Best Tandem Kayak Reviews

What is a 2 person kayak?

A 2 person kayak, otherwise called a tandem kayak, is simply a kayak that has room for two paddlers. This variety of kayaks is a relatively modern spinoff since kayaks were historically designed only for a single person.

Literally, the word ‘tandem’ means paddling in-line – it implies a 2 man kayak where both paddlers are paddling synchronously.

These kayaks can comprise of one of several different kinds of materials. The majority of these vessels is rotomolded plastic, wood, folding, fiberglass or inflatable.

These kayaks will either have a single large cockpit or a couple of separate cockpits, in case of a covered deck. It is preferable to have a large open cockpit with adjustable seat positions that allow for solo paddling or tandem paddling upon discretion; this would also allow more room for storing cargo.

Individual cockpits enable the use of sprayskirts, but even if they aren’t present, the paddlers are kept dry thanks to the enclosed deck.

Tandem kayaks have wider beams which require somewhat longer paddles (to make up for the extra width). They will move swifter in the water as a result of their longer waterlines (the length of the boat which is in contact with the water) and the fact that there are two pair of arms paddling together instead of just a single one.

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Note that it is essential that the kayakers work in tandem with these kayaks to avoid paddling in a manner which cancels their efforts. Normally, the stronger paddler takes the stern position whereas the weaker paddler sits in the bow, in order to set the pace of the paddling.

If required, the weaker paddler can changer the length of their paddle to keep up with the stronger paddler. If done correctly, the paddling teamwork will allow for quick traveling.

As a result of the weight and length rations of the tandem paddlers, these kayaks can occasionally become difficult to turn – this will also require a degree of teamwork.

In order to turn a tandem kayak, the kayakers will have to paddle on opposing sides and directions – as the paddler in the bow makes a forward stroke, the paddler in the stern has to make a simultaneous backward stroke on the opposite side i.e. creating a pivoted movement together. This can be a bit trick for first timers who may want to include a rudder for navigation / course correction.

Tandem kayaking is ideal for developing a sense of companionship and teamwork between two people. It is often enjoyed by couples where both people share a passion for kayaking. Some people use tandems to take their kids on boating expeditions or when they plan a water trip with someone who doesn’t have any experience in kayaking.

Top Tandem Kayaks

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

The Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak is great for exploring a river, pond or lake you love. The 2 person inflatable kayak has a streamlined design, and at a price of just $120.79, is ideal for any beginner kayaking couple who want to try the sport out together to see if they like it or not.

Thanks to its inflatable build and 34 pound weight, it can easily be handled and operated by newcomers.

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is sporty and fun with a streamlined design for easy paddling
  • The bright green color and sporty graphics make the kayak highly visible in the water
  • Two 86 inch aluminum paddles and an Intex high-output pump for easy inflation and deflation
  • Made of company's rugged, Super-Tough vinyl that's puncture- and UV damage-resistant for long term durability
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 138 inches (W x H x D) inflated, with 400-pound maximum weight limit; includes two 86-inch aluminum oars, high-capacity pump, and repair patch kit


  • Inflatable and lightweight for quick and easy handling
  • 30 gauge PVC vinyl composition makes it endure rougher waters as well as the elements
  • Included aluminum oars, backrest, front/back grabline and cargo net
  • Optional directional skeg aids in navigation – particularly for people who are new to tandem kayaking and have difficulty in synchronized turns
  • Double quick hand pump lets you quickly inflate and deflate the kayak – ideal for longer trips where you’ll be changing camps several times
  • Extremely cheap at $120 – excellent for those who are unsure about kayaking in tandem and want to try it out
  • The middle seat can be removed to convert the inflatable tandem kayak into a one person vessel for solo excursions
  • An additional air chamber is present for safety – it ensure that you remain afloat no matter what


  • The limited carry capacity of 350 pounds leaves little room for extra cargo.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 is a well-crafted two person inflatable kayak which comes with its own paddles, double quick hand pump and patch kit. You can easily fit it, along with the accessories, in a storage bag and, thanks to its light weight, move it from your vehicle to the water. This tandem inflatable kayak’s construction focuses on relaxed water traversing so it performs well in lakes / mild rivers, but some users have even reported success in Class II and III water bodies!

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • COMFORTABLE FOR ANYONE: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest;Cockpit designed for comfort and space
  • DIMENSIONS: Inflated size 10 feet 3 X 3 feet X 1 feet 8 Inch . Maximum weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • DIRECTIONAL STABILITY: Removable skeg for directional stability
  • INCREASED VISIBILITY: In case of emergency, bright yellow color helps visibility
  • MADE FOR SMALLER BODIES OF WATER: Explorer K2 is made for smaller bodies of water including lakes and mild rivers


  • Track great in all depths of water thanks to the removable skeg
  • Reinforced floor with an I-beam build
  • Able to sustain itself even in rough waters thanks to rugged construction
  • Adjustable seats let you personalize your kayaking experience
  • At around $180, it offers great value for the money, especially with the added accessories
  • Striking yellow color offers visibility in the water, and is the reason why the US Coast Guard have rated it highly in terms of safety and reliability
  • You can paddle solo, but you’ll have to put some of the gear in the vacant front seat to balance it out
  • The kayak is stable enough to allow for a trip with your dog
  • Can be used for fishing, since it rides flat on the water


  • Black colored bottom absorbs heat from sunlight and can buckle. This isn’t really a problem since no users have reported any loss in performance/reliability after buckling happened. Only, the kayak won’t be able to lie flat on the ground anymore.

Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak

The Lifetime Manta tandem kayak is a ten foot long, $600, 2 person kayak which can hold as many as three i.e. two paddlers along with a child/pet, thanks to its weight carrying ability of 500 pounds.

It is meant for multi-purpose recreational kayaking and provides comfortable, balanced seating for tandem as well as solo or family adventures.

Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles and Backrests, 10 Feet, Yellow
  • Designed for single or tandem use; 500 Lb. weight capacity
  • Includes 2 soft backrests and 2 double sided paddles. UV-Protected Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) Rotational Molded Construction
  • Lightweight 60 lb. design with molded front and rear carry handles for easy transport
  • Tunnel hull design provides ultra stability and tracking; Almost impossible to tip over
  • "High and Dry" seating keeps riders off of kayak floor; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty


  • The two seats have padded backrests and are adjustable to maximize comfort throughout the kayaking trip
  • In order to minimize foot cramping, this tandem sit on top kayak incorporates multiple footrest positions so it can be used by paddlers of any size
  • With a hull constructed of high density polyethylene plastic, it can withstand knocking by underwater objects and maintain its stability as it does so
  • The outer shell is UV protected for extra ruggedness, meaning it will survive exposure to the elements and maintain its shape and color even after a long period of use
  • The hull is designed to provide greater stability and tracking, which can be improved further by including a rudder at its bottom
  • Interior foam provides further buoyancy, keeping it afloat even in loaded conditions
  • Roomy cargo hold at the front of the boat lets you pack in a considerable amount of gear. Elastic bungee cords provide holding ability for extra item that you need quick access too
  • Thanks to scupper holes running through the hull, the boat doesn’t require you to bail water from it, even in the roughest conditions


  • Although it describes itself as being able to carry 3 people, the third person has to be a child.

Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak

Described as ‘the ultimate fishing kayak’, but its manufacturer, it has quite a claim to measure up to. But this sit-on-top tandem kayak, with its abundance of fishing friendly features does indeed prove its worth.

Costing a reasonable $520, this olive green 10 foot long boat is good enough for three people to sit in and allows for one of the most stable fishing experiences we’ve ever witnessed.

Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak, 10 Feet, Olive Green
  • Blow molded from High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty
  • Designed to seat up to 3 people; 500 lb. weight capacity
  • Hull design provides ultra stability and great trackingDurable High-Density UV-Protected Polyethylene HDPE Construction Resists Fading, Cracking, and Peeling
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders
  • Includes: 2 double-sided paddles, paddle clips, 2 padded backrests, 3 fishing pole holders, and a 6' storage hatch


  • The tunnel hull construction of this vessel makes it super stable which allows the kayakers to enjoy fishing even when standing up inside the boat. The construction also enhances its tracking prowess
  • The seating is comfortable and well balanced for tandem, solo or family fun. It is also high and dry so that the paddler doesn’t feel lost in the boat
  • Dedicated fishing pole holders as well as shock cord straps and ditty trays let you easily position your fishing equipment for the best catch
  • Several foot rest positions enable it to be used by different sized kayakers.
  • The 500 pound carrying capacity makes it ideal for proper fishing expeditions involving lots of gear as besides multiple fishermen
  • Front / back molded cradles for holding paddles as well as paddle clips on either side
  • Storage hatch at the back to keep water sensitive cargo
  • Scupper holds to automatically drain cockpit area of water
  • Comprised of durable, high density polyethylene, it is rugged enough to survive harsh conditions and thanks to the UV protection on its top layer, doesn’t fade, peel or crack as a result of sunlight
  • 10 feet compact design coupled with molded front/back carry handles allow for quick and easy transportation


  • Isn’t the fastest vessel out there, but that’s really because its primary function is fishing, which requires stability that is achieved by sacrificing speed.
  • Although it says three people in the product description, the third person has to be a child.


A two person kayak can only be fun when you’ve got a kayaking buddy who’s as enthusiastic about it as you are. It requires some time to learn to work as a team but once you do, a tandem kayak makes short work of long journey and the companionship it provides makes it that much more adventurous when going out on a long expedition.

You can find many a good tandem kayak for sale online at discounted prices.

Interested in inflatable kayaks click here or touring kayaks click here for our breakdown on these types.