Have you ever imagined paddling, almost effortlessly, down a large body of water with your partner, friend, or family member?
Even though that might sound too good to be true, this daydream could easily become reality. Just pick out your favorite body of water, ask someone to come along, and you are ready for an adventure or a relaxing day in nature – that’s assuming you own a tandem kayak.
When it comes to picking out the best tandem kayaks, too many available options may make your choice a bit difficult. You should know about the different types of tandem kayaks and their features.
Even though there are quite a few tandem kayaks out there that can offer a premium kayaking experience, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado may outperform the competition overall. This tandem inflatable kayak offers pristine handling worthy of more expensive or bigger models. The tracking should be ideally suitable for both beginners and experienced kayakers due to the Sevylor’s extended reinforced hull.
You won’t risk flipping over even if you choose to take this kayak to whitewater. And the Sevylor tandem inflatable is the only kayak that features military-grade PVC that may outperform some more expensive hardshell models.
Also, this model offers one of the greatest storage capacities, with more than a few compartments to store your gear or secure your fishing rods.
What’s more, you get a 10-foot kayak that can be easily deflated and packed for convenient transport. Additionally, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is the only kayak we liked that features a motor mount, giving you the ability to extend the usability of this kayak.
Best Tandem Kayaks 2021
First off let’s jump right in the comparison table, In addition to that read our Buyer’s Guide for more information that will help you.
1. Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak – Lightweight and Fishing Ready
The Lifetime 10 ft Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak offers a compact and lightweight solution for your fishing adventures. You can easily carry it even on your own and you shouldn’t worry about the transportation because it can fit smaller vehicles.
The Lifetime measures 120 x 36 x 19 inches and weighs only 60 pounds. But despite such small dimensions it can sit up to 3 people, or be more precise two adults and one child.
The inner sides of this tandem kayak are grooved to provide enough footrest even for those who are more than 6 feet tall. Besides the footrest function, these grooves give the kayak additional structural integrity and flexibility.
The hull sits relatively flat to the surface, which offers increased stability and optimal tracking. The bottom of the hull has three sections, with the mid-section extending slightly beyond the sides.
This three-section design should allow you to paddle the Lifetime easier than some other sit-on-top kayaks. It also minimizes rocking from side to side if you encounter waves or harsh waters.
The Lifetime tandem kayak has a weight capacity of 500 pounds and provides more than enough displacement when it is fully loaded.
Unlike some other models, you get two paddles so you will be ready to hit the water as soon as you get this kayak. The Lifetime fishing kayak comes in two colors: olive green and camouflage, both of which should keep you stealthy and away from the eyes of your prey.
It is made of high-quality polyethylene to provide you with an optimal balance between rigidity and flexibility. The Lifetime tandem kayak won’t break easily in case of a collision with anything.
This tandem kayak comes with a few add-ons that you may need on a fishing trip. There are three holders for your fishing rods and a storage hatch for your other gear.
Also, the seats have padded backs and are strapped to the sides of the hull, so they can be easily removed. The padding should give you enough comfort even if you spend more than a few hours in this tandem kayak.
It became obvious to us in this Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak review that the Lifetime is one of the top picks among hardshell double kayaks for its overall design, price, and other features.
2. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 – Best High-end Hardshell Tandem Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 Tandem Kayak is quite bigger than the Lifetime Fisher Kayak. Actually, it is the longest and heaviest hardshell tandem kayak in this review.
This tandem kayak measures 163 x 34 x 17 inches and weighs 70 pounds. This should be more than enough for three adults to easily sit up and have a comfortable kayaking experience.
But, you won’t be able to easily carry it on your own and it requires a bigger vehicle or a roof rack for transport. But, the size comes with some benefits.
If you choose the Sun Dolphin you may bring a couple of friends or your family for a fun day on the water. There are three storage compartments in this kayak.
The hatched front storage is near the forward kayaker and the back storage is in front of the stern seat. The middle storage compartment is the biggest, allowing you to place more gear, and it is located close to the middle seat.
The seats are ergonomic and made of high-end materials. Also, you get the option to adjust your seats which can come in handy if you are planning a long-haul kayaking trip.
There is enough legroom for tall people and there are few footrests. The Bali is made of high-quality UV protected plastic and offers great rigidity and durability.
The overall weight capacity of this tandem kayak is 500 pounds. This should provide you with ideal displacement considering the weight and size of this kayak. When fully loaded this kayak sits comfortably on top of the water.
The Sun Dolphin hull is also streamlined, allowing you easily cut through the water while staying high above the waterline even in rough conditions. The hull features self-bailing technology which ejects excess water from the kayak.
In the stern of this tandem kayak, there is an open cargo section slightly raised to fit a third kayaker. The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 is available in two colors of lime and ocean.
3. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two – Family-friendly yet Affordable
This Ocean Tandem sit-on-top kayak is a medium-sized double kayak. However, it can comfortably seat two adults and a child.
The Malibu Two by Ocean Kayak measures 144 x 34 x 20 inches and weighs 57 pounds. These dimensions make the kayak easily transportable and you could possibly carry it on your own.
The weight capacity of this tandem kayak is between 375 and 425 pounds, which may be enough for two adults and a child. This capacity in combination with the streamlined hull should offer optimal displacement and put you at ease about capsizing or excessive rocking.
However, despite the convenient size and weight, you will probably need a roof rack to transport the Malibu Two.
To make carrying and transportation easier, this tandem kayak features bow and stern carry handles.
What’s more, unlike some other models this is a tandem kayak with a child seat which makes it ideally suited for families. There are three molded seat wells so you should be able to easily find the optimal seating position.
But you should be aware of the fact that there is very little room to store your extra gear. There are some dents in the stern and bow to store a bag, but the rigging is limited so it might not hold well. For this reason, this tandem kayak is well suited for families with minimal storage needs.
The Ocean Tandem features two Comfort Plus molded seats made of durable material that should fit you snugly even over long distances. There are footrests on the sides of the hull.
This tandem kayak can easily be converted to a single by placing the comfort seat in the middle sitting position. And this tandem kayak also comes with gear straps and a skid plate.
And another thing you can choose between three color combinations: Envy (white and green), Sunrize (red and yellow), or just yellow.
4. Sea Eagle SE370 – Budget-friendly with Great Accessories
The Sea Eagle 370 is the first inflatable tandem kayak on our list. If you are worried about storing or transporting your double kayak, this model might be the thing you are looking for.
It can be easily inflated and deflated and it comes with a duffle bag and a foot pump to make the entire process much easier. When deflated it weighs only 26 pounds so you may be able to place the Sea Eagle in a bigger backpack and carry it with you.
The dimensions of this Sea Eagle inflatable kayak are 144 x 34 x 19 inches when deflated, but when it is inflated it may fit up to three persons. Even though the Sea Eagle SE370 weighs only 26 pounds, it has a weight capacity of 650 pounds.
When fully loaded, this capacity combined with the two bottom skegs should give you optimal displacement and increased speed. This double kayak tracks well and should be suitable for Class III whitewater.
The seats are also inflatable and you can easily move or remove them to fit your kayaking preferences. They are well designed for you to sink comfortably into the seat with more than enough legroom.
The Sea Eagle is made of durable UV protected rubber which is resistant to saltwater. The hull sits relatively flat to the water, which provides decent stability and maneuverability.
Even though you may want to take the Sea Eagle to the whitewater or the open sea, this tandem kayak is ideally suited for lakes and stream paddling. The skegs that come with this tandem kayak can provide you with increased stability and reduce zig-zagging.
The Sea Eagle inflatable kayak also features a drain valve along with five other one-way valves to allow for easy inflation and deflation. But before hitting the water it is advisable to make sure the drain valve is closed securely to prevent any water from coming in.
Unlike some other models, the Sea Eagle comes with a lot of accessories. In the package, you get two paddles, a foot pump, and a Sea Eagle bag to easily transport the inflatable tandem kayak.
As an inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 370 is predictably in the lower price range. It can be a great budget option for beginner kayakers who don’t have enough storage space or intermediate kayakers who wish to try out a whitewater-worthy kayak.
5. Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak – Best Convertible Kayak
This kayak can provide you with the comfort and ease of use characteristic of traditional sit-on-tops but it also features a convertible deck. This is one of the things that make the Advanced Elements inflatable kayak unique on our list.
You can easily get into or out of this tandem kayak even when the front part of the deck is closed by the convertible section. And if you wish to switch to an open deck, it should take you only a couple of seconds and you can do it while on the water.
What’s more, the Advanced Elements tandem kayak is very easy to set up. It comes pre-assembled from the factory and you just need to unfold and inflate it.
Even though the Advanced Elements doesn’t include a foot pump it is very easy and quick to inflate and deflate. The spring valves are suitable for standard foot pumps and the floor features an integrated pressure relief valve.
This tandem kayak is made of double-coated rip-stop fabric and is very durable for an inflatable kayak. The seams on the bow and stern are reinforced and the kayak features a drop-stitch floor.
The Advanced Elements measures 180 x 32 x 15 inches when deflated so it is quite compact. It weighs 56 pounds, which is not too heavy, though to make the transportation a bit easier it comes with a carrying duffle bag.
Once the kayak is inflated it can comfortably seat two people and the maximum load is 550 pounds. The advanced frame should provide optimal displacement and great maneuverability even if you paddle solo.
The Advanced Elements is an advanced frame kayak because the inflatable section is supported by built-in aluminum ribs. This is one of the reasons for the heavier weight of this tandem kayak despite being an inflatable design.
The aluminum ribs also define the shape of the bow and stern. The bow is arched in an aerodynamic profile which allows it to sit well above the water in order for you to track and handle waves easily.
There are two ergonomic seats in this tandem kayak which are easily removable and adjustable. This makes the Advanced Elements a truly easy-to-use tandem to solo conversion kayak. Remove one of the seats and place the other one in the middle seating position and you get a solo kayak.
Lastly, this tandem kayak is in the medium-to-upper price range.
6. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Extremely budget Friendly
The Intex Inflatable Kayak is by far the most affordable tandem kayak we have reviewed, which you might expect from Intex, the king of affordable above-ground pools. In any event, this is a great inexpensive starter kayak.
But don’t let the low price fool you since this kayak is quite well built and provides the stability of some pricier models. It also comes with two paddles and a pump.
The Intex features grab lines on either side of the kayak and molded handles on the bow and stern. Both the bow and stern are slightly raised, which adds to the stability and maneuverability of this kayak.
The Explorer K2 is a smaller tandem kayak that measures 123 x 36 x 20 inches and weighs 31.13 pounds. When it is fully inflated it can comfortably fit two kayakers with ample legroom.
The weight capacity of this tandem kayak is 400 pounds so only one of the paddlers can be an NFL linebacker.
The Intex Explorer K2 is made of heavy-duty vinyl with an inflatable I-beam floor. Although the vinyl is durable and can bounce off obstacles, you should try to avoid rocks for obvious reasons – this is not a high-end kayak.
There are two separate air chambers in the Explorer K2. The air chambers are designed to allow you to stay afloat even if the I-beam floor deflates or in case one of the chambers collapses.
It also comes with two adjustable inflatable seats that are supported by hull straps. The seats are surprisingly comfortable for such an inexpensive kayak.
The Explorer K2 features a Boston valve to make inflating and deflating very easy. And it comes with a removable skeg which should improve the stability and handling of this tandem kayak.
In addition, you’ll be glad to find the repair patch kit that comes with your purchase.
We hope that this Intex Explorer K2 kayak review helps you understand why this kayak is a good budget option if you want to take up kayaking without making a huge commitment.
7. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best for Fishing
The Sevylor Inflatable Kayak is probably one of the best tandem kayaks for fishing out there. It has all of the features you may want in an inflatable fishing kayak and it also comes at a very reasonable price.
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is made of outstanding materials, especially if we take into consideration its humble price range. It is made of military-grade 18-gauge PVC which gives it great durability.
To add further strength to this model, the bottom is coated with a 1000D Tarpaulin shield and it has a nylon cover. This makes the Sevylor Colorado one of the most durable and rigid inflatable kayaks on the market.
This tandem fishing kayak is also puncture-proof so you shouldn’t worry if you hit any rocks or collide with other hard surfaces. Also, the core of the Sevylor 2 person inflatable kayak features an I-beam construction and industrial-grade double stitching.
When deflated, this tandem fishing kayak measures 120 x 36 x 19.2 inches but expands up to 10ft long when inflated. The Coleman Colorado ships with a carrying bag and a pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is properly inflated.
Also, there are mesh storage pockets and carry handles for you to easily get the boat out of the water.
Once you see and feel this kayak, it is immediately obvious how much effort has gone into its making. The Coleman Colorado also comes with two ergonomic adjustable seats that provide enough comfort and legroom for two adults.
This tandem fishing kayak features a few rigs that should work really well for you on a fishing trip. The Berkley Rod Holders can provide you with hands-free fishing or you may set multiple rods at once.
What’s more, there are trolling motor fittings for you to install a small motor and the functionality of this kayak to a whole new level. Also, there are 2 paddle holders to keep the paddles out of the way.
The weight capacity of this tandem kayak is 470 pounds. You can get good displacement even when the kayak is fully loaded with two fishermen and their equipment.
8. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL – Premium build quality
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL is one of the bigger and heavier hardshell kayaks that we really liked. This tandem kayak is the larger version of the Ocean Malibu Two reviewed earlier.
The Malibu Two XL measures 161 x 34 x 14 inches and weighs 68 pounds. We may agree that it is not exactly lightweight, but this kind of weight gives this tandem kayak the stability and rigidity it needs on the water.
The Malibu XL has between 450 and 500 pounds of weight capacity, which is about the standard fare.
The size allows the Malibu Two XL to comfortably seat two adults and one child, making it one of the best sit-on-top tandem kayaks for families. The sides of the hull have molded footrests so there is a lot of legroom even if you are over 6ft tall.
The molded footrests also increase the structural integrity of the Malibu XL by preventing flexing. Overall, this tandem kayak sits flat on the water, making it very suitable for beginners.
The Ocean Malibu Two XL comes with two adjustable ergonomic seats that can easily be removed if you wish to convert this tandem kayak into a single. The seats have a padded backrest and are very comfortable even over long distances.
The hull is made of high-quality plastic and feels very durable. It has a slightly raised bow which cuts the water and smaller waves well while keeping the entire kayak safely above the waterline.
The Malibu Two XL is not designed for rapids, quick rivers, or the open seas. We may assume that it is a family recreational kayak ideally suited for waters below Class III.
As is the case with most sit-on-top tandem kayaks, you should not expect to go really fast in the Malibu Two XL. Although two experienced kayakers might get some decent speed from this tandem kayak, it performs the best when gently cruising on calm waters.
Despite the XL label, there is not a lot of storage room on the Malibu Two XL. The bow and stern feature two storage areas secured with bungee cords for your belongings or some gear, and there are also paddle keepers on the side.
Similar to its smaller brother, the Ocean Malibu XL does not come with any paddles.
9. Brooklyn Kayak UH-TK181 – Great for Touring
The Brooklyn is the best tandem kayak for touring we have reviewed. The overall design, build quality, and a number of features and add-ons make it particularly interesting for fishermen, hunters, and other outdoorsy people.
The Brooklyn is a sit-on-top tandem kayak that can take you on an adventure. Also, it is one of the longest and heaviest tandem kayaks, which is not a bad thing because it adds to the stability that will come in handy when you’re enjoying your time in nature
This touring tandem kayak is 12.5 feet long with a 34-inch beam. Due to the size, the Brooklyn can comfortably seat two adults and the molded footrests on the inner side of the kayak give you plenty of legroom.
The Brooklyn weighs 68 pounds which adds to the overall maneuverability and handling of this kayak. The hull sits flat on the water with a slightly raised bow and stern, and the bottom side of the hull has vertical grooves to improve tracking and stability.
The load capacity of this tandem kayak is 440 pounds. This ought to accommodate two adult fishermen and their equipment while providing excellent displacement.
The body is made of high-quality durable plastic and the kayak features a lot of storage space and add-ons. There re are 7 fishing rod holders and 3 of them are fully adjustable while the other 4 are flush with the kayak to provide the required stability.
The UH-TK181 by Brooklyn Kayak Company comes with two seats and two seating positions. The seat material feels nice and comfortable but there is very little room for adjusting the seats.
There are two lidded storage compartments in front of each kayaker and an additional storage section in the stern. This rear cargo area is secured by bungee cords and provides decent space for any extra gear that you may bring along.
On each side of the kayak, there are secure paddle rests so you won’t be bothered by the paddles while fishing. The Brooklyn Tandem also features 4 handles that allow you to carry this kayak easily over dry land.
Also, this tandem kayak comes with two premium-quality aluminum paddles and there are 3 color variations for you to choose from.
10. Old Town Twin Heron Kayak – Unique Design and Excellent Seats
Featuring an outstanding body design, the Old Town Twin Heron is one of the most unique tandem kayaks on our list.
It comes with the so-called Auto Trim Hull that should prevent the bow from going up if you choose to kayak solo in the stern seat. The overall look of this tandem kayak is reminiscent of kayaks constructed by the indigenous peoples, which in our opinion really gives it some special charm.
The Old Town tandem kayak measures 162 x 31.5 x 15.5 inches and weighs 60 pounds. The optimum size and weight ratio enhance its stability and handling.
The load capacity of the Twin Heron is between 450 and 500 pounds. This is great for two adults and the innovative hull design should give you optimal displacement if you choose to use the kayak solo.
In terms of storage space, the Twin Heron does not offer too much. But because the sides of this kayak are very high, you might be able to tuck something in the hull.
Other than that, there is a bungee cord at the stern, but there is no compartment underneath so don’t expect to be able to store too many things there. However, you can place your gear under the bow though doing so may limit the legroom of the other kayaker.
The Heron tandem kayak comes with adjustable foot braces that should allow you to set the optimal foot position even if you are very tall. The Twin Heron also features paddle holders and cup holders. Despite the name, this is not exactly a fishing kayak.
Tandem Kayak Buyer’s Guide 2021
BEFORE YOU BUY: 7 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A TANDEM KAYAK
In this section, we will take you through all of the important things that may influence your purchasing decision. It should help you get a good idea about the type, budget, and features that your ideal tandem kayak should have.
Although a lot of debate has been going on about whether you should paddle alone or with a partner, there is not an absolute answer to it. The choice may boil down to your personal preferences, needs, and skill level.
A good thing about tandem kayaks is that if you or your partner gets tired, the other person can continue paddling. They are also very good if you want to take your children out kayaking because they don’t need to paddle.
However, paddling a tandem kayak alone when it is not fully loaded can be a bit tricky. You can be set off balance and might not achieve the optimal displacement.
Some fishermen, hunters, or other outdoorsy people choose to go solo in a tandem kayak. But in most cases, they’d fully load it with gear or factor in the weight of their prey to achieve the required position above the water.
If you choose to paddle together with your partner, both of you need to paddle in unison. Try not to crash your paddles because it might cause you to flip.
When you paddle in tandem, the front kayaker should take a wide-arched forward stroke to the side of a kayak. The kayaker in the back should take a back wide-arched stroke on the opposite side.
Finally, we need to say that the overall winner for the best tandem kayaks on our list is the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Inflatable Kayak. This tandem kayak has potentially the best balance of features, safety, and price.
Unlike some other models, this kayak does not compromise either feature or build quality to reach its affordable price point. This makes it suitable for most types of water and one of the best all-around solutions for any kayaker.
It is large enough to comfortably accommodate two adults along with the equipment they might carry. Also, it provides optimal displacement since the weight and capacity allow this kayak to sit comfortably on the water.