The 5 Best Tandem Inflatable kayaks For You & Your Loved One

by Jason | Last Updated:   November 4th, 2021
The 5 Best Tandem Inflatable kayaks For You & Your Loved One


It’s always a pleasant experience being out on the water in your inflatable when the water is gentle and the light is excellent. As a kayaker, the only feeling better than this is sharing the moment with a friend or a loved one.

How would you like to have someone to chat, paddle, and share the view with the next time you explore a visually appealing lake or river?

Sounds super fun and lovely, right? Well, if you would like to have a partner on your next kayaking trip what you need is a tandem inflatable kayak.

Tandem inflatable kayaks are kayaks that are designed to accommodate two or more people. But what is the best inflatable kayak for people? What features should you look out for in a 2 person inflatable kayak? I’ll be answering these questions and providing even more information on the best tandem inflatable kayaks in this article.

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Tandem Inflatable Kayaks

Sea Eagle 370 Kayak Pro

The Sea Eagle 370 Pro is an excellent inflatable kayak designed for two to three people. Asides from recreation and relaxed paddling, this small boat can be trusted to withstand up to class III whitewater. Other impressive features of this inflatable are its portability and the ease of setting it up.

Additionally, the kayak’s hull is built with rugged PolyKrylar PVC to ensure durability and longevity. You won’t have to worry about leaks thanks to the welded seams and a high level of rigidity is also provided by the floor’s I-beam construction. The 5 deluxe valves make inflation and deflation seamless.

For day-long comfort, the kayak comes with two specially designed seats. The cockpit is also very spacious and can even accommodate a third person. Alternatively, the cockpit can be converted into an additional storage space for your fishing gear. This makes it the best inflatable kayak to get if you want lots of on-deck storage.

Furthermore, the kayak’s ability to stand up to rough waters is thanks to its excellent drainage system. It has an open/close valve that gets rid of the splash with ease. Finally, you will find a good number of useful items in the package. These include a durable carry bag and a foot pump.

Pros
  • It is suitable for up to 3 people
  • It is portable
  • It is easy to inflate/deflate
  • It comes with paddles
  • It is good for beginners
  • It can be used for both solo and tandem paddling
Cons
  • The length of the free paddles isn’t suitable for shorter paddlers

Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable kayak

If you are looking to share a kayak with your family, the Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak is something you have to check out. Though it is built to serve as a tandem inflatable kayak, you may use it as a solo kayak when necessary. There are several other things to like about this tandem kayak.

The Advanced Elements advanced frame kayak is built to serve you for several years. This is thanks to the triple-layer polyester that shields the chambers from damage. The kayak also comes with multiple air chambers. So, it will stay afloat even when a chamber gets torn or punctured.

Another great thing about this inflatable tandem kayak is the sheer amount of space in the cockpit. This would be particularly beneficial if you are a tall person and you will also have the storage space you need for your gear. As a result, this is the perfect inflatable kayak for long adventures.

The Advanced Elements inflatable kayak offers kayakers a smart way of storing lots of gear. There is a zippered deck that provides easy access to the front of the cockpit. This is the perfect spot to store items you don’t want to get wet. Also, if you want a storage space that will always be within reach, you should use the bungee deck rigging.

Pros
  • It is resistant to damage
  • It has padded seats
  • It is great for beginners
  • It features built-in aluminum ribs for excellent steering
Cons
  • It is quite heavy
  • The zippers aren’t very tight

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

This could be the answer for you if you have been searching for a budget-friendly 2 person inflatable kayak. In addition to being a super fun kayak, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is one of the most visually appealing inflatable kayaks on the market. So, it is easily the product that you should be looking at if you are on a tight budget.

Thanks to its rugged vinyl material, this inflatable kayak can be trusted to withstand all the use and abuse of kayaking. The multiple air chambers in this kayak come with Boston valves for fast inflation. Also, the design of the hull promotes speed and smooth paddling while the removable skeg enhances tracking.

You and your partner will feel very comfortable in this inflatable kayak. The inflatable seats are equipped with backrests to ensure comfort regardless of how long you spend on the water. Also, you will find lots of space in the cockpit (the bow area in particular) and this will enable you to carry all the gear you need.

Though it may not have lots of extra features, the Intex Challenger K2 is an incredibly functional inflatable kayak. There are splash guards on the two ends of the kayak along with grab lines for portability. Two premium aluminum oars have been added to the package to further ensure that you get a great deal.

Pros
  • It has adjustable seats
  • The package includes a repair kit
  • It has good capacity
  • The bright color offers high visibility in emergencies
  • It is super affordable
Cons
  • It is not the best inflatable kayak for tall persons
  • It lacks the durability of more expensive options

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

If your priority when kayaking is comfort, then you should look no further than the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak. The seats on this 2-person inflatable kayak are as comfortable as an air mattress. So, it is the best option for you if you are tired of kayaks with hard surfaces.

Additionally, the ergonomic construction of the kayak makes it highly suitable for paddlers with back problems. You can even inflate the seats according to your desired cushioning level. The kayak is also suitable for tall anglers thanks to the presence of a removable seat adjuster.

The seats are held in place by buckles so that they don’t rock on water. In addition to the very comfortable seats, the kayak comes with two adjustable footrests. It is also an excellent 2 person fishing kayak thanks to the durable fishing rod holders and removable mounting brackets. The latter will enable you to install accessories like fishfinders, GPS systems, etc.

As for its construction, it is durable and made of quality vinyl that is resistant to scrapes and abrasions. However, this inflatable kayak isn’t suitable for whitewater. It is more suitable for kayaking on lazy rivers and calm lakes. Finally, the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak offers high performance and is equipped with two skegs for enhanced tracking.

Pros
  • It is durable
  • It is easy to set up
  • It has a good weight capacity
  • It is portable
Cons
  • The oars aren’t of the highest quality

Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2

The Advanced Elements Island Voyage is an inflatable kayak that can be used by either one or two persons. It is built for calm waters and offers three seating positions. In the package, you will get a tracking fin, a duffel bag, and a repair kit.

This two-person kayak is the right option if you want a simple and strong boat to paddle on a lake or river. The kayak is very stable and comes with padded seats to keep you comfortable during long hours of paddling. It also has bottle holders and pockets.

Additionally, the kayak has an impressive weight capacity of 400 pounds and sufficient storage space for your gear if you will only be out for a day. The storage in the bow and stern is shielded from the elements and it also features bungee rigging. There are handles on the front and back of the kayak so that you can carry it with ease.

The downsides of this inflatable are that it isn’t large enough for two big paddlers and it’s also not suitable for tracking on a straight line. Still, the Advanced Elements Island Voyage remains an excellent kayak, especially for beginners. It is also easy to use and highly suitable for kayaking on flat water.

Pros
  • It has sheltered bow and stern storage
  • It features two adjustable and padded seats
  • It is easy to paddle
  • Getting in and out of it is simple
Cons
  • Tracking can be better with light loads
  • It’s not suitable for two big adults

Our Top Choice


We have now gone through the 5 best inflatable kayaks on the market. Depending on your wants and needs, any of these products should serve you well on kayaking adventures. But if you want the very best of them all, then you should opt for the Sea Eagle 370 Kayak Pro.

There are a good number of reasons why this is the best tandem kayak that money can buy. Firstly, it can accommodate not just 2 but 3 people. This will enable you to have two partners on the water and as you should know, the more, the merrier.

Additionally, this tandem kayak’s durable hull means that you can take your pet on board without worrying about damages. The seats are also designed to keep you comfortable on the water for as long as you desire.

Finally, you will have a great time using this kayak even if you are a beginner. It offers superior portability and can be inflated and deflated easily.

How To Find the Perfect Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Kayaking with a friend is an activity that you are guaranteed to enjoy. Fortunately, several inflatable kayaks offer enough space for you and your partner. However, finding the perfect tandem inflatable kayak isn’t a straightforward process, especially for first-timers.

If you are not sure of what to look for in a tandem inflatable kayak, you have nothing to worry about. I will be taking you through some of the factors that you need to consider before selecting a tandem kayak in this section.

2 Vs 3 Person

“Two” is what should come to mind when you hear the word “tandem”. However, tandem kayaks aren’t meant for 2 people only as several models accommodate 3 kayakers. A 2 person inflatable kayak will suffice if you will be having just a partner. But if you will be having more than one partner, a pet, or lots of gear, you need a 3 person inflatable kayak.

Though some inflatable kayaks are designed to accommodate more than three people, these models are rare. It is also better to go for an additional inflatable kayak. That said, you should note that you may be able to fit up to three kids into a 2 person inflatable kayak. So, the size of the people that will be using your kayak has to be considered. Though there may be no seat for the extra person in your boat, what you really need to think about is its weight capacity.

Weight Capacity

One factor that you should never overlook when choosing a tandem inflatable kayak is its maximum weight capacity. The weight capacity of an inflatable kayak simply means the total amount of load it can carry. Inflatable kayaks usually have a lower weight capacity than their hard shell counterparts.

The weight capacity of tandem inflatable kayaks can be as high as 600 pounds but most of them can only carry two adults. So, you should take your time to consider the combined weights of the people that will be using your kayak. In addition to that, you should consider the number of supplies and gear that you will be taking on your trip.

Exceeding the weight limit of your inflatable kayak could damage it or cause it to sink.

Length

Tandem inflatable kayaks have different lengths and the length of each kayak will affect its performance on the water. Long and narrow kayaks are known to be faster than their small and wide counterparts.

Also, longer kayaks tend to be more difficult to maneuver and this is particularly true for solo paddlers and amateurs. That said, tandem inflatable kayaks are usually longer one person inflatables. This isn’t always true though and you could be able to fit in two paddlers into a short yak if it has a high weight capacity.

Additionally, you may find solo inflatables that have the same length as tandem inflatables. Such kayaks offer more storage and legroom.

For more information, have a look at our kayak buying guide article

Portability

The main reason why several kayakers invest in inflatable kayaks is their lightweight. Hardshell kayaks are usually large-sized and as a result, heavy. This makes them difficult to carry around.

On the other hand, tandem inflatable kayaks are lightweight and very portable. They also come with handles that make them even easier to carry around. So, if you don’t have lots of upper body strength, you should ensure that your inflatable kayak is as lightweight as possible.

Durability

Durability is another factor that can help you find the perfect tandem inflatable kayak. Inflatable kayaks experience a great deal of use and abuse on the water. Some kayakers also tend to drag their boats on the ground when launching. As a result, you should prioritize buying an inflatable kayak that is resistant to damage.

The biggest worry for people looking to invest in inflatable kayaks used to be their susceptibility to punctures. Fortunately, materials of higher quality are now being used to increase their durability. Materials like PVC and Hypalon are used by the best brands due to their puncture resistance and anti-abrasion properties. So, you can be assured that an inflatable kayak made of any of these materials will remain in good condition for several years.

Usage

The way you plan to use your tandem inflatable kayak should play a role in your decision-making. You may be in search of a kayak to share with your kids on a lake or something that can withstand whitewater. Either way, you have to ensure that the inflatable kayak you choose has the right features.

If you are interested in kayaking on whitewater, you should check the specifications of your preferred inflatable kayak. Ensure that it’s suitable for the class of rapid that you will be up against. Also, a good fishing kayak should come with rod holders.

Cost

One of the best advantages of opting for a tandem inflatable kayak is affordability. Inflatable kayaks are usually more affordable than equivalent hardshell kayaks. You will also spend less money when you don’t have to invest in extra accessories. For instance, the fact that an inflatable kayak can be fitted into a carry bag means that you don’t have to buy a storage rack.

However, the quality of your inflatable kayak will depend on the amount of money you spend on it. The higher the price, the greater the quality. Cheaper inflatable kayaks are usually priced around $150 and they have to be patched regularly if they are to be long lasting. Meanwhile, the high-end options can cost as high as $1000.

Accessories

Similar to traditional hardshell kayaks, tandem inflatable kayaks are better when they come with certain accessories. If you will be going on long trips or paddling for long hours, you should ensure that your kayak has adjustable, padded seats.

Storage options are another useful accessory for inflatable kayaks. You may hold some of your gear in place using a bungee cord or D-ring. Covers can also be used to create dry storage areas.

Watch this video to learn how to install rod holders and other accessories on your inflatable kayak.

As I mentioned earlier, your kayak should have a rod holder to fish with it. Another accessory that a good fishing kayak should have is a mount for your electronics. If you are a recreational angler, you may not need to invest in kayak angling accessories. However, you should consider getting a patch repair kit. This would come in handy if your hull ever gets damaged or punctured.

How To Paddle A Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The freedom provided by kayaks along with the ease of paddling them is the main reason why kayaking is so popular. Both properties are synonymous with one-person kayaks.

Tandem kayaks, on the other hand, are more difficult to maneuver due to their longer length. The relationship between both kayakers will also determine what happens in the boat. Take a look at some tips on how to paddle a tandem inflatable kayak.

Time Your Forward Strokes

Since both paddlers in a tandem kayak get a double-bladed paddle, you would expect it to be easier to maneuver. However, this is far from the truth. Tandem kayaks also tend to zig-zag on the water when controlled by two paddlers.

Additionally, the closeness of the paddlers in a tandem kayak means that they have to time their strokes carefully to avoid hitting each other’s paddle. This problem isn’t experienced by tandem canoeists thanks to their shorter paddles and the greater distance between them.

To avoid collisions and ensure that your kayak paddles are straight, you and your partner need to pay attention to the timing of your strokes.

The First Paddler Should Control the Rhythm

The rhythm in a tandem inflatable kayak should be controlled by the first paddler. This is because this paddler doesn’t have any idea of what goes on behind him or her. But while first paddlers should be allowed to paddle freely, they shouldn’t try to steer the boat. If they do, it won’t have any effect real effect on the kayak and disorientate the rear paddler instead. The front paddler should continue to paddle forward normally unless the rear paddler says otherwise.

The Rear Paddler Should Follow the First Paddler

Since the rear paddler has a clear view of the first paddler, he or she should follow the strokes of the first paddler. When both paddlers paddle in unison, there’s very little chance of collision and the kayak should travel in a straight line.

Should the kayak begin to veer to either side, the rear paddler should continue to paddle in unison with the first paddler. However, he or she should take a stronger forward stroke in the opposite direction to where the boat is meant to go. So, the rear paddler should take a strong forward stroke on the left side when the kayak is drifting to the left. This way, the kayak would correct to the right.

Course Correction Should Be Done By the Rear Paddler

A powerful forward stroke in the opposite direction won’t work all the time. There will be moments when more serious corrections will be needed in a tandem kayak, this task should also be handled by the rear paddler.

The paddler in the stern may either rudder or execute a backstroke on the side that the kayak is meant to go. Once the correction is complete, the rear paddler may proceed to paddle in unison with the first paddler.

The Stronger Paddler Should Be at the Back

As I mentioned earlier, the rear paddler should have more control over the navigation of the kayak due to his or her better view. The rear paddler should also be able to continue paddling the kayak even when the front paddler takes a break due to tiredness.

Hence, the paddler that gets the backseat has to be the stronger party. The paddler in the stern needs to have strong back muscles. So, you may check out exercises that strengthen back muscles If you will like to be a more efficient paddler.

You Need Patience and Practice

It usually takes a little while for amateurs to get a full grasp of tandem kayaking. This is because you and your partner will have little or no knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Also, you won’t know whose fault it is when the kayak veers the wrong way. Hence, patience will be very vital. You will both get better at paddling a kayak in unison with more practice.

You may also watch this short video to learn how to paddle a tandem kayak:

Avoiding Issues In a Tandem Inflatable Kayak

There are some things you need to know before using an inflatable kayak. The tips below will help you avoid issues:

Balance

  • Watch how you extend while paddling to avoid uneven distribution of weight
  • When the front paddler gets off balance, the rear paddler may either attempt to counter the weight or instruct the front paddler to adjust properly

Spacing

  • The spacing between both paddlers should offer the same levels of comfort
  • The spacing between both paddlers should allow positional changes (posture and legs)

Roles

  • You and your partner should practice the roles of the front and rear paddler before going on a trip. This will help you discover what suits each of you best
  • If it is possible, you and your partner may decide to switch positions at certain points

Communication

  • Communicate with a combination of physical signals and verbal words
  • You should use a level of communication that suits the paddling intensity. Hence, there greater the intensity of the situation, the higher the level of communication should be.

Tandem Inflatable Kayaks VS Tandem Canoes

Though inflatables have all it takes to support two paddlers on the water, tandem canoes are better suited to the task. The main advantage of tandem canoes is the amount of space that is available between the paddlers. They also allow better body positioning as the elevated seats enable paddlers to conveniently fold or stretch their legs.

Additionally, the elevated seats make it easier for paddlers in tandem canoes to see what’s in front of them. The weight and durability of canoes also make them more capable of withstanding strong winds.

They share a good number of similarities too. First, a good quality inflatable tandem kayak is just as efficient on calm waters as tandem canoes. Also, the relationship between both paddlers is pretty much the same. The rear paddler is always tasked with giving directions and making corrections.

An inflatable tandem kayak has some advantages too over tandem canoes. Tandem canoes offer less stability and balance on similar water bodies. The angled shape below canoes combined with high water increases the chances of sudden movements from the paddlers. The weight distribution in tandem canoes also reduces their performance whereas tandem inflatables are more compact.

Additionally, tandem canoes are only suitable for paddling on calm bodies of water while some tandem inflatable kayaks are also designed for sea kayaking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tandem inflatable kayaks safe?

Yes, and the higher the number of air chambers, the safer an inflatable kayak will be. Modern inflatables come with at least three separate air chambers. This way, even if one air chamber gets a puncture, you will still have two good chambers to get you back to the shore safely. 

Also, inflatables are made of high-quality and puncture-resistant materials. A lot of effort has been into the production of inflatables in recent years to make their exterior as durable as that of hard-shell kayaks. 

Lastly, you may further reduce the risk of getting a puncture by keeping your inflatable kayak away from sharp objects. Also, you should get yourself a patch kit in case you ever get a puncture. 

Is an inflatable tandem kayak slower than a hard-shell tandem kayak?

No, inflatable kayaks aren’t slower, though the speed of a kayak is determined by several factors. These factors include price, hull design, paddler’s skill level, paddling technique, water conditions, etc.

Generally, amateur kayakers move slower than more experienced kayakers regardless of what kayak they are paddling in.

How can I find a leak in my inflatable kayak?

The main sign of a leak in a tandem inflatable kayak is deflation. Once you notice that your kayak is leaky, you may proceed to locate the leak by searching for the punctured area. To avoid an accident, you should stay as close to the shore as possible.

However, deflation doesn’t automatically mean that there is a leak. If you are unable to locate a puncture, then your kayak may have been deflating for some time. You should be able to keep it afloat by inflating it with a little more air. Check out the 5 best pumps for an inflatable kayak.

How to clean an inflatable kayak?

You need to properly maintain your inflatable kayak if you want it to serve you for many years. The ways by which you can keep an inflatable kayak in good condition include cleaning, inspecting, and storing it properly.

To prevent mold growth, you must take your time to clean your kayak every time you use it. Cleaning an inflatable kayak is super easy. You just have to get rid of the dirt on it using running water from a hose. Leave it to dry and then store it in a cool, dry area.

Can I go on a fishing trip in a tandem inflatable kayak?

Yes, you can go on a fishing trip with your partner using a tandem inflatable kayak. Inflatable fishing kayaks come with the accessories required for fishing. But if your kayak doesn’t have these accessories, you may have to install some fishing accessories on it.

Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.