Best Tandem Kayak: Top Picks for 2023

If you are someone who loves kayaking but wants to share the experience with a partner or friend, a tandem kayak could be the perfect solution. Tandem kayaks allow two people to paddle together, making it a great option for couples, families, or friends who want to explore the waterways together. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which tandem kayak is the best fit for your needs.

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What’s the best tandem kayak?

The top three tandem kayaks are the Sea Eagle 380X, Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T, and Ocean Kayak Malibu Two. The Sea Eagle 380X is versatile, lightweight, and durable, while the Pamlico 135T is designed for comfort and stability. The Malibu Two is a classic tandem kayak, known for its stability and ease of use.

We have done the research for you and compiled a list of the best tandem kayaks available. Our list includes inflatable, sit-on-top, and sit-in tandem kayaks that are suitable for different skill levels and water conditions. We have also included kayaks that are best for fishing, touring, and recreational paddling. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, our list has something for everyone. So, let’s dive in and find the perfect tandem kayak for your next adventure on the water.

Exploring Tandem Kayaks: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing a tandem kayak involves considering various options, each with unique features and benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of tandem kayaks:

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

Popular for tandem kayaking, sit-on-top kayaks feature an open cockpit design, making them easy to enter and exit. They’re typically more stable than sit-inside kayaks and are excellent for warm weather, allowing you to stay cool and wet. Both hard-shell and inflatable models are available.

Sit-Inside Kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks offer a closed cockpit design, providing more protection from the elements, making them ideal for cold weather or rough water conditions. They’re more efficient to paddle than sit-on-top kayaks, making them a great choice for longer trips. Both hard-shell and inflatable models are available.


Canoes are a classic choice for tandem paddling. They have a wide, open design that makes them stable and easy to paddle. They also have plenty of room for gear and are great for fishing or camping trips. Canoes are available in both traditional and modern designs, including inflatable models.

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are a great choice for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed paddling experience. They are generally wider and more stable than touring kayaks, making them easier to paddle. They are also great for exploring calm lakes or slow-moving rivers. Recreational kayaks are available in both sit-on-top and sit-inside designs.

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Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks are designed specifically for anglers. They have features like rod holders, storage compartments, and built-in coolers. They are also generally wider and more stable than other types of kayaks, making them ideal for casting and reeling in fish. Fishing kayaks are available in both sit-on-top and sit-inside designs.

Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are designed for longer trips and more advanced paddlers. They are generally longer and narrower than recreational kayaks, making them faster and more efficient to paddle. They are also designed to handle rough water conditions and have features like rudders or skegs to help with steering. Touring kayaks are available in both sit-on-top and sit-inside designs.

When choosing a tandem kayak, consider the type of paddling you will be doing, the water conditions you will encounter, and the features you need. With so many options available, you are sure to find a tandem kayak that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Top Tandem Kayaks

If you’re looking for the best overall tandem kayak, here are some top options:

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Sea Eagle 380X

The Sea Eagle 380X is a versatile tandem kayak that can handle a variety of water conditions. This inflatable kayak is lightweight and easy to transport, but it’s also incredibly durable and stable. The 380X can hold up to 750 pounds and has a weight capacity of 2-3 people. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T

The Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T is a high-quality tandem kayak. This kayak is designed for comfort, with adjustable seats and foot braces, as well as plenty of storage space. It’s also incredibly stable and easy to maneuver, making it a great choice for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. The Pamlico 135T has a weight capacity of 500 pounds.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a classic tandem kayak. This kayak is incredibly stable and easy to paddle, making it a great choice for families or couples who want to enjoy the water together. It’s also lightweight and easy to transport. The Malibu Two has a weight capacity of 425 pounds and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Key Features to Consider

When choosing the best tandem kayak, consider its weight and durability, stability and speed, and storage and capacity. Look for kayaks that are made from high-density polyethylene, have a stable hull and adjustable seats, and offer ample storage space.

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Tandem Kayaks for Specific Purposes

Whether you’re fishing, paddling with your family, or camping, there is a tandem kayak that will meet your needs. The Elkton Outdoors Hard Shell Fishing Tandem Kayak and the BKC TK219 12.2′ Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak are great options for fishing. The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak and the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak are excellent for family outings. For camping, consider the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak or the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak.

How to Choose the Best Tandem Kayak

When buying a tandem kayak, consider your budget, your experience level, and any specific features you may need. Look for kayaks with adjustable seats and footrests, plenty of storage space, and a stable and easy-to-maneuver design.

Transport and Storage of Tandem Kayaks

Transporting a tandem kayak requires a vehicle that can accommodate the kayak’s size and weight. For storage, keep it in a dry, cool place. If you’re storing it outside, make sure that it’s covered with a tarp to protect it from the elements.

Benefits of Tandem Kayaking

Tandem kayaking offers several benefits, including improved communication, teamwork, paddling adventures, and shared experiences. Whether you are a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, tandem kayaking is an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors and bond with a partner or friend.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the most stable 2 person kayak?

When it comes to stability, the Brooklyn Kayak Company and Aquaglide are two brands that offer some of the most stable tandem kayaks available on the market. The Brooklyn Kayak Company’s UH-TK219 is a great option for those looking for stability, while the Aquaglide Blackfoot 160 is another great choice.

Are tandem kayaks less stable than single kayaks?

Generally, tandem kayaks are more stable than single kayaks. This is because they are wider and have a larger surface area, which makes them more stable and easier to balance. However, it is important to note that not all tandem kayaks are created equal, and some may be less stable than others.

What is the best tandem fishing kayak for beginners?

The Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0 is a great option for beginners who are interested in fishing from a tandem kayak. It offers a stable and comfortable ride, along with plenty of storage space for all your gear.

How can I find a used tandem kayak?

You can find used tandem kayaks for sale through online marketplaces such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay. It is important to thoroughly inspect the kayak before purchasing to ensure that it is in good condition.

Is an Old Town tandem kayak worth the investment?

Old Town is a well-respected brand in the kayak industry, and their tandem kayaks are known for their durability and performance. While they may be more expensive than some other brands, they are often worth the investment due to their quality construction and long lifespan.

What are the benefits of a sit-on-top tandem kayak?

Sit-on-top tandem kayaks are great for beginners and those who are new to kayaking. They are easy to get in and out of, and offer a more open and spacious feel than traditional sit-inside kayaks. They also tend to be more stable and easier to balance, making them a great choice for families or groups who want to kayak together.