Advantages of a tandem kayak
A tandem kayak allows you to go out on the water as a team rather than as individuals. It is easier to keep two people together in a kayak, and if you want to take your kids with you for instance, a tandem kayak can be a great option.
A tandem kayak can also mean less space is required for storage that taking two individual kayaks. It will be simple and easy for two of you to carry the kayak between you, especially if it is inflatable.
The social side of a tandem kayak is fantastic: it means that fishing as a duo is far more simple, and can also make it more of a family activity.
Features to consider when choosing a tandem kayak
Some of the terminology and features and functionality can be daunting if you are new to kayaks. You may not understand much about the materials they are made of, or the benefits of one type of kayak over another. We’ve discussed the vital features below. These are the features we considered when we were coming up with our list of the best tandem kayaks.
Type of kayak: sit-on-top vs. sit-inside
Sit-on-top vs sit-inside is one of the key decisions you may need to make when you are choosing a tandem kayak. However, there isn’t necessarily advice that we can give you on which is better. It basically boils down to personal preference.
A sit-inside option will feel more like a canoe which you are securely fastened within, whereas a sit-on-top feels more like you are on a small boat. Sit-on-top is marginally more popular and there may be a few more options with this design, but you need to consider which you will find the most suitable and comfy before deciding. If you don’t have any preference, then this shouldn’t be something you think too much about before buying. You can get equally effective tandem kayaks in either design.
Inflatable vs. hard shell kayaks
Contrary to what instincts might tell you, inflatable kayaks tend to be more stable. They have flat bottoms and stay very stable when you are on the water. They are also very tough to tip over so they feel very safe for beginners. The Intex K2 is an example of an affordable, yet stable kayak which is inflatable in design.
Obviously, inflatable options are much more easily portable. You can deflate the kayak and put it in the trunk of your car or even in a bag, ready to take on your next trip. If storage space and portability are important then it is worth spending some time looking at inflatable options.
Weight capacity is quite a big consideration for most tandem kayaks. Some options have capacities of around 400lb, which may be fine, but if you weigh 200lb and your tandem partner weighs 180lb, you only have 20lb to play with for storage.
You need to consider your cargo as well as your own weight, so if you plan to take a lot of stuff out on the water with you then a higher weight capacity is preferable.
Also, if you are large in build, make sure you have a kayak which can handle this. The Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 Tandem Fishing Kayak
has an incredible 770lb of capacity.
A longer kayak will mean a lot more legroom, and sometimes means that you can convert your tandem kayak into a 3-person kayak. A normal length for a kayak is 10-14 feet. If you are not buying an inflatable option, you should think carefully about the length. Will it fit into your mode of transport?
The length is important for considering portability, but it can also be vital to legroom and storage. A longer kayak will often have more storage room and space for you to comfortably sit. On the other hand, a shorter kayak is easier to use.
Another hugely important feature of your kayak when it comes to portability is the weight. This will help you to establish how easy it is to move your kayak. Obviously, inflatable models are going to be lighter in weight.
The highly-rated Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak weighs just 28lb. On the other hand, the sturdy and larger Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 weighs 77lb.
Comfort: seats and adjustability
If you plan to spend a lot of time in your tandem kayak, comfort is a must. The seats are the main thing that can impact your comfort. The variation in seat design and quality is really quite huge. If you’ll be spending long spells sitting in your kayak, for instance, if you are looking for the best tandem fishing kayak, then you should make sure you will be comfy throughout.
The main thing that impacts the comfort is the seats. Some have adjustable backrests and allow you to customize the shape to suit your body. An example of this technology is the Perception Cove Sit Inside Tandem Kayak. The adjustable backrest is also paired with adjustable footrests. The feet can be moved up and down to suit your height. If you are kayaking with kids, this is a great feature for making sure they are comfortable.
Material(s), stability, and overall construction
The construction and stability of your tandem kayak should definitely be considered. If you are looking to buy an inflatable model, think about the punctures. What kind of PVC is used? How does the kayak avoid getting punctured?
Also, think about the stability, which can be greatly helped by including a wider bottom and rounded hull. This can make it far more difficult to rock or tip the kayak. The wider the kayak is, the less it tends to flip or cause any instability.
Many of the sit-on-top kayaks have a double hull which is very stable. However, for sit-in kayaks these aren’t very common at all.
The construction and build-quality should always be considered. Fortunately, on our list, pretty much all of the products are very well built and durable. The Perception Pescador Sit On Top Tandem Kayak is an example of this build quality, with a one-piece design and a lot of strength and durability.
Another thing you should factor into your buying decision is the extra features included, and any extra accessories that the tandem kayak might ship with. This can include things like handgrips, fishing rod holders, storage and stowing compartments, waterproof sections and more.
There are a lot of different manufacturers, all trying to outdo each other. These extra features can make a big difference.
If you are going for an inflatable kayak, make sure it comes with a repair kit and a pump for easy inflation.