Tandem Kayaks Review Guide – Best Kayak for the Money

Kayaking has been a favorite among mankind for ages. Initially kayaks were used for hunting purposes on rivers and coastal waters of North Pacific, Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea and North Atlantic oceans. Kayaking is believed to have started about four thousand years back. Since then there has been huge modifications in the construction and material used for designing a kayak.  The kayaks that are used today vary greatly from their ancestors. Modern kayaks serve various purposes starting from slow tours on the placid water to adventure sports in the quick moving white waters, from fishing to excursions. Modern kayaks are designed using CAD. CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. CAD is often combined with naval designs to design a perfectly customized kayak.

A tandem kayak is a modern day kayak which can accommodate two persons. The technique for rowing a tandem kayak is a bit different from those of the conventional single kayaks.  Tandem kayaks are perfect if you are planning to go kayaking with your partner. However there has been a debate since time immemorial regarding whether single kayaks are better than tandem kayaks.

Tandem Kayaks

Rowing a Tandem Kayak

This needs a little patience and practice, but with a little practice, it can be easily mastered. Preferably choose the weaker person to sit in the front because the kayak needs to be largely propelled in the forward direction by the person at the back. The paddle needs to be gripped with the hands that are positioned a bit wider than the width of shoulder. The left paddle needs to be moved in a sweeping position such that it is able to sweep into the water and backs out again. The same needs to be done in the right paddle in a sweeping position so that the stroke is completed. It is better if one person paddles at a time and then the coordination between the partners can begin. Choose the direction of travelling and let the person at the back mimic the front person’s movements.

Comparison Between Tandem and Single Kayaks

There are pros and cons for both tandem and single kayaks. There has been innumerous instances when people have decided to buy tandem kayaks in order to keep the option open for kayaking with a partner as well as single, only to be disappointed when shared with a partner due to lack of coordination between them. However, if you are afraid of paddling alone and are new to the world of kayaking, then tandem kayak is a good option for you. Your experienced partner might put the blame on you in case of a loss of coordination, but each situation is unique and no one is to be blamed for it. The budget is also an important thing that needs to be kept in mind before making the decision. It is always best to be a wise buyer and choose your option carefully.

A single kayak is undoubtedly the correct choice if you want the complete control and freedom. Also there is no chance of getting engaged in an argument with your partner. They are also lighter than the tandem counterparts, so it is easier to handle them, especially during loading and unloading. It is also a good choice if you are planning to go fishing on your kayak. However, if you have a toddler with you, it is not a very safe option to paddle with him/her on your lap. Moreover, if you wish to share your kayaking experience with your partner, you will need two single kayaks, which invariably will pinch your pocket a bit harder. Tandem kayaks come into rescue in these situations.

Best Tandem Kayaks List :

Product ImageProduct NameCheck At Amazon
Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two TandemOcean Malibu Two TandemCheck Price
Vibe Skipjack Tandem KayakVibe Skipjack Tandem KayakCheck Price
Useful Sit On Top Tandem Useful Sit On Top Tandem Check Price
Emotion Spitfire Tandem Sit-On-TopEmotion Spitfire Tandem Sit-On-TopCheck Price
Nixie Sports 13ft Sit On Top TandemNixie Sports 13ft Sit On Top TandemCheck Price
Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem KayakLifetime Sport Fisher Tandem KayakCheck Price
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on TopLifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on TopCheck Price
Ocean Kayak 16-Feet Two Expedition TandemOcean Kayak 16-Feet Two Expedition TandemCheck Price
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Dirigo Tandem PlusOld Town Canoes & Kayaks Dirigo Tandem PlusCheck Price
Perception Pescador 13 Tandem KayakPerception Pescador 13 Tandem KayakCheck Price

Pros and Cons of Tandem Kayaks

Just because tandem kayaks solve some of the problems faced in single kayaks, it does not imply that they do not have cons. Every coin has two sides, tandem kayaks are not an exception. Let’s look into the pros and cons of tandem kayaks.

Pros : as already mentioned, tandem kayaks are ideal if you are planning to go kayaking with your partner and spend some quality time amidst the water. You can easily get engaged in a friendly conversation and share the entire experience together. All that is needed is for the two persons to be in sync with each other. Once the coordination is achieved, it is often seen that the paddling gets quicker when compared to a single kayak. Moreover, this is effective when one person tires out and has to stop paddling all together. The other person can continue paddling and the kayaking experience will not be disrupted. Moreover, it is cheaper than buying two single kayaks for you and your partner.

Cons : one of the main problems that you might face is that when your partner wants to paddle in a definite direction and you prefer another direction. The blame game can start once there is a loss of coordination. If by any means, the kayak gets off balance, it becomes a little difficult to control it and can prove to be unsafe. Cargo space is limited. If you are planning to go fishing, better try to avoid using it!

You can get the Best of both Worlds 

At present, most of the tandem kayaks can be converted into solo kayaks, accessorized with movable seats. Some of them even have a “jump seat” into the kayak. This has all the pros that can be enjoyed in the ordinary tandem kayaks. In addition, it is best if you want to enjoy solo or tandem paddling. In some models, a third person, usually a kid can be accommodated. However, the center position can be a bit uncomfortable.

The Bottom Line

Like every decision, whether or not you want to go for tandem kayaking is a matter of weighing the pros and cons and choosing the side that weighs heavier. Tandem kayaks have their own pros and cons as already discussed. However, it is a good choice to give tandem kayaking a try because as we all know, the fun increases, when shared! Happy kayaking!

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  • Tandem Kayaks Review Guide - Best Kayak for the Money
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  • Last modified: February 14, 2017

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