Best Tandem Fishing Kayak in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide


Though it might not be that obvious at first glance, fishing is a social activity. Remember all the times you bragged about a massive catch, and your friends didn’t necessarily buy your story. Having a fishing buddy on your adventures can prove to be beneficial in those situations.

Moreover, it would be safer to go with a partner in case something goes sideways, and you need help. You can also develop new fishing techniques by learning from another angler.

Tandem fishing kayaks make it possible to share the thrills of a fishing trip with a friend. However, there are many options on the market, which makes choosing the right kayak a little bit tricky.

We got you covered with our comprehensive guide that considers the needs of different anglers. You will notice that the list has a wide variety of tandem kayaks, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Without any further ado, let’s dive into the reviews, and by the end of reading this article, you will know exactly which tandem kayak makes the most sense to your fishing setup.

Comparison Table:

Product NameTypeLengthWidthKayak WeightCapacity
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Inflatable-Sit-Inside10 feet39 in.41 lbs.470 lbs.
BKC TK122 TandemHardshell -Sit-on-Top12.9 feet34.2 in.77 lbs.770 lbs.
Old Town Twin HeronHardshell-Sit-Inside13 feet 5 in.31.5 in.60 lbs.500 lbs.
BKC PK14 Tandem Hardshell-Sit-on-Top14 feet33.6 in.99 lbs.660 lbs.
BIC Yakkair Fishing 2HP Inflatable-Sit-Inside13.5 feet37.8 in.33 lbs.550 lbs.
Elkton Outdoors 12-FootHardshell-Sit-on-Top12.2 feet36 in.72 lbs.650 lbs.

The 6 Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks

1. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Overall

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

For the uninitiated, inflatable kayaks might sound like a less durable option than their hardshell counterparts. This is far from the truth, as Sevylor delivers a rugged, inflatable kayak that can take a lot of beating.

The main body is made of high-quality 18-gauge PVC together with a 1000 denier tarpaulin bottom. The material choice serves to create a puncture-proof body and an exceptionally durable bottom that can withstand sharp surfaces like rocks and the stems of water vegetations.

When inflated, the kayak provides enough room for two anglers and their equipment with a maximum weight capacity of 470 pounds. It’s compact enough when deflated to fit in a handheld storage bag, so you don’t have to worry about transporting it to and from the lake.

Sevylor integrated many safety features to the core of the design. The kayak has multiple air chambers that ensure it floats even if one is punctured. It also implements an airtight system for a leakage-proof body.

Coleman Colorado Kayak gives you options for how to navigate the water. It comes with paddles equipped with holders to keep them conveniently in place. It also supports mounting trolling motors that can transform how you traverse water pools. 

When it comes to storage, the kayak has room for a cooler box at the rear in addition to multiple mesh storage pockets to keep your gear accessible and organized. You can find D-rings as well that offer another way to securely attach your equipment.

The kayak comes with some bells and whistles for added value. It implements adjustable Berkley rod holders that enable you to enjoy a hands-free fishing experience.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact 
  • Leak-proof, durable construction
  • Multiple air compartments for extra safety
  • Adjustable rod holders

Cons:

  • The pump is sold separately

Bottom Line

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak strikes the right balance between portability with its inflatable design and durability with its puncture-proof materials. It gives you a lot of ways to personalize your kayak experience with its rod holders, mesh storage hatches, and the option to mount a trolling motor.

2. BKC TK122 Tandem – Most Storage Capacity

 BKC TK122

Brooklyn Kayak Company crafted a tandem option that offers great stability thanks to its wide, flat bottom. It remains balanced even in the harshest waters and while supporting an exceptional maximum carrying weight of 770 pounds.

Not many kayaks on the market come even close to the generous storage options BKC TK122 delivers. Each seat comes with its secure, water-sealed hatch that is easily accessible and serves as a perfect vault for all your valuables to keep them away from water damage.

Moreover, the kayak has a rear cargo area that can easily fit your equipment box or cooler. For extra security, bungee cords can be used to keep everything in place. That’s not all, the kayak has a forward recess area that can be fitted with a mesh cover. As you can see, BKC went all in to allow you to have all your gear on the water without the need to compromise.

If you’re one of the anglers who spend a lot of time on the water, you’d appreciate how much care was put in designing the kayak’s ergonomic seats. They also come with padded, memory foam backrests that are fully adjustable for unmatched comfort.

Though the kayak is definitely heavier than other inflatable entries on our list, BKC made sure it can still be portable. The bow has a built-in rotomolded handle while the rear comes with a flexible grip, which allows two anglers to easily carry the kayak.

BKC didn’t stop at just nailing all the basics, as they took their kayaking experience one step further. The tandem kayak comes with four built-in rod holders. Though they are not articulated as those found in Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak, they still get the job done.

Pros:

  • Premium, comfortable seats
  • Large storage area
  • Four built-in rod holders
  • Grips for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Heavy form factor

Bottom Line

If your kayak’s carrying capacity is always getting in your way, you’re in luck as BKC TK122 Tandem Fishing Kayak offers endless storage options, so you won’t run out of space no matter how hard you try.

3. Old Town Twin Heron – Tandem Kayak Suitable for Solo Use

Old Town Twin Heron

Old Town is probably one of the oldest players in the kayak manufacturing space. They delivered a curated experience with their Twin Heron Angler Kayak that allows a seamless transition between tandem and solo setup.

The kayak features an innovative Auto Trim hull that prevents the bow from popping up when you’re alone on the water. The front seat is also removable, so you get extra storage area when you’re venturing on your own.

In terms of comfort, the kayak comes with two Comfort Flex seats that are adjustable to your liking and have padded backrest for all-day comfort. The kayak also implements a Glide Track foot brace that gives you extra control when navigating through rough waters.

Moreover, the kayak has a maximum carrying capacity of 500 pounds, which is more than enough for most people. However, you can’t always make the most of it as the storage area becomes very limited when you have another angler with you on the water.

Old town managed to combine its heritage with today’s modern standards, delivering an old-school tandem kayak that gives you the versatility you’d expect from the newer models.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Removable front seat
  • Auto Trim hull for maximum stability

Cons:

  • Limited storage for two anglers

Bottom Line

Not all tandem kayaks retain their stability when you’re solo in the cockpit, but this is not the case here. Old Town Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak offers a familiar design packing tons of technology underneath that makes it as stable when you’re alone or with a partner.

4. BKC PK14 Tandem – Pedal Drive

BKC PK14

Tandem kayaks can be a little bit tricky to maneuver as they require coordination with your partner. This is especially tricky if the kayak depends on paddles to propel it forward. BKC earned their second entry on our list with their foot-powered solution that simplifies traversal.

BKC PK14 features a dual pedal drive system with rudder-assisted steering. The rudder system allows you to navigate through the narrow nooks and crannies, in addition to keeping a stealthy profile while you’re after a catch.

BKC also decided to support trolling motors, giving you the freedom to navigate your kayak in your own way.

In terms of design, the kayak has a sleek, slim body shape with a deep, grooved hull bottom that serves to deliver excellent tracking as the kayak keeps a straight course until you stir it.

The list of features keeps going on with two adjustable, aluminum seats, three water-sealed hatches, and three flush-mounted rod holders.

The only downside that comes with the implementation of all those systems and features is the kayak’s heavy footprint. At 99 pounds and 14 feet long, the kayak can be challenging to move around. We recommend investing in a trailer, especially if you plan to go fishing with the kayak more often.

Pros:

  • Implements a pedal drive system
  • Rudder-assisted steering
  • Option for mounting trolling motors

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

BKC PK14 Tandem Kayak delivers a feature-packed pedal-powered option that is simple enough for you and your fishing buddy to master. A rudder-operated steering system finds the right home to complement the kayak’s ease of traversal.

5. BIC Yakkair Fishing 2HP – Most Lightweight

BIC Yakkair Fishing 2HP

Another inflatable kayak finds a spot on our list. If you’re looking for the lightest tandem fishing kayak, nothing competes with BIC Yakkair’s 33 pounds total weight. This makes it by far the most portable entry on our list.

When inflated, you get around a 13 feet long body. Though it’s among the bigger options on the market, it just takes a few minutes to get it fully inflated and ready to go. The inflatable kayak features a high-pressure floor that gives you a similar feeling and performance to its traditional counterparts.

Moreover, the stern and bow of the kayak come with bungee cords that allow you to store smaller equipment that you don’t mind getting wet.

In terms of comfort, the padded backrests give you an all-day-long journey without backaches by the end of it. It comes with sewn-in rod holders for ease of access. 

When your fishing trip comes to an end, you don’t have to wait for too long before hitting the road and heading back home. The kayak can be easily deflated in a matter of minutes. It also comes with a compact carry bag where you can store it.

You’d realize how BIC is serious about the portability of their kayak when you see that the carry bag comes with wheels, which makes it super easy to move around.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and super-portable
  • Backrests with sewn-in rod holders
  • An included carry bag that comes with wheels

Cons:

  • The storage compartments are liable to get wet

Bottom Line

Portability can be the kayak’s selling point to some folk, especially those who go fishing more often. If you want a lightweight tandem kayak that you can carry along with no hassle, look no further than BIC Yakkair Fishing-2HP Inflatable Kayak.

6. Elkton Outdoors 12-Foot – Most Durable

Elkton Outdoors 12-Foot

Elkton Outdoors kayak is a true beast in terms of build quality. The kayak is built to last with its rotomolded injected body that withstands a lot of beating. This will be your perfect companion in rough waters whether you venture through lakes, rivers, or even the ocean.

As with other entries on our list, carry handles are becoming a standard for the ease of transportation. The kayak itself is about 12 feet long, which can fit at the back of your trunk or trailer without any issues.

The kayak doesn’t disappoint in terms of storage. It comes with an airtight hatch, dedicated well for an icebox, and extra storage areas at both its ends.

Moreover, it’s bundled with all the accessories you need to get started, so you don’t have to worry about any hidden extra cost before hitting the water. There are two comfortable, adjustable seats, bungee cords, rod holders, and two paddles waiting for you in the box.

Another additional feature that once you have, you can’t let go is a cup holder. Now, you can enjoy your favorite beverages on the water while waiting for your next catch.

Pros:

  • Rotomolded injected body with exceptional durability
  • Bundled with all its accessories free of charge
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Airtight hatch

Cons:

  • Seats’ quality could’ve been improved

Bottom Line

A kayak that puts durability front and center can be just what you’re looking for, especially if you find yourself more often in harsh waters with a lot of sharp surfaces and pointy rocks. Elkton Outdoors 12 Foot Kayak has an exceptional build quality that is meant to last you years to come.

How to Choose a Tandem Fishing Kayak

Weight

A general fact that is true in most of the tandem fishing kayaks is that they tend to be heavy, especially the hard shell ones. This might not be a big issue for you if you have a trailer at your disposal to help you transport the kayak.

If not, the weight might be an issue, especially if your favorite fishing lake is far away from your house. In this case, we recommend you get one of the inflatable kayaks; those are more manageable and will significantly boost their portability.

Length

In the quest to cut the tandem kayak’s weight, you might think that opting for a shorter one can be a good idea. In most cases, it’s not! 

The kayak’s length affects its stability, and shorter ones don’t do the best job in maintaining balance. Moreover, you’d be paddling around with a partner most of the time, that’s why you’re looking for a tandem kayak in the first place. The kayak can get crammed easily in this case.

Type of Kayak

There are two main styles of kayak: sit-on-top and sit inside kayaks. The obvious distinction is how elevated the seats are.

Sit-on-top kayaks are the popular option among anglers, as they offer a high vantage point for better visibility of the water around you before planning your next move. The elevated seats prove to be useful for anglers who prefer fishing while standing as they can get up easier.

Moreover, they are generally more stable, less liable to flooding thanks to their self-bailing design, which makes them virtually unsinkable. The only downside is that you will almost certainly get wet, which shouldn’t be a big deal, especially in summer.

Sit-inside kayaks are the complete opposite. They offer a lower vantage point, which is not ideal for scouting the water around you. As you will be sitting inside the cockpit, there is less room available for storage, so you might need to cut down some of your fishing equipment.

Nevertheless, sit-inside kayaks will keep you dry and warm in cold weather thanks to their sealed body. They are also safer to maneuver in wild waters. The cherry on top is the price, as they are generally more affordable than their sit-on-top counterparts.

Additional Features

Manufacturers tend to add some quality-of-life features to their kayak to add value and make your fishing trips more convenient. Among those features is the addition of dedicated rails where you can mount your different fishing accessories like fishfinders and GPS devices.

Kayaks can also support motor attachment to change how you navigate the water. Rod holders are another welcome addition that allows anglers to have multiple lines in the water all at once, increasing the chances of getting more bites.

Before finalizing your purchase decision, you have to weigh features against cost and see whether the added functionality is beneficial to you right now or in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Use a Tandem Kayak Without a Partner?

The short answer is yes. You can benefit from larger storage areas when you’re solo and have extra space for yourself, which makes it more comfortable.

Some kayaks do a better job in maintaining their stability when navigated by a solo paddler, like Old Town Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak. Those have specialized hull designs preventing the kayak from rising up out of the water and losing balance.

Are Tandem Kayaks Safe?

Yes! They are arguably safer than many of the solo kayaks on the market as they have a flat, broad base. Even less experienced paddlers can easily handle themselves in rough waters.

Are Tandem Kayaks Less Portable?

Some anglers believe that as tandem kayaks are designed to have room for two or more anglers, they are heavier, and therefore, less portable. This is not necessarily the case, as you can find inflatable models that retain a very light form factor when deflated.

Some even come with carrying bags that have wheels like BIC Yakkair Fishing-2HP Inflatable Kayak, which makes it even easier to move them around.

The hardshell options can favor portability as well, thanks to the choice of lightweight, yet durable materials. Moreover, they have built-in handles that allow anglers to easily transport them to and from their trailers.

Final Words

The market has no shortage of options when it comes to tandem kayaks. Some implement pedal drive systems, others allow you to mount a trolling motor, and finally, you can still find the traditional ones that come with a pair of paddles.

No matter how much gear you want to carry on the water, you can find a kayak with just the right storage capacity and weight limit. Additional features like rod holders and rotor-reeling systems are the icing on top.

If you’re still hesitant and don’t know which one is right for you, we recommend going with Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Fishing Kayak for its rugged design, inflatable, portable form factor, and nailing of all the basics that make a great tandem kayak. Most of the people will be happy with the value they get here.

Categories Kayaks