Tandem Kayak Paddling

Photo of author

Christina Bishop


a couple of people in a tandem kayak

In this post, we’ll explain what you need to know about Tandem Kayak Paddling!

I am sure they have caught your eye when you are out on the water – two people in the same kayak paddling in tandem! You have probably wondered if that might be a fun idea.

If you are wondering if a tandem kayak paddling is right for you, keep reading because we’ll uncover the pros and cons of owning one of these kayaks.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Don’t choose a tandem kayak because you think it might be less expensive than two kayaks. While it may be more expensive to buy two higher-end recreational kayaks, you will usually come out better financially if you buy two quality recreational kayaks rather than one tandem kayak.

What Is Tandem Kayaking?

Tandem (two-person) kayaks, aka double kayaks, are a type of kayak that will fit two people inside. They are typically anywhere from 18′ to 24′ in length. Both people in the kayak have to coordinate paddling at the same time at all times.

They are often jokingly referred to as “divorce boats.” This is because it is common for the front paddler and the rear paddler to get out of sync as to their destination, direction or paddling stroke.

Paddling in Tandem can be quite confusing at first because both people have to coordinate and anticipate each other’s paddling motion, ideas and agility.

The great news is that once tandem kayakers get more skilled at this coordination, they typically prefer tandem kayaking over kayaking solo!

Next, we will talk about some of the pros and cons of using a tandem kayak.

Tandem Kayaking Pros


Everyone has their own great reasons why they love tandem kayaking, but I will share some of my positive experiences:


When you and your friend or loved one are both in the same boat, you can be sure that the two of you will bond. You can both have conversations and hear each other better than you can in separate kayaks being separated by water.

Great For Beginners

Tandem Kayaking is a great way to get introduced to kayaking. You will have someone else with you in the same boat who can teach you to paddle, how to balance and more!

However, if you have never been kayaking solo or in tandem, check out my blog – Kayaking For Beginners.

Transport And Storage


Although tandem kayaks are longer than solo, recreational kayaks, they are easier to transport and store than two individual recreational kayaks.

Tandem Kayaking Cons

There are some disadvantages to owning a tandem kayak as well. We’ll talk about just a few of them, and then you can decide if tandem kayaking is right for you.

Tandem Kayaks Weigh A Lot

A Good quality tandem kayak can weigh anywhere from 77 to 100 pounds. This means you will always need two people to help load and unload a tandem kayak.

Hard To Find The Right Partner

You may have a close friend or relative that you would like to go out in the kayak with, but just because you get along doesn’t mean things will go well on the water.

We already talked about how tandem kayaks are jokingly referred to as “divorce boats.” If your kayaking partner is not very patient or coordinated, you may have a difficult time getting it out on the water as often as you would like.

If this will be your only kayak, you need to be sure that your partner will have a compatible schedule. You want to be sure they can get out on the water as often as you can.

It may make sense for you to own both a solo kayak and a tandem kayak. You don’t want to be stuck inside the house on a beautiful day because your partner can’t join you on the tandem!


Tandem kayaks are typically more expensive than buying 2 solo recreational kayaks. However, you get a lot of value out of buying the right tandem kayak. One of the big advantages is that they usually come with a rudder making it easier to steer.

Tandem Kayaking Alternative

There are alternatives to tandem kayaking. Of course, you can always buy two separate recreational kayaks. There are also some great kayak-canoe hybrids that allow you to install a removable seat when you need it. These kayak-canoe hybrids are not quite as long or as heavy as a true tandem kayak, and they can be a great way for you to go solo when you want to.


I really think that tandem kayaking is a lot of fun. Stephen and I tried it, and we didn’t kill each other! The best part about tandem kayaking is being able to communicate without having to yell. Well, you might start yelling for other reasons, but you get the point!

If you haven’t tried a tandem kayak, you should go rent one and give it a try! If the two of you think it is something you would like to do often, then maybe you should go buy one. We’ll review some kayaks here soon!

If you have never been kayaking, not even solo, then you should definitely check out my blog – Kayaking For Beginners.

Let me know if you decide to go tandem kayaking.

Happy Paddling!

Photo of author


Christina Bishop, an ardent hiker and kayaker, distills years of outdoor adventures into expert guidance for fellow nature lovers. Her extensive experience is the foundation of trustworthy and professional advice on navigating the great outdoors. Christina’s dedication to the wilderness shines through her insightful tips, inspiring confidence and a deeper appreciation for nature’s wonders.