Best Tandem Kayak For Beginners- Top 5 Reviews And Buying Guide

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As a beginner in kayaking, it is easy to understand why a tandem kayak will serve you well. This is because it offers you the chance to learn with someone experienced.

If you are rearing to go, you might be looking for a tandem kayak- that’s if you are not hiring. These fabulous kayaks sit either two or three and offer great fun.

Kayaking is one of the best water sports you can engage in. The good thing is that you can do it with others if you have a tandem kayak.

As we go through the different options, we will look at what makes them stand out and why we think they are worth your consideration.

Choosing Your Beginners Tandem Kayak

When choosing a tandem kayak, you should take into consideration a few things. Let’s see what these are.

Sit Inside or Sit On Top

With tandem kayaks, there are two main types, the sit inside and the sit on top kayaks.

With the sit inside tandem kayaks, you get an enclosed cockpit. The cockpit lets you sit lower in the water and gives you a low Center of Gravity. All sit inside kayaks give you a backrest, enabling for long adventures with low fatigue. They are best suited for cool waters.

The sit on top, as the name suggests, your seat is perched on top. They are easy to get on and off, making them a great choice for beginner kayakers. Some have a backrest, some don’t. If you intend to kayak in warm waters, this is a great choice.

Load Capacity

This is the total load that your tandem kayak can take on- both your weight and gear. With a high load capacity, you will be able to take more gear that can make your adventure the more fun.

Weight Of The Kayak

The weight of your kayak can affect different things. There are light kayaks that can be carried by one person while others require assistance. Depending on the distance you will have to carry your tandem kayak, you might have to get a kayak cart if it is heavy.

In some cases, when kayaking in rivers, you might have to trek back to where you had parked. A heavy kayak can prove to be a big challenge in these situations.

Length

The length of your tandem kayak would affect your expeditions. For long paddling journeys, get a long kayak. The opposite is true for shorter kayaks. The short ones are also good for rivers where you require greater maneuverability. Short tandem kayaks can take sharper turns than long ones.

Type

Choosing the type of tandem kayak you want is also important. You can get a hard-shell or an inflatable kayak. These will determine the weight of your kayak.

For most inflatable kayaks, you cannot go to all whitewater; the most you can do with the best ones is a class III whitewater.

Comparison Chart

Load CapacityLoad CapacityTypeTypeLengthCheck on Amazon
BKC UH-TK219440 lb. (200Kgs)70 lb.
(32Kgs)
Sit-on-Top12ftCheck price here
https://www.amazon.com/Vibe-Kayaks-Yellowfin-Tandem-Package/dp/B07GJJHTKK500 lb.
(227Kgs)
80 lb.
(36Kgs)
Sit-on-Top13ftCheck price here
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak400 lb. (180Kgs)31.13 lb.
(14.12Kgs)
Sit-on-Top10.3ftCheck price here
Sea Eagle SE370650 lb.
(295Kgs)
32 lb.
(15Kgs)
Sit-on-Top12.5ftCheck price here
BKC UH-TK181440 lb. (200Kgs)68 lb.
(31Kgs)
Sit-on-Top12.5ftCheck price here
 

BKC UH-TK219

BKC UH-TK219For the thrill seeker looking to get into kayaking, the BKC UH- TK219 is a good choice for a tandem kayak. Made by Brooklyn Kayak Company, this kayak is good for a beginner as it has good stability making it hard to capsize.

The UH-TK219 is a 12ft long hard-shell sit-on-top kayak. It has four carrying handles but it is light enough to be carried by two people. It weighs only 70lb.

The kayak can hold up to 3 people, you and two more or a pet. This is possible because of its load capacity of 400lb. It comes with two deluxe seats and a set of footrests to comfortably accommodate different heights.

The kayak has watertight storage compartments to store your gear and valuables. These are located right inform of the seat mounts. It also has large gear storage with plenty of bungee tie-down space at the stern.

With 5-rod holders, you can have multiple fishing rods while out kayaking.

Feature Summary

  • 12 Feet long
  • Seats 2-3 persons- (Comes with 2 deluxe kayak seats)
  • 4 flush mounts
  • 2 lightweight aluminum paddles
  • 2 bungee paddle parks
  • 2 watertight storage compartments
  • 2 paddle-rests
  • 3 adjustable rod holders

Pros

  • Can carry up to 3 persons
  • Wide beam providing stability
  • 5 fishing rod holders
  • Waterproof storage compartments

Cons

  • Seat tends to slide while paddling

Looking at the kayak, it is a compelling option as a beginners tandem kayak. It provides you with all that you need and more.

View price on Amazon

 

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130TThe Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T is a 13 footer hard-shell kayak.

As an adventurer, this kayak can carry up to 3 people with its total load capacity of 500lb. This offers you the option to enjoy your learning experience with your family and friends.

The kayak weighs only 80lb, meaning, you might need an extra person to assist you to carry it. The advantage is that it has 4 carry handles, two at the center (on each side) and one at the stern and another at the bow.

As a beginner, you might want to capture your experience. The kayak offers 4 mounting points that you can have a Scotty or a RAM mounted. This will enable you to mount your camera and record your journey. The 4 mounting points and 2 flush mount rod holders can also be used with fishing rods.

With your gear, you need not worry about storage. The kayak comes with two watertight storage compartments on the deck of the kayak and an open storage with bungee ties at the stern.

After being proficient, you can go out on your own using the center paddle position.

The manufacturers were thoughtful enough to add an easily adjustable footrest. This has several lock points that can be set for maximum comfort, whatever your height.

Feature Summary

  • 13 feet
  • Weight- 80lb
  • Load Capacity- 500lb
  • Adjustable footrests
  • 2 sealed hatches
  • Bungee cord rear storage well
  • Four carry handles
  • 2 flush mount rod holders
  • 4 mounting points
  • 2 bungee paddle parks

Pros

  • Can carry up to 3 persons
  • Mount ports where you can have a RAM or Scotty
  • 2 sealed hatches with bag insert
  • The adjustable footrest allows for tall and short people

Cons

  • It’s a bit pricey

All in all, the Yellowfin 130T can serve you very well as you learn kayaking.

View price on Amazon

 

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 KayakThe first inflatable tandem kayak on our list, the Intex Explorer K2 is a 10.3ft kayak. It has a width of 3feet and sits 2 people.

The hull is made of heavy-duty vinyl that is puncture-resistant. With an inflatable I-Beam floor, this kayak offers you both comfort and stability. The kayak’s total weight is 31lb with a load capacity of 400lb. You can literally carry the kayak all by yourself. This makes it a very light kayak with a high payload.

Assembling it has been made easy with the double action pump that comes in the package. It has two separate air chambers that have got Boston Valves on each; this makes your work easy.

At the same time, the kayak comes with two paddles that you can break into three parts for easy storage. Everything fits into the kit bag.

With a removable skeg, this kayak has good stability and is easy to steer. This is especially great in lakes and ponds where the waters are relatively deep and without rocks that can break it off.

You get two inflatable seats that have got backrests, made in such a way that they give you comfort as you enjoy your adventures.

Feature Summary

  • 3×3 feet Inflatable kayak
  • Weight- 31lb
  • Load Capacity- 400lb
  • Inflatable I-Beam Floor
  • 2 inflatable seats
  • 2 (3-piece) paddles
  • 2 carry handles and 2 grab lines on each end
  • Repair kit
  • Removable skeg

Pros

  • The bright yellow color increases visibility in case of an emergency
  • Lightweight- Can be transported and used by one person
  • The removable skeg helps with directional stability
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Does not have storage
  • Doesn’t have paddle parks

The Explorer K2 is a great beginners kayak but for a faster assembly, you can get yourself an electric quick pump.

View price on Amazon

 

Sea Eagle SE370

Sea Eagle SE370Kayaking, for the most part, starts with a trek to the river or the lake, that’s if you can’t drive to it. At times, this trek can be arduous so the lighter your load the better. This is where the Sea Eagle SE370 becomes very convenient.

The SE370 is an inflatable kayak. You will not be mistaken in calling it a lightweight since it weighs only 32lb. It comes with a carry bag that you can easily swing over your shoulder.

The kayak has 2 inflatable seats but can carry 3 people; the maximum weight load is 650lb. This is an impressive fete. It means that you can carry camping gear or other gear to make your kayaking fun.

It too comes with a foot pump. This makes pumping a breeze coz the kayak has deluxe valves that ensure assembly is under 10 minutes. The air chambers are 3; one at the starboard, the other at the port and the floor (I-Beam). To ensure that you pump it correctly, the package comes with a pressure gage.

The manufacturers were keen to make the kayak sturdy to give it a long life. The material used is PolyKrylor with High-frequency welded seams. Considering the unpredictability of life, they threw in a repair kit, just to be safe.

Feature Summary

  • 1 feet Inflatable kayak
  • Weight- 32lb
  • Load Capacity- 650lb
  • Inflatable I-Beam Floor
  • 2 inflatable seats
  • 2 (3-piece) paddles
  • 2 carry handles and 2 grab lines on each end
  • Repair kit
  • 2 moulded skegs

Pros

  • Can sit 3 persons
  • Inflatable but can be used in class III whitewater
  • Has two skegs for improved direction stability
  • Pressure gage for correct pressure

Cons

  • Can be tedious pumping it up

The weight of the SE370 makes this one of the best tandem kayaks for beginners. This is because you will soon be on your own and with this, you can still go out- all by yourself.

View price on Amazon

 

BKC UH-TK181

BKC UH-TK181This is another hard-shell type tandem kayak from Brooklyn Kayak Company. The UH-TK181 stands out with the range of colors available to you. It is a sit on top kayak with a Camo design- said to help in blending in while fishing.

The hull is well balanced to increase your stability in rough waters. It is a 12 footer weighing 68lb and with a load capacity of 440lb. This carries two people effortlessly together with their gear- for fishing, camping or whatever you plan to carry with you.

The kayak is not a lightweight, but can easily be carried by two people as it comes with 4 carry handles.

You can rest assured that your gear will be OK in the two waterproof storage hatches. It also comes with a big bungee tie-down rear compartment for added storage.

For your comfort, the kayak comes with two seats and adjustable footrests. There are two paddle-rests that save you from losing your paddles. These come in handy when fishing or doing other things.

Speaking of things to do, the kayak has 3 holders for fishing rods and 4 holders for flush mounted rods. This adds the kayaks versatility. You can mount your GPS, Camera or other gear as you take on the waters.

Feature Summary

  • 5ft long
  • Total weight- 68lb
  • Total Load capacity- 440lb
  • Seats 2 persons- (Comes with 2 deluxe kayak seats)
  • 4 flush mounts
  • 8 scupper holes for draining water
  • 2 high-quality aluminum paddles
  • 2 bungee paddle parks
  • 2 watertight storage compartments
  • 2 paddle-rests
  • 3 adjustable rod holders

Pros

  • Can be used in all kinds of water
  • The 2.8ft beam gives it great stability
  • The paddle rests save from loss of paddles
  • The watertight hatches protect your gear

Cons

  • It is a bit heavy

 

View price on Amazon

Final thoughts

The tandem kayaks highlighted above are some of the best in the market right now. Your best option is however dependent on where you will be kayaking. Going through each and everyone extensively, you can have one that will serve you well as you begin your journey.

Happy kayaking.

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About Author

Steve has been into sports all his life. As a young boy, he started with swimming; this only propelled him into more water sports. When he tried kayaking, the thrill captivated him and now, it is his favorite sport. As a ranger, Steve is always in the outdoors where he likes it. He became a ranger right after college. He is married and has three kids whom he loves going to expeditions with. When he is not at work or with his family, he loves writing. He is now the lead blogger at Tandem Kayak Report, always writing about his passion.