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The Best Tandem Kayaks

By Dawn Lindy Roberts

Traveling in a kayak opens up the unsurpassed beauty of a watery world. Perhaps you may want to share the discovery and excitement with another. A tandem kayak is one option where two people can paddle the same boat and share the kayaking experience together. There are various types of tandem kayaks on the market today to choose from, depending on your needs.

Characteristics of Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks provide the opportunity to share the enjoyment of kayaking by providing seating for a second person. They are longer and heavier than single kayaks, helping them to be faster and more stable. However, the increased size can make them awkward to transport and store. Plus, if only one person takes a tandem kayak out, it could be difficult to maneuver until weight compensations are made to balance it in the water. Some tandem kayaks offer the convenience of a centered seat so that a single paddler can take it out and still maintain proper balance and stability.

Inflatable Kayaks

For people who have difficulties storing or transporting a fixed-size tandem kayak, an inflatable kayak may be best. It takes additional time to inflate and deflate it, but it can be transported in a confined space and easily stored. Models are available for under $500, which can be used on flat water and calm ocean; others are available for over $2000, which can be used for touring, rougher water and scuba diving. Inflatable kayaks may be the best option for a kayaker who desires portability.

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

Another common type of kayak that is best for safety and stability is molded into a hollow shape that you sit on top of to paddle. This type of kayak won’t fill up with water if capsized, which is a positive safety feature. However, you and your gear are more exposed to the negative effects of weather and water since you are not protected by a hull. Some models are wider than others, making them best for stability, but slower. Some are longer than others, making them faster, but harder to maneuver. Models are also available with a molded middle seat that can be used for solo paddling.

Touring Kayaks

A touring kayak is the best kayak for people who enjoy taking extending trips that may expose them to unpredictable environmental conditions. Touring kayaks are built with higher quality materials and provide additional waterproof storage spaces for gear. The best ocean or touring kayak should have a tri-form hull. This type of hull has a larger V-shape cross section in the center, for better straight line tracking and a smaller secondary V-shape on each side, providing resistance to capsizing.

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