The 7 Best 2 Person Kayaks for the Ultimate Paddling Vacation

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When one individual sets his mind to something, he’s likely to succeed. But when two people employ teamwork to pursue the same goal, they will go above and beyond the abilities of a single person. This is what we call the power of working in tandem, and this same concept applies two-person kayaks. In fact, a 2-person kayak is also known as a tandem kayak.

These kayaks give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your significant other, family or friends. Besides, paddling is easier and quicker when there are two people involved rather than just one person. If your kayaking needs go beyond the restrictions of a one-person model, the best tandem kayaks can step in to meet your needs.

What’s the Best 2-Person Kayak?

The best 2-person kayaks are big enough to fit two or more people. These kayaks provide more space both on the inside and outside. Surprisingly, you can own such a kayak for two for such a small price. In fact, if you consider the 2 person inflatable kayak category, you have a variety of options in the pleasantly low price range. And if you’ve budgeted higher, you can get 2 person kayaks suitable for every situation; from taking a slow paced trip across flat waters to cruising in rapids.

Below find the best 2-Person Kayaks:

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top...
69 Reviews
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top...
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three...
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom...

Most kayaks are designed to accommodate two adults. But what happens if you want to take along your adventure-loving kid?

The Malibu Tandem Kayak comes with three sitting options, giving you the freedom to kayak solo, tandem or with a toddler. You can even take your pet along. Just make sure that the total weight capacity doesn’t exceed 425 pounds.

This 12-feet long kayak is also very easy to move around and inflate. Weighing only 57 pounds, the kayak is light enough to carry if you choose to spend the day by your lonesome. Furthermore, the kayak’s open, sit-on-top design makes it incredibly easy to get on or off.

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2. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

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ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame...
  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improves tracking
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The greatest concern that many people have when buying kayaks is whether these vessels can hold up in rocky waters. Well, the AdvancedFrame AE1007-R is designed to tackle these rough conditions.

The hull consists of built-in aluminum ribs, which make up the bow and stern. Also, the kayak boasts three layers of material, providing unparalleled puncture resistance. With such a design, you’ll be paddling the AdvancedFrame for years.

But what really sets this kayak apart is the incorporation of high-pressure floors that use drop stitch technology. Drop stitch involves adding thousands of threads to the insider of an inflatable watercraft; thus, preventing it from increasing beyond a particular size. This allows for higher pressure without adding extra weight.

3. BKC UH-TK219 Tandem Kayak

Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC Tandem Sit On...
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Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC Tandem Sit On...
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  • Built-In Rod Holders: Designed with 4 flush-mount kayak fishing rod holders and...

This is one of the best 2 person fishing kayaks. It’s a 12-foot tandem kayak, capable of accommodating two to three people. What makes this kayak ideal for your fishing trip is the provision of not 1 but 5 fishing rod holders. It also boasts 2 cargo hatch areas where you can store other fishing gear. Plus, it has a width of 34”, giving you enough stability so you can fish without toppling over. Crafted from aluminum material, the BKC tandem kayak has a weight limit of 440 pounds.

4. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Sit On Top Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 12 Foot Tandem...
58 Reviews
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 12 Foot Tandem...
  • KEY FEATURES | 3-person sit on top fishing kayak - 12ft 72lbs multi-person kayak...
  • MOUNT FOR ACCESORIES | 2 flush mount rod holders with caps and 4 Mounting points...

This is the perfect tandem kayak for beginners. Measuring 12 feet in length, this kayak provides a seating for three people. It weighs 72 pounds, so it’s not too heavy for two people to carry around.

But what makes this kayak stand out is its ease of use. This is what makes the Vibe Skipjack the most recommended if you’re introducing kayaking or kayak fishing to new people. On the flipside, this kayak cannot handle turbulent waterways so steer clear of such areas.

5. Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top...
69 Reviews
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top...
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three...
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom...

If you’re looking for a versatile kayak, the Malibu Sit-on-Top is an excellent option. The reason for this is that you can use it for kayaking trips with friends or you can go alone. Put simply; this kayak has a capacity for one, two or two individuals and a child. Its maximum weight capacity is 425 lbs.

For a sit-on-top kayak, this kayak performs pretty well. The kayak’s dimensions are 34 inches in width and 12 feet in length, providing a wide enough sitting platform.

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6. Perception Kayak Tribe Heyday

Perception Kayak Rambler Sit On Top for...
12 Reviews
Perception Kayak Rambler Sit On Top for...
  • Versatile stable and fun tandem kayak - Made in USA
  • Perfect for all skill levels

If your primary concern when purchasing a 2-person kayak is comfort, the Perception Tribe Heyday addresses this need. The kayak’s comfort seating system (CSS) has cushioned seats for enhanced comfort.

Perception Kayak has a length of 9. 5 feet. Also, it weighs just 47 lbs, making it one of the lightest sit-on-top kayaks on the market. Another unique feature of Perception kayak is its multiple footrests that are able to accommodate paddlers of all sizes.

7. Lifetime Two Person Sit-on Kayak

Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top...
125 Reviews
Lifetime 90118 Manta Tandem Sit on Top...
  • Designed for single or tandem use; 500 Lb. weight capacity
  • Includes 2 soft backrests and 2 double sided paddles. UV-Protected Linear...

The Lifetime tandem kayak is designed for heavy users. Although it’s just 60 lb., this kayak can accommodate two persons with total weight of 500 lbs. Also, it has tunnel hull design, which boosts your stability.

Although it’s a tandem kayak, it’s also suitable for single use. Plus it comes with 2 backrests and 2 double-sided paddles.

Best-2-Person-KayakThe Brief History of the Modern Kayak

With the exception of the materials used in making them, modern kayaks don’t look that different from those used in the past. Ideally, traditional kayaks also had sleek, angular shapes with clear bottom sections and raised walls to keep water from getting inside the watercraft. The major upgrade to the modern kayak is that it moves more swiftly and quickly. Modern kayaks also tend to be more durable than traditional ones thanks to improvements made in the construction materials.

During the second half of the 19th century, kayaks were still crafted from ancient materials namely: skin covers and frames consisting of wood or bones. But toward the end of this century, many boats men switched to using fabrics like treated canvas, which was stretched over a wooden frame. Kayaks made of wood were also pretty popular during this period, but they took a long time to construct. Plus, they were susceptible to damage.

It was not until the mid of the 20th century that fiberglass kayaks became a hit. These were all the rage thanks to their lightweight designs, hydrodynamic technology and ease of making them in large-scale. Fiberglass kayaks reigned for a couple of decades before the introduction of more advanced kayaks. With advancements in molding techniques, a majority of kayaks are now constructed using polyethylene plastics. The advantage of such a polyethylene plastic-made kayak over the fiberglass is that it’s easier and more cost-effective to make.

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks can be categorized in numerous ways including where you sit, how you utilize them and their structures. When looking at the first classification, we get two main types of kayaks: the traditional sit-in versus sit on top kayaks.


As the name suggests, this kayak requires users to sit on top of the kayak decks. They have no ‘inside’ section that can be utilized by the paddler. The only access, if there’s any, to the kayak’s interior section is through storage hatch openings. These kayaks are mainly used for recreational activities.

Primarily, sit on top kayaks are designed for easy-flowing lakes and rivers. You’re also likely to find them in warm coastal waters. Some of the benefits of picking a sit-on-top kayak include:

  • Easier accessibility- if you’re looking for a kayak that is easy to get on, the sit on top kayak is the best option. This design makes them versatile enough for casual uses such as playing near lakeside cabins, using them as swimming platforms or as children’s boats.
  • Comfort- the sit on top kayak offers plenty of comfort for everyone; from people with large body types to those with long legs, big feet and flexibility problems. Ideally, the design of this kayak means you’re not confined in a tiny cockpit opening. With this kayak, you can stretch and flex your legs comfortably.
  • Another plus of sit on top kayaks is that they’re equipped with scupper holes for draining water out of the vessel. As such, you’ll never have to worry about sitting in a puddle. And if your kayak capsizes, you can simply get off the kayak. One of the greatest fears that people have is getting trapped inside the cockpit while their water vessels are upside down under water.
  • Providing ready access to gear- these kayaks feature water weight hatches and an open tank, making it easy to store your gear. You can reach the tank easily and get your fishing or swimming gear. These features have made sit on top kayaks become a favourite for anglers, divers and photographers.

Sit-in kayaks

The key feature that sets a sit-in kayak apart is the presence of an open cockpit, where the paddler climbs into and sits on. Sit-in kayaks come in different styles: recreational boats, touring and day touring models. People who prefer these kayaks like them because they’re fast, come fitted with cargo compartments and suitable for paddling to destinations. Other admirable features of these types of kayaks include:

  • They offer better protection from inclement weather conditions and rough water waves.
  • They allow users to incorporate spray decks although a bilge pump is necessary in the event that you get swamped.
  • They give users more control when paddling since they have greater contact with the boat
  • They’re easier to paddle than sit on top kayaks

How to Choose The Best Tandem Kayaks

If you want a kayak that is in for the long haul, a solid bodied water vessel is your best bet. Regardless of whether you choose a hard shell or inflatable device, a sturdy construction guarantees that your investment is worth it. Apart from construction, other features you ought to pay attention to include:


On average, a tandem kayak weighs between 75 and 100 lbs. This might be a little heavy for some so you may need an extra hand when carrying it. Alternatively, you can take turns pulling your 2-person kayak on a kayak cart. But if you’re likely to be using the kayak by yourself, then hoisting a vessel weighing 80 lbs or more can be challenging. The better option would be to look for a kayak trailer, which is easy with your automobile.


Another aspect you’ll need to consider is the length. Ideally, this will depend on a couple of factors such as your paddle technique, physical strength and the medium of transportation you’ll be using to carry your kayak.

If you’re a novice paddler, you should opt for a longer kayak that’s able to displace more water; hence, enhance your stability. The only caveat is that long kayaks can be tricky to maneuver and navigate. Conversely, short kayaks are easy to maneuver. However, they also tip over easily; hence, they’re more suited for experienced kayakers.


If you’ll be sitting in your kayak for too long, you’re likely to get tired. Thankfully, some kayaks are designed in such a way that they provide ample comfort, allowing you to fish or explore the waters all day long. If you want a comfortable tandem kayak, choose one with adequate leg room. Advisably, it should also have cushioned seats.

The best kayak is one that comes with a snap-in middle seat where your child can sit. The seat can also be removed to free up space, especially if you’re kayaking with dog. If you like paddling during sunrise, be sure to look for a kayak with beverage holders.


Do you intend to take pictures of a beautiful waterfall while you’re out kayaking? Or do you plan to fish? If so, you will need a kayak with plenty of storage compartments to keep your gear. Watertight storage units make it convenient to carry a ton of things for your kayaking expedition. You can even carry your mobile phone so that you keep in touch with your family members on the mainland.

In the event that your kayak lacks storage units, we recommend buying dry bags. Also, bungee cords that are crisscrossing at the top of your kayak can be used for holding shoes and other non-electric gear.


The majority of kayak manufacturers only offer protection for manufacturer defects. Buy a kayak that has the longest warranty.

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Where Will You Use Your Kayak?

One factor that many people forget to consider is the type of water in which they’ll be paddling. This will play a huge role when choosing the type of boat to get. While some kayaks are designed for all-purposes, that is, they can be used on the sea, rivers and whitewater, others cannot handle such turbulent.


By lakes we’re referring to your local lakes. As long as the weather is fair and the tides are calm, you can take your recreational kayak with you. However, if the whitecaps do appear, you should consider paddling back to the mainland as your kayak won’t be able to withstand such waves.


If you plan to go kayaking at the coastal areas where wind, waves and strong currents come into play, then you should invest in a sturdy model. Ideally, your kayak should be fitted with rudder or skeg.

But if you live in a warm region and would like to go for a swim or surf, then a sit-on-top kayak will do just fine


Do you live in a very hot area and want to go floating on the river? Start by investing in a sturdy kayak that can support your weight. Apart from being sturdy, this kayak needs to be flexible so it can turn quickly.

Rivers and lakes

If you’re planning to use your kayak in both still and flowing waters, a short recreational sit-on-top or sit-in kayak is the best choice. These kayaks come with a skeg, allowing you to turn comfortably.

Other Items Needed For A Great Kayak Adventure

If you’re going for a kayaking expedition, there are other items you can invest in to make the most out of your time on the lake. For starters, you should purchase a quality kayak paddle, which is the key to having control of your watercraft. Although most kayaks come with paddles, they may not be the right fit for your skills or paddling technique.

As a rule of thumb, short paddlers ought to choose paddles measuring 190 centimeters. If you’re taller (about 5’6”), you should invest in a longer paddle, preferably one that is 190 centimeters in length. However, if you’re about six feet tall, opt for paddles with lengths of 200 centimeters.

The next must-have item for your kayaking adventure is a life vest. Look for a vest style floatation gadget, which you can fasten comfortably around your torso. This way, you’re still capable of moving your upper body parts when needed.

The last item to buy is a helmet. This particularly applies to individuals who like kayaking through rapids and among rocks. The majority of helmets are tailored for water sports so they’re light and comfortable.

The Bottom Line

Kayaking is one of the most thrilling activities. Not only do you get to explore beautiful sceneries and aquatic life but you also get to exercise by paddling. 2-person kayaks are one of the best models since they can accommodate two to three people. They’re also pretty stable and come equipped with handy features such as beverage holders, cargo compartments, fishing rod holders among others.

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