10 Best Tandem Kayak for Family Outings!

Best Tandem Kayaks for Family

Last updated on August 13, 2022

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For any family outing, a comfortable and safe kayak is a must-have. The Best Tandem Kayak for Family Outings are perfect for families of all sizes. However, if you've been considering investing in a new kayak that will be able to handle your family's needs, then there are some things that you should know before buying one. In this blog post, I will focus on choosing the best tandem kayak by working with you to understand the features and functions available in modern kayaks, including what types of paddling strokes these boats can accommodate and how much weight they can carry.

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Then See Our Top Picks!

(The Winner After 36 Hours Of Research)

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (Sunrise, 12-Feet)
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's...
  • A pair of comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability,...
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow centre-seated paddlers to settle...
  • The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak...
  • Usable weight capacity of 362 pounds; Measures 12 Feet long and 34...

Remember that safety is always the most important thing when taking on new skills. This means not just paying attention to your own needs but also those of any group members with you in kayaking; for example, they may have more specialized knowledge than yourself! In addition, it's best if we take lessons before making our purchases because there are no surprises or mishaps during our trip, which can lead to very unpleasant situations later downriver.

Kayaks Family

How to Choose the Best Tandem Kayaks for Family Outings

There are many features that you should know before purchasing your tandem family kayak. Here are some basic features you are likely to need:

Spray Skirt

This is a must-have for any kayak. A spray skirt comes in very handy when you are out on the water, and it starts to rain, or even if your boat flips over while you're paddling. With the right fit, this will keep you completely dry as long as your seal with the rim of the cockpit isn't broken. However, unless you plan to kayak in whitewater or hazardous environments, the spray skirt is not essential.


This is a fin that slides into your kayak and helps you track in a straight line. This means that if the wind picks up or the waves get choppy, you will be able to stay on course without having to make constant corrections with your paddle. It can also help when powerful currents are present because it makes your boat track faster than the wind can push it. However, a skeg will add some drag, which means you won't go as quickly, and it will reduce the amount of water that can get into your kayak.

Paddle Leash

This is a must-have for anyone planning to kayak in whitewater or with heavy surf. The paddle leash attaches to the wrist and connects the paddle so it can't be swept away when you take a spill into rough waters. This is especially important if your boat doesn't have bulkheads that will keep water from getting inside, but even boats that do have them need this because it's a good idea to have your paddle tethered, so you don't lose it if the waves push you under.


This adds an extra level of control to your kayak by allowing you to steer with the foot pedals, which means that one person in a tandem kayak can do all the paddling. This can be useful if two people have different levels of strength or endurance but only use this feature when necessary because tacking into the wind or going against a strong current will require you to put more effort into paddling.

Family Kayaks- Dimensions, Weight Capacity & Shapes


The kayak's width is important because it determines the stability and ease with which you can enter and exit your kayak. Of course, a wider boat will be more stable than a narrower one, but that doesn't mean you need to go out and buy an enormous vast monstrosity just for its increased stability.


In addition to width, depth is significant in tandem kayaks. For a stable platform that is easy to paddle and offers good protection from the elements, most tandems are between 16-17 inches deep. That said, exceptions are depending on what type of paddling you plan on doing.


The length of your kayak will play a large part in how fast it moves through the water. The longer and thinner (as in the width-to-length ratio) it is, the faster and more efficient your kayak will be. A good rule of thumb for tandem kayaks is that they are between 21-28 feet long.

Weight capacity

Kayak weights vary greatly depending on whether or not they are made of rotomolded plastic, fiberglass, or Kevlar. Best tandem kayaks are in the middleweight range, which is between 40-75 pounds.


Kayaks come in several different shapes, all of which have pros and cons depending on what you will use your kayak for. The best tandem kayaks for family will be either a double-ended kayak (with both ends pointed in the same direction), or a V-shaped kayak.

Best Tandem Kayaks for Family should be the below Construction Materials


Polyethylene is the go-to material for a number of reasons. It’s affordable, durable in most climates and conditions, and is available in a range of different colors. Best of all, polyethylene doesn’t require any special care or maintenance outside of its annual inspection to look for cracks and leaks that may have developed over the course of the year.


Composites are generally made up of materials like fiberglass cloths and resins. These materials make the kayak lighter and stronger than polyethylene while maintaining a similar level of durability in most climates. Composites will usually last longer but, like all plastics, they need to be inspected on an annual basis for any signs of wear or damage that may require repair work before using again.

Finally Assembling Your Kayak for the best result

If you want the best tandem kayak for family outings,

  • Look for one with an adjustable seat that allows each paddler to adjust their position and height dynamically with the help of a foot brace.
  • Will also have an adjustable seat back that you can move forward or backward depending on who’s paddling upfront.
  • Will also have adjustable foot pegs that can slide forward or backward just as easily.
  • Will also have a built-in storage compartment inside the hull that you can access from within.
  • Will come with at least one deck bungee cord for securing items to the deck of your kayak.
  • Will come with a paddle holder that you can attach to the kayak so you can hang up your paddle if it’s not in use.
  • Will also come with a paddle leash so you can secure your paddle to yourself or the kayak if it falls from your hands.
  • Will come with a spray skirt so you can stay dry as you paddle.
  • Best kayaks for family outings also have built-in bow and stern handles so you can easily lift your kayak onto the roof of your car.

Comparison Table  of All the Tandem Kayaks That Have Been Chosen by Families

Product Name



Dimensions (inches)



57 lbs

425 lbs

152 x 42 x 24 

4.3 out of 5

65 lbs

500 lbs

160x 34x 22 

4.8 out of 5

52 lbs

450 lbs

118x 35x 16 

4.5 out of 5

59 lbs

650 lbs

149 x 34 x 18

4.4 out of 5

35 lbs

400 lbs

138x 30x 15 

4.4 out of 5

30.60 lb

400 lbs

120.25 x 36 x 18

4.4 out of 5

60 lbs

500 lbs

120 x 36 x 20

3.7 out of 5

43.64 lbs

400 lbs

151x 37 x 18

4.4 out of 5

72 lbs

500 lbs

162x 31 x 14

4.4 out of 5

31 lbs

400 lbs

123x 36 x 20

4.5 out of 5

10 Best Tandem Kayak for Family Outings: Pick One That's Right For You

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (Sunrise, 12-Feet)

Paddling with a friend or furry companion is the best way to enjoy the sun and surf. The Malibu Two from Ocean Kayak offers less expensive alternatives for soloists, tandem paddlers, as well as those who want just one kayak but can't part ways!

Whether you're settling into your seat at its three available positions - backrests supported by patented overlapping foot wells provide comfort no matter what position it's in when seated; open sit-on-top hull makes getting on easy while still being safe dueling edges allow centering seating individuals better footing than if they were sitting next to each other inside of another boat (personally preferred option).

Four adjustable seats mean that everyone will get all cozy without feeling cramped uptight or squeezed in. A skid plate and handles built into the boat for assistance with getting out or dragging around.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (Sunrise, 12-Feet)
  • Adjustable seats.
  • Backrests.
  • Skipper's convenience for getting in and out of the boat.
  • Did not come with enough drink holders (no cup holders, only a water bottle holder and a fishing pole holder).

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak (Sunrise, 13 Feet 4 Inches)

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Tandem kayak is a family fun boat that's perfect for paddlers of all sizes and abilities. Twin Comfort Plus seats, plus molded-in footwells provide stability and comfort for a full day of paddling. The Malibu Two XL can be paddled solo or in tandem and fits two adults plus a small child or pet.

Packed with features, the Malibu Two XL includes paddle holders, molded-in side handles and bow and stern toggle handles, deck bungee, a screw-in drain plate, and more. Overlapping footwells allow for a center-seated paddler to have comfortable foot bracing. This thirteen-foot-long kayak is made from a durable eight-twenty polyethylene plastic that can be left in the sun without warping.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak (Sunrise, 13 Feet 4 Inches)
  • Can handle the weight of two adults.
  • Can be paddled solo or tandem.
  • Flooring isn't slippery when wet.
  • A little heavy for one adult to carry.

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak, 10-Foot with EVA Padded Seats, Includes 2 Active Fishing Rod Holder Mounts, 2 Aluminum Paddles, Double Action Pump and More

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable family Kayak, the perfect inflatable family kayak which is great as fishing kayak for any outdoorsman. This versatile kayak is compact and lightweight without compromising performance, making it easy to transport, store and travel with. The durable PVC construction makes the Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak a great alternative to conventional kayaks.

The 3 separate removable air chambers allows for quick and simple repair or adjustment should you ever need to do so. The Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak features two fishing rod holders, two vented fishing pole holders, and an adjustable seat for your comfort.

The Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak is constructed to support up to 350 lbs so you can bring along a friend or family member to help haul all your gear. The handy paddle holder keeps your paddle secure and accessible during transportation and storage.

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak, 10-Foot with EVA Padded Seats, Includes 2 Active Fishing Rod Holder Mounts, 2 Aluminum Paddles, Double Action Pump and More
  • Well-made kayak.
  • The seat is very comfortable even without a cushion.
  • It's easy to repair with the three separate removable air chambers.
  • The middle support bar helps to keep the kayak straight.
  • This inflatable kayak is heavy, so I would recommend two adults to transport it from your car to the water.
  • The kayak doesn't come with a paddle.

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles

The sea eagle 370 pro is an inflatable kayak. It uses white and blue color tones. White and blue colors make this kayak highly visible during hot days. Aside from the color, nothing else is very remarkable about this kayak in terms of looks. It looks simple. Minute exterior features make this kayak easy to carry.

This product has a max capacity of 295 kilograms. That means that three people can ride Sea Eagle 370 Pro at once. However, the interior space, which spans for 1.24 square meters, is best suited for two people. Sea Eagle weighs 14 kilos when fully inflated. Two people won't have trouble transferring this kayak from the vehicle to the water and vice versa, even when inflated.

Sea Eagle 370 uses I-Beam construction for its flooring. It's highly resistant to punctures and scratching. There's also a grab line on the hull that's useful if you decide to use this kayak on class III rapids. Lastly, Sea Eagle 370 Pro has double skegs for you to have better control.

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
  • Has double skegs for better control
  • great kayak for class III rapids
  • flooring isn't slippery when wet
  • 2 or 3 person tandem kayak
  • not very visible when sunlight isn't around.
  • rings that secure the valves might snap

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306EP)

Intex Challenger Kayak Series comes in two models - K1 and K2. Between them, K2 is the better option if you're looking for a right tandem kayak. Intex Challenger K2 weights at 17.96 kilograms. It's a bit heavier than Sea Eagle 370 pro. Still, one or two persons can carry it. This tandem kayak's max capacity is two persons only. If you're looking for a three-person kayak, I recommend the first product above.

It is manufactured with vinyl material that's strong yet flexible. Manufacturers embowed the exterior and interior of Intex Challenger K2 with green and black color tones for a refreshing and summery vibe. Intex Challenger K2 follows a streamlined design and even has removable skegs.

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306EP)
  • made out of durable yet nonrigid vinyl material
  • Resistant against corrosion due to sunlight
  • Has a color that's refreshing to the eyes
  • Removable skeg and seats
  • Doesn't have rod holders or phone holder
  • Doesn't have storage compartments

Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person Heavy-Duty Vinyl Inflatable Kayak with 86-Inch Oars and Air Pump, Gray & Red

Intex Dakota K2 might be a better version of Intex Challenger K2. This one is sturdier compared to the previous product. The hull and bow are more robust. I think that manufacturers designed the bow and stern in this manner so that Intex Dakota K2 is highly stable under challenging waters. Intex Dakota K2 weighs 13.87 kilos. Its max carrying capacity is two persons only.

This product has a longer skeg than Sea Eagle 370 Pro and Intex Challenger K2. This feature is handy for straight tracking. You can also replace it with a shorter skeg, which is handy for whitewater kayaking. Intex Dakota K2 has inflatable seats that you can install with removable backrest. The fact that the seats are very comfortable makes this product great as a semi-fishing kayak.

In my opinion, Intex Dakota K2 goes toe to toe with cheap professional grade best tandem fishing kayak.

Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person Heavy-Duty Vinyl Inflatable Kayak with 86-Inch Oars and Air Pump, Gray & Red
  • has sturdy hull and bow
  • has removable long and short skegs
  • has very comfortable seats with backrests
  • You can use Intex Dakota K2 as a semi-fishing kayak
  • the flooring isn't resistant against punctures
  • doesn't perform well in strong currents or waves

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrest, Camouflage

Lifetime 10 Foot is a two-person fishing kayak and tandem kayak. It has the basic features of a beginner's fishing kayak that you will love which has embossments on the side, that provides for multiple footrest positions. This feature gives you more effective positioning when reeling the fish in. Manufacturers also installed Lifetime 10 Foot with three vertical rod holders and a storage hatch. Don't hesitate to get this one because this might be the best two-person kayak that you can also use for fishing.

This product weighs 37.33 kilos. That means that a single person might have trouble carrying this kayak all alone. The max carrying capacity of Lifetime 10 Foot is 500 pounds. In a nutshell, two individuals weighing 100 kilos each can ride at the same time.

Lifetime 10 feet doesn't have advanced features for navigation, such as removable skegs or fins. However, it breezes along the surface of lakes, rivers, and seas well. Lifetime 10 Foot tracks fair and is very stable.

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrest, Camouflage
  • Made out of durable polyethylene material
  • Has the essential function of a beginner's fishing kayak
  • Tracks well and is very stable
  • Can carry two people that weighs around 100 kilos each
  • Heavy tandem fishing kayak
  • Non-comfortable backrest and seats

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak, K2: 2-Person, Red

Intex Excursion Pro is one of the best tandem kayaks for professional kayakers. This inflatable kayak manufactured with PVC material that's great at resisting the corroding effects of heat, cold, and saltwater. The PVC material also makes Intex Excursion Pro highly resistant against rocks, branches, and other kinds of debris.

This tandem kayak has removable skews for riding in shallow and deep waters. It has two mounted footrests and two recessed rod holders. Similar to Intex Dakota K2, you can use this product as a tandem fishing kayak. Intex Excursion has a mounting bracket that you can install with GPS, fish finder, and other equipment. This feature makes Intex Excursion pro qualify as the best tandem fishing kayak on this review.

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak, K2: 2-Person, Red
  • Professional-grade tandem kayak and tandem fishing kayak
  • You can install this with fishing equipment
  • A tandem kayak that uses premium quality PVC material
  • A tandem kayak that's highly resistant against the elements
  • This kayak doesn't perform well in shallow waters
  • The mounted footrests aren't very comfortable

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Tandem Kayak | 13' 6" | Red

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 is a lovely recreational tandem kayak. Designers finished its exterior and interior with fiery red color. This kayak is highly visible in the water, no matter how bad the weather condition is. Manufacturers designed Pamlico 135 in a streamlined fashion so that it cruises along the surface of lakes and seas without a problem.

The hull of this tandem kayak is round. The rounded hull allows this kayak to move fast even if you're not paddling hard. Inside the cockpit are the spacious, ergonomic seats. Pamlico 135's seats make use of ventilated mesh to decrease the heat that the riders feel while kayaking. Lastly, there's a dry storage hatch for keeping things dry and adjustable footrests to accommodate riders of different sizes.

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Tandem Kayak | 13' 6" | Red
  • A speedy tandem kayak
  • Performs excellently on lakes and seas
  • Highly visible regardless of the weather condition
  • Has airy removable seats
  • Can't be used as a fishing kayak or whitewater kayak
  • The cockpit needs to have more space

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

Intex Explorer is in a way similar to Intex Challenger model when it comes to materials used in construction, comfort, and stability. This model is a two-person portable, best inflatable fishing kayak. Directional stability is provided by removable SKEG. It is made to be used in steady or slow waters. Inflatable I-beam floor ensures rigidity. Three separate chambers with Boston valves can inflate and deflate quickly. Except for the hand pump, this model is sold together with two 86 inch aluminum paddles. It is ideal for couples or a parent with a child, for exploring lakes and calm rivers. The is the best tandem fishing kayak for the money.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Handles that enable one-person carrying
  • Puncture-resistant vinyl is highly durable
  • For storing two-person equipment, space is limited
  • The paddles are not adjustable

Buying Guide To Tandem Kayaks

Buying the best tandem kayaks needs mastery. You have to consider weight, carrying capacity, and other factors. I'll discuss these considerations in this section. Read this part so that you won't have to rely on a tandem kayak review the next time you buy.

What Are The Types of Tandem Kayak?

There are five types of kayaks that you shouldn't hesitate to have. These are tandem fishing kayak, tandem ocean kayak, tandem inflatable kayak, tandem sit-on-top kayak, and tandem sit-inside-kayak,

Tandem fishing kayak has essential to advanced functions that are useful for kayak fishing. Advanced features include fishing poles, mounting brackets (for GPS and fish finder), footrests, etc. A tandem fishing kayak is usually heavy so that the wind can't move it while it stays stationary.

Tandem sit-inside- kayak is built for stability. It comes with a cockpit installed with seats, storage compartment, gadget holder, etc. The best tandem sit-inside kayak uses polyethylene material. Polyethelene is excellent because it resists corrosion. Tandem sit-inside kayak suits beginners.

Tandem sit-on-top kayak is for people who have significant experience in kayaking. However, maintaining balance and control is hard, especially if two persons are riding a sit-on-top kayak. Still, buying this one isn't bad if you're up for a challenge.

Tandem Inflatable Kayak is perhaps the ideal type of tandem kayak & has high portability. Apart from this, it has various purposes. A tandem inflatable kayak can as a fishing kayak, a whitewater, kayak, or a recreational kayak. Great examples are Sea Eagle Pro, Intex Challenger K2, and Intex Dakota K2.

Tandem Ocean Kayak comes in the form of sit-on-top, inflatable, or sit-inside kayak. Manufacturers made tandem ocean kayaks from materials that resist saltwater. Tandem Ocean kayaks are more significant than standard tandem kayaks to tackle the waves.

Why Is Carrying Capacity Important?

Carrying capacity refers to the buoyancy ratio of the tandem kayak concerning the number of people who are riding it (hard to understand, right?), in a more straightforward sense. Carrying capacity pertains to the amount of weight that a tandem kayak can bear as it floats. On average, the lowest carrying capacity of a tandem kayak is 200 pounds. However, I recommend that you buy a tandem kayak that exceeds this.

So what is the carrying capacity of an ideal tandem kayak? Looking at these figures might help you.

  • 250-275 carrying capacity is okay for recreation sit-inside and sit-on-top recreational tandem kayak
  • A tandem fishing kayak should at least have 350-375 carrying capacity.
  • An inflatable tandem fishing and recreational kayak have a maximum carrying capacity of 350. Finding one which exceeds this is rare if not impossible

But aside from the carrying capacity of the tandem kayak, you also need to think about the weight of the people who will ride. The tandem kayaks that I reviewed can carry persons weighing up to 100 kilos. Persons weighing more than this can opt to ride a tandem kayak, but they need to observe extreme precautions and safety measures. That said, it's better for people weighing 110 kilos or more to ride a canoe than a kayak (yep, kayaks and canoes are different).

Seats and Cockpit Size Should Be Proportional

A proportional number of seats and size of the cockpit - this is the most important trait to remember for you to buy the best tandem kayaks. Seats are useless if the cockpit is small. That makes you and the person you're riding with feel restricted. In contrast, a large cockpit doesn't look good if it lacks seats. You can move around, but the extra space might make the kayak feel and look airy.

A proportional cockpit size and number of seats are also crucial for the legroom. There are tandem kayaks with seats that carefully placed. As a result, there's not enough space for you to place your legs. Using tandem kayaks with this trait will surely cramp your legs, and you'll find it hard to paddle or position yourself.

The proportion of cockpit size to the number of seats, type of kayak, and carrying capacity - these are some of the most important considerations that you need to think about when looking for the best two-person kayak.

How To Paddle a Tandem Kayak

Tandem Kayak Q & A

Can I Use A Tandem Kayak As A Solo Kayak?

You can use a tandem kayak as a solo kayak. All you have to do is remove the front or the rear seat. Commonly, kayakers remove the front seat when using the tandem kayak as a solo kayak. Sitting at the rear seat provides more control. Note that tandem kayak is harder to control when you're riding solo.

Is It Okay For A Single Person To Paddle While Riding A Tandem Kayak?

It's okay if only one person paddles while riding a tandem kayak. However, speed isn't the same as two people paddling together. I recommend that you and your kayaking partner paddle together for more control and speed.

What Is The Average Length of A Tandem Kayak?

The average length of a tandem kayak is 12-13 feet. You can find longer ones that are designed for more advanced purposes. Also, tandem kayaks are installed with 2 - 3 seats on average.

Where To Buy Tandem Kayaks?

You may buy tandem kayaks online or in brick and mortar stores. Purchasing online is more advantageous than buying in brick and mortar stores because you can avail discounts through coupon codes. Brick and mortar stores have an advantage too. Purchasing from them allows you to inspect the tandem kayak firsthand.

Are Tandem Kayaks Faster Than Solo Kayaks?

Tandem kayaks are faster than solo kayaks when all of its riders are paddling. Tandem kayaks are slower than solo kayaks if only one person is paddling.

Which Type of Tandem Kayak is The Safest?

Sit-on-top and sit-inside tandem kayak are the safest. They're highly resistant to punctures. In contrast, inflatable tandem kayaks are a bit risky though they're very easy to use. Inflatable tandem kayaks are prone to punctures, air leakage, and other problems. This is the reason why you should buy a new inflatable kayak every 4 or 5 years.

Concluding Thoughts

So, what is the best tandem kayak for family outings? Ultimately that answer will depend on your needs and preferences. Every boat we’ve discussed in this article has their own strengths and weaknesses; we encourage you to consider them all before making a decision about which one suits your needs best. If you want help selecting the perfect boat or need more information please reach out to us at [Contact us] We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Don't forget to share this guide if you found it helpful! Come back here for more discussions about kayaks.

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