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June 21, 2022  |  Outdoors

Which tandem kayak is best for couples?

Enjoy a romantic paddling trip with one of these top-rated kayaks for two

The best dates are usually those where you can bond over shared interests with your loved one. If you and your partner enjoy paddling, kayaking together is the perfect way to spend a day.

You’ll have even more fun if the two of you are in the same kayak. It can also come in handy for fishing trips with friends or paddling around with family. If you’re in the market for a kayak built for two, check out these top-rated models.

What is a tandem kayak?

Like a tandem bike, a tandem kayak is built to fit two people. That means you can enjoy a kayaking trip with a significant other, friend or family member in the same kayak. Tandem kayaks distribute the weight evenly for a more balanced ride and provide additional storage space for two people’s gear. 

Types of tandem kayaks

You can choose from two main types of tandem kayaks: sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks. 

  • Sit-inside tandem kayaks: These kayaks have an enclosed cockpit, so your lower body is inside the boat. As a result, they place you closer to the actual water, which many kayakers prefer. Sit-inside kayaks are also best if traveling on rough, choppy waters because you’re more secure inside the vessel.
  • Sit-on-top tandem kayak: If you or your paddling partner don’t like confined spaces, a sit-on-top tandem kayak may be better. Instead of inside a cockpit, you sit on top of the kayak’s hull. That allows you to get in and out of the kayak more easily. It also provides better access to your gear and other stored items. However, a sit-on-top kayak doesn’t offer much security, so you can fall out easily if you’re in rough waters. 

Best tandem kayaks for couples

Tandem kayaks for $500 or less

Explorer K2 Kayak

Explorer K2 Kayak 

This inflatable kayak offers adjustable seats with backrests that are comfortable enough for an all-day paddling trip. It can hold up to 400 pounds and is made of durable vinyl that can withstand regular use. The bright yellow color also makes it easy to locate in an emergency. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Two-person Fishing Kayak

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Two-person Fishing Kayak

If you like to fish on your paddling trips, this kayak is sturdy and durable enough to get to nearly any fishing spot. The seats are adjustable for comfort, and it has rod holders to allow for hands-free fishing. It can also accommodate a compatible motor if you need to move more quickly. Sold by Amazon

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series

With adjustable seats and built-in footrests, this tandem kayak is built for comfort. It can hold up to 400 pounds and has a removable mounting bracket to hold accessories like a GPS or fish finder. The durable three-ply high molecular PVC won’t be damaged by gas, oil or salt water, either. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Tandem kayaks for $500-$1000

Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Kayak

Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Kayak

This kayak inflates in under five minutes, so you can get it from your trunk to the water quickly and easily. It’s made of durable PVC tarpaulin and 840D coated nylon oxford fabric, providing a rip- and tear-resistant design. The seats are also padded for superior cushioning during long trips. Sold by Amazon

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak

Featuring a compact, lightweight design, this kayak comfortably seats two people, but it also has extra space for a small child or pet. It has a screw-in drain plate that prevents water from getting inside the boat and gear straps to secure your belongings. Its molded-in side handles allow for easy carrying, too. Sold by Backcountry

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

This unique inflatable kayak has built-in aluminum ribs to give the bow and stern shape. It also features three layers of material to ensure it resists punctures. It has three seat locations to accommodate solo or tandem paddling, too. Sold by Amazon

Old Town Twin Heron Tandem Kayak

Old Town Twin Heron Tandem Kayak

This durable, stable tandem kayak is ideal for casual paddling on flat water. It has adjustable, comfort-flex seats and dual handles that make it easy to get from your vehicle to the water. The trim hull design also discourages the boat from popping up if you go on solo trips. Sold by Backcountry

Tandem kayaks for $1000+

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak

If you’re looking for a durable kayak that can hold up to three people, this model offers a 7500-pound weight capacity. It’s made with 1000-denier polyester, so it’s puncture-resistant. It’s also suitable for Class IV rapids if you’re heading to more remote wilderness spots on your trip. Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Perception Tribe Sit on Top Tandem Kayak

Perception Tribe Sit on Top Tandem Kayak

This sit-on-top kayak is high on versatility and stability. It offers comfortable seating with a framed, adjustable seat back for support and multiple footrest positions. There are large open storage areas in the front and back and even a drink holder that keeps your beverage steady to prevent spills. Sold by Amazon

Old Town Dirigo Tandem Kayak

Old Town Dirigo Tandem Kayak

This top-of-the-line tandem kayak is large enough to hold two adults and a toddler, but it can also be used for solo trips. It has a click-seal hatch and glove box to provide dry storage options onboard for valuables. The foot brace system and thigh pads also help keep you secure in the kayak. Sold by Backcountry

BKC TK219 Tandem Sit-on-Top Kayak

BKC TK219 Tandem Sit-on-Top Kayak

With two ergonomically-designed frame seats, this kayak is perfect for couples who love kayaking together on calmer waters. It features a 34-inch beam that helps keep the boat balanced, so it can safely hold up to 595 pounds. It also has dual, watertight storage hatches to keep your belongings dry and six built-in rod holders if you like fishing. Sold by Amazon

Wilderness System Pamlico Sit-Inside Kayak

Wilderness System Pamlico Sit-Inside Kayak

One of the best performing tandem kayaks, this model easily converts to a solo boat when necessary. It offers fully adjustable, ergonomic seats covered with ventilated mesh and large, padded foot rests for added comfort. The thigh and knee padding allow for greater control over the kayak, too. Sold by Amazon

Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Stable enough for use on rivers, this tandem kayak is made of highly durable PVC, which resists tears and punctures. It has mesh drain holes to keep water from collecting inside and three air chambers that help increase balance and safety. It also has strong, sturdy handles to make carrying easier. Sold by Backcountry


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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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