What is the Best Tandem Kayak? ~ Buyer’s Guide + Reviews

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Products Updated January 24, 2023
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You may enjoy kayaking, but you don’t have to enjoy it alone. We researched over 15 kayaks to find the best tandem kayak. That is the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2.

#1 Pick Tandem Kayak - Ocean Kayak Malibu 2
36 Reviews
#1 Pick Tandem Kayak – Ocean Kayak Malibu 2
Comfortable and versatile, with room for more than two

With space for up to three paddlers, plenty of storage and overlapping foot wells, the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 is the perfect choice to enjoy the waters with other people.

Tandem sit in kayaks are perfect for paddlers who want to increase their power, efficiency and group enjoyment and all the while enjoy the two person kayak experience. If you’re interested in a kayak you can take and setup quick, check out our best inflatable kayak.

If you’re struggling to find the best tandem option that you can enjoy with your friends and family members. Unfortunately, there are a ton of kayaks on the market from which to choose, which is why we’ve done the research for you. Take a look at our list of the best tandem kayaks so you can make the best choice for you and your paddling needs.

The Top Tandem Kayaks Money Can Buy

#1 Ocean Kayak Malibu 2

Our #1 Pick is the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2
36 Reviews
Our #1 Pick is the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2
Comfortable with included double seats, overlapping foot wells and seating for up to three

Award: Best Tandem Kayak


  • Can hold up to 3 people
  • Comfortable seats included
  • Overlapping foot wells for increased comfort


  • No paddles included
  • Minimal on-deck storage
  • Heavier than other double kayaks

The Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 has a high weight capacity of up to 425 pounds and can comfortably sit up to two seater kayak. It also has enough room to fit an additional child, if needed. With these features, this boat offers an extra stable experience with a lot of added versatility.

The tandem kayak features overlapping foot wells built directly into the hull that allow paddlers to sit in a way that is comfortable for them. This makes kayaking for the Malibu’s two passengers a more enjoyable and cozy experience. Unfortunately, the Ocean Kayak Malibu doesn’t offer much in the way of gear storage, and it’s heavier than other kayaks. Nonetheless, this tandem kayak is a great choice for anyone looking to paddle with their friends and family. Check out the best kayak for beginners as well. Find the best kayak for your own needs and skill level by reading our other kayak reviews.

#2 Intex Explorer K2

Our #2 Pick is the Intex Explorer K2
26,434 Reviews
Our #2 Pick is the Intex Explorer K2
This inflatable kayak is durable and includes lots of accessories

Award: Best Cheap 2 Person Kayak


  • Super affordable
  • Durable
  • Air pump and paddles included


  • Seats don’t offer much support
  • Doesn’t perform well on rough waters
  • The carrying bag isn’t well made

The Intex Explorer K2 is and inflatable tandem kayak that offers tons of versatility for an extra-affordable price. It’s durable and spacious, with a two-person carrying capacity. The boat is made from durable materials that won’t give under pressure or bumps and scrapes.

While the vessel includes a handy carrying case, it isn’t as well-made as the bags that come with other inflatable options. The boat also doesn’t perform well on rough waters, but its durable construction helps add stability while you’re out on the water paddling.

#3 Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible

Our #3 Pick is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible
30 Reviews
Our #3 Pick is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible
Customizable deck configurations and added durability make this a great choice for tandem kayaks

Award: Best Inflatable Tandem Kayak


  • Customizable deck configurations
  • Includes handy repair kit
  • Made from extra-durable materials


  • Doesn’t include any paddles
  • Carrying case is difficult to transport
  • Heavier than other inflatable kayaks

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible is an inflatable kayak that features a lot of customization in the way that you use it on the water. It offers three separate deck configurations for added versatility. You can change the deck configuration to accommodate tandem or solo riders with open or closed decks.

This boat also features an extra-durable hull that stands up to even the roughest bumps and scrapes on the water. It provides this durability through its three-layer construction and rigid hull with aluminum ribs. This also adds to the AdvancedFrame’s overall performance and tracking.

Unfortunately, the kayak doesn’t include any paddles, but it does include comfortable seats and all other accessories needed to use an inflatable kayak. It’s also heavier than other inflatable options, but this extra weight can help it track better in the water. Read about the best kayak for kids.

#4 Lifetime Manta

Our #4 Pick is the Lifetime Manta
173 Reviews
Our #4 Pick is the Lifetime Manta
Extra stable, sit-on-top design makes this a good tandem kayaks for beginners

Award: Best Two Man Sit On Top Kayak


  • Extra stable design
  • Seats included
  • Tandem and solo configurations


  • Doesn’t include paddles
  • Tracking isn’t the best
  • Not very fast

The Lifetime Manta is a sit-on-top tandem kayak that features an extra-stable design and the unique ability to paddle solo or tandem. It comes with two removable seats in the front and back to give you a versatile kayaking experience. Simply remove one of the seats if you want to paddle by yourself, or use both if you want to hit the water with friends or family.

This vessel also features overlapping foot wells that each paddler can use to maximize comfort while paddling. The lack of included paddles means you’ll have to research and buy your own, but it still includes the seat backs.

You may be slower than the other kayaks on the water, especially with decreased tracking capability, but this boat makes for a great sit-on-top option for advanced users and beginners alike. With this option, you can kill two birds with one stone if you’re interested in both tandem and solo kayaking. For another sit-on-top kayak, check out the Perception Tribe 13.5 tandem kayak that’s 13.5 ft long. Learn about the best place to buy a kayak.

#5 Old Town Twin Hero

Our #5 Pick is the Old Town Twin Hero
4 Reviews
Our #5 Pick is the Old Town Twin Hero
Adjustable foot rests and customizable seat configuration

Award: Best 2 Person Sit In Kayak


  • Can remove the second seat for solo paddling
  • Adjustable footrests
  • High load capacity


  • Minimal onboard gear storage
  • Heavier than other kayaks

The Old Town Twin Hero is a sit-in kayak that allows you to ride tandem or solo, depending on your preferences. It includes comfortable seats that you can remove at will for solo or tandem use. The tandem boat also features adjustable foot rests on a glide track for more comfort and versatility. This product can accommodate for family and friends who can sit inside and adjust the seats to their own liking.

The Twin Hero can sit up to 500 pounds, making it more heavy-duty than many other tandem kayaks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include much onboard gear storage and it’s also much heavier than other kayaks, making it more difficult to transport.

Ultimately, you can rely on the stability this boat provides for a smoother experience on either calm or rough waters. Also read about the best tents.

#6 BKC UH-TK181

Our #6 Pick is the BKC UH-TK181
98 Reviews
Our #6 Pick is the BKC UH-TK181
With lots of rod holders and onboard storage, this tandem kayak is great for fishing

Award: Best Fishing Tandem Kayak


  • 7 fishing rod holders
  • Lots of onboard storage
  • Overlapping foot wells


  • Expensive
  • Included paddles are too short
  • Heavy

If you’re a fisher, the BKC UH-TK181 is the tandem kayak for you. With a ton of features dedicated exclusively to fishing, like seven fishing rod holders and tons of onboard storage, this boat is perfect for anglers.

However, it’s also a great boat for recreational use, as it features overlapping foot wells, comfortable seats and included paddles—even though they are a little short. It may be heavier than other kayaks, but it also includes four carrying handles for easier transport.

This vessel is also more expensive than other tandem kayaks, but the extra features it provides justifies the cost. Ultimately, the stability and maneuverability of the boat makes it a great choice for anglers and families alike. Vibe Kayaks are another great option for fishing kayaks due to their performance, storage options, and other features. Read more about outdoor gear that you will love.

Tandem Kayaks Buying Guide

When you buy a kayak, there are always a few core features that you should consider before making a purchase, as we have discussed in our best kayaks of 2019 list. And while there are some different things you should consider when purchasing a tandem kayak, these core considerations should still remain the same.

Tandem kayaks are fun for one or two people
Consider the same features when purchasing tandem kayaks.

This buying guide focuses on these core features and how you should look at them specifically when buying a kayak for two people.

Features to Consider When Buying a Tandem Kayak

Tandem kayaks that offer the following features make the best choices for paddlers who don’t want to paddle alone:

√ Size  Tandem kayaks are typically much wider and longer than their solo counterparts. Consider this extra size commitment when looking at two-person kayaks, especially as it relates to the ways you transport the boats to and from the water. More size also means more weight, and if you aren’t able to carry the kayak, then you’ll never be able to use it.

Before clicking “Buy,” look at the measurements specified on the product page for the boat you want to purchase. Make sure you have the means to transport and carry it. If you can’t easily do these things, you won’t be able to enjoy the water with your friends and family.

Since tandem kayaks are much larger than those made for solo riders, they typically have more features to facilitate easier portage. This can include extra carrying handles, either built onto the hull or directly into it as handholds.

√ Stability – Since you’ll likely be paddling with someone else on a tandem kayak, you’ll need to consider how stable the boat is, especially if you’re paddling with a beginner. Because of their bigger size, tandem kayaks tend to offer more stability than solo rider vessels. However, there are some choices that miss the mark. Consider reviews from people who have bought the boat and used it when considering stability.

√ Carrying Capacity – Kayaks for two people need to be able to handle more weight without taking on water while paddling. However, some options don’t offer the extra carrying capacity that one might expect from these types of boats. Consider the combined weight of the people who want to go kayaking at the same time, and purchase a boat that can comfortably carry both paddlers.

√ Storage Space – Depending on the type of tandem boat you purchase, you may or may not get extra storage space for all your gear. Bigger size doesn’t necessarily mean more space, especially when you need to consider adding another body onto the boat. When shopping for a kayak best suited for your storage needs, see if a product has storage hatches, compartments, etc.

However, tandem options that are made for fishing or other specialized uses will often add additional gear storage built into the hull as compartments or on it as webbing or netting. Don’t forget the best sleeping bag if it’s a long trip.

Standard gear storage varies in tandem kayaks
Storing gear in your tandem kayak is more or less the same as other kinds of kayaks.

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