Editor choice

2018 Best Tandem Kayak – Best Tandem Kayak For The Money

Getting the most out of your kayaking trips is important to the health and wellness of your family. A bets tandem kayak is able to hold two to three people, and do it comfortably.

High quality tandem kayaks come with a variety of different features that show just how far kayak innovation has come in recent years.

In this post, we’re going to be looking at three best tandem kayaks that did amazingly well in the Amazon reviews. These are well made and will provide years of use. But before we do that, let’s take a look at the features that make a tandem kayak worth buying.

Top 3 Best Tandem Kayak – Editor Reviews

Old Town 15-Feet Dirigo Tandem Plus Kayak

Dirigo Tandem Plus KayakOld Town is making some really good kayaks these days. And although it may cost a bit more than the inflatable options, you get a much better kayak for the money.

It comes with a Click Seal hatch and bulkhead, cushioned seats that make longer sitting periods more enjoyable, a removable seat for children and pets, thigh pads and foot braces, two paddle keepers, carry handles, and can hold a maximum of 475 lbs safely.

This is a really full featured solid construction kayak that will cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. It’s tandem, so two people can enjoy it at once, and you’ll be impressed with this kayaks strength.

This is our #1 pick for tandem kayaks! It offers the added bonus of being totally solid, not inflatable. That improves the overall lifespan and dependability of the kayak. It also has a great storage area for common items, and even comes with a cupholder!

The thigh pads and foot braces are a great added bonus, and the pet/child seat allows you to take kids and dogs out on the water too.

Product Features:

  • Dual Cockpit Stabil-Form Hull Design
  • Cushioned Seats
  • Removable Child Pet Seat
  • Click Seal Hatch
  • Rear Bulkhead
  • Thigh Pads And Foot Braces
  • Two Paddle Keepers
  • Deck Bungee
  • Carry Handles
  • 80 Lb Total Weight
  • 475 Lb Weight Capacity

Final Analysis:


  • Even people who don’t usually like tandem kayaks have found that this is one is a delight to own and use
  • Relatively fast even with inexperienced paddlers – Cruises at about 4 mph
  • Footpegs are adjustable, giving you more comfort options
  • Three layer polyethylene prevents the hull from deforming
  • Even at the 80 lb total weight, this kayak is easy to shoulder and transport to the water thanks to the handles
  • Solid construction makes this kayak very stable in the water
  • Large 15 foot size makes for adequate storage
  • Affordable for a solid construction kayak and everyone seems to love it
  • Unlike most rental kayaks, using this model is actually enjoyable instead of a chore
  • Both seats are adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect comfort zone for both people


  • Knee braces are a bit flimsy but still comfortable
  • If you’re not very strong, you might need someone to help you put this kayak on top of the car on the tracks

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Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Manta Tandem KayakLifetime is making kayaks and other water equipment that are getting very good review scores these days. The Lifetime Tandem Kayak with Back Rests is able to seat up to three people, has a 500 lb weight capacity, is compact at only 10 foot long, features “high and dry” seating, comes with two soft backrests, has shock cord straps and ditty trays, and only weighs a total of 60 lbs. One person can easily carry this tandem kayak to the water.

The High Density Polyethylene construction is top of the line, giving this tandem kayak superb stability and UV protection. The tunnel hull design is also very good at keeping the kayak tracking well in the water.

Overall, this is a very strong kayak that can hold 500 lbs without a doubt. It’s a really good kayak for fishing, snorkeling, and lots of family fun. You can stand up in this model without any problems and tipping it over would require some major effort.

This is our #2 pick for tandem kayaks. It’s not an inflatable model, so durability is better than those types. And it costs about the same as most inflatables, which is a major cost bonus. Affordable, sturdy, and able to handle 500 lb weight capacities, this tandem kayak is a great option for families.

Product Features:

  • High Density Polyethylene Construction – HDPE
  • 10 Feet Long
  • Tunnel Hull Design
  • High And Dry Seating
  • Two Included Soft Backrests
  • Shock Cord Straps And Ditty Trays
  • 500 Lb Weight Capacity
  • 60 Lb Weight

Final Analysis:


  • Easy to transport in minivans or trailers
  • Made with pride in the USA
  • Short length and wide beam provide a unique stability structure
  • Tracking quality increases with load weight
  • Lightweight 60 lb design allows for one person to carry it easily
  • Stability is second to none and this kayak is almost impossible to tip over!
  • Includes fore and aft hatches so you can secure hardware if you want to
  • Allows you to install navigation lighting and electronics
  • Great for fishing, scuba diving, and river camping expeditions
  • Comfortably accommodates two adults and a child
  • You can reboard this tandem kayak after going overboard quite easily
  • The founder of “Ocean Kayak” water equipment, world famous, designed this one too!


  • Doesn’t come with paddles
  • Although you can carry it to the water easily, you may need the help of a loader to get it on top of a vehicle

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Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Person Inflatable KayakThis is the perfect tandem kayak for bays, lakes, rivers, and other calm-like waters. Both the bow and stern of the Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Kayak are reinforced with rigid panels to improve the tracking and the integrity of the kayak.

It uses High-Flow spring valves for easy inflating and features a Twistlok system that simplifies the process. The seats are designed with your comfort and support in mind, with high raised backs that support your back. It has molded rubber grip handles and bungee type lacing on the front.

This kayak can hold a maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs, is 12 feet long, and has a 1 year warranty to keep you safe from factory defects.

What people have said about this kayak is pretty impressive. They say it performs well, even in surf conditions, and it received 4 out of 5 stars across 8 customer reviews.

This is our #3 pick for tandem kayaks. We gave it the third position because when it comes down to it, it’s still just an inflatable which means it won’t offer the best durability. However, most people have said that this is a great overall kayak that is worth the price.

Product Features:

  • High Denier Polyester/PVC Laminate And PVC Tarpaulin Construction
  • High Strength Inner Tube
  • Landing Fin And Tracking Plate
  • Rigid Panels On Both The Bow And Stern
  • Spring Valves And Twistlok Inflation System
  • High Support Padded Seats
  • Owners Manual
  • Duffel Carry Bag
  • 1 Year Warranty

Final Analysis:


  • Although it says it’s designed for calm waters, this kayak has been used in 6 foot ocean swells and performed very well!
  • Lightweight design makes it easy to carry back and forth to the beach or any other body of water
  • Lots of leg room with this tandem kayak – Seats are comfortable too!
  • They say that unless you need to carry some substantial cargo, an inflatable kayak will perform just fine
  • Rides waves and wakes from boats on a river without any problems
  • Moves easily through the water – Performance is impressive for an inflatable model
  • Won’t tip or flip even when you expect it to
  • Pockets and straps are conveniently placed


  • Not a lot of storage space because it’s an inflatable
  • Durability of the kayak isn’t the greatest because it relies on an inner tube design

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Tandem Kayaks Buying Guide

Back Rests:

Back rests allow you to be more comfortable during long excursions out on the water. You’ll be able to totally relax and fish, paddle, and have an easier time with your kayaking adventure. Not all tandem kayaks come with this feature, but if back support is important to you, then you should be on the lookout for kayaks with this feature.

Rigid Support Panels On The Stern And Bow:

Inflatable kayaks need to be made with extra support for the stern and bow. For this reason, you’ll usually find inflatable kayaks have rigid support panels that improve the tracking and overall strength of the kayak.

Padded Seats:

Padded seats are really a must when it comes to comfort during long periods out on the water. A plastic seat isn’t going to give your body the support it needs, so be on the lookout for generously padded seats that will be comfortable for long periods.

Durable, Lightweight Design And Adequate Weight Capacity:

You want your tandem kayak to the lightest it can be to make transport easier. 60-80 lbs is about the normal weight for a tandem kayak. You also want the kayak to be able to support around 500 lbs total. Tandem kayaks hold more weight than a single cockpit model because they’re designed to hold more than one person.

Warranty, Amazon Review Score, And Manufacturer:

You should get at least a 1 year warranty with your tandem kayak purchase, and look for at least a 4 star review score in any product you consider.

Some great manufacturers of tandem kayaks these days are Advanced Elements, Old Town, and Lifetime. They are making superb quality kayaks that get great review ratings. Check for yourself and you’ll see, these are the top rated tandem kayaks on the market.

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