The Best Tandem Kayak – Reviews, Brand Rating, Info

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We have compiled over 40 hours of research and writing time to find you the best tandem kayak. Through our experiences and considering the average kayakers budget and experience we have found the BKC UH tk219 to be the best deal out there and with the added benefits of having rigging for fishing in the case you ever decide to partake in the sport its unbeatable.

Last Updated: August, 2019 We have updated our top list to include more affordable options we have removed the Hobie 2000 tandem options and switched them in for the more affordable alternatives to reflect the users that usually come to this guide.

Our Pick

1. BKC UH TK219

The BKC UH TK219 offers the best overall tandem kayak features with solid design, great tracking, and the added benefit of converting into a fishing kayak if you want to try the sport.

The BKC UH TK219 was an easy choice when we thought of a good overall tandem kayak that would give a person everything they wanted while weighing in features, design and price. Sure there were more expensive models with more features and even better designs but once we came down to it nothing could beat the lifetimes price tag. The bkc comes with different scupper holders for any fishing rods you may have. It comes with a very sturdy design that even allows your to stand up while kayaking. The seats are made of extra firm plastic that gives extended comfort and the storage space includes mesh at the front of your extra gear. The weight capacity is more than ample as-well.

For Tighter Budgets

2. Slipjacket Tandem Kayak

The standing champion in budget kayaks the kayak offers a entry level inflatable kayak for tight pockets.

The slipjacket 120 is the Cadillac of tandem kayaks, its a roomy ride that rides smooth with great tracking and decent speed and maneuverability. The Kayak itself is very stylish with its yellow skirts and black patterns. The Vibe Slip Jacket 120t is the perfect buy for the new kayaker that wants a plus one, regardless of its 10 inch length it provides a great ride that's unbeatable at its price range.

Runner Up

ocean kayak 12 malibu tandem

3. Ocean Kayak 12 ft Malibu Tandem

The Malibu offers a bit of a more advanced and longer hard shell kayak that is perfect for the kayaker that wants something they can show off in!

(Last years Winner) This kayak is one of the best multipurpose kayaks on the market today it can be used for any type of water including lakes and calm rivers and works great with two people without causing any speed of maneuverability problems. You can even rig this kayak for fishing. This tandem kayak tracks well, paddles smoothly and works great with an anchor or trolley. If your looking for something a step up from the normal tandem the Ocean Kayak 12 ft Malibu should be your go-to kayak.

Also Great

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak

4. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
​The sea eagle is another inflatable option perfect for the cottage or family trips out, it packs and unpacks quickly and efficiently.

(Inflatable Option) An inflatable model of tandem kayak that does not disappoint. Many know the sea eagle brand as a leader in inflatables and the 330 is their flagship tandem bestseller. The Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable kayak provides a super smooth ride on lakes and rivers and bounces off rocks without any damage to the boat. The boat tracks decently and meets all of the demands of whitewater as-well

Best Tandem Kayak Report Card

Top 11 Best Tandem Kayaks

1. BKC UH-TK219 Tandem Kayak

When you’re looking for a tandem fishing kayak, a 12-foot size is the standard. And in that market, nothing beats the Brooklyn Kayak Company UK-TK219. Even though it comes with two seats and paddles, it’s a sit-on-top, which allows you to set it up for three people as well. Talk about versatility.

With five fishing rod holders, you can be sure that all of your fishing gear will be safely mounted on it. There’s also no lack of storage – all of your extra gear can come along on the trip. While you’re fishing, you can rest assured knowing that the BKC UH-TK219 is extremely stable, and very easy to maneuver. And once you’re done with your trip, you’ll easily be able to get back home – the kayak is just as stable when it’s completely full. It doesn’t get any better than this. Our best tandem kayaks this year.

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2. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak

The third tandem kayak on our list is not another one by BKC, but instead, comes from Vibe Kayaks. It’s a 12-foot option that weighs a mere 72 lbs. This makes it lightweight enough to ensure you can easily maneuver through obstacles when necessary. However, it’s still not too light, in order to maintain some stability while you’re standing up and fishing, too. When you buy it, it will come with two deluxe seats, as well as two of Vibe Kayaks’ Journey paddles. Out of the box, you can grab a friend or partner, and get out on the water.

A potential downside with the Skipjack might be the fact that it only has two flush mount holders. This might not be enough, but there’s room for expansion. The extra four mounting points can take Scotty, Railblaza or RAM mount holders, so you can put more of your rods on the kayak. For important items, there are two sealed hatches with cup holders. Larger items, on the other hand, are best stored in the rear cargo area, and secured with bungie cords. The kayak performs admirably, with stability and maneuverability being excellent. If you want something that isn’t by BKC, this is your best bet.

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3. BKC UH-TK181 Tandem Kayak

If you like the UH-TK219, but would prefer a few more rod holders instead of those three seats, this is another option by the Brooklyn Kayak Company. An extremely good runner-up, this is another sit-on-top. Like the top choice on our list, it comes with two paddles and two seats. The paddles have two paddle rests, which allow you to easily keep your hands free when you want to focus on fishing.

As we mentioned, the UH-TK181 has a lot of rod holders. Seven of them, to be exact, four of which are flush mounted, and three articulated. You have waterproof storage hatches between the paddlers’ legs, which let you store your precious essentials. For any extra gear, you have one more cargo area at the back which fits quite a lot of things. Transportation to and from the water is made by the multiple carrying handles, which we have to say, really come in handy when you want to get in the water, or get out of it.

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4. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T Tandem Kayak

A slightly larger option than the Skipjack, the Yellowfin 130T comes in at 13 feet. That one extra foot means it can fit three people comfortably. Well, provided their combined weight with all their gear doesn’t exceed 500 lbs. This also means one more thing – for solo paddlers, that center paddling position is impeccable. Regardless of which setup you go for, you get adjustable foot rests, so you can set things up just as you like them, comfortable.

Like its smaller brother above, the Yellowfin also comes with only two flush mount holders, and has the same four mounting points. For smaller items, you get two sealed hatches that also have bag inserts – a nice touch. The rear tank is huge, and the bungee cord keeps things in place. You’ll also appreciate the bow cargo storage area, too, which also has a bungee system and adds a bit more storage. The Yellowfin 130T is a great buy if you want a larger kayak.

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5. Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

lifetime sport fisherIf you’d rather keep things a bit smaller, you might want to take a look at the Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem. It comes in at a mere 10 feet, which makes it extremely easy to maneuver. That size won’t be an issue for you and all of your items, since the inside space is extremely well organized. You’ll never feel like you’re sitting in a 10-foot kayak, except when you need to turn it. It’s actually made for three people, so you can be sure it’s comfortable.

The material of choice is high-density polyethylene, which is the go-to material for durable, yet not extremely expensive kayaks. There are three fishing pole holders for fishing, as well as two paddle clips for the two included double-sided paddles. Storage is taken care of by a 6” storage hatch that can easily store your gear. When you take everything into consideration, if a smaller kayak is your forte, this is a great choice.

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6. Sea Eagle SE370 Tandem Kayak

sea eagle 370Switching things up, next on our list is the Sea Eagle SE370. We say “switching things up” because this isn’t a hard-shell kayak. If you don’t have enough room to store one, an inflatable kayak is a great alternative, and that’s where the SE370 comes in. With a weight of 26 lbs., it can comfortably fit three people. And the most impressive thing? It’s not only great for fishing, but for up to Class III whitewater, too.

If you opt for the Pro Package, you also get two inflatable, adjustable seats, as well as two AB30 paddles. A pump and carry bag round out the package, so you have just about everything to get you started. The kayak’s valves will let you inflate it quickly, and deflate it even quicker. The drain valve will make sure no water stays inside, and for good tracking and speed, you’ll find skegs at the bottom. If you don’t mind an inflatable solution, the SE370 can be a great choice.

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7. BKC UH-PK14 Tandem

Yeah, we know purists hate pedal-powered tandem kayaks. But for people who actually appreciate how easy it makes fishing (as well as people who just want a 14-foot kayak), the UH-PK14 can be perfect. Brooklyn Kayak Company’s dual propeller propulsion system is excellent, and it allows you to keep your hands free when you want to fish and move at the same time.

The UH-PK14 is quite honestly, built like a tank. Being a BKC product means it has a reputation to live up to, and boy does it do that. The hand-operated rudder helps you with steering, and for a 14-feet behemoth, the kayak feels surprisingly nimble and responsive. If you aren’t a purist, and actually want something that makes your fishing trips more enjoyable, do give it a shot.

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8. Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem

Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak ReviewIn case an inflatable tandem kayak doesn’t sound so reassuring to you, you might want to reconsider when you take a look at the Sevylor Coleman Colorado. The 18-gauge PVC makes it rugged for use in a variety of environments, and the 1000D tarpaulin at the bottom is as puncture resistant as they come. The top is made out of 840D nylon, which is also puncture resistant so no, you don’t have to worry about that. And if the worst does somehow happen, the kayak has a multiple air chamber construction that won’t let you sink.

For fishing, you have Berkley Quick Set rod holders that work admirably. You don’t have to look for a place for your paddles – there are paddle holders that take care of that for you, without the paddles getting in your way. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that it’s compatible with Sevylor’s trolling motors. You know, just in case you want to make things that much easier.

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9. Sun Dolphin Bali Tandem

An option that comes close to the 14 feet behemoth we spoke about above, the Bali comes in at 13.5 feet. With that length, you can easily use it yourself, or with one, or two extra people. It all depends on how you choose to set it up. Regardless of which option you go for, though, you’ll still end up with quite a bit of storage. From the covered storage compartments (all three of them), to the shock cord rigging on the deck, your gear will be safe, regardless of how much of it you carry.

Even when you sit three people, the seats are adjustable and extremely comfortable, so you won’t have any space issues here. Performance should be mentioned as well, and the kayak tracks extremely well for such a big vessel. However, when you want it to be stable, it’ll surprise you with how good it is. If you want a large kayak, but don’t want a pedal-powered option, give it a chance.

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10. Driftsun Voyager

Yes, we’re noticing the trend of inflatable tandem kayaks being a bit smaller. The Driftsun Voyager is in line with that trend, coming in at 10 feet. There’s an included pump with it, that lets you have it fully inflated in a bit under 5 minutes. The PVC bottom is heavy-duty, for peace of mind and puncture resistance. The top, just like on the Sevylor Coleman Colorado, is covered with 840D nylon oxford fabric, one that is both rip and tear resistant.

Tracking is simply excellent, thanks to the pointed bow and the rocker profile. Whether you’re going through calm waters, or choppy ones, it will be great. You have a fin at the bottom that you can remove, but it does help a bit with responsiveness. Draining is done via the rear drain plug. Last but not least, the seats have a very high back support, and are extremely comfortable, even when you spend hours in them!

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11. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Dirigo Tandem Plus

We’re wrapping up the list with a tandem kayak by Old Town Canoes & Kayaks – one of the most reputable brands in the world. It’s an extremely high-quality kayak that has a versatile feature set and is among the most comfortable kayaks we’ve tried. The polyethylene hull will last for a good while, and it has a great shape that quickly cuts through water. You get contoured, cushioned seats, so they’re as comfortable as they come.

The Dirigo has a foot brace system that makes it very responsive, and really helps with maneuvering. You can easily bring all of your gear, since there’s quite a bit of room for storage. And if you also want to bring your little one along for the ride, you’ll find a removable jump seat. To round things out, the Dirigo is compatible with an optiona rudder system, to make turns a bit easier when fishing. A great kayak to finish our list with!

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How to Choose

The tandem kayak can come in two basic forms. They come as sit on top kayaks and sit inside kayaks and both Sit On Top vs Sit Insideare available as singles or doubles. They also can have hard shells or be inflatable’s.

Although there are some major difference between sit inside and sit on top tandem kayaks they share many of the same parts. The top of the kayak is called the deck, the bottom is the hull, while the front is the bow and the back is the Stern. On top of the deck you’ll often find deck hinges or bungees. At the start of the kayak you should find black hoops and some kayak rudders move from side to side in the horizontal plane and some are controlled by foot pedals that simply drop straight in the water and help the kayak move straight.

The sit on top and sit inside tandem kayaks have seats and some form of back support. There are foothills which slide on a track to adjust for different size riders which are convenient because you’re going to be spending a full day on the water so using the foothills are a lot more comfortable and give you a lot more support.

The best tandem kayaks also have a built-in backrest which makes sitting in a kayak a lot more comfortable.

The biggest difference between the two types of tandem kayaks is that sit inside kayaks are enclosed, there is a cockpit where you sit. Around the cockpit is a place where you can attach a skirt to keep the water inside the cockpit. Within a tandem kayak you’ll find two seats and sometimes foot pedals which you can adjust according to your legs.

With hundreds of kayak options out there choosing the best tandem kayak can be overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be and it’s hard to make the wrong decision.

The best way to narrow out your options is to :

Identify how and where you will be using it.

Will you be paddling at a sheltered Laker out on the beach? Will the temperature of the water be warm Are you looking for a kayak that can travel quickly? Are you looking for a kayak that is stable and is difficult to tip over?

Your first and biggest decision is to go for a sit on top or sit inside tandem kayak and there are pros and cons for both.

Sit on top tandem kayaks are the most user-friendly. They are very stable and easy to get in and there’s no feeling of confinement. They are also self-bailing which means they have small holes like stopper holes that allow water to drain through them. Another thing about sit on top tandem kayaks is you can slip in and out of them as you please.

All these features make the sit on top tandem kayak a great choice.

The downside of the sit on top model is that you’re guaranteed to get wet while paddling while sit inside kayaks of allow you to stay dry. Sit insides also shelter your lower body from the wind which make them much more beneficial for paddlers that want to be in cooler water and stay dry while paddling. One downside of the sit inside tandem boat is that you don’t have the same freedom to move inside of the water and if you do flip for some reason recovering is a hard process because you’re tandem kayak will be filled with water. Sit on top recreational kayaks are very stable fun and easy-to-use. They have large cockpits so they are not confined and some even have waterproof compartments that are accessible through hatches in the deck.

You’ll need to decide on a length of your tandem kayak. kayak Length

There is a general rule the longer a narrower a kayak is the faster it will travel and the wider a kayak is, the more stable and slower it will be.

Sit on top tandem kayaks are considered recreational and are ultra-stable.  Sit inside kayaks can vary a lot more in shape and size and purpose in fact sit inside kayaks can be broken into two distinct categories there are:

Recreational sit inside Vs Sea kayaks.

The recreational boats are wider, shorter and have a big cockpit so they do not feel confining. The sea tandem kayaks are longer, and narrower so that they travel faster. They also have a lot more control over the edge of the boat. The cockpits though are a lot smaller so they do tend to feel a lot more confining although it’s very easy to get in and out of these ones as well if speed is in that important to you might as well choose a shorter kayaks. They are lighter and easier to move around. Most tandem kayaks have a hard shell made from a durable plastic that will last forever and it doesn’t require much maintenance.

There are also tandem kayaks that are made from composition materials like fiberglass carving and Kevlar that make them significantly lighter. The downside is they don’t take abuse as well and they also tend to cost a lot more.

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable KayakYou’ll also have inflatable tandem kayaks. They are very comfortable to sit inside and they can be deflated and folded down and actually carried in a backpack. These kayaks are made from fabrics that are surprisingly durable. Inflatable kayaks are incredibly versatile.

Additionally thermal formed tandem kayaks are the new thing to hit the market they are gaining popularity because of their affordability, durability and weight.

 

Our Pick Again

1. BKC UH TK219

The BKC UH TK219 offers the best overall tandem kayak features with solid design, great tracking, and the added benefit of converting into a fishing kayak if you want to try the sport.

The BKC UH TK219 was an easy choice when we thought of a good overall tandem kayak that would give a person everything they wanted while weighing in features, design and price. Sure there were more expensive models with more features and even better designs but once we came down to it nothing could beat the lifetimes price tag. The bkc comes with different scupper holders for any fishing rods you may have. It comes with a very sturdy design that even allows your to stand up while kayaking. The seats are made of extra firm plastic that gives extended comfort and the storage space includes mesh at the front of your extra gear. The weight capacity is more than ample as-well.

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