Kayaking is more than a boat ride.
It is reclaiming your personal freedom.
With any of the best tandem kayaks listed below, you can explore the waters with your friends or family. Maybe even camp for a while.
You can go at your own pace, explore new locations and do some fishing.
Nothing like making memories outdoors!
If you are up for it, here are the best tandem kayaks you should check out:
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable is one of the best tandem kayaks for the money. What differentiates it from other kayas is its rigid and robust construction. While most kayaks are made with PVC material, the Advanced Frame Convertible takes it up a notch.
Apart from the PVC tarpaulin, it has aluminum ribs in the bow and the stern that give it structural strength and make it durable. But that’s not all – it is made with three layers of material that give it superior strength. This also makes it less prone to punctures than any other inflatable kayak. The seams feel strong which ensure the boat won’t leak air and last a long time.
Its strength is also seen in other factors. It can support a massive 550 lbs. of weight, so it can easily accommodate two adult paddlers and some gear. The best part about the Advanced Frame convertible is that it arrives pre-assembled at your doorstep. So all you have to do is, just inflate it and get started.
The stock seats are padded and have a high backrest so that you feel comfortable and supported at all times. The seats are so comfortable that it makes you want to spend more time on water, allowing you to enjoy the experience to a greater degree. However, the seats are strapped onto the kayak only on the sides. This makes them a little prone to slipping back and forth. This takes some getting used to.
You can attach the seats in three positions to paddle either solo or tandem. So it allows you to hit the water by yourself and enjoy a tandem ride when you have company.
When inflated, it weighs 52 lbs, which isn’t super light weight, but can be carried with the handles given on the bow and the stern. When deflated in the duffle bag, it is still hard to carry since you have to bring paddles, pump and gear along with you. If you use it as a solo kayak, it will be difficult to carry, given its size and weight.
The best way to carry it is to inflate it right after unloading it from your car. The handles on the bow and the stern allow two persons to carry it with absolute ease.
The fact that it has better construction than other inflatables makes its performance really good. Its ease of handling also makes it a good option for beginners. Also, the AdvancedFrame convertible tracks really well – thanks to two tracking fins at the bottom and one skeg. If you aren’t familiar, tracking is the ability of a kayak to move in a straight line. Inflatable kayaks are known to track poorly when there are no skegs. So it is great that the company took care of this crucial feature.
The sharp bow design with aluminum ribs inside enables the kayak to cut through water and glide smoothly. When tested by winds or waves, the yak glides without any friction or instability. This level of handling is not seen in most inflatable yaks. Even though the boat is 15-ft long, it doesn’t have a large turning radius, which makes maneuvering even easier. Even when you are paddling solo, the kayak’s handling is smooth and easy.
Note that you will have to sync your paddling with your tandem kayaks. Unlike hard shell yaks, this one doesn’t come with foot pegs. So the front paddler can rest their feet near the bow and the rear paddler can rest their feet behind the front seat.
The thing that is really appealing about the Advanced Frame Convertible Kayak is that it performs like a hard shell kayak – with its stability, tracking and maneuverability. But it is also more portable than hard shells being an inflatable yak.
There are some utility features that make the kayak more attractive. It comes with pockets on the back of the seats, bungees to tie your gear to the boat and tie downs to mount the kayak on your car securely. It even comes with a paddle keeper loops so that you can stow the paddle when it is not in use.
The kayak comes assembled, but you still need to inflate it and attach the seats. The company provides clear instructions to set it up. It comes with six air chambers, so you would need some time to set it up. Three of the chambers strengthen its structure and the other three just support it. Unfortunately, you don’t get other components like a pump or oars. However, you can find all the required accessories online on their official site.
The air chambers need two adapters for inflation, one threaded and one to go inside the smaller hoses. Although the company recommends a certain pressure threshold for each chamber, there is no gauge to measure the pressure during inflation. Still, most users are able to fill it right with trial and error.
Taking it down
Taking this kayak down is more of a hassle. This is because of the lack of a drain plug. Drying it manually and folding it takes many hours. You need to take the floor chamber apart and put it out in the sun for hours to dry. It can also catch some sand, so you will have to wipe it manually using sponges and towels to clean it completely.
If that was not annoying enough, the kayak is also hard to fit in the duffle bag it comes in. The company charges a sizable amount for the kayak, so this is a bit disappointing. However, you can always check out other kayaks such as the Intex Explorer K2 or Intex Excursion Pro if you want an easy set up and folding process.
Another drawback of the kayak is that it has no drain plug for self-bailing function. So taking it down is a little taxing since you have to dry it out manually by inverting it on the ground and then drying it with towels, sponges and keeping it in the sun for a while.
Overall, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak is one of the best because it performs like hard shells with its high stability and good maneuverability. Its construction far exceeds that of most inflatables out there. And it is good for beginners and pros alike because of how easy it is to handle.
- Solid build quality with aluminum ribs
- Multiple layers of material for no punctures
- Six air chambers
- Holds up to 550 lbs.
- Three-way adjustable seats
- Superior stability
- Performs like a hard shell
- Easy to handle
- Solo or tandem option
- Good for beginners as well as pros
- Glides through winds or waves smoothly
- Sharp bow slices through water
- Heavy, less portable than other yaks
- No paddles or pump included
- Hard to dry and take it down, no drain plug
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Sit on Top Tandem Kayak
Ocean Kayak is one of the leading manufacturers of kayaks and the Malibu Two is one of their best. The Malibu Two is a tandem or two-person kayak but it can also be used as a solo kayak. Apart from the two main seats, there is also a third molded seat in the center which you can use for your kid or pet. It is worth noting that Ocean Kayak Malibu has been a bestseller since the last 20 years.
It is 12 feet long and accommodates 425 lbs. of weight. Now 425 lbs. is good for two average adult paddlers, but may not be enough for bigger and heavier people. In that case, pick from any of the other kayaks in this guide.
The kayak is made with a single layer of polyethylene material which makes it strong and durable. It protects the boat in case there is an impact with rocks or trees. The rugged construction also makes the kayak incredibly stable – it cruises smoothly not only on calm waters but also ocean swells. Polyethylene construction also makes the Malibu durable.
The cockpit is designed to be large, open and spacious so that both paddlers can make themselves comfortable. Since it is stable, you can get in and out of the cockpit easily without worrying about it tipping. If the weather is pleasant, you can even jump out for a quick swim and climb back in smoothly. This is due to its sit on top design.
The Malibu two is designed for optimal comfort. The two ‘comfort plus’ seats can be adjusted in four positions. So you can always find a cozy and comfortable position. You can either sit upright or lean back, the seat is comfortable in either position. One can also remove the seats for compact storage or while transporting it in a car.
The kayak comes with multiple footrests molded in the deck. This allows everyone to fit in, no matter how tall or short. The backrest is padded, but some users felt that the padding is too thin. However, most of the users were satisfied with the seats.
It weighs 57 lbs, so it is heavier than the “lightweight kayaks” but still very portable. At this weight, you will be able to carry it on your own depending on your physical strength. Many customers were able to load it into their car without needing a hand. The kayak’s durability is further reflected by the fact that the company offers a lifetime warranty on the hull.
It also comes with a skid plate on the bottom, so that you can drag it on the ground to the water, once you have unloaded it from your car. This is better than carrying it on your shoulders all the way to the shore. It also comes with sturdy carrying handles on either side for easy transportation. T-handles on the bow and the stern allow you and your fellow paddler to easily haul it around.
The kayak is long and wide, which helps it perform well on the water. Its remarkable stability allows you to go to unprecedented lengths and test your skills on rough, choppy and white water. Because of its stability, you can paddle while standing or sitting. If you customize the kayak to add fishing accessories and storage hatches, it will allow you to fish while standing. All you need to do to add accessories is fix some pad eyes and deck loops.
The fact that it is so stable, with its 34-inch wide hull, also makes it perfect for beginners. However, the stability comes at a cost. Like most wide kayaks, it is a bit slow as compared to other kayaks. It is not very nimble considering its size, but it maneuvers really well. It is responsive to each paddle stroke and allows you to navigate through obstacles without any hassle.
The keel at the bottom makes it good at tracking – you don’t have to struggle to make it move in a straight line. An important detail is that the two seats are spaced far enough to ensure both riders can paddle in sync without colliding with each other.
It comes with scupper holes for the self-bailing function. This allows the kayak to drain out any water that accumulates inside due to waves.
There is one drawback of the kayak worth noting – it doesn’t come with any storage compartments. However, it has three molds where you can attach hatches and use them for dry storage. Apart from the molds, it has straps on the bow and the stern to tie down any luggage.
Overall, the Ocean Kayak Malibu two provides overwhelming value for money. It is versatile, stable, maneuverable and comes with molded space for storage. Whether you take it on calm rivers and lakes, ocean swells or ride it in challenging winds or waves, it will impress you with its performance-oriented design. You can even customize it by making a few modifications and use it as a fishing kayak.
- Solid construction
- Remarkable stability
- Good for beginner
- Tracks well
- 2-person + 1-child capacity
- Adjustable seats
- Molded space for three round hatches
- Multiple molded footwells
- Tackles both calm and rough waters
- Handles winds or waves easily
- Great family kayak
- Very spacious
- Lifetime warranty
- No ready-to-use storage
- A bit slow
- Gear straps on bow and stern aren’t effective
- A bit heavy to be carried by a single person
Sun Dolphin Bali Tandem Kayak 13.5 ft.
The Bali 13.5 has a solid build quality. It is built with UV stabilized high-density polyethylene material. So what does that mean? It means the HDPE material protects the kayak against impact from boulders or submerged trees. It makes sure the kayak doesn’t get any dents or scratches. Like a lot of other hard shells, the Bali 13.5 uses HDPE because it makes it comparatively lightweight despite being a heavy-duty kayak. However, the kayak is still heavy at 70 lbs. of weight but that’s okay given the space for three paddlers and multiple storage options.
The kayak can accommodate one, two or even three paddlers since it is large and spacious. It can support up to 500 lbs. of weight. The weight limit seems high, but this means it can barely accommodate three paddlers if both are above 6 feet and weigh around 180 lbs on average. You can also use it for two paddlers plus a kid or a pet. Getting three adults on board will surpass the weight limit and pose safety risk.
As the name suggests, the kayak is 13.5 feet long, so there is enough space not only to invite fellow paddlers but also bring a lot of gear. The kayak is 34 inches wide, which not only gives it stability but also opens a lot of space for paddlers on board. If you want to use it as a solo kayak, you can just use the center seat. Since the material is UV-stabilized it won’t fade, peel or crack.
The Bali 13.5 has a pointed bow that allows it to slice through water without any friction. The kayak holds up well when the weather is windy or when it is confronted by waves. The kayak has superior stability, it doesn’t drift away due to strong current, choppy waters or large boat wakes. It tracks really well and doesn’t get swayed. At no point, it feels tippy. Because of the large and open cockpit, it is easy to get in and out of.
If storage is a priority, the Bali 13.5 is for you. It comes with three covered storage compartments. There are two large dry storage hatches in front of each seat and a small hatch in the center. In addition to that, it comes with a tank well on the stern that has shock cord rigging to store large boxes of camping or other gear. The tank well, however, is smaller than what we see on most kayaks.
The watertight storage compartments are not actually watertight, which is a bummer. They take in water and can damage your belongings if you are not careful.
The kayak comes with two seats. So if you want to bring three paddlers on board, you will have to buy another one. The two seats, however, have a high back that supports you well through long rides. You can adjust the seats to a more comfortable position using the straps.
There are two sets of adjustable foot braces that allow paddlers of varying heights to fit in comfortably. It comes with carry handles on the side which allow you to transport it with ease. Since the kayak is long, you will most likely need to put it on the roof of your car. It also has t-handles on the bow and the stern that allow you to carry it with your tandem paddler. Since the kayak is rather heavy weighing 70 lbs., make sure you carry it with a tandem paddler or bring a kayak cart if you want to haul it on your own.
The kayak comes with scupper holes to drain water out of the deck. But they also allow water to enter in. So you can block some of the scupper holes with scupper plugs to make sure you don’t get wet when the kayak takes on water from the bottom.
The Bali 13.5 comes with a pair of paddle holders on each side. So you can stow the paddle when the boat is parked. The kayak also has a cup holder in front of each seat. So each paddler can store their beverages within easy reach and stay refreshed over long hours of paddling on the water.
Some users also mentioned adding accessories such as fishing rod holders and trolling motors to enhance its functionality. Of course, doing so requires some forethought and understanding that you may be left with less space on board as you add more accessories.
Overall, the Sun Dolphin 13.5 is a steal deal for the amazing value it offers. Customers often report how they bought this kayak because it had many of the expensive features. If the large size doesn’t bother you and you want something to ride on with your buddies, the Dolphin 13.5 is a compelling choice.
- Solid build quality
- Easy to handle
- Tracks well
- Foot braces allow a better fit than mold-in footwells
- Adjustable seats with high backrest
- Lots of storage space to store coolers crates and gear
- Three storage hatches
- Multiple carry handles
- Paddle holder
- Scupper holes for self-bailing
- Value for money
- Storage hatches aren’t actually watertight
Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak
If you are willing to pay top dollar for a high-quality kayak, the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135t deserves your attention. It is meant for beginners, explorers and thrill-seekers alike. The boat’s solid construction and performance can take you to places that are waiting to be explored and seen.
The Pamlico 135T is made with polyethylene material which makes it strong and durable. You can rest assured it won’t take any dents or scratches when it scrapes or hits rocks and gravel.
The kayak is 13 feet 6 inches long which makes it quite spacious. Because of how roomy it is, you can get in and out of it easily. But it comes in a sit-inside style, so there is not as much as open space as sit-on-top tandem kayaks. The kayak can be used as a tandem as well as a solo.
The kayak comes with a rounded hull that lets it glide smoothly and catch acceleration relatively fast. Its long and narrow design makes it faster than other comparable kayaks.
It comes with Wilderness System’s signature Phase 3 AirPro seats. The AirPro seats are made with mesh material that is not only comfortable to sit on but also breathable to keep you dry and cool over long hours of paddling. The seats are fully adjustable, you can tilt the backrest back and forth to sit in the most comfortable position.
Many customers mention how they chose the Pamlico 135T over the others because of its well-engineered seat. If you are older or have back issues, the Pamlico 135T’s seats will be a boon since they will allow you to paddle for hours without any hint of discomfort.
The yak is easy to maneuver. Its hull design makes it slice through water. Although it is long, you can turn it within a reasonable turning radius.
One thing to note is that there is enough legroom for both paddlers. Even if you are 6 ft. tall, you will feel comfortable both in the front and the rear seat. This shows that the company has put a lot of effort into its design.
Inside the cockpit, there is thigh and knee padding on either side to ensure you don’t rub and scrape your knees against the rough side edges. This padding also supports you and allows you to assume a more stable posture while paddling.
The kayak comes with adjustable and padded footrests. They are good for paddlers of all sizes or inseams.
When it comes to performance, the Pamlico does really well. The kayak glides through water effortlessly. It is also remarkably stable, so you don’t have to worry about winds or waves drifting it off its course. Its stability is due to its rounded hull design, superior build quality and 31-inch width. It lets you cruise on calm waters and enjoy the thrill of moving through choppy waters and waves.
Since it is very stable, it is perfect for beginners who want a kayak for the long-term. In fact, you can have your kid sit with their legs hanging over the side and it will still stay balanced. The kayak also tracks well, so you won’t struggle to keep it moving in a straight line.
The Pamlico 135t sits low in water which is a huge advantage since it won’t catch winds and will maintain its glide. On the other hand, this also makes it prone to taking on water when struck by heavy chop.
When you want to use it as a solo, just move the front seat toward the center. The seat can be slided back, so there is nothing complex you need to do to switch it up. We tested it with solo paddling and the kayak handles really well. It stays stable through winds and waves, and tracks well.
There is a dry storage hatch in the rear to help keep gear. However, we are not sure that you would be able to access it while paddling, since it is behind the rear seat – that too at a distance. The good news is that it is actually watertight, unlike the hatches we see on many budget kayaks. You can keep coolers or fish crates in the front bulkhead area and some dry bags to store things like towels, phones, car keys and wallets in the storage hatch.
The kayak doesn’t have many storage compartments, but it can still hold plenty of gear. You can even do longer trips with sizable camping or fishing gear if you make use of the bulkhead storage, dry storage hatch and bungee cord rigging on the bow and the stern.
However, if you need a lot of dedicated molded space to keep your gear, you are better off buying a sit-on-top style tandem kayak.
It also comes with cup holders to keep your beverages so that you can stay refreshed while paddling for long hours. However, the cupholders are only good for keeping cans. If you store anything bigger in them, it will just fall out.
The Pamlico 135T can support a massive 500 lbs. of weight. Considering there isn’t much storage space to keep coolers, fish crates or other gear, this weight capacity is more than enough for two average-sized adult paddlers.
It comes with a bulkhead in the stern with foam filled inside. This adds buoyancy to the boat and allows it to stay afloat even when the boat takes on some water. This is a premium feature you won’t see on inexpensive kayaks.
Because of its heavy-duty construction, the Pamlico weighs 72 lbs. So if you decide to go for a solo ride, make sure you have a kayak trolley or cart to carry it to the shore. Because of its large size, you will also need a roof rack to transport it on your car. Considering how heavy it is, it is best if you call someone for help when loading onto or unloading from your car. Still, some users were able to load it by themselves.
The kayak comes with soft-grip carry handles on the bow and the stern. So you can carry it easily with a fellow paddler. The bow deck bungee allows you to hook small items in.
The stern is designed to be ‘rudder ready’. This means you can attach a rudder to enhance the maneuverability of the kayak and makes things easier. This option is not available in most kayaks. So you really get more when you buy a premium kayak like the Pamlico.
One gripe we have with the Pamlico 135T is that it has no drain plug. So if you get hit by water splashes and water accumulates inside the cockpit, you won’t be able to drain it out easily. However, you can resolve this issue by adding a drain plug yourself.
The boat doesn’t have a lot of customization features like many of the sit-on-top kayaks in this price segment. However, some users customized it on their own by adding fishing pole slots to use it for fishing as well.
The boat is durable and comes with a lifetime limited warranty. The company offers a one-year warranty against material and manufacturing defects on parts, accessories and outfitting. The hull and deck are covered by a lifetime warranty against material and manufacturing defects. For more details on warranty and how to register, you can check the official guide.
Overall, the Pamlico 135T is worth it if you want a premium yak to paddle with friends or family. It is stable, easy to handle and glides effortlessly on water. There is decent storage space and you can even add a rudder or mounting points for fishing accessories.
- Solid build quality
- Superior stability
- Extremely durable
- Super comfortable seats (good for back pain)
- Fully adjustable seats
- Dry storage hatch
- Adjustable, padded foot braces
- Knee and thigh pads
- Bulkhead for added buoyancy
- Lots of storage space
- Enough legroom for both paddlers
- Easy to maneuver
- Attachment point for rudder
- Customizable with more accessory points
- Fast with tandem paddling
- Lifetime limited warranty
- No drain plug
- Heavy to be carried by a single person
Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak
If you are one of those people, the Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 may be exactly what you need. Advanced Elements is known to manufacture high-quality inflatables that often perform to the level of hard shell kayaks in terms of stability and maneuverability. This is why their inflatables often cost as much as entry-level hard shell yaks.
The yak is made with sturdy PVC tarpaulin hull material that can resist punctures and last for years. On top of that, the strong polyester tube covers add to its structural strength. It comes with three air chambers, so if either of them were to get punctured, the other two will keep you afloat.
The boat can be used as a tandem or solo, with a total of three seat positions to pick from. It comes with padded and adjustable seats with high backrests that keep you comfortable through long hours of paddling. The seats also have pockets on the back to keep small items. It also has bottle holders to keep you refreshed and alert during long rides.
It has a pointed bow that helps it slice through water and attain speed quickly. To improve its performance further, it comes with a removable deep tracking fin that helps move it in a straight line. Some customers mentioned how it tracks better than hard shell kayaks even without a fin. This shows that the boat has amazing maneuverability. The cockpit is 38 inches deep, so the yak sits low in water. This helps the kayak not catch winds and stay on course.
It has superior stability – so much that you would be surprised. Inflatable kayaks are generally not very stable, but the Island Voyage 2 is a different boat. The kayak is made for rivers, lakes and slow-moving waters. It is not capable of handling choppy waters, ocean swells or rapids. If you want a similar yak that can handle rough waters, check out the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak or the Sea Eagle 370 Pro.
Portability and Weight
There are multiple grab handles for you to carry it on your own. It is lightweight even when inflated, weighing just 31.5 lbs. So you can carry it from your car to the water on your own. It can accommodate 400 lbs. of weight – so two average adults can fit in easily. However, if either of them is big and heavy, it will most likely not be able to bear the load. If both paddlers are over 6 feet, it can feel a bit tight.
The kayak is compact and portable, since it is inflatable. You can deflate it, fold it down and store it in a duffle bag. The entire pack can be kept in a compact space in your car. The advantage of inflatable yaks is that you can even fly them to remote destinations, to make vacations and trips more enjoyable.
The kayak is easy to set up. It takes just five minutes to inflate it and have it ready to go. The kayak comes with multiple D-rings and velcro straps to secure dry bags.
Since the kayak is wide, we recommend that you use long paddles to have a smooth paddling experience. Note that the kayak does not come with paddles or a pump. So you will have to buy your own.
- Solid build quality
- Glides effortlessly
- Tracks well
- Adjustable seats
- Can be used tandem or solo
- Superior stability
- Good for calm and slow moving waters
- Easy to carry
- Lightweight when inflated
- Doesn’t come with paddles or pump
Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak
The Excursion Pro is made with sturdy PVC polyester material. But it is not ordinary polyester – the kayak has 3-ply construction to employ a high-molecular PVC. This construction protects it from gasoline, oil and salt water. The kayak can accommodate 400 lbs. of weight – decent for two average sized paddlers, may not be enough if both are tall and heavy.
The material is strong and durable. It ensures the kayak does not endure any damage due to contact with external objects. The I-beam floor gives further structural strength to the kayak. It makes it rigid at the bottom which enhances its stability.
There are three air chambers inside the kayak. Multiple chambers provide water safety in inflatables. If one chamber gets punctured, the other two keep the yak afloat. Multiple air chambers also enhance its robustness and make it capable of holding more weight.
The kayak is also designed for high pressure inflation which brings further structural strength. The spring loaded valves allow for easy and quick inflation. With the kayak, you get a high output pump too. This allows you to set up the kayak within minutes.
It comes with two removable skegs that help with tracking. Inflatable yaks generally don’t track well without skegs, so it is good that the company took care of this crucial detail. The skegs also help the yak glide through water, giving it speed and agility. Once you attach the skegs, they stay secured in place. The two skegs help you navigate shallow and deep waters.
The stability of this kayak is better than many inflatables we have tested. It allows you to get in and out of the kayak easily. It won’t feel tippy at any point of your ride. In fact, many customers mentioned how it felt as solid as a hard plastic yak upon use. The kayak won’t drift off when going through waves or rocked by boat wakes.
It tracks really well, given that it comes with two skegs. It also turns on a dime which helps you navigate through obstacles. If you use a strong paddle, you can even turn in place and avoid colliding with a rock or a submerged tree uncontrollably.
What we really liked is how easy the kayak is to maneuver. It responds well to each paddle stroke. You can make turns, go around objects and move fast without drifting away.
It has two floor mounted footrests that help paddlers place their feet comfortably. The footrests are adjustable too, so no matter what your height is, you will fit right in. This is a great feature since most inflatable kayaks don’t have footrests and paddlers have to often place their feet on the back of the seat and near the bow.
The kayak also comes with two adjustable bucket seats that allow you to stay in a comfortable position throughout your ride. You won’t feel sore or tired even after long hours of paddling. The backrest is firm and keeps you supported from your lower back through your shoulders. The bottom is comfortable, so you can stay seated for a long time without getting any soreness or pain in your posterior. You can lock the seats using the side buckles.
The Excursion Pro has features that you won’t be able to find in most kayaks out there.. The kayak comes with a seat booster that helps you change the seat elevation so that you can have a better stance while paddling. The elevated seat can also be more comfortable for paddlers that are extra tall.
The boat has an integrated drain plug that removes any water that gets accumulated inside the kayak. Having a drain plug makes a big difference because it makes it easy to dry the kayak after use. Without a drain plug, you will have to do a lot of manual work – invert the kayak and put it out in the sun for long. Also, if a kayak doesn’t have a drain plug and volumes of water get inside it, you will have no other choice than disrupt your ride and reach for the shore to empty the kayak.
It comes with aluminum paddlers which work well but are not quite sturdy. So, you can use them to start out with, but should buy some quality paddles for the long-term. The good thing is that the paddles are collapsible, so you can store them in the carry bag along with the deflated kayak. This is the advantage of buying an inflatable.
When it comes to inflation and set up, the process is easy and quick. You already have all the components available with you including the kayak, the seats, the inflation pump, removable skegs and paddles. So setting up is a matter of a few minutes. What we really like is how the company provides a pressure gauge.
Most inflatable kayaks don’t come with a pressure gauge for some unknown reason (cost cutting?). But if you want to inflate your yak to an accurate air pressure level, you must have one.
The Excursion Pro gives many hard shell kayaks a run for their money because of how well it performs on water. It has speed, stability, maneuverability and comfort – basically everything you need from a kayak. Sure it doesn’t have two storage tank wells and two dry storage hatches like a hard shell kayak, but this is an inflatable and it isn’t supposed to have them.
Instead, it has large amounts of space which you can utilize by bringing gear and supplies in dry bags and backpacks. You can bring dry bags along and store them behind the rear seat as well as in the front. Still after that, there is more space left to store some cargo.
Beginners will love the Excursion Pro because it is stable and fun. They can slowly build their paddling skills, try different paddle strokes and take their kayaking game to the next level.
Needless to say, the kayak is portable and compact. Even if you don’t have a big space to store it or don’t have a roof rack, it doesn’t matter because this inflatable can be stored in a small duffle bag. Note that the kayak comes with a carry bag but it is flimsy and won’t last long.
Also, unlike it is with many inflatables, you can add a kayak anchor to the Excursion Pro. It can help you park your kayak and have it stay in one place when you are out for fishing. With the kayak anchored, you can cast without worrying about the wind drifting your yak or the waves swaying you away.
Overall, the Intex Excursion Pro has a lot to offer for a reasonable price. It is well-built, easy to handle and highly maneuverable. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, you will love the kayak for how user-friendly it is. It is the perfect example of a product that is awesome because it does all the little things right.
- Solid build quality
- Multiple air chambers
- Booster seat for elevated paddling
- Highly maneuverable
- Tracks really well, two skegs
- Easy to set up
- Pressure gauge to help with accurate inflation
- Adjustable footrests in an inflatable, a rare feature
- D-rings to attach storage bags
- Drain plug
- Air pump, paddles and pressure gauge included
- Paddles are not high quality
- Carry bag is flimsy
Perception Rambler 13.5 | Sit on Top Tandem Kayak
Perception Rambler 13.5 is for those who not only want to cruise on slow-moving waters but also want to experience the thrill of tackling choppy waters and ocean swells. And there is nothing better than doing it with one of your buddies.
The kayak is made in the USA, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of construction. It is made with high-density polyethylene material that is strong and durable. It can also withstand impact from rocks and submerged trees. This helps it immune against scratches or dents. It is roto-molded and constructed as a single piece of hard plastic, so there is no leakage or inconsistency in construction. It is also resistant to corrosion, given that it is optimized to stay solid in ocean and saltwater.
The Rambler 13.5 is a beast. It can support up to 550 lbs. of weight. This means it can accommodate two adult paddlers and also any camping, fishing or other gear you may want to bring. Since it is heavy, you would need a kayak cart or trolley to transport it from your car to the shore. Its sit on top design allows you to get in and out easily.
The kayak has comfortable seats that allow you to paddle for long hours without feeling back pain or getting sore. The seats have enough padding to keep you comfortable. The backrests can be adjusted to support your back in the best way possible. They can be adjusted using the straps that attach the seats to the kayak deck.
There is an additional molded-in center seat for a third rider, be it a kid or a dog. There is a lot of room to make yourself comfortable and stretch your legs fully forward. Multiple footrests allow you to plant your feet in a comfortable position no matter what your height or inseam is. The seat can also be removed for compact storage. This really helps when you are transporting the kayak on a roof rack on your car. Some users mentioned that the seats are uncomfortable, so you may need to add a seat cushion when paddling for long hours.
Transportation is easy since the kayak comes with multiple carry handles on the front, rear and side. The kayak can also be used for solo paddling using four deck loops. However, you will need to buy the deck loops separately. Since it is heavy, it is hard to load it on the top of your car and unload it back. So you will need help to load/unload it.
Note that if you want to attach a third seat, you will need to buy the pad eyes separately. Some users reported the product photos showed otherwise, which isn’t true.
There is decent space to store camping, fishing or other gear. A large storage tank well in the rear allows you to keep your gear secured by bungee cords. Although there is a lot of space inside the cockpit, the overall storage options are rather lacking. On top of that there is no compartment to store anything dry.
Similar kayaks often have two storage tank wells and a dry storage hatch. However, the customers like the kayak overall, since the cockpit is spacious and you can store the cooler and other gear in the rear tank well.
The kayak performs really well on water. It is not only good for lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers, but it is also good for ocean bays and rough waters. It is amazing how it is able to stay on course when hit by winds or waves. This is because of its 34 inch wide hull. It tracks well and is comfortable for 2-3 hours. Another great thing about the Rambler is that it is quite fast despite being large in size. This shows how well-engineered this kayak is.
The Rambler 13.5 is a great recreational kayak. It lacks the frills we see on other kayaks including storage options and mounting points for accessories. But its performance is what makes it worth the money.
Overall, the Perception Rambler 13.5 is a great tandem kayak. You can use it as a solo, a two-person kayak or even a three person kayak by attaching a seat to the middle. Just remember that the kayak doesn’t come with any frills.
- Strong and Durable
- UV resistant material
- 550 lbs. Capacity
- Two padded, adjustable seats
- One molded-in center seat
- Multiple footrests for all inseam sizes
- Multiple carry handles
- Can be used for recreation and fishing
- Fast despite being large in size
- Stays stable on rough waters
- Lacking storage compartments
- Seats need more padding
Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak 12ft
The Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak has a long list of features that make it better than most comparable kayaks. Sure, it isn’t expensive, but it has plenty of features and comes with some accessories which make it worth the price.
The kayak is made with 5mm thick polyethylene material that can protect it against external impact. So you won’t get any dent if there is a collision with a submerged rock or a tree. The material is also UV resistant, so the kayak won’t fade, peel or crack. However, you should still not keep it out in the sun because polyethylene can get hot and flexible. In such a flexible state, it gets prone to getting dents if pressure is applied.
The build quality is solid and it is quite obvious as you sit inside the boat for the first time. The sit on top design allows you to get in and out easily.
The kayak can be used for touring or fishing. It can accommodate two adults and a child or a dog. You can even convert it into a solo kayak if you like to have some ‘me time’ once in a while. However, the front seat is a bit far in the front which may tilt the kayak forward when sitting. You can put a bag of pool salt in the rear to solve this issue.
A kayak is no fun if you cannot stay comfortable in it. This is what Vanhunks understood when they made the Voyager Deluxe. They mastered comfort and offered dedicated storage options.
The 12 foot long kayak has enough space to make yourself comfortable. It can accommodate a massive 550 lbs. of weight.
So if you and your friends or family are over 6 feet or bigger than most people and can’t find a kayak that has the right amount of space and weight capacity, the Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe is for you.
Its seats are nothing like the ones you see on other kayaks. They are constructed with an aluminum frame with thick padding on both the seat bottom and the backrest. No other kayak we have tested used an aluminum frame, so this is an innovative step from the brand. By being different, the company made perhaps the most comfortable kayak seats you will ever see on a kayak.
Not only are the chairs super comfortable, you can also remove them and put them on a beach or a campsite to relax. The seating position is also higher than what we see as the standard. This gives you a better stance for paddling. Users also mention how amazing the back support is.
You can stay comfortable for long hours of paddling. If you are someone with back issues, it is exactly what you need. Molded footwells in front of each of the chairs allow paddlers of all sizes to fit in and stretch their legs. The length of the boat also contributes to the spacious legroom.
Although the stock seats are elevated, you can also buy the optional lower seats. The lower seat combo is good for navigating big waves or choppy waters. However, this is not a necessity.
The kayak comes in a thick wrapped package which does a good job of securing the kayak and other components.
There is lots of room for storage. Whether you want to bring a cooler full of drinks and snacks, or you want to bring some camping gear, you can keep it secured inside the kayak. There is a storage tank well in the rear where you can keep your gear secured by bungee cord rigging. There is a similar tank well in the front, a bit smaller. In front of each seat, there is a dry storage hatch one can use to keep things like phones, wallet, car keys or a camera.
The kayak is also stable. It glides through water effortlessly allowing you to enjoy the view around you. It tracks well, so it will move in a straight line allowing you to maneuver effectively.
The kayak also comes with two aluminum paddles. Each paddle can be adjusted in three positions and comes in two pieces. The kayak comes with carry handles on either side that let you transport it from one point to the other. It also has carry handles on the bow and the stern, that you can use when carrying it with your fellow paddler.
The kayak also has several options to add fishing accessories. It comes with two swivel rod holders to keep your fishing rods planted in a stable position. In addition to that, there are two molded in rod holders that help you make the most out of your fishing adventures.
The kayak comes with 8 scupper holes that allow it to drain any water that accumulates inside the kayak. This is really important because without self-bailing scupper holes, if water gets inside, you will have to disrupt your ride and take the boat to the shore to empty it. In addition to the scupper holes, the kayak also has a drain plug to make things even easier.
It also has a cup holder in front of each seat. So you can keep a beverage to stay refreshed and alert during long rides. However, some users mentioned how one of the cup holders is blocked by the rear seat. This seems like a stupid design flaw, which we hope the company will improve upon soon.
The one thing we like about the kayak is that all parts and fixtures are high quality. They are all secured with marine grade stainless steel bolts and brass inserts. It also has 8 D-rings to help you secure extra gear.
The boat is heavy-duty, but also heavy in itself. It weighs 77 lbs, so it is hard to carry by a single person. If you decide to paddle it solo, make sure you bring a kayak cart or trolley along. You will likely also need help to load it onto the roof of your car.
Overall, the Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak is a great kayak to hit the waters with family or friends. It comes with a whole lot of features and it performs well on water. It has the most comfortable seats you’ll probably ever see in a kayak, so it is meant for long rides and fishing adventures.
- Solid construction
- Tracks well
- Superior comfort levels
- Six rod holders
- Drain plug and scupper holes
- Paddles included
- Usable as a solo or tandem
- 8 D-rings to secure extra gear
- Cup holders
- Four molded in rod holders
- Two swivel rod holders
- Two dry storage hatches
- Front and rear storage tank wells
- Molded footwells in front of each seat
- Heavy, so hard to carry by a single person
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak
The 370 Pro is lightweight and portable. But this does not mean it is not sturdy. In fact, it is made with a rugged PolyKrar hull that is durable and can last many years. This strength and rigidity is also reflected in the weight capacity of the yak – which is a massive 650 lbs. With this capacity, it can easily hold up to 3 adults. The best part is that it just weighs 32 lbs when inflated, so you can carry it on your own without anyone’s help.
Despite being an inflatable, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro can tackle anything on water. It is not just meant for lakes and rivers, but also choppy waters and rapids. It can handle Class III rapids consisting of waves as big as four feet. So if you love the thrill of exploring rough waters, this kayak is for you. It remains stable no matter whether it is windy or it is confronted by waves. This makes it really good for beginners as they can try new paddle strokes without worrying about it tipping over. It also makes it easier to get in and out of.
There are two skegs that can be attached at the bottom, that help with tracking. Inflatable kayaks don’t do well on water without skegs – their tracking really suffers.
The skegs also help the kayak move fast through water and maintain a steady glide. The kayak does not track as well when used as a solo kayak. You will need to go all the way to the back to have good tracking. However, in that position, the wind may cause imbalance. This is a common issue we have seen in all inflatables, so you can ignore this one.
The cockpit is open and large with lots of room to make yourself comfortable. In fact, a lot of customers rave about how comfortable it is. Its inflatable floor and thick inflatable seat cushions take its comfort levels to those of hard shell kayaks. Its center of gravity is also higher. When confronted by waves, the kayak flexes its body and waves don’t break over inside the kayak.
Sea Eagle provides collapsible paddles along with the kayak. The paddles are effective, lightweight and of good quality. Since each paddle has four parts, storing it is easy – you can put everything in a carry bag. Behind each seat backrest is a pocket where you can keep small items for handy reach. The pockets can be opened and closed with a quick snap button.
Since this is an inflatable, the company provides a repair patch kit with it, to patch and fix the kayak in case any punctures occur. It also comes with an inflation pump, which works well. It is not an electric pump, but is good enough. There is also an inflation chart, to help you inflate the kayak to the right amount of pressure.
The kayak comes with two 7 feet and 10 inches long paddles. They have asymmetric blades and an aluminum shaft. The kayak also has a drain valve inside which allows it to get rid of any water that accumulates inside the kayak.
The kayak is lightweight and portable. You can throw it in the back of your car or pretty much keep it anywhere, since it can be stored in a small bag. Planning to fly to a favorite vacation spot? Take it along to make things even better.
The kayak is easy to set up. It takes about 15 minutes of time to set up. The inflation pump gets you going really quick. However, you need to make sure that the inflation caps are held securely in place.
Taking down the kayak is also easy. Just invert it to remove any water left inside the kayak then dry it using a towel. Make sure to keep towels and sponges when packing the kayak.
A lot of the inflatable kayaks in the market are not durable in the long-term. But the Sea Eagle 370 Pro stays solid even after years of use. This makes it stand apart from the rest of the kayaks.
- Solid build quality
- Durable unlike many other kayaks
- Comfortable with thick inflated seats
- Accommodates three paddlers
- Tracking is good
- Paddles come in the package
- Tackles choppy waters, rapids
- Easy to set up and take down
- Budget friendly
- Lots of storage space
- Drain valve
- Two skegs
- Not as good at tracking when used as a solo
Perception Tribe 13.5 Sit on Top Tandem Kayak
The first thing you will notice when you see the boat is how solid and sturdy it feels. It is built from high density polyethylene material that is strong and durable. Kayakers understand that kayaks are at the risk of colliding with rocks or submerged trees when paddling.
HDPE material secures the kayak against that risk. Not only is it resistant to impact and abrasions, it is also resistant to UV radiation. UV protection ensures the kayak won’t fade, peel or crack.
The kayak is made in the USA. So you can rest assured it is manufactured to the highest standards.
The kayak can support 500 lbs of weight, which is good enough for two average sized adult paddlers. However, if both paddlers are big and heavy, and they plan to bring along a lot of cargo, this weight capacity will fall short. It comes with skid plates on the bottom so that you can drag it on the ground without causing any damage.
For easy transportation, it also comes with t-handles on the bow and the stern. There are carry handles on the sides too, so carrying it is easy. The side carry handles also allow you to lock the kayak during storage, to protect it against theft.
The kayak is a bit heavy since it weighs 67 lbs. So it will be hard to carry by yourself when you are out kayaking solo. So bringing a kayak cart will help in this case. However, two people can easily carry it on the ground as well as load and unload it from the car.
The kayak has padded seats but the seat bottom can feel hard to sit on for rides longer than three hours. With a tall backrest on both seats, paddlers can feel supported from their lower back through their shoulders.
We like that the seats are also foldable, so you can store the kayak easily on the roof of your car without getting wind drag due to the seats. There is a molded kids seat in the middle, which you can use for your kid or even your dog. Kayaking is more fun when you have company.
To help make people of all height fit inside the kayak, there are multiple footwells. The sides of the kayak where you rest your knees and thighs, are made with ergonomics in mind to ensure you don’t scrape against the sides. They also support your posture and allow you to paddle from a more stable position.
There are two storage tank wells, one on the front and one on the rear. The tank wells are not as big as what you may get on a few other kayaks, but they are still useful. You can keep different kinds of gear including camping and fishing gear in the tank wells. Whether you have a cooler full of drinks or a fish crate, it can accommodate it all.
In the front of each seat, there is a dry storage hatch which can be used to store things like phones, wallets or a camera – anything you want to keep dry. There is a built in bag inside each hatch to keep your stuff. The hatches are deep unlike many other kayaks, so you can keep a lot of stuff inside them.
We like that the kayak comes with scupper holes for its self-bailing function. It means any water that gets inside due to waves breaking over the kayak, can drain through the scupper holes.
Keep in mind that the kayak isn’t made for rapids, ocean swells or white water. It does its best when it is used in lakes, rivers, ponds and light coastal waves. It tracks really well, so it won’t drift away at the slightest hint of waves or winds. It is also faster than a lot of other tandem kayaks we have tested.
The kayak is durable, but you will have peace of mind knowing that there is a five-year warranty on it that secures you against qualifying damage. For more information on what the warranty covers, you can check the company’s official page.
The kayak also comes with two solo mount recesses that allow you to add mounts for holding accessories. For example, you can add mounts for fishing rod holders, a transducer, a camera and so on. The best part is adding mounts this way doesn’t require any drilling. Some users even added paddle keepers to store their paddles when not in use.
- Solid build quality
- UV protection
- 500 lbs capacity
- Padded seats
- Third molded seat for a child/dog
- Seats fold for easy storage
- Beverage holders
- Multiple footrests
- Lots of storage space
- Multiple carrying handles
- Easy to handle
- Recesses for accessory mounts
- Too heavy for a single person to carry
Quick Buying Guide for Best Tandem Kayaks
When buying a tandem kayak, first you need to know what you will be using the kayak for and in what kind of environment:
- On Slow-moving waters like lakes and rivers
- On rough waters like ocean swells and rapids
- In tropical region vs. cold regions
- Long, all-day trips vs. short trips for getaways
- Whether you want a third seat for a child or a dog
- Little storage vs large storage space
Once you are clear on the above parameters, you can better decide which type of kayak will be good for you.
If you want a tandem kayak for fishing, see if there are accessories like fishing rod holders and mounting points to add more accessories like a transducer. Also check if there is sufficient storage space.
For recreation, all you need to check is if the kayak has comfortable seats with enough legroom and whether there is some storage space too. If you are going to go on long trips, pick a yak with lots of storage space including multiple tank wells and dry storage hatches.
All the kayaks in this guide are good enough for calm and slow waters. However, if you want to tackle choppy waters and rapids see if the kayak has the stability, tracking and maneuverability to get through those kinds of conditions.
If you live in a cold region, make sure to buy a sit-inside kayak with a closed cockpit. It will help you keep warm and also protect you from waves that break over the kayak. You can even attach a spray skirt to prevent any water from coming inside the kayak.
Finally, check for the kayak’s capacity – how many seats it has. Tandem kayaks come with two or three seats with sometimes also an additional molded seat to accommodate a child or a dog.
There you have it – the complete guide to picking a tandem kayak.
Kayaking is more fun when you’ve got company. Whether you are going to bring a friend, your spouse or your dog, a tandem kayak can make your day enthralling and memorable.
Our top pick for the best tandem kayak is the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible.
Make sure to check it out!