You and your partner have finally decided to take the plunge and buy yourself a kayak or two to traverse the beautiful oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams this country has to offer, congratulations!
Now you need to answer one burning question: do you buy two single kayaks or a tandem kayak?
Not to worry, we are here to walk you through the considerations you need to make when choosing between a tandem kayak or two single kayaks.
Tandem Vs.Two Single Kayaks (Which is Better?)
While a tandem kayak is not necessarily better than two single kayaks and vice versa, both have their advantages over the other. It will be less expensive to purchase a singular tandem kayak, and they are also much more stable than their singular counterparts. However, two singular kayaks allow each user to go out on their own, and for one kayak to rescue the other in a capsize situation.
If you need help determining which option is best for you and your family, a tandem kayak or two single kayaks, keep on reading. We will walk you through the considerations you need to make and the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Tandem Kayaking and Divorce
The first thing you need to consider when you are making the choice between a tandem kayak and two single kayaks is how simpatico you and your partner are. If you didn’t already know, tandem kayaks are often referred to as “divorce boats”.
While a tandem kayak can look like a great deal at first glance as they often cost about the same as a singular one-person kayak, be aware that this investment in you and your partner’s outdoor adventures could potentially lead to disaster.
Tandem kayaks are great for couples with similar build and strength who both have a laid-back attitude and work well together. One will not out-paddle the other, and they will be able to navigate difficult situations with ease. If this is the case for you and your partner, a tandem kayak can lead to plenty of fun adventures where you will feel closer and more bonded with one another.
However, if your relationship has any issues bubbling under the surface, they will absolutely show themselves when you begin paddling in tandem. You don’t want to be the couple that is constantly shouting and arguing with one another and constantly making left or right circles. That is an easy way to take a romantic and relaxing vacation in the outdoors and turn it into a necessary call to a relationship counselor.
Even if you and your partner are certain that a tandem kayak is for you, be aware that they are very wide and very heavy compared to a single kayak. It may be easier to maneuver and transport two singular, lighter-weight kayaks than it is with one tandem kayak.
If you do decide to buy a tandem kayak for yourself and your partner, it is best to choose one with moveable seats to make it a singular kayak. That way, if a disaster happens and your partner is incapacitated, or if they decide to leave the relationship, you can paddle the tandem kayak by yourself while you think about your life choices.
What’s Your Purpose?
Now that we have gotten the potential drama involved with a tandem kayak out of the way, the next step is to determine the purpose of your kayaking adventures if you are still considering purchasing a tandem kayak.
If buying a kayak or two is an effort to spend quality time together and strengthen the relationship and the communication skills between yourself and your partner, a tandem kayak could still be a great choice.
Even if there are relationship issues, tandem kayaking could be a good outlet for working out communication blocks that affect other parts of your relationship in adverse ways.
However, if you and your partner are more of the adventurous types and often enjoy many different outdoor activities with one another, you may enjoy developing your own kayaking styles individually and tackling more difficult waters, which you won’t be able to do in a tandem kayak the way you can with two singular kayaks.
If you and your partner will appreciate the freedom to explore on your own time during lengthy outdoor adventures, it may be better to go ahead and invest in two singular kayaks. That way, if one of you wants to stay behind and get breakfast and the campsite ready in the morning, the other is free to kayak around the area without needing an additional paddler.
Skill Level is Important
So, you’ve defined the purpose of your kayaking trips. Whether it is to bring you closer together or to have a grand adventure, it is important to consider the skill level of both yourself and your partner while deciding if you should buy a singular tandem kayak or two one-person kayaks.
If you are both beginners, or if one of you is a complete newbie, it could be better to get a tandem kayak. This will allow one of you to take a short break if you get tired of paddling, and you can both learn and perfect your paddling skills together as a team. Tandem kayaks are also very stable, so you won’t have to worry about tipping over as much when you are learning the basics.
If you both have experience in this regard, you will likely enjoy two single kayaks much more. You will be able to have a lot more speed and maneuverability and do more interesting things in your single kayaks than you could do in tandem.
The Pros and Cons of Tandem and Single Kayaks
You’ve visualized some of the scenarios you could find yourself in, and you’ve considered the purpose of your kayaking and the skill level both you and your partner bring to the table.
If you are still undecided on if buying a tandem or two single kayaks is the best choice for yourself and your partner, here is a final list of pros and cons of both options to help you make the right choice for your unique dynamic.
- Great way to spend quality time with your partner
- Can strengthen the bond between yourself and your partner
- Can help you and your partner build better communication skills with one another
- Are able to be engaged in conversation during your excursions
- Paddling in sync can make long journeys go faster
- One person is able to take breaks if needed
- Save money on buying one tandem kayak versus two singular kayaks
- Lack of freedom, if one person wants to go out by themselves, they will have a difficult time doing so in even a convertible tandem kayak as it is so much heavier
- Both people will need to be game to go out at the same time
- The blame game can be very common, where one person feels like the other is always doing the wrong thing and causing the issues
- Less cargo space, even though a tandem kayak is bigger, when you add two people there will be less space for gear than if you had two singular kayaks
- Very bad idea for fishing, you will probably end up hooking one another
Two Single-Person Kayaks
- Freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want
- Complete control over the kayak and yourself
- Argument-free kayaking experience
- Have the option to go out by yourself if your partner is unavailable
- Lighter so each kayak is easier to load and unload than a tandem
- Better for fishing
- More room for gear and equipment
- If one boat capsizes, the other kayak can serve as the rescue boat
- If you have young children, there probably won’t be space for them in a singular kayak
- You may lose an opportunity to bond and communicate with your partner
- Will be more expensive to buy two kayaks as opposed to a singular tandem kayak
A Potential Solution: The Best of Both Worlds
If you are still struggling over the choice between a tandem kayak and two singular kayaks, there is one potential solution that could help alleviate the doubt you are experiencing. That solution is the convertible kayak.
While not all tandem kayaks are convertible, there are many options on the market these days that have moveable seats, allowing the kayak to be easily converted from a tandem to a singular kayak.
Some of these kayaks actually have a seat molded into the center of the kayak that can be used in such a scenario, or can even be a great spot for your child to sit while you and your partner paddle in-tandem.
If you are wanting to paddle both in tandem but also solo, this could be the perfect option for you without breaking the bank and needing to store a lot of kayaks at your home. These kayaks will have all the same advantages as a regular tandem kayak.
Some of those center molded seats can be a bit uncomfortable, so if you plan on using the kayak for solo paddling regularly and not just in a pinch, it will be better to spend a little more and get a tandem kayak with moveable seats that turn it into a solo kayak. For all of the advantages, these kayaks still have the same disadvantages as a standard tandem kayak, as well.
- CONFORMS TO THE CURVE OF YOUR HAND: This high-quality, patented design cushioned paddle grip makes paddling more enjoyable because it conforms to the curves of your hands. The padding reduces pressure on your palms and tendons, allowing you to get a better grip for more efficient paddling. The soft, durable material also reduces blisters and calluses as you enjoy water activities.
- QUICK AND EASY INSTALLATION: At Cascade Creek, we know you’re eager to get on the water and minimize setup time. Yakgrips are a breeze to install. Simply wet the inside of the paddle grip and slide it on the paddle. The inner design will keep it in place. To remove, wet the paddle shaft and pull off. For one-piece paddles, velcro is available. They can can be left on for your next expedition.
- SIMPLE TO WASH: These Yakgrips paddle grips require very low maintenance. We’ve made them washable! When they get dirty on the river or sweaty from your hands, the process is simple; all you have to do is wash with mild dish detergent and they’ll be ready to go for your next river, ocean, or lake trip.
- MAKES PADDLING MORE EFFICIENT: If you’re a competitive kayaker, you’ll love that these stretchy, adjustable grips will improve your performance . They can also act as a training aid to help with learning the correct positioning on a paddle. By reducing friction on the hands, paddling becomes smoother and more effective with these waterproof accessories.
- SEVERAL COLOR OPTIONS AVAILABLE: Want to match your Yakgrips to the color of your kayak? We provide a range of color options for you to choose from so you can do just that! Our color and style options will appeal to women, men, and kids alike. Choose from yellow, pink, red, blue, green, camo, and more.
- 3 black gear leashes included, 1 for the paddle, 2 additional leashes for rods or other light gear. If a super long leash is needed, they simply loop together, (See the picture of the loops)
- Fixed elongation, Will not over stretch and loose elasticity. Woven construction and long bar-tack sewn, Built to last.
- 20 inches of elongation keeps it out of the way but gives you the reach you need when paddling or reeling in the big one.
- Leashes, good for the water or the woods to keep your light gear safe.
- A great wading leash. The 20" bungee section takes just the right amount of force to make this a great wading leash. The bungee reduces the jerking of the kayak when attached to you while wading the shallows.
- ✔ INCOPARABLY HIGH QUALITY AT AN AMAZINGLY LOW PRICE: Stop wasting your money on cheaply made roll top bags that fail to protect your stuff. This top notch waterproof bags set is the perfect combination of premium quality, extreme durability, maximum protection and low cost! Make it yours, save money and enjoy boating, rafting and kayaking without worrying about your belongings ever again!
- ✔ KEEP YOUR THINGS DRY UNDER ANY CONDITION: Say goodbye to traditional roll-top dry bag which doesn't have any seal to protect your valuable items dry when it is submerged underwater or continuously splashed!The Freegrace waterproof dry bag features double zip lock seals that make it twice as safe as any dry bag you have ever tried! In fact, it promises to keep your things perfectly dry even if you submerge it into water.
- ✔ ERGONOMIC FEATURES FOR EASY TRANSPORT: 5L, 10L, and 20L Comes with a 27.6"-49.6" adjustable and removable shoulder strap. You can sling the strap over your shoulder to easily tote your bag anywhere. Or attach the strap to your boat or kayak to keep your bag conveniently at hand. Also 20L comes with build-in a grab handle and 35L are equipped with backpack style shoulder straps that also come with a sternum strap for added stability.
- ✔ GET A PRACTICAL WATERPROOF POUCH FOR YOUR SMALL ITEMS: Along with the kayaking and boating dry bag, you will receive an amazing waterproof opaque black pouch (9.0" X 6.7") which is ideal for storing your wallet, cash, keys, credit cards and more in order to keep them 100% Safe and Float! The adjustable waistline (fits sizes: 33.5" - 47.5") makes it incomparably versatile, allowing you to wear it as a waist pack, cross-body bag, or shoulder bag.
- ✔ PROTECT YOUR CELL PHONE AND MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WATER SPORT ACTIVITIES: This set also includes a must have IPX8 Certified Waterproof Phone Case (3.9" x 6.7"). This amazing dry cell phone case features a very simple snap and lock access that has dual-sided clear windows that allow you to text, talk on the phone, take pictures and video while still inside the case. Suitable for phones up to 6.5 Inches of diagonal screen size.