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10 Best Tandem Kayaks of 2023: Double Your Paddling Prowess



Tandem kayaks are a terrific way for couples, friends and families to make memories and spend quality time together. From sharing expenses to sharing the paddling load, a 2-person kayak doubles the fun whether you’re fishing, racing or enjoying a leisurely sunset paddle.

Tandem kayaking takes the pressure off newbie paddlers unsure of their skills, and can be a great option for couples looking to save money without a double kayak purchase.

Two person kayaks come in a variety of styles, from tandem fishing kayaks to inflatables, two-person sit on tops and even 2-seater kayaks with motors or pedals. The best tandem kayaks are stable, rock-solid boats with loads of fishing and storage options.

If you’re on the hunt for a two-man kayak this summer, American Paddler’s tandem kayak reviews have you covered.

Best two-person kayaks – American Paddler’s picks

Below, we review the best tandem kayaks of 2023 for a number of situations, from fishing, budget and family boats in a variety of styles to fit your needs.


Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122Fishing12'8"770 lbs
Intex Excursion Pro K2Inflatable12'7"400 lbs
Perception Tribe 13.5Sit on Top13'5"500 lbs
Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135Sit Inside13'6"500 lbs
BKC PK14 with Trolling MotorMotorized14'670 lbs
Lifetime BeaconBudget12'500 lbs
Ocean Malibu TwoBeginners12'425 lbs
BKC PK14 with Pedal DrivePedal Drive14'670 lbs
Vanhunks Voyager DeluxeDogs12'550 lbs
Driftsun Teton 120Families12'2"500 lbs

Best 2 Person Fishing Kayak

Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122

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Check latest price on AmazonOne of the few kayak companies to specialize in tandem kayaking, the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s myriad double styles offer lots of option for serious kayak anglers.

One of the best two-person fishing kayaks BKC offers is the TK122, a 12-foot beast of a boat with plenty of room for two paddlers, loads of fishing gear and even a dog if you’re so inclined. At a whopping 770-pound capacity, you can load it up with as much tackle as you want.

Shockingly enough, for a boat that carries so much, the TK122 is a manageable weight at just 74 pounds — meaning parents with children can reasonably transport it.

The TK122 coastal cruiser is a two-man fishing kayak — so it doesn’t skimp on the angler features for either paddler. Each seat features its own watertight storage compartment, rod holders and gear tracks, and enough leg room to comfortable stretch out or even stand. The optional aluminum-framed padded stadium seats are comfortable and sturdy for hours of nonstop fishing — and the standard high-back seats aren’t bad, either.

Although the TK122 lacks some features offered by other BKC models (like the PK14, below), it’s a terrific and relatively inexpensive tandem fishing kayak (check Amazon price here) — and even comes with two paddles.

Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 features

  • Comfortably seats two or three paddlers, plus loads of gear with 770-pound capacity
  • Rear tankwell can fit 20-gallon cooler
  • Comes with four rod holders, four gear tracks and two paddles
  • Super-wide, 34” beam for extra stability

Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Intex Excursion Pro K2

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Check latest price on Amazon

Inflatable kayaks seem to be built for two people — usually with a higher carrying capacity, more cockpit room and tip-resistant construction.

So choosing the best two-person inflatable kayak is tough, considering how many great options there are. But the Intex Excursion Pro K2 makes our job a little easier.

Besides being incredibly puncture- and tear-resistant — a must for any tandem inflatable kayak — the Excursion Pro feels a lot like a hard-shell boat and offers features for both paddlers. Each seat features adjustable footrests and inflatable bucket chairs for versatile comfort, as well as options for gear storage. For those looking to do a little fishing, the Intex Excursion Pro offers two mounted rod holders and an adjustable, removable gear track. There’s also a waterproof storage bag for valuables.

The kayak itself is extremely mobile, with two removable underwater skegs — one for deep water and one for shallow — and a tight frame that cuts through waves. It also comes with a side-mounted pressure gauge to alert you when air pressure is low.

This inflatable double kayak comes with two aluminum paddles, a high-output pump, carry bag, repair kit and removable booster seat. The only downside is that the Excursion’s carrying capacity is a little low compared to other inflatables — just 400 lbs. But if that’s enough for you, this boat is well worth it.

Intex Excursion Pro K2 features

  • Built-in, adjustable footrests and inflatable seats
  • Two attached fishing rod holders and an adjustable gear track
  • Waterproof storage bag, two paddles, high-output pump included
  • Carrying capacity just 400 pounds

Best Tandem Sit on Top Kayak

Perception Tribe 13.5

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Check latest price on AmazonReaders of American Paddler know how much we love the Perception Tribe family of kayaks, and the Tribe 13.5 is no exception.

The Tribe’s all-American reputation as an exceptional sit on top kayak has kept it at the top of best-seller lists for years. And for good reason. Well-built, stable and with a host of features designed to keep paddlers happy, the Tribe is aptly named — your own “tribe” will love this kayak.

The Perception Tribe 13.5 is the largest of three sizes (along with 9.5 and 11.5) at 13’6” and comfortably carries two adults and a child. As one of the best tandem sit on top kayaks for generations, this boat’s hallmark is its ease of use. This single-piece kayak has molded-in footrests and adjustable metal-framed seats for superior comfort, and tracks extremely well.

Like any two-person sit on top kayak, the Tribe features a wide base and self-bailing scupper holes to ensure buoyancy, and generous storage space in the front, rear and middle. Although best used as a tandem recreational kayak, the Tribe can be a great two-person fishing kayak, with gear mounting options that don’t require drilling.

Although one of the larger boats on our list, the Tribe weighs just 79 pounds and is easily transportable. And if you happen to buy two, it’s even stackable. All in all, a fantastic two-person sit on top kayak.

Perception Tribe 13.5 features

  • New adjustable framed seats for reclining and comfort
  • Molded footrests and a child seat to accommodate two adults and a kid
  • Carrying capacity of 500 pounds, and weighs just 79 pounds
  • Two center hatches to store wallets, keys or phones

Best 2 Person Sit in Kayak

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T

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Check latest price on AmazonFor those who like that old-time kayaking feel, it’s difficult to top a two-person sit-in kayak. While sit-on-tops get most of the press these days, there’s nothing quite like the feel of traveling like the Inuits did.

While many kayak companies offer solo sit-inside models, Wilderness Systems is among the only major brands to offer a comparable tandem sit inside kayak. At 13’6”, the Pamlico 135T offers the same sleek rounded hull as its sister kayaks for quick acceleration without sacrificing stability.

Sit inside kayaks have their advantages. For paddlers in colder climates, having a shield from the wind and water is nice, and large watertight storage compartments can help with buoyancy and gear hauling. They also tend to be quicker, more nimble and easier to paddle because of a low center of gravity.

The Pamlico 135T is built for speed and agility, but it’s also got options for gear storage, including a stern dry storage hatch and bungees in the front. Part of the genius of Wilderness Systems’ design is that the Pamlico can also be converted to single-paddler use, thanks to its sliding bow seat and adjustable footrests.

The Pamlico paddles like a dream and even features a stern bulkhead — a safety feature found on premium boats that helps with stability and buoyancy.

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T features

  • One of the few premium tandem sit in kayaks for two people
  • Converts to single-paddler use with adjustable design
  • Versatile “Phase 3 AirPro” seats for ergonomic comfort
  • Thigh and knee paddling, adjustable footrests

Best 2 Person Kayak with Motor

BKC PK14 with Trolling Motor

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Check latest price on AmazonTo our knowledge, this boat is truly unique. A two person kayak with a motor is a difficult ask — but BKC has managed to incorporate not just one trolling motor, but two of them.

That’s right: each paddler gets their own trolling motor aboard the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s PK14 — a monster motorized tandem kayak with a 14-foot-long base and 34-inch beam. Perfect for buddies who like to fish together, the PK14’s easy cruising is made even easier by a hand-operated rudder, gear tracks and rod holders at both seating positions.

We’ve looked high and low, and we’ve yet to find a tandem kayak with a motor that combines built-in efficiency with features quite like the PK14’s.

At a mammoth 670-pound capacity, this kayak can handle anything you throw at it — at that includes large catches. Each seat features dry storage hatches, cupholders, rod holders and padded, ergonomic seats for comfortable casting. It does weigh 103 pounds — so backs beware — but with a kayak cart and a friend, transporting to and from the water shouldn’t be a problem.

Quite honestly, another prominent selling feature of the PK14 is its price — we defy you to find a two-person kayak with two motors included anywhere, let alone one that sells for what this boat costs (check Amazon price here).

Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14 features

  • Tandem motorized kayak with two trolling motors
  • Fishing rod holders, gear tracks, cupholders and storage options
  • Dual built-in storage hatches
  • Comfortable ergonomic seats

Best Cheap Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Beacon

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Check latest price on AmazonLet’s be honest. Sometimes the best reason to buy a tandem kayak is that buying two kayaks is just too darn expensive.

Unless you’re buying an inflatable, though, finding a cheap two-person kayak under $1,000 isn’t easy. Fortunately, the Lifetime Beacon fits the bill.

And that’s not to say this is a bad boat. Lifetime gets high marks for its kayaks — including a bestselling kids model and a double kayak package on the Payette — and the Beacon does, too. Few tandem kayak reviews find anything negative about the Beacon — and a lot to like.

For one, this 12-foot boat has ample legroom for two paddlers and three molded-in foot positions designed to accommodate big and tall guys and gals. A center storage hatch below deck keeps your gear dry, and a rear mesh-covered tankwell offers additional options. The seats aren’t metal-framed, but they are adjustable.

This sit-on-top tandem kayak can carry 500 pounds and is a breeze to transport for its size, thanks to offset handles on each side and a rolling skeg wheel. Best of all, it comes with a five-year warranty.

Lifetime Beacon tandem kayak features

  • Sit-on-top kayak easily seats two paddlers of any size
  • Adjustable seats and molded-in footrests
  • Two paddle holders, a center storage hatch and mesh-cover rear tankwell
  • Self-bailing scupper holes to ensure stability and ease of use

Best Tandem Kayak for Beginners

Ocean Malibu Two

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Check latest price on AmazonIf there’s any kayak that’s synonymous with tandem kayaking for beginners, it’s Ocean Kayak’s acclaimed Malibu Two series. No doubt you’ve seen one of these babies trolling the surf and thought, “Man, I wish that were me.”

There’s a simple reason Ocean Kayak has sold a boatload of these kayaks: They’re a ton of fun. Built specifically for families and couples without paddling experience, the Malibu Two’s wide-open deck, comfortable seats and easy-to-carry construction makes this without a doubt the “gateway to kayaking.”

Because the Malibu Two is among the most in-demand tandem kayaks, it can be a bit difficult to find. Beginners will love how versatile it is. Paddlers can easily bring a friend, child or dog aboard and still have plenty of room to stretch out. The Malibu Two comes in two sizes: a 12-foot model that weighs just 57 pounds, and a larger 13’4” Malibu Two XL, which carries 500 pounds but weighs 68 pounds.

With a skid plate, drain plugs, hatches and bungees, the Ocean Malibu kayak has everything you’d expect of a two-person kayak for beginners, and the simplicity that even a novice will appreciate.

Ocean Malibu Two features

  • Dual comfortable and adjustable seats
  • Multiple molded-in footrests to accommodate any size paddler
  • Bow and stern bungeed storage areas
  • Relatively lightweight construction easy to transport

Best Tandem Kayak with Pedals

Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14

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Check latest price on AmazonOK, we’re gonna break one of our own rules here. We’re going to list the same kayak twice. Honestly, whether it’s a motor or pedals you want, the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s PK14 excels in both.

It’s not that you can’t find a better kayak with pedals. (We’ve put together a guide on that, too). But for a two-person pedal kayak at an affordable price, you really can’t go wrong with the PK14. That’s because the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s design allows for interchangeable propulsion from both seating positions — whether it’s a trolling motor or its bicycle-style pedal drive.

Like its motorized version, the PK14’s pedal drive includes a hand-controlled rudder, but this one also includes two paddles for those who like to work their upper bodies, too. The pedal drive system can be instantly reversed — think bike pedals — for easy mobility.

The raised metal-frame seats are exceptionally comfortable for hours of casting, and gear storage options are plenty.

Overall, this two-person kayak with pedals is a great find for those want to pedal or fish with a friend on lakes, rivers and streams.

Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14 with Pedals features

  • Pedal drive systems on both seating positions
  • Three flush-mounted rod holders
  • Hand-operated rudder
  • Can be paddled by solo paddler with paddle and pedal power

Best Tandem Kayak for Dogs

Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe

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Check latest price on AmazonPaddling with a dog (or “doge,” if you prefer) is a pretty beach-bummy thing to do. And Vanhunks is a pretty beach-bummy paddlesports company.

Nothing screams “relaxation” like a canine companion chilling at your feet as you paddle off into the sunset or cast a carefree line. Vanhunks’ whole vibe is chill, and that’s what you get with the Voyager Deluxe.

Originally a Florida-based kiteboarding company that branched into kayaks, Vanhunks’ wide, stable and versatile Voyager is great for family outings, fishing or doggy paddling. At 12 feet long and 32 inches wide, the sit-on-top Voyager sports plenty of room to spread out — plus lots of storage and fishing features.

If you’re paddling solo with your dog, simply remove the front seat (which is super comfortable and adjustable) for your pet. And if you’re tandem kayaking with a dog, there’s a space between the seats where Fido can sit comfortably (or even add a third, padded seat).

With two sealable hatches, stationary and swivel fishing rod holders and two bungeed storage areas, the Voyager doesn’t skimp on gear hauling. When you’re not paddling, simply secure your paddles (included, by the way) to the sides of your kayak to keep them out of the way.

The Voyager’s 5mm rotomolded polyethylene hull can take a beating, but it’s actually not that heavy for a two person kayak (77 lbs). And a 550-pound capacity isn’t bad.

Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe features

  • 12 feet long, 32 inches wide and a 550-pound weight capacity
  • Dual deluxe, removeable aluminum-frame seats
  • Front and rear sealable hatches, cupholders and fishing rod holders
  • Eight scupper plugs and a drain plug to keep the kayak free of water

Best Tandem Kayak for Family

Driftsun Teton 120

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Check latest price on AmazonWhile most tandem kayaks are family boats, there are certain features that moms and dads might look for in a two person family kayak.

Will my child be comfortable? Will be comfortable? Will my wallet be comfortable? With the Driftsun Teton 120, the answer to all these questions is “yes.” The Teton is very similar in design to the Voyager (above), with many of the same perks — wide, stable base, gear storage options and plenty of seating.

While the Voyager is probably the better kayak of the two, the Teton is slightly less heavy (72 pounds). Both kayaks feature a center molded seat for a child (or dog), but the Teton’s seats are high-back padded vs. aluminum-framed seats on the Voyager — a difference that ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Both kayaks feature fishing rod holders, sealable dry storage pods, cupholders and bow and stern tankwells. While the Teton lacks the swivel rod holders the Voyager boasts, it does offer two mounts for adding Scotty gear — a great option if you’re looking for a little family fishing getaway. The Teton also comes with a pair of aluminum paddles.

While we won’t say the Teton is the best tandem kayak on our list for families, its relatively lower price point might be selling feature.

Driftsun Teton 120

  • 12 feet, 2 inches long and weighs 72 pounds\
  • 500 pound carrying capacity
  • Seating for two adults and a child (or dog)
  • Comes with two aluminum paddles

Double kayak, double fun?

Tandem kayaks are a great option for families looking to spend time together, but they’re not for all situations. Before buying a two-person kayak, consider whether two solo kayaks might work better.

tandem kayaks
A tandem kayak can be a great choice for families looking to paddle together, but before you buy, it’s good to know the pros and cons.

Two seater kayaks: Pros

  • Easier to stay close together as a family. Especially for parents of young children, keeping the gang together can be much easier if everyone’s on the same boat.
  • Less expensive. While you can buy some great solo kayaks on a budget, generally, a tandem kayak will be cheaper than two single kayaks in the long run.
  • Helpful for inexperienced paddlers. If one paddler has experience, but the other does not, a tandem kayak can take some of the pressure off learning how to paddle.
  • More versatile. Unlike a tandem bicycle, a tandem kayak can still be paddled solo. In fact, many two person kayaks are also designed for solo paddling — with the extra space being used for gear. Tandem kayaks typically have a higher weight capacity, too.

Two man kayaks: Cons

  • Can be more difficult to paddle. Don’t underestimate how much harder a 12-foot kayak can be to maneuver than a 9- or 10-foot boat. If the second paddler is inexperienced, it might make for a difficult afternoon.
  • Heavier. In order to accommodate an additional paddler, tandem kayaks are usually bulkier boats. This might make transport and storage more difficult.
  • Less maneuverable (usually). Tandem kayaks are usually wider — which provides greater stability, but at the cost of speed and maneuverability. Unless you’re talking about a tandem sea kayak built for racing, most two-person kayaks don’t track as well. This is because a kayak’s tracking is a product of its hull design and width.
  • Shareability (or lack thereof). Like having one car, having a single kayak means two people can’t simultaneously share the boat — unless they want to go together. And for families with teenagers, we know that’s not always the case.

Tl;dr (Too long; didn’t read)

The best tandem kayaks come in a variety of styles, from top-end 2-person fishing kayaks to inflatables and family sit-on-tops. For families with children, anglers with tons of gear, or beach bums looking to relax with a dog and a drink, a two-person kayak is a great way to escape from it all.

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