When the great outdoors calls, sometimes you just feel the need to answer.

Getting out into nature is a dream come true for many people.

And sharing that special feeling with someone you care about is just another way to improve the experience.

For this reason, many people search for the best tandem kayak for 2 people to share that perfect day on the water with their family or friends.

But with so many tandem kayaks on the market, how can you know which is the best for you and your kayak buddy?

Today, we’re going to discuss 5 of the best tandem kayaks for 2 people, as well as some tips to fully enjoy your day on the water with your friend or family member.

Top 5 Tandem Kayaks for Supporting 2 People

1.Advanced Elements AE1007-R
2.BKC UH-TK219 Tandem
3.Ocean Kayak Malibu
4.Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl
5.Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus

The Right Tandem Kayak Can Make All the Difference

The first time I used a tandem kayak was when my son was a toddler. We had just bought our house in Muskoka, and my wife and I decided to invest in a tandem kayak in order that the whole family could get out on the water.

I had always enjoyed kayaking, but going with my family was a different story. I was used to going at my own pace, but suddenly, I had to adapt to the pace of my family. I had to compromise some of my goals for the day in order to adapt to what my family wanted to do.

On top of everything, the kayak that we had purchased wasn’t very stable, and it was difficult to maneuver.

For us, the right tandem kayak just hadn’t come along yet. Thankfully, today there are plenty of tandem kayaks for 2 or more people that fit the bill for families or friends looking to invest in a great day. We’ll discuss the best 5 tandem kayaks below.

But, how do you know if you really need a tandem kayak? Let’s discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of tandem kayaks, as well as my own top tips for using one successfully.

Advantages of Tandem Kayaks

  • Take the Family With You (or a Furry Friend)

The obvious benefit of a tandem kayak is that you won’t have to go out on the water alone. Having a tandem kayak gives you the ability to share your favorite pastime with a family member or friend, and offers great opportunities for bonding.

A quiet ride on the water is such a great place to talk, to get to know one another, and to relax together. My wife and I still love tandem kayaking, now that we’ve found a tandem that suits us.

I also use my tandem kayak to bring my dog Patton out on the water with me.

  • Greater Stability

Most tandem kayaks built now are made to be extremely stable. They’re normally quite wide (at least 28” to 30”), making them perfect for two people to stay stable without feeling like they’re going to tip over.

  • Combined Effort Means Better Speed or an Easier Ride

When there are two people rowing together in a kayak, it can become a real speed demon. The combined effort of both parties pulling their weight can get a tandem kayak going at a very good clip.

If you’re interested in speed, this is an advantage of the tandem kayak.

Alternatively, if speed isn’t a big deal for you, a tandem kayak gives you the opportunity to take a more relaxed ride. For example, if one paddler wanted to take a break, the other could continue rowing.

Or, even if both keep a slow and steady pace, the kayak could still go at a reasonable speed.

Disadvantages of Tandem Kayaks

  • Larger Kayak Means Heavier to Carry

Since tandem kayaks need to be larger in order to fit two people, they tend to be quite heavy. This makes them more difficult to manage when bringing them from storage to the water.

Many times, tandem kayaks can only be carried by two people, unless you have a kayak cart.

The exception to this rule is inflatable tandem kayaks, which allow you to have the space you need while still being light enough to carry easily.

  • Difficult to Take Out on Your Own

Managing a tandem kayak on the water can be relatively difficult for one person.

If you’re trying to decide whether to buy a tandem kayak or two singles, think about how often you will really go out as a couple, and how often one person will go out individually.

If you think you’ll often go out alone, it may be better to buy two single kayaks, or ensure that you buy a tandem which can be managed by one person.

  • More Room for People Means Less Room for Storage

Tandem kayaks, while inherently roomy, tend to have limited storage space in order to make more space for the people.

If you regularly bring a lot of equipment out on your kayak trips, such as for camping or serious fishing trips, it may be better to find a kayak with more storage space.

Top Tips for Tandem Kayaking

  • Know Your Combined Weight Ahead of Time

The weight limit on a kayak is not a suggestion. That’s why it’s very important to know the weight of both people who will use the tandem kayak before you make a purchase.

Don’t forget to leave extra weight for any equipment you want to bring on the kayak with you!

  • Make Sure Both Parties Have Similar Goals for the Day

A good experience with a tandem kayak can only be had if both parties are agreed on their goals. For example, if one wants to fish while the other wants to explore, this trip will probably not have a happy ending.

Make sure that it’s agreed in advance what kind of day you’ll be having on the water. This will be for everyone’s benefit.

  • Place the Heavier Person in the Back

With more weight in the back of the kayak instead of the front, this will help stability and tracking.

  • Time Your Strokes so as Not to Hit Each Other

This is a problem that you won’t find in a canoe, only in a kayak. Since both paddlers are using two-sided paddles, it’s much easier to strike each other.

To avoid this, one paddler must set the pace while the other follows. If the paddler in front sets the pace, the paddler behind him can watch his pace and follow accordingly, which means no paddle smacks on the water!

  • The Person in the Back Should Control Direction

While the person in front controls the pace, the person in back is in a better position to control the direction of the kayak. By dipping their paddle in the water, they can adjust the direction of the kayak and then get back into rhythm with the paddler in front.

What Type of Tandem Kayak Should You Get?

  • Sit-Inside

The classic kayak style, sit inside kayaks work just as great for tandems as for single kayaks. They allow your bottom half to be protected from the elements, and offer a good amount of storage by your feet.

One downside of sit-inside kayaks is that they tend to have less legroom for taller people. Also, they tend to sink if flipped.

  • Sit-on-Top

Great for warmer-weather kayaking, this style of tandem kayaks usually offers the most space for both paddlers.

Sit-on-top kayaks also offer great stability, and are impossible to sink.

Although it will depend on the model, many sit-on-top tandem kayaks offer very little storage, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when purchasing.

  • Canoe Style

Usually, canoe style is found in inflatable kayaks. This style is the best of both worlds, allowing you plenty of space for storage and for your feet to stretch out! I like this style for carrying my dog Patton around on the kayak, as the higher walls tend to keep him inside.

The Best Tandem Kayaks for 2 People

  • Ocean Kayak Malibu

This sit-on-top style tandem kayak is great for going on calm or rough waters. It features two very comfortable seats, and multiple foot rests for maximum comfort on the water. While being relatively light for a tandem kayak, it is also built to be extremely stable.

One unique feature of this kayak is that it offers three different seat positions. That means it you can ride it tandem, tandem with a small child or dog, or move one seat to the middle position in order to make this a single kayak.

If you’re planning on riding both tandem and solo, this is a fantastic option as it allows you to convert the kayak for your needs.

Length: 12 feet

Width: 34 inches

Kayak Weight: 57 lbs.

Weight Capacity: 375 to 425 lbs.


  • Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl

With the lightest weight and the highest weight capacity on our list today, this inflatable kayak is one of the best tandem kayaks currently on the market. Its rigid bow and stern make it very speedy for an inflatable kayak, even getting up to 6 mph without too much effort.

The canoe style build offers quite a bit of storage room, and still offers plenty of room for two people to sit comfortably. The two contoured, wrap-around seats are built to make you comfortable, while the removable rear skeg offers excellent tracking.

The only downside to this kayak is that, since it is so large, it would be very difficult for a single person to paddle by themselves. It really must be used in tandem.

This package also includes two carbon-fiber paddles, which are of the highest quality and will last a long time.

Length: 15.6 feet

Width: 30 inches

Kayak Weight: 42.5 lbs.

Weight Capacity: 750 lbs.


  • BKC UH-TK219 Tandem

This sit-on-top tandem kayak is fully fitted for fishing! If you’re looking to go fishing with a friend or family member, this kayak is your best option.

With 6 rod holders already mounted, paddle holders, and plenty of storage space, you’ll have a perfect fishing day with this kayak.

The only downside is that the seats will probably need to be replaced, as they are not very comfortable.

Length: 12.3 feet

Width: 33 inches

Kayak Weight: 70 lbs.

Weight Capacity: 440 lbs.


  • Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus

Everything in this sit-inside style kayak is built for comfort. Its contoured seats, multiple foot rests, and thigh pads make sure that you can stay out on the water for longer without being sore the next day.

The oversized rear cockpit also allows room for a small child or pet, if you’re looking to bring the whole family on the water.

This kayak also features a good amount of storage for any equipment that you might need to bring along, allowing you easy access when seated.

Length: 15 feet

Width: 29.5 inches

Kayak Weight: 72 lbs.

Weight Capacity: 425 to 475 lbs.


  • Advanced Elements AE1007-R

This inflatable tandem kayak is a fantastic option for those who are looking for a kayak they can use in tandem or alone. With adjustable seat positions, you can easily turn this kayak into a single with plenty of space for storage.

Its sturdy aluminum rib bow and stern make this kayak rigid, and the skeg gives this inflatable incredible tracking. The two included seats are built for long-term comfort, and it’s also quite stable.

Length: 15 feet

Width: 32 inches

Kayak Weight: 52 lbs.

Weight Capacity: 550 lbs.


So, which is the best tandem kayak for 2 people?

We’ve looked over some of the best options currently on the market, and ultimately it will depend on how you want to use the kayak.

If you’re looking for a kayak you can use either in tandem or alone, I highly recommend the Advanced Elements AE1007-R. It’s stable, sturdy, and offers you everything you need whether you’re going in tandem or going solo.

If you’re planning on fishing in tandem, I’d go with the BKC UH-TK219. This kayak is prepared for any kind of fishing venture that you could do in tandem.

One last piece of advice: don’t waste your time just reading about kayaking! It’s time to make the purchase and get out there on the water where you belong.

Phil Mansbridge
Phil Mansbridge

Phil is a retired Sport Fisherman from Florida. His passion for the last decade has been kayaking and canoeing. He spends his summers in Canada and most of the winter in California. He loves reviewing equipment for his avid readers and hopes that everyone's time out on the water as enjoyable as possible.