The 8 Best 2 Person Kayaks

Updated February 16, 2018 by Chase Brush

8 Best 2 Person Kayaks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whatever adventure you are planning, one may be fun, but two is always better -- so take along your partner or a friend on your next water excursion in one of these two-person kayaks. We've included affordable tandem models that are good for weekend recreational use out on the lake, as well as sturdier craft than can handle rougher ocean waters and river rapids. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best 2 person kayak on Amazon.

8. Lifetime 10 Foot Manta

The Lifetime 10 Foot Manta is a hard-body tandem model that performs admirably in a range of environments, from tranquil lakes to saltwater bays. Its super stable tunnel hull makes it perfect for beginners and occasional users still getting their sea arms and legs.
  • large forward cargo hold
  • lightweight and easy to transport
  • seats aren't very comfortable
Brand Lifetime
Model pending
Weight 65 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Intex Explorer K2

Considering its low price tag, the bright yellow Intex Explorer K2 is a remarkably well-made and rugged craft. It's ideal for use on small bodies of water, such as ponds, calm rivers, or even sea inlets, provided you avoid days of heavier surf.
  • aluminum oars included
  • comes with manual air pump
  • seats are prone to small punctures
Brand Intex
Model 68307EP
Weight 36.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

6. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T

Fishing fanatics will appreciate the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T, which includes two comfortable seats and four mounting points for holding your favorite rods. At 75 pounds, it may be a little tough to manage out of the water, but it can cruise your favorite lake with ease.
  • bungee tie-downs for holding gear
  • compatible with small electric motor
  • taller users may feel cramped
Brand Vibe Kayaks
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible

The Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible slices through water like a knife through butter, thanks to its sleek hull design. It incorporates built-in rigid panels along the bow and stern to improve tracking and responsiveness in all kinds of conditions.
  • padded high-support seats
  • molded rubber-grip handles
  • moderate 350-pound capacity
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Old Town Twin Heron

The sit-in Old Town Twin Heron features deep sidewalls that offer protection against rough waters and tip-overs, as well as an auto trim function that keeps the bow down when paddling solo. The convenient and adjustable foot braces work with most leg lengths.
  • removable front seat
  • great for trips with your dog
  • not much dedicated storage space
Brand Old Town Canoes & Kayak
Model 01.4053.1050
Weight 69.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. BIC Sport Borneo

Though a little pricey, the BIC Sport Borneo is a top-of-the-line offering that works as well as a solo kayak as it does a tandem one. A unique triple ridge hull design increases glide speed, while the seats are set low, improving your balance and center of gravity.
  • removable all terrain wheels
  • made with uv resistant polyethylene
  • also available in fishing version
Brand BIC Sport
Model 100095-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Deluxe

Weighing just 26 pounds, but boasting an impressive load capacity of 500, the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Deluxe features one of the highest weight-to-strength ratios in its class. An extra-thick polykrylar hull material and welded seams give it added durability.
  • rated up to class 3 whitewater
  • inflates and assembles in 6 minutes
  • includes spray skirts and foot pump
Brand Sea Eagle
Model SE330K_DT
Weight 48.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-On-Top

The 12-foot long Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-On-Top is remarkably stable and easy to use, incorporating a hull and deck design that allows for stacking. It's a great choice for a couple or for a parent with one of their children who want to casually enjoy the open water.
  • can be configured for solo use
  • gear straps for easy storage
  • 3 different foot holds
Brand Ocean Kayak
Model 07.6010.1073
Weight 62 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Finding The Perfect Tandem Kayak

Not only is kayaking a thrilling activity that is a great way to explore and observe beautiful parts of the world while getting superlative exercise, but it's also a hobby that is remarkably affordable given the low cost of many modern kayaks. And that's true not only for single person boats, but for tandem kayaks as well.

Amazingly, you can own a two person kayak -- and one that comes with paddles, no less -- for under one hundred dollars. In fact, in the inflatable kayak category, there are many such options available in that pleasantly low price range. And if your budget ranges from between one hundred to two hundred dollars, you can get two person inflatable kayaks suitable for everything from enjoying a slow paced trip across the flat water of a lake or slow river, a craft perfect for cruising across the chop of an bay or estuary, or even a tandem kayak suitable for riding the rapids during a whitewater adventure.

The inflatable kayaks of the day are almost as durable as kayaks made from rigid materials like plastic or fiberglass, and are more than suitable for use under myriad circumstances, even for use in waterways where scrapes with rocks or submerged logs are possible. If you plan to take an inflatable kayak into such circumstances, make sure you choose a kayak with multiple air chambers sealed by separate valves. Such boats will not deflate (and sink) even if one pocket of air is punctured, and can therefore safely bring you and your fellow crew member back to shore for kayak repairs or replacement.

If you want a kayak that may well be a lifelong purchase, then turning to a solid bodied boat is likely the better idea. Whether you choose a kayak designed for paddling in the ocean, which are usually large, long, and stable and feature a sit on top design (save for in seawater that tends to be frigid, when a sit-in kayak complete with a sealing skirt is ideal), or you pick a sit in kayak made for navigating the roiling waters of a swift river, a solid kayak is a great choice for all reason save price. These kayaks tend to be more than two or even three times the cost of inflatables, though indeed their longevity can compensate for the expense.

And while of course the type water in which you will use your kayak must play a large role in informing which boat suits you, so too will the type of activities for which you hope to use the tandem kayak. Kayaks suitable for fishing or even for hunting, for example, must be relatively wide and stable. These boats are not designed for speed, but instead for reliably even tracking with minimal rocking.

As for which type of kayak is ultimately best, solid or inflatable, that is an individual choice that comes down to storage and portability as much as material. For while a solid bodies kayak is made to last for years and handles responsible, good luck getting one to fit in the trunk of a car or to be stored in a closet or under a bed.

Other Items Needed For A Great Kayak Adventure

Owning a kayak promises to add fun and excitement to your life, but you will need a bit more gear to ensure that your time spent on the water is both as safe and enjoyable as possible. First of all, you will of course need a good kayak paddle to help you control your nimble watercraft. Even if your kayak came with a paddle, you need to make sure you are using the right paddle for your body in order to enjoy the boat properly.

As a quick reference guide, for shorter paddlers (those around five feet in height), a paddle measuring around 190 centimeters at most is deal. For someone standing around 5'6", a paddle that is a bit longer, at 195 centimeters is fine choice. And for those standing taller than six feet, a paddle larger than 200 centimeters is best. (Note that kayak paddle measurements always use the metric system.)

Next on the list of must-haves is a good life vest. And do use a vest style personal flotation device, one that can be secured comfortably around your torso without riding up around your neck, to maintain easy, unrestricted motion of your upper body.

Finally, and especially if you are kayaking through rapids and among rocks or near riverbanks with overhanging obstacles, its prudent to wear a helmet while kayaking. Most helmets designed for use while participating in water sports are lightweight and comfortable, and more than worth their expense the first time they save you from a head injury (which can commonly be caused by the hull of your own kayak).

The Brief History Of The Modern Kayak

Save for the materials used in construction, modern kayaks don't look much different than their predecessors from centuries past. The basic shape of a kayak -- what with its sleek, angular hull, its center of gravity low in the water, and its high, often enclosed walls crafted to keep water at bay -- had already achieved a point of design pinnacle hundreds if not thousands of years back. The only real "improvements" modern kayaks have over their ancient forebears is the quickness of ease of construction as well as a bit of durability that seal skin and whale bones can't match in blow molded plastics.

Well into the second half of the 19th Century, most of the world's kayaks were still made from the age old materials including skin covers and frames made from bone or wood (which was scarce in the frigid northlands). Toward the turn of the last century, craftsmen began to make kayaks using fabrics such as treated canvas stretched over wooden frames. Kayaks carved from wood were also common (and lovely, though time consuming to create and prone to damage in many circumstances.)

In the mid 20th Century, fiberglass kayaks became popular, soon dominating the market. Relatively lightweight, highly hydrodynamic, and easy to mass produce, this design reigned for several decades until advances in the formula of and molding techniques using polyethylene plastics made molded kayaks even easier to produce than fiberglass boats.

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Last updated on February 16, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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