Best Tandem Kayaks 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

How can you make kayaking even more fun? Head out on the water with someone else or your favorite furry friend! When you buy the best tandem kayak, it’s also much easier to paddle and explore the waterways you love.

There are several different types of tandem kayaks. For instance, some kayaks allow the paddler to sit on top of the kayak. They can be inflatable, or they can be designed specifically for fishermen.

In this guide, we review the top kayaks on the market, so you can choose the best tandem kayak for your needs.

Top 5 Tandem Kayaks for 2019


Product Name

Kayak Weight

Weight Capacity


Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu

57 pounds

425 pounds Check Current Price
Sun Dolphin Bali 70 pounds 325-500 pounds Check Current Price
Intex Explorer K2 36 pounds 350 pounds Check Current Price
Perception Pescador 13.0 69 pounds  500 pounds Check Current Price
Sevylor Colorado 40 pounds 470 pounds Check Current Price

Choosing the Best Tandem Kayak for You

When you’re choosing the best tandem kayak for you, key features to consider include stability, how easy it is to transport, how it handles different bodies of water, lifespan and weight capacity. You might also want to ensure the kayak you choose is still easy for you to paddle solo, to make the most of your purchase.

Let’s take a look at your exciting options.

1. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

The best thing about this kayak is that it can hold two people, or two people and a child or a small dog. This means you have plenty of recreational options for your family, in the one boat.

That being said, if you love to kayak solo as well,  you’re able to paddle from the center seat with ease.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu comes in at under $700, which is very affordable for its quality. While there are cheaper options out there, this is a solid tandem kayak that’ll last for years.

It could be considered a tad on the heavy side, but this kayak is also known for holding up extremely well in high winds, so there’s a benefit to that.

A Few Things to Consider with the Ocean Kayak Malibu

Given the weight and handle placement on this kayak, it’s likely you will need two people to transport it and lift it on and off your vehicle.

Finally, this kayak does not have much in the way of storage. If you’re storing your paddles on the boat, you won’t have much room for anything else, unless you take it out solo and use the extra seating for storage.


    • Made in the USA
    • Ocean-friendly
    • Lake-friendly
    • Very reasonable price
    • Family and pet friendly
  • Can be used as a solo kayak


    • Best for short kayakers
  • Very little storage


2. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5-Foot Tandem Kayak

The Sun Dolphin Bali is an incredibly sturdy kayak. It weighs approximately 70 pounds and has a length of 13 inches. This means that it would be difficult to tip in almost any sort of water current.

It’s perfect for a family day out on the water, as it can carry up to three people.  This kayak features deluxe adjustable seats, with back supports and adjustable foot braces.

More on the Sun Dolphin Bali

If you would like to take this kayak out on a solo trip, you simply paddle from the middle seat. This seat is also perfect when paddling with a small child, who can sit in the middle of two adults.

As with many of the kayaks on this list, it does not have waterproof compartments. Make sure you use a dry bag if you are bringing valuables. It does, however, offer three covered compartments for storage.


    • Can have up to three kayakers
    • Easy to steer
    • Not easily tipped
    • Ocean-friendly
    • Lake-friendly
    • Solo kayak easily
    • Long life duration
    • Seats are adjustable
    • Paddle Rests
  • Wide beam


    • Poor handles
    • Heavy kayak
    • Low weight limit
  • Little storage


3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump – 10.25ft

The Intex Explorer Kayak is an inflatable tandem kayak, so it’s incredibly light. This means it’s super easy to paddle through the water, as well as transport to various locations.

Because of this, it’s the best tandem kayak for you, if you’re a beginner or you’re teaching children how to paddle.

More on the Intex Explorer K2

To set the Intex Explorer K2 Up, you must open the boston valves and attach the pump. The boston valves are an excellent perk, because they allow air to travel into the boat but not out. Even if you make a mistake while pumping, you won’t lose air.

The pump used for this boat is very easy to utilize and is included with the purchase of the kayak. Receiving oars and pump with the kayak make this a smart choice economically.

As this kayak is inflatable, one of the key concerns is that it will spring a leak. The team at Intex has included a US Coast Guard certified patch kit to keep you safe in your boat. It’s recommended that you always keep an extra patch kit in the kayak, as an extra safety measure.

Things You Should Know about the Intex K2 Kayak

This kayak is not meant for river kayaking. Rivers can change speeds very quickly, and if this kayak is smashed against rocks it runs a higher risk of springing leaks.

However, this kayak is perfect for lake kayaking. It’s easy to crawl in and out of while on the lake, which makes it great for swimming and paddling with children.

For an inflatable kayak, the Intex K2 has a very high weight capacity of 350 pounds. However, this does not afford much weight per kayaker, so be cautious.


    • Economical Tandem Kayak
    • Lake-friendly
    • Family-friendly
    • US Coast Guard certified
    • Excellent beginner kayak
    • Wide beam
    • Very light
  • Inflates easily


    • Little storage
    • May spring leaks
    • Low speed
  • Low weight capacity


4. Perception Pescador 13.0 T Tandem Kayak

The Pescador offers high-end features, such as ergonomic seating for comfort. It’s also designed for maximum durability and weight capacity.

The beam, or the width, on this Perception tandem kayak is 34 inches. While this makes for a very wide kayak, it also means that this kayak isn’t likely to tip in the water.

It also offers leak-proof construction and built-in buoyancy for safety.

More on the Perception Pescador Kayak

Due to the durability of the Pescador, it is very difficult to damage this boat enough to cause it to take on water. As it is capable of supporting 500 pounds, it’s difficult to weigh this kayak down enough to allow water over its 15 inch deck.

This kayak has a very heavy frame and a wide beam, which means it is ocean, river, and lake friendly. You can feel confident that you’re safe in this boat.

If you’re hoping to take this kayak out solo, just be aware that it can be difficult to transport on your own.

The Pescador offers large rear open storage with bungee cord lashes. Therefore, you can fit quite a bit of gear, but you’ll need waterproof storage.


    • Great length
    • Ocean-friendly
    • Lake-friendly
    • River-friendly
    • Long kayak
    • 3 storage compartments
  • Wide beam


    • Heavy to transport
  • Only two handles


5. Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Kayak Combo

The Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Kayak looks more like a tandem canoe. This is because, just like the Intex K2, it’s an inflatable kayak.

Unlike the Intex K2, it’s not extremely cheap, but it does come with two paddles and a pump. This inflatable tandem kayak also comes with a pressure gauge, allowing you to make sure it is properly inflated while you are on the water.

Additionally, this kayak offers a 1 year warranty. This is a major perk, as inflatable kayaks are known for springing leaks.

However, it is incredibly difficult for leaks in this kayak to cause it to sink. It has a tarpaulin bottom which makes it difficult to be punctured at all. If this tandem kayak is punctured, it has multiple chambers of air, which means only one section of the kayak will deflate and the kayak will stay afloat.

More on the Seyvlor Colorado Kayak

While the Sevylor Colorado is great for lake use, it’s also recommended for class 2-3 whitewater scenarios. As this is the recommendation, this tandem kayak is much more durable than the Intex.

A major perk for this kayak is that it’s easy to keep in your car at all times. Because it is so compact when deflated, it doesn’t take up too much room in your trunk.

This makes it great for solo kayaking as well. Additionally, the weight capacity on this kayak is approximately 470 pounds, which means you can bring a partner and quite a bit of gear (cooler, paddles, etc) and still not have to worry about take on water or tipping.

Finally, the seats are adjustable on this kayak, making it friendly for kayakers of varying heights.


    • Inflatable
    • Pressure Gauge
    • Comes with Paddles
    • Comes with Pump
    • 1 Year warranty
    • Multiple air chambers
    • Tarpaulin bottom
    • Heavy weight capacity
  • Seats are adjustable


  • A more expensive inflatable kayak


Types of Tandem Kayaks

Now that we’ve checked out options to help you find the best tandem kayak for you, here’s a more detailed look at different types of tandem kayaks.

Touring Kayaks

If you’re looking to paddle long distances, this type of tandem kayak is for you. They are so sturdy that they can handle rough weather as well. While they’re often more expensive than recreational kayaks, they’re well worth the investment. Touring kayaks also have more space, to allow for more storage for your gear. Touring kayaks are typically 12 to 17 feet long. Some touring kayaks have a skeg or rudder, which can help in navigating your kayak. Most importantly, touring kayaks are designed to deal with rough waters.

Recreational Kayaks

If you’re a beginner or only go out on the water once in a while, this type is more suitable. Recreational kayaks are ideal for lakes, ponds, and some rivers. While they are relatively affordable, they are only meant to be used on calm waters. As they don’t have much storage, they’re meant for short trips only. Lengths vary from 10 to 12 feet, but the cockpit is usually fairly big. While recreational kayaks are great for beginners, tracking can be quite difficult.

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

These are perfect if you’re paddling solo or tandem. The design of sit-on-tops makes them ideal for children and a wide range of kayaking adventures. Sit-on -tops are also great for longer fishing trips, as they’re comfortable.

Inflatable Kayaks

If you love paddling for recreation purposes or have children, inflatable kayaks may be best for you. They are super simple to set up, which means you could be on the water in a matter of minutes. Storage is easy with inflatable kayaks, and many of them are quite durable.

Folding Kayaks

Folding kayaks are similar to inflatable kayaks, but they allow for more storage. They are best for touring and lengthy paddling trips. The great thing about folding kayaks is that you can store them easily.

How to Buy the Best Tandem Kayak

Tandem Kayak

When you’re looking at buying the best tandem kayak for you, there are several features to consider. These include maneuverability in the water, transferability to the water, durability, versatility, ability to haul gear, and weight capacity.


For kayaks, the heavier they are the more stable they are in the water. It’s important to ensure your kayak is either heavy or has a wide beam.

If you’re a shorter kayaker, you want to make sure your kayak is not too long. If it is too long, it can be very difficult to paddle.

However, taller kayakers may need a longer kayak length. This affords more legroom and greater control over the kayak. Taller kayakers should also double check the length of the paddles which come with their kayak, to ensure they’re not too short.


If you plan on carrying your kayak a fair way to a lake, river or ocean, ensure that it has good handles and is lightweight. This is crucial if you’re planning on solo kayaking as well.

However, if you’re only going to tandem kayak you may not be as concerned about the weight.

Another recommendation is to make sure you pay attention to how your kayak handles high winds. If you carry your kayak on top of your car, you want to make sure it will not be damaged by wind currents.

Different Bodies of Water

Be aware, when choosing the best tandem kayak for you, of where you plan on using it. Ocean-friendly kayaks are heavier and have a wide beam. Be sure that this is the case if you hope to use your tandem kayak in the ocean. If it’s not, you increase the chances of tipping.

River-friendly kayaks are very similar, with a heavy wide beam, however, they are often more durable as river kayaks will handle rocks and tree branches quite regularly.

Ensure your kayak is durable enough and do not purchase inflatable kayaks for river kayaking unless they are rated for rapids.

Most tandem kayaks are great for lakes. Lakes do not vary in current or waves as much as ocean or rivers.

Lighter, shorter kayaks are fine for lakes, although they do run a higher risk of tipping. That being said, the lighter kayaks also allow you to get up to a faster speed.


If you hope to fish, you need a lot of gear. If you hope to spend all day in your kayak, you need a lot of gear.

Double check that your kayak has the storage you need, and always ensure the things you’re storing are safe from water. One perk about tandem kayaks is that on solo trips you easily have enough room for your gear.

Weight Capacity

Finally, make sure you know the weight capacity of your kayak. It’s often recommended that you experiment with the weight capacity before you take your kayak on long trips.

If you overload your kayak, it can easily take on water. For kayaks where you are taking multiple people in one boat, you can overload the boat. Consider tying your kayak up to a dock and filling it with your normal weight for several hours before you take it out. This will ensure your safety.

Our Final Review

Tandem kayaking is a wonderful adventure for you, your partner, friends, family and children. Always double check your weight capacity, the storage of the kayak, and the weight and handles of the kayak. This will ensure the best tandem kayak purchase for you.

So, what’s your favorite tandem kayak? Share with us below!

KayakBest is among the largest and most dedicated kayak review sites. We aim to help enthusiasts discover the best tips and products for an enjoyable paddling experience.

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