drain valves
  • 3 Years Warranty, 180 Days Risk-free Period

6.  Sea Eagle – 435ps Paddleski™ Inflatable Kayak 

Sea Eagle - 435ps Paddleski™ Inflatable Kayak with honda gas motor, pontoon style, tandem kayak.

Normally, you don’t get to have both stability and speed in a kayak. But, 435ps Paddleski™ model will satisfy you on both.

This model is constructed with a unique design called catamaran which means the center cockpit floor rides 4″ above the waterline, greatly reducing the drag of this kayak on the water. This unique design makes it faster to paddle, motor and sail.

It is the most versatile kayak because you can choose to paddle, row, motor, sail, and fish. The price is a little bit higher than other models but you’d be better off in the long run.

Kayak Activity Type: Touring, Fishing, Sailing, Flat water, Calm ocean

Average Review Score: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) Total 37 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 650 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 14.5 x 3.2
  • Interior (ft): 12.5 x 1.3
  • Hull Weight: 42 lb
  • Inflation time: 7 min
Features & Warranty
  • Catamaran design, pontoon style (super stable, sailed safely in winds up to 15 knots)
  • Three aluminum yokes for a rigid structure
  • 16 D-Rings to secure seats and gear
  • 2 Skegs for directional stability
  • Option to install gas motor or electric motor
  • 3 Years Warranty, 180 Days Risk-free Period

7.  Brooklyn Kayak Company – TK181

Brooklyn Kayak Company - TK181 Hardshell Tandem Fishing Kayak

TK181 is a tandem fishing kayak and it is a bit lighter than other tandem fishing kayaks. So the weight capacity is relatively lower.  If you have gears to load on kayak, then two grown adults might be over the limit of weight capacity for this model.

This one is good if you are planning take your child with you for fishing. Or, this would be perfect size for you to use it as a single fishing kayak after removing one seat. It also has good stability.

Kayak Activity Type:  Fishing, Flat water, Touring

Average Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) Total 59 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 440 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 12.4 x 2.8
  • Hull Weight: 68 lb
Features & Warranty
  • 3 articulated fishing rod holders (two on the side, one at the front)
  • 4 flush-mounted rod holders
  • Waterproof Storage Hatches
  • 5 Years Warranty: Hull and deck
  • 1 Year Warranty: Parts and accessories

8.  Driftsun – Rover 220 Inflatable Kayak

Driftsun inflatable tandem kayak Rover 220

Driftsun kayaks have good review scores with positive reviews from the buyers.  Rover 220 has very comfortable seat and great stability which even allow you to stand up on kayak.

With Reinforced Layered PVC Construction, it allows the kayak to safely bounce off rocks, logs and other whitewater obstacles without worries of damage or puncture.

Rover 220 has front action camera mount, so if you want to record a video while kayaking you will like this model.

When Rover 220 is compared to the 2. 380x Explorer, Rover 220 is $300 cheaper and its weight is 12 lb lighter. However, 380x has 150 lb higher weight capacity and 9 more Self-bailing Drain Valves. Their length and width are exactly same. While Sea Eagle provides 3 years warranty with 180 days risk free period, Driftsun provides 1 year warranty. Rover 220 would be good choice when Sea Eagle 380x is pricey to you.

Kayak Activity Type: Whitewater, Flat water
Average Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) Total 25 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 600 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 12.5 x 3.2
  • Hull Weight: 28 lb
  • Inflation time: 9 min
Features & Warranty
  • Adjustable EVA padded seats with high back support
  • Front action camera mount included
  • High pressure drop stitch floor
  • Handle up to class III and IV rapids with speed and control
  • Reinforced layered PVC construction
  • Removable rear tracking skeg
  • 7 Rapid self-bailing drain plugs
  • 1 Year Warranty

9.  Driftsun – Teton 120 Recreational Tandem Hard Shell Kayak

Driftsun Teton 120 hardshell tandem kayak

Teton 120T is great tandem kayak for those looking to paddle, fish, and explore with a friend or family.

There are 3 seating positions where you can have two adults and a child or rover, and 4 flush mount rod holders, two at the front and two at the back. Also there are two active rod holder mounting points you can install in front of each passenger seat.

Each passenger gets built-in cup holder and sealed dry storage hatches to store their cell phones or fishing tools.

This model has three different colors you can choose: blue, green, and orange.

Kayak Activity Type:Fishing, Flat water, Touring

Average Review Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) Total 2 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 12.2 x 2.7
  • Hull Weight: 72 lb
Features & Warranty
  • 3 articulated fishing rod holders (two on the side, one at the front)
  • Adjustable EVA Padded Seats
  • 4 Flush Mount Capped Rod Holders
  • 2 Sealed Dry Storage Hatches
  • 2 Mounting Points for Scotty Accessories
  • 2 Built-In Cup Holders
  • 1 Year Warranty

10.  Advanced Elements – Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

best product in amazon prime, advanced element inflatable tandem sit in kayak

Advanced Frame Convertible model is the most popular one from Advanced Elements brand. This model has a lot of customer reviews, and it is chosen as Amazon’s Choice with high ratings.

If you are looking for a portable tandem kayak which you can use for touring on flat water, this would be good choice for you.

Unlike other kayaks under Top 10 list, this is the only sit in kayak. The length of this kayak is about 15 ft which is very long, so it is good for tall people as well.

Kayak Activity Type: Flat water, Touring

Average Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) Total 102 Reviews

Specifications
  • Weight Capacity: 550 lb
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons
  • Length x Width (ft): 15 x 2.7
  • Hull Weight: 52 lb
  • Inflation time: 10 min
Features & Warranty
  • Adjustable seat position to paddle solo or tandem
  • Durable with 3 Layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
  • 1 Year warranty, 60 days new/unopened return policy

Kayak Buying Guide – Best Kayaks for Beginners

Kayaking is a fun sport. It is exciting, healthy, and adventurous.

However, before you go into kayaking, you need to be aware of several factors that should influence your decision on kayaks to invest in.

Before you choose the type of kayak to choose, you need to know your kayaking goals.

On the closer look of things, there is no such thing as kayaks for beginners; all you need to do is consider some factor. 

Here are SIX factors you should consider before you choose a kayak to invest in as a beginner;

Type of Water You Want to Navigate

You have to consider the conditions of the body of water you are planning to navigate during kayaking. The water current is an essential factor to consider. Is it going to be a calm lake, a river with high current or the open ocean?

Age of Participants

One of the most crucial factors to consider is the age of the person(s) involved in the kayaking activity. The type of kayak an adult will use will be different from what a child will fit into due to several reasons.

Number of  People Using the Kayak

Kayaking can be fun with others, and this is why you have to consider if you are doing it with others or alone. For kayaking with others, you need a kayak with multiple seats, while you need a kayak with one seat if you are doing it alone.

Weight

You surely need to carry your kayaks at one time or the other. It might be when you want to store the kayak or when you need to place it in the water, which is why you must know your weight limit for easy lifting.

Budget Friendliness

If you are planning on getting a kayak, you need to know which type of kayak suits your budget and needs. New kayakers need to know that there is a wide range in the price of kayaks, with the range going from as far as over $3000 difference. You can find the cheapest kayaks for as low as $100 while there are also kayaks that cost over $3000.

Your Preference: Sitting In or Sitting Out

Kayaks come in two styles. Some kayaks are made for you to sit inside the kayaks in a low position, while the others are made for you to sit at the top.

A sit-in kayak will give you better control due to the low center of gravity, while a sit on a kayak will help you relax better and fish for people interested in fishing.

Tips for Beginners – Kayaking with Kids

Kayaking with kids can be a memorable adventure. You should plan well and be an experienced kayaker yourself. You will need a 2 person kayak. This can be an inflatable kayak. The 2-seater kayak should have one child and one experienced kayaker. Two kids should not be teamed up with one kayaker, even if it is tandem kayak. There should be no room for surprises with the exception of the scenic beauty the children will get to explore and the fun they can have.

Every adult accompanying a child should be experienced in kayaking including paddling efficiently and must be totally trustworthy. Always choose the calmest waters. Never choose a course that has any of its parts categorized beyond class one. The best courses are slow rivers, peaceful bays and small protected lakes. Even after choosing the safest and calmest water, you must be aware of currents, tides and kayak traffic for the course.

Kayaking with kids should not be a daylong expedition. It should be half an hour for the first time. Older kids can easily spend an hour or longer. If you have a toddler or a baby, try to limit your expedition to the edge of the water. If you have to plan a long expedition, split it up into short trips. Pause at strategic places, especially where the toilets are. Not all kids experience the same level of comfort during kayaking. Familiarity of a child with water, ability to swim or the lack of it, strength and coordination of the kid and of course age or maturity will influence their experience.

You may want to get your child familiar with water in community pools. A better option is to get your child signed up for swimming lessons for a few weeks or months before you embark on the expedition. You can also teach slightly older kids the basics of kayaking, even paddling. A tandem kayak is great for children aged less than four. Children aged four to seven can do well on a 2 person kayak. Teenagers can get an inflatable kayak of their own.

Go for a 2-seater kayak with double paddles if your child can lend a hand. You can get smaller paddles for the children and regular sized ones for the adults. Safety gear such as personal floatation devices is a must. Toddlers or babies often dislike the personal floatation devices. Prepare them in advance so they are comfortable during the trip. You should have a safety line and float gear including paddle float for every adult, a throw bad for every adult and a tow line for every kayak. Do not tether or tie a kid to the kayak. This poses more risks with very little or no protection.

Pack some healthy snacks and have enough water. Hydration is important, especially for children. Buy weather and course appropriate clothing. Whether it is hot or cold, drier or wetter will influence the choice of clothing. Choose breathable fibers layered with water resistant material. Get waterproof boots for the kids, have extra pants or clothes, use enough sunscreen and give the children wide brimmed hats.

As a beginner, there are different types of kayaks to consider and choose from. There are kayaks made for hitting the rough water, while there are also the ones made if you want to go fishing in a more relaxed mood.

If you are paddling alongside a partner, you need to consider that when choosing the type of kayak to purchase.

Kayaking is an excellent sport and should be enjoyed at all times. It allows you to enjoy the outdoors; stay fit, and get your body going.

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