The 5 Best Two Person Kayaks [Reviewed] – Buyer’s Guide
Kayaks are excellent boats for taking out for a quick trip or for fishing. However, often kayaks are only built for one person. This makes it incredibly easy to become separated from a group of kayakers.
Two person kayaks, or tandem kayaks, have seats designed for two people or more people--which means getting lost is a thing of the past.
Tandem kayaks can be sit on top kayaks, which means you sit on the kayak in a molded out seat, instead of being inside of the kayak. Sit on top kayaks typically have more storage.
They can also be inflatable, which means you must inflate the kayak when you are ready to use it. However, inflatable kayaks can be more easily damaged.
There are also fishing kayaks, which typically have fishing pole mounts. These kayaks may be more difficult to paddle, but have the advantage of hauling more gear.
If you are considering just a base model tandem kayak, you will not have as much storage.
In the following sections of this article, you will find detailed analysis of the benefits of specific two person kayak models.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Two Person Kayaks
- 1.0.1 1. BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak
- 1.0.2 Pros
- 1.0.3 Cons
- 1.0.4 2. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5-Foot Tandem Kayak
- 1.0.5 Pros
- 1.0.6 Cons
- 1.0.7 3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak - 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump - 10.25ft
- 1.0.8 Pros
- 1.0.9 Cons
- 1.0.10 4. Perception Pescador 13.0 T Tandem Kayak
- 1.0.11 Pros
- 1.0.12 Cons
- 1.0.13 5. PELICAN Unison 136 Tandem Kayak
- 1.0.14 Pros
- 1.0.15 Cons
- 1.1 How to Buy a Two Person Kayak
Top 5 Two Person Kayaks in 2017
BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak
2 people or 450 pounds
Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5-Foot Tandem Kayak
3 people, 325-500 pounds
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak - 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
2 people, 350 pounds
Perception Pescador 13.0 T Tandem Kayak
PELICAN Unison 136 Tandem Kayak
This covers a broad range of two person kayaks. There are inflatable kayaks to consider, sit on top kayaks, fishing kayaks. and regular kayaks to consider when tandem kayaking.
Ultimately, this article will focus on maneuverability in the water, transferability to the water, durability, versatility, ability to haul gear, and weight capacity of each kayak model.
The Best Two Person Kayaks
1. BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak
This fishing kayak is incredible in the water. At 12.5 feet long with a 34 inch beam and 68 pounds of weight, it is unlikely that a storm will knock this little boat over. Additionally, because of the beam it is easy to guide through the water, which makes it great for beginners.
The weight of this kayak makes it a little tricky to travel with, however the designing company compensated for the weight by adding lots of handles.
There are four comfortable carrying handles, which means your hand will not get squashed if you have to carry this boat a long distance.
With all of the benefits of this kayak, it does have a few downfalls. It tends to scratch more easily, due to the kayak plastic being a little softer than most. The bungee cords on the back will also snap if you overload the compartment, so be cautious.
This boat is not known for springing leaks, though, so consider it a safe kayak for you and your friend.
Most 12 foot kayaks are not known for being able to haul much gear. Tandem kayaks have a similar reputation.
However, this little kayak comes with two waterproof compartments, 7 fishing rod mounts, 3 adjustable and 4 flush, paddle rests, as well as a cargo area with bungee cords over the top.
This makes it an exceptional kayak for taking out for a fishing trip!
While this kayak is a little heavier than most, coming in at 68 pounds, it is important to remember that this kayak is meant for tandem kayaking. In other words, you are only carrying part of the weight--you are not responsible for all of it!
For this kayak, you will find you can easily take it out with a companion or take it out for a solo trip. It is very versatile in that it allows you to use it for many purposes!
Although this is deemed a fishing kayak, you could also use it for short camping trips, etc. due to its storage capacity. This is especially true if you are taking it out solo.
- Good PriceCan be used for solo or tandem tripsSeven fishing rod mountsGood HandlesWaterproof compartmentsPaddle RestsSteady in the water34 inch beam
- HeavyNot a ton of storageScratches easilyBungees may break
2. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5-Foot Tandem Kayak
Due to its weight of 70 pounds, length of 13.5 feet, and beam of 34 inches, this boat is definitely steady in the water. Waves are not going to tip it over, and neither will wind. It is an excellent choice for ocean friendly kayakers, but it is also a good choice for lakers as well!
Just like the BKC, this boat is not one you want to wrestle with by yourself. At 70 pounds, loading this onto the top of a vehicle and back down is not an easy challenge.
This kayak does have handles, but they are made of a soft material--which means they are not exactly comfortable to carry a long distance. This is not a kayak to take camping or to haul long distances.
This kayak is very durable, but can take on water. Due to the way this kayak was created, if you put too much weight in it it will fill up. Be cautious when you take it out!
It may be best to tie the Sun Dolphin Bali up on shore for 12 hours before taking it out, just to make sure it can hold the weight you want it to.
It is a very stiff kayak, due to its weight, so be careful when tying it down to your car for long trips.
This kayak is another very versatile boat. You can take 1, 2 or 3 people in it. Due to the nature of the very comfortable seats, a solo kayaker would simply sit in the middle seat and have no problems paddling or steering.
Unfortunately, the Sun Dolphin Bali does not have much storage room. It has three covered compartments, but they are rather small and they are not waterproof. This is not the kayak you want to store your cell phone or car keys in without a backup plan.
The recommendation is to bring your own waterproof bag, etc, and secure your items in the compartments that way. As far as the amount of gear you can bring with you, if you are doing a solo trip you would have quite a bit of room, due to the extra seats.
However, if you are taking two or three people you would really only have the covered compartments, which are not big enough to store more than your wallet, keys, and phone.
The weight capacity on this boat is fairly low, making it a little bit more of a challenge. Again, you will not be bringing much gear in this boat, and it may be best for a small family.
Children would not cause this boat to pass its weight capacity.
- Three people can fit!Tracks WellVery stable in high windGood in the oceanGood in lakesSolo kayak as wellVery durableSeats are very comfortablePaddleRests34 inch beam
3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak - 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump - 10.25ft
This kayak is very lightweight and also rather short, at only 10.25 feet. Though it may not be suited for taller kayakers, it is incredibly easy to paddle. The ease of paddling makes it excellent for beginning kayakers.
As the Intex Explorer K2 is inflatable, it is extremely easy to take to and from the water. Simply inflate the boat when you arrive at your destination and all is well.
To inflate or deflate this kayak, all users have to do is utilize the Boston valves found on either end of the boat. Boston valves allow air to be let in, but do not allow air to escape, which means if you struggle with pumping up inflatable items, this valve system is perfect for you!
The pump for this boat is included with the purchase, as are the paddles needed. This package deal is also incredibly affordable!
The K2 also has handles which make it easy to carry if you do need to carry it after inflating.
One of the best features of this boat is the repair kit that comes with it. If you are out on the lake and spring a leak, simply pull out the patch kit, which is US Coast Guard certified, and you are ready to set sail again. The Intex company put a lot of thought and preparation into this safety ready kayak.
This kayak is not very versatile. Do not take this kayak out on the ocean--due to its inflatable nature, it simply cannot withstand high winds or waves. However, it is great to take out on a local lake.
On the local lake, it is extremely easy to get in and out of the boat for a quick swim on the lake due to the beam of 36 inches. This makes it very child friendly--in fact, this kayak is probably best suited for an adult and one child due to its weight limit.
The K2 does not have fantastic storage, so be wary if you are hoping to use this for fishing. As it is inflatable, fishing is not recommended.
The weight capacity on this boat is decent, coming in at 350 pounds. If you have two people in the kayak, this means they cannot weigh over 175 pounds each.
This also does not leave much room for gear, but as this kayak is meant for smaller bodies of water, you should not need to haul too many supplies with you.
- Very Reasonable PricingExtremely LightweightGood patch kitGreat for lakes or riversEasy to get in and out of while in the waterEasy to inflateGreat for childrenGreat for beginning kayakers36 inch beam
4. Perception Pescador 13.0 T Tandem Kayak
13 feet of kayak makes this boat a challenge to maneuver, especially if you are short in stature. Due to the length, this kayak is not meant for beginners
The beam on this kayak is 34 inches, which means just like the BKC, it is unlikely it will tip over easily.
At 69 pounds and with only two handle, this kayak is simply not easy to transport solo. You really need a second person to take this kayak very far.
Consider keeping this kayak on shore or being able to back right up to the water’s edge.
The Pescador is not a kayak known for taking on water or springing leaks. Thanks to its heavy frame, it is difficult to puncture, but it also has such a high weight capacity, it rarely takes on water.
Due to its moderate weight and length, this kayak is easy to use in the ocean, in rivers and on lakes. Once again, strong winds will not tip this boat.
The weight and length of this boat, though, make it a little more difficult to paddle than boats like the Intex. So be cautious in choosing this kayak if you are a new kayakers.
This kayak does not have much in the way of storage. It simply has a compartment on each end secured with bungees.
In other words, it does not have waterproof storage, so be cautious with phones and car keys!
The Pescador 13.0 has a very high weight capacity for tandem kayaks. 500 pounds allows for two people and quite a bit of gear for a long day out on the water.
- High weight capacityLong kayakSteady in oceanSteady in lakesGreat for fishing or spending all day outSteady in rivers34 inch beam
- HeavyPoor handlesNot great for solo outingsNot for beginners
5. PELICAN Unison 136 Tandem Kayak
Due to its weight, this kayak is very steady in the water. It is great for lakes, rivers and oceans.
This kayak has a 32 inch beam, which means it is not quite as stable as the BKC or Pescador, but still provides a wide enough beam to prevent quick tipping
The Pelican Unison is also easy to maneuver, even for beginners, making it a great kayak for couples who are just getting into kayaking. It would also be a good kayak for teaching a child to kayak in!.
This kayak is, again, on the heavier side, but it has a few handles to carry it to and from your vehicle. However, this kayak is probably best used if it can be stored at the waterfront.
Due to the weight of the boat, this kayak rarely has issues springing leaks or breaking at all. Trust that if you purchase this boat you willl have it for the long haul.
Rivers, lakes, oceans are all fair game in this kayak. Additionally, you can use this kayak solo as well as tandem.
The Pelican Unison does not have the capacity to hold a lot of gear. There is a waterproof compartment in the back and bungee storage in the front of this kayak.
The boat also has some storage for items you may need quickly in the middle of the kayak--mainly cup holders for your drinks.
500 pounds means this boat is not sinking any time soon! Feel free to load this kayak with coolers and whatever other gear you need to enjoy a day on the lake.
- Ocean friendlyLightLake friendlySeat is very easy to move aroundVery durableBungee storageWaterproof storageGreat for beginnersSolo and TandemChild friendlyLots of speed is possible due to narrow beam
How to Buy a Two Person Kayak
When you are considering a tandem kayak, there are several features you need to consider: maneuverability in the water, transferability to the water, durability, versatility, ability to haul gear, and weight capacity.
Its very important to know how your kayak handles in the water. The heavier the boat, the easier it will be to handle.
That being said, when your kayak is longer it is often more difficult to paddle along. If you are a beginning kayaker it is probably best to get a heavy, but short, kayak. However if you are kayaking with an old pro, the longer length might be better for your trips.
Be aware of how length and weight affect your paddling and your kayaking experience.
It is important to know how far you need to take your kayak. If you plan on traveling very far with it, make sure it is light enough and has good carrying handles.
If you know you will never take your kayak out solo, the weight may not matter quite as much. You may also want to make sure the kayak has storage for its paddles if you plan on taking it a long distance.
However, if you are storing your kayak close to or on the water, a heavier kayak is precisely what you need. Remember, the heavier the kayak the more stable it will be in the water.
Be aware of where you plan on using your kayak.
If you want to use your kayak in the ocean, definitely opt for a longer, heavier kayak. These kayaks provide greater stability.
You may also want to check on the beam of the boat. If you are going to be in rough waters, you want a beam that is a little wider. Most of these tandem kayaks have a beam of 34 inches and this is just about perfect.
If your beam becomes much wider than 36 inches, it can become difficult to paddle as there is more resistance. If the beam becomes much narrower than 34 inches, it can tip much more easily. Be cautious!
However, if you are using your kayak in local lakes, a lighter shorter kayak will do just fine.
If you want to use your kayak for tandem and solo trips, double check that the kayak you are considering can do both.
For fishing, check that your kayak can hold all the gear you need. If you hope to swim from your kayak, consider an inflatable kayak as they are easier to climb in and out of.
The amount of gear you haul can make or break your kayaking adventure. For short hour long kayaking trips all you need is water, which all of these kayaks can handle.
However if you are hoping to do day trips, or fishing trips, you must double check that you have adequate storage.
It is also very important to ensure you have waterproof storage available to you in order to keep your cell phone and car keys safe.
Be aware how much your kayak can carry, especially for a tandem kayak. When you have two people in a boat, you typically have a smaller weight limit for your gear.
If you are hoping to take a lot of supplies, ensure your kayak can carry all of it and not take on water.
For some kayaks, a lower weight capacity may also mean tighter quarters. If you are tall, double check that your kayak is of a recommended length for your height.
Our Final Review for the Best Two Person Kayak
Tandem kayaking is a great way to kayak, but it also brings a whole new set of challenges. Ensure that your kayak is of the correct weight limit for your activity.
You may also want to make sure it has good carrying handles and is easily transportable for two people.
Finally, make sure you choose a kayak that is correct for you water environment. Tandem kayaks have different requirements in the ocean, in rivers, and on lakes.