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Paddle in Sync: 2024's Best Tandem Inflatable Kayaks

Tandem Inflatable Kayaks

Tandem Inflatable Kayaks

Updated on 5/20/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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Double the fun with two-person inflatable kayaks, which only reaffirm what we've known all along:

Traditional hard-shell tandems can be cumbersome, longer than usual, and tricky to maneuver. So, it's a no-brainer to opt for the best 2-person inflatable kayak as your go-to choice.

Now, let's dive in and find the perfect one for you and your paddling partner today!


Best Tandem Inflatable Kayaks

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • Whitewater usage up to and including Class IV is permitted.
  • Superb 855 lb weight limit
  • It contains 16 self-bailing drain valves to assist in keeping you dry.
  • Stability is ensured by the use of large tubes and a drop-stitched floor.
  • Included in the package are 26 D-rings for securing various items.

Things we don't like:

  • For an inflatable kayak, this is on the heavier side.
  • If three adults are in the boat, there is not a lot of place for their legs.
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Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • The recommended laminates for this kayak consist of both a PVC and polyester core, providing the ideal combination of durability and lightweight.
  • The material used in this kayak is hardy and durable, resistant to abrasions, sunlight, impacts, and even gasoline or saltwater.
  • This kayak includes built-in brackets for easy accessory mounting, such as a GPS.
  • With a capacity to hold up to 400 pounds, this kayak is capable of carrying heavy loads, accommodating two passengers and necessary equipment.
  • The kayak is equipped with stainless steel D rings for secure storage of essential items.
  • Comes with a carry bag, a high-quality pump, and two 86-inch aluminum oars, providing convenience and enhancing your fishing experience.
  • Inflating the fishing equipment becomes much more accessible with the included pump.

Things we don't like:

  • Many customers have noted that the oars aren't of the best quality.
  • Some customers have said that the paddles are not that great either.
  • A lot of people have complained that the aluminum paddles are weak.
  • The kayak comes with these items; however, you can replace them with better products as long as they are merely included.
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Our Overall Review
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Driftsun Rover Kayak
Our Overall Review
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Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • Construction that is resistant to puncturing and the use of many chambers
  • Inflatable and low-weight for convenience in portability
  • Extremely broad in comparison to its length.
  • A trolling motor may be installed if desired.

Things we don't like:

  • Larger paddlers may find that the 470-pound capacity is insufficient for their needs.
  • There is not enough stiffness in the floor for standing.
  • There are insufficient storage possibilities for two persons carrying hunting equipment.
  • A shooting pain looking for something lightweight, portable, and affordable may find that the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is an appropriate entry-level duck hunting kayak for their needs.
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Our Overall Review
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Selecting Your Ideal Inflatable Tandem Kayak: Factors to Keep in Mind

Getting yourself an inflatable kayak might be your best decision – especially if you value portability and storage-friendly design.

Modern inflatable models are pretty much as durable as "traditional kayaks" but can be folded up and transported more efficiently, which is something that can't be said about hard shells.

Inflatable tandems can carry more weight on average and be incredibly spacious and stable, but they'll still weigh less than a single-person hard-shell kayak. How about that?

I have you covered if you're considering getting an inflatable two-person kayak. Let's discuss a few crucial factors you should consider in the process.

How Will You Use Your 'Yak?

While many factors should be considered here, I always recommend starting with the basics – where and how you plan to use your kayak:

    Recreational: A jack-of-all-trades kayak is the way to go regarding recreational paddling. There's no need to shell out on all the bells and whistles of specialized kayaks. You want a stable, comfortable, easy-to-manage kayak, and, in a sense, "average" at everything it does – in a good way. In short, recreational use calls for a good all-rounder; nothing more, nothing less.Fishing: Fishing kayaks boast additional options and fishing-specific features you won't get on a recreational 'yak. Do you want a 'yak you can stand up in, or do you prefer the comfort of the captain's chair? How much gear do you typically carry, and how will that play into the storage options and maximum weight capacity you'll require? Consider your needs – and preferences.Touring: Long-distance trips usually require more gear and supplies – especially if you're planning a camping trip – so good onboard storage options and high weight capacity are crucial. Other than that, look for an efficient hull design with a skeg – or a rudder system – to help with maneuverability and make long distances easier to conquer.Whitewater: Whitewater paddling is a severe challenge – and you will need a kayak that can handle the different classes of rapids you may run into. On that note, look for a sound drainage system, removable skegs, and large side tubes for additional protection.Taking Your Pet or Child: Tandem kayaks are an excellent choice for taking a child or a pet. However, there are still a few things to consider. You will need a wide, stable, and spacious 'yak with a high enough load capacity. Also, ensure that it is made from materials that can handle your dog's claws and teeth – or any other dings and scratches that may occur.

Kayak's Dimensions & Weight

There are many types of kayaks – but inflatables are the only ones titled "space savers."

Surprisingly, even tandem inflatable kayaks are lightweight and more accessible to transport and store. So, no matter what, inflatable kayaks will spare you from back pain in the long run.

Most 'yaks I've tested weigh between 30 to 40 pounds – but there are always some extremes. So, you should still check the kayak's dimensions and weight – unless you are a regular at the gym and deadlifts are your favorite thing in the world.

So what about the actual size?

Well, once you inflate the kayak, the same rules that go for hard shells start to apply here, too:

Tandems can range from 12 to 15 feet long and a few feet wide. But you need to figure out how much room you and your paddling partner will need, how much gear you plan on bringing – and whether the kayak can accommodate all that.

Checking the kayak's packed (deflated) size also doesn't hurt. Better safe than sorry, right?

Weight Capacity

The following important factor you must consider is the kayak's weight capacity. We're talking about this two-person 'yaks here, and when you add gear into the mix, you get a pretty high number on the scale.

The good news is that, on average, inflatable kayaks have much higher weight capacities than their hard-shell counterparts.

These numbers vary; however, for the best inflatable kayaks for two people, you're typically looking at a weight limit of at least 400 pounds – and up to 900 or more in some models.

Even a 400-pound capacity sounds excellent, but two people and their gear eat up that weight in no time – and you want to have some room left. You don't want to sit on the edge of the kayak's capacity range when you hit the water, or you'll feel it performance-wise.


Most inflatable kayak manufacturers will give you virtually the same promise:

You can pack up the kayak in a backpack and carry it around – and when it's not in use, you can store it under your bed or in the closet. You'll hardly notice it's there!

And while that's generally true – especially compared to hard-shell kayaks – not all inflatables are made the same. So, be sure to consider the following:

  • Pack Weight & Size: You won't just be carrying a kayak – but the accessories that come with it, too. Besides, the bag itself can sometimes weigh a few pounds. Make sure you're comfortable with the total weight of the carry bag. On a related note, check if the bag will fit in the trunk of your car or the back seat – otherwise, you won't have a way to transport it.
  • Storage Bag: Getting a free kayak carry bag with your purchase is always a plus – but I still recommend checking its quality. Is it sturdy enough to handle everything an average paddling trip might throw its way? Does it feature wheels or padded straps? Lastly, is it big enough to fit all the accompanying accessories?
  • Time & Ease Of Packing: The extraordinary thing about inflatables is that you can throw them in a bag and carry them. And the wrong something? You'll need to drain, deflate, and fold them after each use. Have you ever tried to fold a map only for it to end up twice the size? That's kind of what happens with poorly designed inflatables, too. Having drain holes helps speed up the packing process since the excess water drains faster.

Inflation Time

I could go on and on about the convenience of inflatable kayaks when it comes to storage and transportation, but you still have to inflate the thing – which can be annoying.

I guess the portability and storage-friendly design has a price – and I think that's a fair trade-off here. It isn't that big of a deal – but it's worth considering how you'll inflate the 'yak and how long it'll take you to do so.

Now, you're probably wondering:

Can I use an electric pump – or am I stuck with the manual?

Many kayaks come with a simple, manual pump – which usually works fine. However, a manual pump might not be the most suitable solution for kayaks with a higher PSI – anything over 8 PSI. Well, not unless you want to return with arms like Popeye from your trip.

That's where you might need to upgrade to an electric pump.

As for how long it generally takes – well, that can vary from one model to the next. But you're looking at 10 to 15 minutes on average.

That said, high-end inflatable kayaks typically have a higher PSI, which is a definite advantage on the water – but it also means they often take longer to set up.

Construction & Durability

Lastly, I want to discuss the durability of inflatable kayaks – and their construction in general.

While some may still imagine a sort of boat-shaped balloon when they think of inflatable kayaks, the reality is that they're incredibly well built – especially with the numerous advancements made in materials and technologies.

Modern inflatable kayaks often use PVC or Hypalon materials, known for their durability and resistance to punctures, abrasions, and UV damage. Also, the construction methods, such as drop-stitch technology, have significantly improved the overall structural integrity of the kayaks.

Here are a few things you should pay attention to regarding the kayak's construction and durability:

    Material: As mentioned earlier, PVC and Hypalon are the most common materials for inflatable kayaks. Each material has pros and cons, so it's essential to research and choose the best fit for your needs.Seams: The seams of an inflatable kayak are crucial to its durability. Look for kayaks with welded or glued seams, as these are more reliable and less likely to leak or deteriorate over time.Drop-Stitch Technology: Drop-stitch technology allows for high-pressure inflation, resulting in a more rigid and stable kayak. This can improve the kayak's performance, making it feel like a hard-shell kayak.Multiple Air Chambers: Inflatable kayaks with multiple air chambers provide an additional safety measure. If one room gets punctured, the other sections can still hold air, keeping you afloat until you can repair it.Warranty & Repair Kits: A good warranty can give you peace of mind when investing in an inflatable kayak. Check the warranty terms and see if the manufacturer provides a repair kit, as this can come in handy for any minor repairs or maintenance.

By considering all these factors and doing thorough research, you'll be able to find the perfect inflatable two-person kayak that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Happy paddling!


Frequently Asked Questions

How durable are inflatable tandem kayaks?

Modern inflatable tandem kayaks are made with high-quality materials like PVC and Hypalon, making them very durable and resistant to punctures, abrasions, and UV damage. With proper care and maintenance, an inflatable tandem kayak can last for many years.

Are inflatable tandem kayaks stable on the water?

Yes, inflatable tandem kayaks are generally quite stable on the water due to their wide design and multiple air chambers. Many models also use drop-stitch technology, which allows for high-pressure inflation, resulting in a more rigid and stable kayak.

How long does it take to inflate and deflate a tandem inflatable kayak?

Inflating a tandem inflatable kayak typically takes 10 to 15 minutes using a manual pump. If you opt for an electric pump, the inflation time may be shorter. Deflating the kayak usually takes about the same amount of time or less, depending on the model and valve system.

Can I take my dog in an inflatable tandem kayak?

Yes, many inflatable tandem kayaks are suitable for taking a dog along for the ride. When choosing a kayak for this purpose, make sure it's made from durable materials that can handle your dog's claws and teeth. Also, ensure the kayak is wide, stable, and has a high enough load capacity to accommodate both you, your paddling partner, and your furry friend.

What is the weight capacity of an inflatable tandem kayak?

The weight capacity of an inflatable tandem kayak varies depending on the model, but most can support at least 400 pounds. Some higher-end models may have weight capacities of up to 900 pounds or more. Be sure to consider the combined weight of you, your paddling partner, and any gear you plan on bringing when selecting a kayak.

How should I store my inflatable tandem kayak when not in use?

After cleaning and completely deflating your inflatable tandem kayak, fold it up and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid placing heavy objects on top of the kayak to prevent creasing or damaging the material. Proper storage will help extend the lifespan of your inflatable kayak.