The 26 Best Tandem Kayaks for Families in 2022

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 05/30/22 •  30 min read

One of my fondest childhood memories was canoeing with my dad down the Guadalupe River in South Texas. We’d strap our forest green tandem 15′ Coleman to the roof of our 1985 Chrysler Minivan and take off for River Road in search of a good launch point.

Once we kicked off, Mom would take the van to meet us miles downriver and Dad and I would set off paddling with the rays of sunlight streaming through the centuries-old cypress trees, dappling the water’s surface with diamonds.

Calm currents would occasionally give way to exhilarating rapids, testing our piloting skills, and the occasional natural pebble beach would offer us respite to land for a snack and to stretch our legs.

We’d observe blue herons bobbing for lunch, water moccasins gliding along the surface, and Guadalupe Bass breaching for damselflies.

The life!

Recently, Heather and I have been wanting to give our boys the same unique outdoor experience; however, since our Boston Terrier, Griffin, wants to be a part of the adventure as well, we need more space than one canoe can provide.

Two tandem kayaks would be perfect!

However, with so many tandem kayaks on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your family. You have to consider the type of kayaking you’ll be doing, the weight of passengers as well as gear, and of course, your budget.

Oh yeah, and where are you going to store this thing?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

We researched the best tandem kayaks for families and created this comprehensive guide to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

QUICK LINKS
  1. OFHQ’s Favorites
  2. Best Inflatable Tandem Kayaks
  3. Best Hard-Sided Tandem Kayaks
  4. Kayak Buying Guide: Things to Consider
  5. Wrapping Up Best Family Kayak

OFHQ’s Favorites

Picking the best of anything is a tricky endeavor. Preferences and intentions change with each person.

However, when we picked our favorites, our focus was on families with children (younger up to teens) that are looking for a mix of casual water play with the possibility of more technical activities such as fishing or whitewater kayaking.

Here’s what we decided.

1. Sea Eagle 380X Explorer Inflatable Tandem Kayak

If you want a kayak that can fit virtually any aquatic situation from calm streams to coastal ocean surf to Class IV whitewater rapids, then meet the Sea Eagle 380X.

Whether it’s a lazy day on the lake, heart-thumping rapid shooting, or light coastal touring, the 380X’s rugged build and superb tracking are outstanding.

While not technically equipped for fishing with rod holders and fishfinder mounts, it’s a boat; so, why the heck not.

And, at the end of the day, it’s an inflatable that can be packed up tight and stored easily.

Everything you need to hit the water is included making it the best of best in our book.

Overall Best Tandem Kayak and Best Inflatable
Sea Eagle 380X Explorer Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$1,109.00
Pros:
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • NMMA Certified
  • Beastly durable construction
  • 16 self-bailing valves for rough water or high seas
  • Thoughtfully place carry handles and 24 D-rings
  • Versatile applications
  • Solo and tandem configurations
  • Can be mounted with a motor with a separately sold motor mount
  • Complete water-ready package
Cons:
  • Your wallet might go into conniptions
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11/26/2022 12:01 am GMT

2. Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak

This large American-crafted hard-side sit-on-top is highly versatile and feature-packed.

Its unique hull design with a full-length keel makes it exceptionally enjoyable to maneuver and ultra-stable in choppy waters or with a fidgety passenger (pet or human).

And spaciously comfortable! Framed, breathable mesh seats make for happy backs and bums and the wide-open cockpit boasts enough room for a small 3rd passenger or loads of gear for fishing, camping … you name it.

Top it all off with a Lifetime Warranty and it may very well be the last kayak you ever buy!

Best Hard-Sided Tandem Kayak
Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • LIFETIME limited warranty
  • Capable of holding 3 adults ... with compromised storage space, of course
  • Unique breathable, mesh seats add to the comfort
  • Excellent tracking and stability due to proprietary hull design
  • Configurable for solo or tandem paddling
Cons:
  • A little heavy
  • Paddles not included
  • No integrated paddle or fishing rod holders
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3. FeelFree Lure II Fishing Tandem Kayak

The aptly named Lure II will just as much an eye-catcher as it is for fish. A beautifully styled and equipped fishing tandem, the FeelFree pulled out all the stops to make your next fishing excursion as comfortable as possible.

From the highly-adjustable gravity seats to the non-slip standing mats, fishfinder mounts, rod holders, paddle holders, and a hull that can be mounted with a motor or rudder, the outfitting possibilities seem endless.

Best Fishing Tandem Kayak
FeelFree Lure II Fishing Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • 3-year warranty for the hull and a 1-year warranty for accessories
  • Stable and fast
  • Offers enough space for two large adults to sit comfortably
  • Overdrive, motor drive, and rudder ready
  • Idyllically equipped for kayak fishing
Cons:
  • Heavy! Still, the Wheel-in-the-Keel design makes this easier to manage.
  • Expensive ... but, this is expected for such a nicely-equipped vessel
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4. Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Tandem Kayak

Intex is mostly known for its high-quality above-ground inflatable pools; however, their applications of tough laminate PVC tarpaulin are wide and varied.

The material also makes for a decent inflatable tandem kayak.

The Excursion Pro is a well-built casual paddler for lakes, slow-moving rivers, and light coastal surf.

It’s a great choice for those who want to do some lazy floating without spending more than a lazy amount.

Best Budget Tandem Kayak
Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$271.59
Pros:
  • Full, water-ready package
  • NMMA Certified
  • Nicely equipped for fishing in fresh or saltwater
  • Affordable price tag
Cons:
  • Only a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty ... should be much longer for the price
  • The paddle blades are a bit narrow
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11/25/2022 07:13 am GMT

Best Inflatable Tandem Kayaks

Inflatable tandem kayaks have come a long way and they are the perfect solution for those who don’t have a lot of storage space or who want the option to easily transport their kayak, especially when embarking on a road trip.

Plus, they are a practical choice for going solo because they are often lighter weight and easier for one person to lug to the launch point.

Without further ado, here’s the lineup!

1. Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Tandem Kayak

This Deluxe Package from Sea Eagle is our first pick for several reasons. Not only is it lightweight and durable but it also comes with additional accessories that ensure a great kayaking experience: a repair kit, two paddles, two inflatable seats, a carry bag, and a hand pump.

The dual rear skegs provide excellent tracking so you’re not wasting undue energy trying to keep the boat on course. The SE370 inflates quickly and, when packed correctly can fit inside a standard backpack.

Finally, the 38 mil PolyKrylar can handle fresh or saltwater and Class II rapids with high waves and narrow passages that require precise navigation.

Specs and Features:

Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$399.99 $294.99
Pros:
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • NMMA Certified
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Remarkable weight capacity
  • Complete, water-ready package
  • Suitable for salt and fresh water
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons:
  • When dismantled, the aluminum paddle shafts have a sharp edge ... don't store them against the kayak hull
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11/26/2022 12:01 am GMT

2. Sea Eagle 380X Explorer Inflatable Tandem Kayak

So, what do you want to do today? Go fishing, touring, camping, exploring, adventuring, whitewater shooting … the Explorer Inflatable Tandem Kayak is made for all that!

Built like a Sherman Tank, they actually advertise it by driving a Jeep Wrangler’s front wheels up on the hull!

It comes in a range of different configurations including a motorized version, a rowing package, a two-person variant, and one with a sail! It’s hard to say enough about this kayak … so, we’ll just stop here.

Specs and Features:

Overall Best Tandem Kayak and Best Inflatable
Sea Eagle 380X Explorer Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$1,109.00
Pros:
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • NMMA Certified
  • Beastly durable construction
  • 16 self-bailing valves for rough water or high seas
  • Thoughtfully place carry handles and 24 D-rings
  • Versatile applications
  • Solo and tandem configurations
  • Can be mounted with a motor with a separately sold motor mount
  • Complete water-ready package
Cons:
  • Your wallet might go into conniptions
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11/26/2022 12:01 am GMT

3. Advanced Elements Straitedge 2 Inflatable Kayak

While not the fastest inflatable kayak, the Advanced Elements Straitedge 2 Inflatable Tandem Kayak is super stable. The combination of a drop-stitch floor core and aluminum rib frame makes for a surprisingly rigid inflatable that tracks really well.

The comfortable high-back seats can be attached in three positions to accommodate tandem or solo piloting. In rough waters, the self-bailing system can be opened or closed during cold weather.

Add fishing rod holders, lots of gear storage, and adjustable footpegs and you’ve got one well-equipped marine vessel.

You’ll have to grab a pump and set of paddles separately, however.

Specs and Features:

Advanced Elements Straitedge 2 Inflatable Kayak
$1,199.00 $779.99
Pros:
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Highly maneuverable for Class III whitewater
  • Suitable for salt and freshwater
  • Inflatable and lightweight design for easy portability
  • Durable and Stable
  • Generous gear tie-downs and bungee lacing
  • Integrated fishing rod holders
  • Can be augmented for solo and tandem rowing
  • Includes carry duffel with backpack straps
Cons:
  • Pump and paddles are sold separately
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11/26/2022 12:03 am GMT

4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Convertible

What do you get when you cross a Transformer with an inflatable tandem kayak?

The versatility of the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is a stroke of engineering genius! Whether you prefer a solo closed deck, tandem closed deck, or the former two options with an open deck, you’ve got it (if you purchase the conversion kit)!

At 15 feet long, it only weighs a surprising 52 pounds and can support a whopping 550 pounds of paddlers and gear! Its superb rigidity is the result of the aluminum frame making it an all-around proficient inflatable tandem kayak that is easy to push through the water.

Specs and Features:

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Convertible
$679.00
Pros:
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Converts to a tandem, solo, or sit-inside kayak with three seat positions
  • Six air chambers add extra insurance against leaks
  • Lots of gear storage
  • Skeg and built-in ribs improve tracking significantly
Cons:
  • HEAVY for an inflatable ... one person would have to military-press it overhead to get it to the water
  • No integrated footpegs
  • Paddles and pump sold separately
  • Conversion Kit sold separately
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11/26/2022 12:03 am GMT

5. Star Paragon Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The Star Paragon Inflatable Tandem Kayak is one of the best inflatable touring kayaks that comes with a removable skeg. It’s designed for two people and features two high-back comfortable seats.

It also has a couple of sets of foot braces and a bungee deck rigging where you can easily store gear.

The kayak is equipped with a removable fin that ensures better tracking performance and the overall build keeps the kayak stable. The package includes a repair kit, all-water fin, pump, carry bag, rear seat, and front seat.

Specs and Features:

Star Paragon Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Pros:
  • 3-year retail and 2-year commercial warranty
  • Offers great stability and performance
  • Durable build quality
Cons:
  • Hope you've got some guns, 'cause this beast is heavy
  • Paddles sold separately
  • Relatively low weight capacity for a tandem
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6. Aire Outfitter II Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The Aire Outfitter II Tandem Inflatable Kayak is a great option for beginners due to its enhanced stability and ease of maneuverability. That being said, experienced people and professionals will also appreciate this well-designed vessel.

The low seat positions, comfortable seat materials, high-quality cargo straps, and robust side tubes make this Kayak an excellent product for river trips and expeditions where one may encounter big water.

And with a hard-to-believe 10-Year No Fault Warranty, you’ll be good for the foreseeable future.

Specs and Features:

Aire Outfitter II Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Pros:
  • 10-year "No-Fault" warranty
  • Comfortable, adjustable, low-gravity seating for added stability
  • Ample gear storage
  • Extra-wide and ultra-stable for big water
  • Snappy maneuvering
  • Easy entry and exit
Cons:
  • The manufacturer is at production capacity for 2022 and is not accepting new orders
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7. Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Fishing Kayak

The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is an affordable, no-frills inflatable fishing kayak for casual anglers and paddlers. It’s light on weight, storage, and features except for the integrated rod and paddle holders.

Still, the rugged build makes it one of the best tandem kayaks. Its 1000-Denier tarpaulin underside and 840 D cover make for a rugged vessel that you can depend on in flat waters and calm currents.

Specs and Features:

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Fishing Kayak
$479.99 $394.90
Pros:
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • NMMA Certified
  • Well-equipped for fishing
  • Decent storage space
Cons:
  • The cockpit is a bit tight for two adults
  • No bungee storage on bow or stern
  • No paddles or pump included
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11/26/2022 12:02 am GMT

8. Aquaglide Chelan 155 Inflatable Kayak

Engineered with performance touring in mind, the Chelan 155 is an inflatable speed demon. It’s a lightweight, durable, and stable vessel that provides great performance.

Ample storage options and a universal accessory mount for a cup holder or action cam are nice, unique touches, as well as the saddle-style mid-positioned child’s seat.

All in all, it’s a slick-looking, thoughtfully, crafted, speedy family kayak.

Specs and Features:

Aquaglide Chelan 155 Inflatable Kayak
Pros:
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Flexible and durable build
  • Speedy for an inflatable
  • Ample gear storage
  • Configurable for tandem or solo paddlers
  • Additional child saddle seat included
  • Thoughtfully placed carry handles suited for one-person transport
  • High quality carry duffel with backpack straps
Cons:
  • Pump and Paddles not included
  • A bit expensive; but, the quality matches
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9. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Tandem Kayak

It looks like a giant water banana.

For humans or other primates needing an affordable, casual vessel for lazy afternoons on the lake or slow-flowing river, the Intex Explorer K2 by Intex will do just fine.

No hype here: it’s more of a water toy than a touring vessel; but, it serves its purpose. Although christened the Explorer, we wouldn’t recommend exploring anywhere too far off-shore or bigger than Farmer Bubba’s duck pond.

Specs and Features:

Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$122.00
Pros:
  • An affordable option for the occasional, casual paddler
  • NMMA Certified
  • Offers a kayaking starter kit
  • Attractive to chimps and other banana-loving primates
  • Ultra-light for a tandem
  • Pump and paddles included
Cons:
  • Only a 90-day warranty
  • Not built for much more than calm water in small lakes and slow rivers
  • Weight capacity is a bit low for a tandem
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11/26/2022 12:03 am GMT

10. Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Tandem Kayak

It seems Intex took exception to my banana comment about the cheaper Explorer and responded with the higher-quality, more respectable Excursion.

This craft appears to be well-built; however, Intex is a bit mute on some of the build specifications. Given this and the mere 90-day warranty, I almost left it out of this review.

HOWEVER, it is a hot-selling item, and owners of the kayak have a LOT of good things to say about it. So, Intex is doing something right with the Excursion.

Our official position is that this kayak is a worthwhile buy for casual kayakers who enjoy fishing, light river cruising, and generally putting around. We highly recommend that you inflate it immediately after purchase and check it thoroughly for manufacturer’s defects and leaks.

While most users have had great success with it, that 90-day warranty will be over before you know it.

Experienced kayakers would do better to buy a more advanced rig.

Specs and Features:

Best Budget Tandem Kayak
Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$271.59
Pros:
  • Full, water-ready package
  • NMMA Certified
  • Nicely equipped for fishing in fresh or saltwater
  • Affordable price tag
Cons:
  • Only a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty ... should be much longer for the price
  • The paddle blades are a bit narrow
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11/25/2022 07:13 am GMT

11. Intex Challenger Inflatable Tandem Kayak

The Intex Challenger is one of the fastest-selling, highest-rated inflatable tandems currently on the market. It’s a no-frills, basic tandem for casual paddling and general fun-in-the-sun.

It’s fairly rugged for such a lightweight tandem; however, we wouldn’t recommend taking on whitewater with it. Taller, gangly paddlers will probably have to hang their legs over the sides … or remove their legs completely.

Specs and Features:

Intex Challenger Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$111.79 $92.10
Pros:
  • NMMA Certified
  • Full water-ready package
  • Large storage net on the bow
  • Ultra-affordable
Cons:
  • Only a 90-day warranty ... expected at this price point
  • No carrying handles on the bow, stern, or sides
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11/26/2022 12:04 am GMT

12. Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Tandem Kayak

Not for the giants of the human race, the well-built, ultra-lightweight, and relatively short tandem by Diftsun is better suited for the average-sized amphibious human.

Although bearing the moniker Voyager, we recommend limiting your voyages to the calm coastal waters of lakes and slow-flowing rivers. More than that could result in an unexpected submarine voyage …

Specs and Features:

Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Tandem Kayak
$849.99 $599.99
Pros:
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Remarkable cost-to-quality ratio
  • Full, water-ready package
  • Rugged and stable
  • Super light
Cons:
  • Not for tall paddlers over 6'
  • Very little gear storage
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11/26/2022 12:03 am GMT

Best Hard-Sided Tandem Kayaks

For those who dislike the notion of inflating their rig for each outing, prefer the near-indestructible construction of a solid hull, and have larger garages than most of us, the following is a lineup of hard-sided kayaks that have their owners singing their praises.

Kayaks with solid hulls are heavier and are substantially more troublesome to store; however, the BIG trade-off is that they’re more likely to withstand heavy use and abuse resulting in greater longevity.

13. Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T

The snappy and speedy Pamlico 145T is specifically designed for long distances. With a spacious cockpit for paddlers and gear and its ease of acceleration, you’ll save plenty of paddling strength for the long haul.

For choppier situations, a rudder can be installed on the stern providing added maneuverability and the dry hatch on the stern is watertight for anything you need to keep dry.

Specs and Features:

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Large, spacious cockpit built for larger, taller paddlers
  • Swift acceleration and snappy maneuverability
  • Thoughtfully placed carry handles
  • 2 adjustable and comfortable seats
  • Configurable for solo or tandem paddling
Cons:
  • Paddles not included
  • Stability sacrificed for speed and maneuverability
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14. Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T

The slightly shorter and lighter sibling to the 145T, the 135T provides all the features in a slightly more compact package. Interestingly enough, the cockpit is actually 1.25″ wider than the 145T and exactly the same length.

Still, the hull is a full foot shorter meaning that taller paddlers will find their legroom and storage compromised.

Specs and Features:

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Snappy maneuverability and fast acceleration
  • Large, spacious cockpit
  • Thoughtfully placed carry handles
  • 2 adjustable and comfortable seats
  • Configurable for solo or tandem paddling
Cons:
  • Not the best option for taller paddlers
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15. Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus Kayak

Old Town’s Dirigo is an innovative sit-inside design that provides an unusually open and non-confining cockpit. The unique features are oriented towards those venturing out with a young child or even a pet.

The removable child’s jump seat is a thoughtful addition for families while the paddling seats are contoured with high backs for optimal comfort.

Also, with plenty of gear storage between the bow and stern bungee systems and the dry hatch behind the rear paddler, this kayak was clearly designed for families!

Specs and Features:

Old Town Dirigo Tandem Plus Kayak
Pros:
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Inclusion of child's jumpseat
  • Can be piloted solo
  • Design and features are unique and innovative
Cons:
  • Recreational design is not suitable for rough waters
  • Pricey
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16. Old Town Twin Heron Tandem

This Old town is a no-frills tandem featuring a spacious cockpit with adjustable seats. The auto trim hull distributes the weight of a single paddler effectively so that you can feel comfortable while paddling solo in the stern.

Equipped with fishing in mind, the 4 flush-mount rod holders, ample storage, rear bungee system, and cup holders make this kayak ideal for a variety of family water activities.

Specs and Features:

Old Town Twin Heron Tandem
Pros:
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Large single cockpit with comfortable seating
  • Can be piloted solo
  • Lightweight for a rigid tandem
  • Well-equipped for fishing
  • A great option for all seasons
Cons:
  • No integrated dry storage
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17. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

Tough. Light. Comfortable.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two form-fitting seats and overlapping footwells make for leisurely paddling through calm currents. It’s one of the lightest hard-sided ocean kayaks, weighing only 57 pounds to match its relatively light price point.

Unfortunately, this kayak is also light on storage space making it more suitable for shorter day trips close to shore. As a solution, Ocean Kayak offers optional Gaspatchi Hatches that can be installed easily in up to 3 different areas along the hull’s floor.

Oh, and with a Lifetime Warranty, you’re taken care of for the long haul.

Specs and Features:

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two
$663.99 $497.99
Pros:
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great for flatwater tandem paddling
  • Compact design can be paddled solo or tandem
  • A large amount of storage could be added with the optional Gaspatchi Hatches
Cons:
  • Can become unstable with two large adults
  • No integrated dry storage or hatches
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11/26/2022 12:00 am GMT

18. FeelFree Lure II Tandem Fishing Kayak

Introducing perhaps the most versatile and outfitted tandem fishing kayak available!

FeelFree did not skimp on the details with the Lure II. In brief, the package includes a patented Wheel-in-the-Keel with intelligently placed handles for transporting it to the water’s edge, a sizable rear tank well, two flush mount rod holders, a dry storage hatch, adjustable footrests, two sonar pods, and multiple gear tracks, and non-slip standing mats.

And the seats! Adjustable for sitting high or low and ultra-comfortable, your hindquarters won’t complain a bit.

Depending on how far you want to take your outfitting, the kayak is compatible with overdrive, and motor drive, and is rudder-ready.

Specs and Features:

Best Fishing Tandem Kayak
FeelFree Lure II Fishing Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • 3-year warranty for the hull and a 1-year warranty for accessories
  • Stable and fast
  • Offers enough space for two large adults to sit comfortably
  • Overdrive, motor drive, and rudder ready
  • Idyllically equipped for kayak fishing
Cons:
  • Heavy! Still, the Wheel-in-the-Keel design makes this easier to manage.
  • Expensive ... but, this is expected for such a nicely-equipped vessel
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19. Riot Escape Duo Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak

The Riot Escape Duo Sit-On-Top Rigid Tandem Kayak is versatile enough for fishing and a wide range of water conditions.

For calm winds and flat waters, the rig is outfitted with comfortable seats, plenty of standing room, and rod holders; however, for high winds and big waves, the hull is stable with plenty of hatch and deck space to secure your gear.

Spacious for a lightweight boat and equipped with molded carry handles, it’s a breeze to transport.

Specs and Features:

Riot Escape Duo Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Great for calm or windy days, smooth or rough surf
  • Ample gear storage
Cons:
  • The seats seem of a minimalist design -- thin with not much cushion
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20. Lifetime Manta 100 Tandem Kayak

Engineered with surf-playing in mind, the Manta 100 Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak is a great option for beach-lovers. The rocket-profile hull can hold two adults and a small child (albeit, a bit snugly) and is super-stable for playing in surf waves.

The deck is light on storage space; so, it’s not the best choice for all-day venturing with more than one paddler.

True to Lifetime’s reputation, the Manta is built tough and will provide years of beachin’ fun!

Specs and Features:

Lifetime Manta 100 Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Compact hull design ... which isn't a pro for us giant humans 6-feet and up
  • Tunnel hull design makes it almost impossible to flip
  • Motor mount ready (mount and motor sold separately)
Cons:
  • Not a fast paddler by any means
  • Seats are actually just backrests. The paddlers' bums are parked directly on the hard hull
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21. Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler 100 Kayak

The Angler 100 is one of the most stable tandem fishing kayaks out there thanks to Lifetime’s tunnel hull design. Geared for fishing, it comes with molded-in fishing rod holders and can be mounted with a trolling motor.

The compact design is snug for a tandem fisher; however, it can be configured for solo paddling as well.

With both paddles and a spacious stern dry hatch, it’s ready to hit the water when you are.

Specs and Features:

Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler 100 Kayak
$799.00
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Tunnel hull design makes it near impossible to tip over
  • Compact hull design -- great for transport; but, not necessarily for large paddlers
Cons:
  • Only the backrests are padded; otherwise, the paddler just sits on the ergonomic molded seat well in the hull
  • Small for a tandem
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11/26/2022 12:01 am GMT

22. Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem

One of the few tandems that feature rigid, framed highback seats (as opposed to strap supported), The Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem is a kayak built for fun and relaxation.

The seats are infinitely reclinable for catching some rays when just floating the current and the lengthy hull provides lots of stretch-out legroom for both paddlers.

It is surprisingly lightweight for its size and the hull design is ideal for recreational paddling in lakes, ponds, and calm coastal cruising. For a little more adventure, the Tribe can also handle slow-moving rivers and ocean surf.

Specs and Features:

Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem
$1,103.45 $1,042.32
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Offers carry handles
  • Features comfortable seats
  • Best sit-in kayak
  • Safe functionality
Cons:
  • The solo performance isn’t great
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11/26/2022 12:01 am GMT

23. Perception Cove Tandem

The slightly-larger brother (in size and price) of the Perception, the Cove hull is a sit-inside design with a long, enclosed bow.

The long narrow hull resembles that of a touring kayak, able to be accelerated faster than a wider sit-on-top. The padded seats and thoughtfully-placed leg padding emphasize the comfort of the design and the spacious cockpit with plenty of storage makes it a great all-day-on-the lake kayak.

Specs and Features:

Perception Cove Tandem
Pros:
  • 5-year limited warranty on deck and hull and 1-year warranty on parts
  • Cushy, comfortable seats
  • Padded leg support adds to the comfort
  • Lightweight for a tandem
Cons:
  • Paddles not included ... for the price, we'd expect them to be part of the deal
  • While the rear paddler enjoys open legroom, the bow design is such that the front paddler's legs are up inside the hull, making entry and exit a bit more cumbersome
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24. Brooklyn Kayak Company TK 219

The TK 219 is a big kayak with enough space for three people. The 34″ beam provides excellent stability even in mild chop making it

It’s one of the best family kayaks because of its size and the accessories included. It’s made of high-density polyethylene making it a more durable option than inflatable kayaks and works great for fishing in all types of conditions.

Specs and Features:

Brooklyn Kayak Company TK 219
$1,277.00
Pros:
  • 5-year warranty on the hull and 1-year warranty on the parts
  • A full package deal complete with everything needed to hit the water
  • Comfortable and spacious enough for up to three paddlers
  • Lightweight for a tandem
  • Elegant and sleek design
Cons:
  • The deck design leaves no room to stand when fishing
  • The middle 3rd person seat seems a bit cramped ... maybe best for a small child or dog
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11/26/2022 12:02 am GMT

25. Brooklyn Kayak Company TK 181 Angler

It’s yet another product by Brooklyn Kayak Company and if you are looking for tandem fishing kayaks, this one may suit you better than its TK219 counterpart.

The 181’s deck space allows for sitting or standing while fishing and 2 large dry hatches for storing gear safely out of the way. In fact, the gear hauling ability makes this a great choice for overnight river camping trips!

Its dimensions enhance its remarkable stability the hull is equipped with four flush mount rod holders, three articulated rod holders, and a rear tank well.

But the seats … boney booties may not appreciate the thin padding on longer outings.

Specs and Features:

Brooklyn Kayak Company TK 181 Angler
$1,097.00
Pros:
  • 5-year warranty on the hull and 1-year warranty on the parts
  • Engineered for stability
  • Ample gear storage can hold gear for a multi-day camping trip
  • The package comes complete with paddles
Cons:
  • The seat material is very thin and may get uncomfortable on longer outings
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11/26/2022 12:02 am GMT

26. Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak

When Crescent designed the Crew Tandem, they were focused on three priorities: comfort, weight capacity, and stability. And it shows!

The breathable, framed, mesh seats are surrounded by a spacious cockpit molded to secure coolers, camping gear, fishing tackle, fun-at-the-lake gear … you name it.

Specs and Features:

Best Hard-Sided Tandem Kayak
Crescent Crew Tandem Kayak
Pros:
  • LIFETIME limited warranty
  • Capable of holding 3 adults ... with compromised storage space, of course
  • Unique breathable, mesh seats add to the comfort
  • Excellent tracking and stability due to proprietary hull design
  • Configurable for solo or tandem paddling
Cons:
  • A little heavy
  • Paddles not included
  • No integrated paddle or fishing rod holders
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Kayak Buying Guide: Things to Consider

So, what’s it gonna be? Hard-sided or inflatable? Closed cockpit or sit-on-top? Short and lightweight or larger and heavier?

There is so much to consider when purchasing a kayak, but the most important factor is how you intend to use it. Here are some kayak types and their ideal uses.

Kayak Categories

To the paddling newbie, most kayaks can look very similar at a glance; however, there are both subtle and major uniquenesses in design and engineering that suit each kayak for its intended purpose.

Recreational Tandem Kayaks

These are the most popular type of kayak, likely because they are versatile and can be used for a variety of activities like fishing, camping, or just paddling around on a lake. They are usually 10 to 13 feet long and 30 inches wide, making them stable and easy to maneuver.

Sit-on-top kayaks are great for beginners, while closed cockpit kayaks offer more protection from the elements.

Touring Tandem Kayaks

If you plan on spending most of your time paddling on open water, a touring kayak is a good choice. They are long and narrow, making them fast and easy to paddle for long periods. However, they are not as stable as recreational kayaks and can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

Inflatable Tandem Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are a great option for those who want the portability of an inflatable boat with the performance of a hard-sided kayak. They are easy to transport and can be stored in small spaces, but they are not as durable as other types of kayaks.

Fishing Tandem Kayaks

Fishing kayaks are designed for anglers who want to fish from a kayak. They are usually equipped with features like rod holders, fishfinder mounts, and storage for tackle and bait.

A fishing kayak can have either a sit-on-top or closed cockpit designs, and some even have pedal-drive systems to help you paddle and fish at the same time.

Whitewater Tandem Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are designed for paddling in rivers and streams with rapids. They are short and highly maneuverable but can be difficult to paddle in calm water. They come in both inflatable and hard-sided designs, and some even have removable spray skirts to keep you dry in rough conditions.

These kayaks will have a whitewater rating of Class I, II, III, IV, or V in their description.

Now that you know a little more about the different types of kayaks, here are some other things to consider.

Inflatable vs Hard-Sided Tandem Kayaks

There are two types of tandem kayaks in terms of construction design: those that have an inflatable hull and those with a hard-sided hull.

Hard-Sided Tandem Kayaks

Hard-sided kayaks are made from materials like fiberglass, rotationally molded plastic, or thermoformed ABS plastic. They are more durable than inflatable kayaks but also heavier and more difficult to transport.

A hard-sided tandem kayak is a good choice for paddlers who want a durable kayak that can withstand severe bumps and scrapes.

Inflatable Tandem Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are made from PVC or other similar materials. They are lighter and more portable than hard-sided kayaks but not as able to withstand severe collisions and scrapes with sharp rocks and river beds.

Inflatable kayaks are a good choice for paddlers who want a kayak they can easily take with them on road trips or store in a small space.

Sit-On-Top vs Closed Cockpit (Sit-Inside)

The next thing to consider is whether you want a sit-on-top or closed cockpit (sit-inside) kayak.

Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are the most popular type of kayak for recreational paddling. They are easy to get in and out of and climbing back on after a quick swim is easier. Sit-on-top kayaks are a good choice for beginners or paddlers who want to be able to get out of the kayak easily.

Closed Cockpit (Sit-Inside)Tandem Kayaks

Closed cockpit kayaks are designed for more serious paddling, like touring or racing. They offer more protection from the elements but can be difficult to get in and out of if you capsize. Closed cockpit kayaks are a good choice for paddlers who want to stay dryer and warmer in colder conditions.

Length and Width

The longer the kayak, the faster it will be on open water. However, long kayaks can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces and through narrow passages.

Short kayaks are easier to maneuver but are not as fast as long kayaks.

The wider the kayak, the more stable it will be. However, wide kayaks are not as fast as narrow kayaks.

Narrow kayaks are less stable but are faster than wide kayaks.

Balancing Speed and Stability

The best two-person kayak for you will be the one that strikes a balance between speed and stability. If you are new to kayaking, or if you plan to use your kayak mostly in calm waters, a wider and shorter kayak will be a good choice.

If you are an experienced paddler or if you plan to use your kayak in rougher waters, a longer and narrower kayak will be a better choice.

Legroom and Comfort

If you are tall or have long legs, make sure to choose a kayak that has enough legroom for you. You should also be able to comfortably reach the footpegs or pedals if your kayak has them.

Also, take a close look at the seats. Some manufacturers mold a seat well into the hard hull of the kayak and just provide a fabric backrest. This can be uncomfortable for heavier paddlers or for anyone after a few hours on the water.

Ample padding and proper back support will make a big difference in your comfort level, so keep that in mind when choosing a kayak.

Weight Capacity

Be sure to check the weight capacity of the kayak before you buy it. Each kayak has a different weight capacity, and it is important to stay within that limit.

If you are a heavier paddler, look for a kayak with a higher weight capacity. If you plan to bring gear with you on your trips, make sure the kayak can accommodate the extra weight.

Included Accessories

Some kayaks come with everything you need to hit the water right away. Others … not so much. Read the list of package contents carefully so you know what else you’ll be needing.

Nothing kills a great day of kayaking like finding out you have no paddles!

Storage Space

Think about how much gear you want to bring with you and make sure the kayak you choose has enough storage space for everything.

Some kayaks have built-in storage compartments or hatches that allow you to access your gear from inside the cockpit. Others have storage areas behind or in front of the seat.

Still, others have no storage space at all, so you’ll need to tie your gear down on the deck.

Rudder vs Skeg

Some kayaks have a rudder, which is a fin-like appendage that helps you steer the kayak and make quick course corrections. Others have a skeg, which is a fixed blade that aids the paddler in keeping the vessel on track; however, the paddler uses the paddles to make course corrections

Rudders are more expensive but offer more control in currents. Skegs are less expensive and are better suited for slower currents and flat water.

Solo Configuration

At times, you may want to. take your kayak out alone for some Me Time. That’s cool. Just make sure it can be configured for solo paddling.

Child Seat

If you have a child that is too young to wield a paddle, you may want to purchase a kayak that has a dedicated seat for them. This way, they can enjoy the ride without getting in the way of your paddling.

Wrapping Up Best Family Kayak

Whew! That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading.

We hope that this article has helped narrow down your search for the best family kayak.

Remember, the best kayak is the one that meets your specific needs and requirements.

We wish you all the best on your kayaking adventures!

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!