So, you and your partner or you and a close friend are thinking of jumping into the world of kayaking together. You probably have dozens of questions and may be confused about what’s needed if this is your first kayaking venture. However, the first thing that may spring to mind is whether tandem kayaks are worthwhile for you.
Tandem kayaks are a great option for those of you that want to get out on the water together to enjoy what nature has to offer. However, they may be restrictive in certain aspects especially if either one of you plans to kayak solo every now and then.
Tandem kayaks have many benefits and sometimes there’s nothing better than paddling in the same vessel with your partner or dear friend. You do need to weigh up the options before investing in such a craft though.
In this article, we will be looking at tandem kayaks, who they are good for, what benefits they have, and what drawbacks they have. By the end of this read, you will know exactly what to expect before purchasing a tandem kayak and will have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Tandem kayaks aren’t for everyone but they are fantastic for a certain group of people. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what kind of people benefit most from a tandem kayak...
Who Benefits Most from a Tandem Kayak
The most obvious answer to this question is, of course, two lovebirds who want to head out on the water exploring together. Other people may also benefit from a tandem kayak as well though.
In this section, we’ll be looking at four types of people that will absolutely benefit from a tandem kayak over a single-person kayak.
1. Tandem Kayaks are Great for Couples
Tandem kayaks are the perfect choice for couples that love to explore. If you and your partner are looking for new ways to spend time on the weekends together and are outdoor-inclined, then a tandem kayak may well be the perfect choice.
A tandem kayak allows you both to get out on the water to explore while working together to get from A to B. This goes both on the water with coordinated paddling, but also on your journey to and from the water. Having one kayak between the two of you makes it far easier and less stressful when loading up, packing down, and taking your kayak to the water’s edge.
A tandem kayak allows you both to split the load evenly and encourages teamwork — a great aspect for those looking to improve the health of their relationship. Being on one vessel while out on the water also brings you closer together and allows you to experience exactly the same thing. This is great for weekend trips, longer tours, or simply an afternoon of paddling down the river.
2. Tandem Kayaks are Perfect for the Social Paddler
If you’re the social type and perhaps already venture out solo on the water, owning a tandem kayak may be enough to encourage some of your friends to hit the water with you. Having a tandem kayak in your armoury gives you the opportunity to bring friends and family out on the water for a journey in nature.
Have you ever sat at home on the weekend with your friend looking for things to do? If you’re anything like me, you probably ended up down the pub without any other better options available. However, with a tandem kayak, you have the ability to skip the pub and head out on the water for a few hours exploring, soaking up the sun, or fishing.
3. Tandem Kayaks are Great for Introducing Your Kids to The Water
Tandem kayaks are the perfect choice for families that want to introduce their children to the world of kayaking at an early age. Taking your kids out on the water in the safety of your own boat is far safer than letting them go solo.
A tandem kayak is usually the first step for keen kids that want to start kayaking. You can teach your child how to paddle and control the kayak properly while being close enough to keep them safe and put in a helping hand. Once they’re confident enough, then, of course, you can look at a junior kayak to home in their skills.
To start with, tandem kayaks are the best way to introduce your children to kayaking. Your kids will love getting out on the water with you and exploring nature under their own steam. Kayaking together is an extremely rewarding experience for both parent and child and it sure beats some other generic weekend activities.
4. Tandem Kayaks are Great for the Solo Paddler That Desirers More Space
Tandem kayaks may be a great option for the solo paddler that occasionally brings their partner or a friend out on the water and also requires some extra space when paddling solo.
If you’re a passionate angler or find yourself wanting to venture further and further for a spot of kayak camping, then a tandem kayak may give you the extra room you need for all that fishing tackle and/or camping gear that you can’t stop buying.
Tandem kayaks are fantastic for the solo paddler that fits the description above. However, there are some drawbacks to using a tandem kayak solo. You definitely need to get used to the longer vessel and it will take more strength to control a boat of this stature. We’ll go more in-depth about using a tandem kayak solo later in the article.
What Difficulties Are Associated With Tandem Kayaks?
So, now you know who tandem kayaks are perfect for, you may be wondering if there are any difficulties associated with them before you jump the gun and order one for you and your partner or friend.
It goes without saying that tandem kayaks don’t come without their difficulties. However, when used in the right conditions by the right kind of people they are no more challenging than a single-person kayak.
In this section, we will outline some of the most common difficulties associated with tandem kayaks, so you can gauge whether a tandem is the right choice for you.
- Synchronising your paddle strokes with a partner can be difficult. You must be well-coordinated when paddling with a partner in a tandem kayak which can be a bit of a challenge. However, with a bit of teamwork when you get the flow it can be extremely rewarding.
- Refining paddling techniques can also take a bit longer as it’s harder to pinpoint how or where one of you is going wrong. Again, once you get your paddling down to a tee it’s extremely rewarding.
- Solo paddling in a tandem kayak is possible but far more challenging. Controlling a tandem kayak on your own is definitely more of a challenge compared to controlling a solo kayak. The range of waters will narrow if you’re only using a tandem kayak on your own as you won’t have the control necessary for more complex waterways.
- Transporting a tandem kayak can be restrictive. Your vehicle may not be long enough to accommodate a tandem kayak and if you are going solo it can be a drag getting it on and off the roof.
- Taking a tandem kayak down to the bank can be exhausting as they are far heavier than single-person yaks. With some teamwork and determination, this shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle though.
- Finding a reliable partner to paddle with may be harder than you think. Unless you’re a passionate couple that loves outdoor activities or a dedicated pair of friends, finding someone to partner up with every weekend may prove difficult.
These difficulties aside, tandem kayaks are a great option if you and your partner are dedicated and enjoy exploring nature. Tandem kayaks are generally more stable compared to single-person kayaks, easier for beginners to master in tandem, and they allow far more space for cargo.
Whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks is entirely down to you to decide, but don’t let minor worries such as refining paddling techniques put you off because with some practice you’ll move faster and more efficiently in a two-person kayak compared to a single-person kayak.
Can You Use a Tandem Kayak Solo?
It is definitely possible to use a tandem kayak solo. However, it isn’t without its challenges. As we’ve mentioned, transporting a tandem kayak can be a drag when loading up and packing down. If you’re on your own it can also be a serious workout getting your vessel to the water’s edge. However, if you’ve got the determination and drive to put in the hard work the tandem will come into its own on the water for the solo paddler that desires more load space.
You also need to factor in maneuverability when using a tandem kayak on your own. Obviously, a tandem kayak isn’t as easy to control on your own compared to a kayak designed for solo use. This will restrict the type of waters that you’re able to navigate. Of course, you won’t be able to hit up your local whitewater rivers in a tandem kayak but a calm stillwater will be absolutely fine.
If you’re looking for a kayak with extra space for fishing on a lake or touring around a large still body of water, then a tandem kayak will do the job. However, if you’re planning on touring long distances down a river with a variety of different sections, then a larger touring kayak suited for one person will be a better option.
Tandem Kayak Vs. Two Single Kayaks: Which is the Better Option?
Whether you choose a tandem kayak or two single kayaks for you and your partner or friend will ultimately depend on your situation. If you plan on only paddling with your partner and not venturing out on your own, then a tandem kayak is the perfect fit. However, if you plan on taking to the water solo quite often, then two solo kayaks may be a better option. This will make transportation and maneuverability much easier and less time-consuming in the long run.
Tandem kayaks are excellent for socialising and experiencing the water in “tandem” but they can be restrictive if you don’t always have a partner to paddle with. The larger nature of the tandem kayak makes them difficult to transport and you’ll need to make sure your vehicle can accommodate a longer and wider vessel.
Solo kayaks are great for people that want to take to the water alone but aren’t such a great option for social or romantic paddles down the river on the weekends. It is usually easier to load up two single kayaks on a roof rack if you’re vehicle is on the smaller side though.
The ultimate question to ask yourselves if you’re a couple or two close friends is whether you want to commit to always paddling together or both want the freedom to paddle alone occasionally. If you’re comfortable keeping the paddling as a joint venture, then go for the tandem. If you both want the freedom to paddle solo, then go for two solo kayaks.