Two Person Sit On Top Kayaks

Two Person Sit On Top KayaksTandem kayaks, also known as two person sit on top kayaks, are a popular choice for paddlers who want to enjoy the water with a partner or friend.

They offer safety, stability, and are a more cost-effective option than purchasing two single kayaks. Tandem kayaks are designed with a larger width for added stability and can accommodate paddlers of different fitness and experience levels. They are generally designed as touring kayaks with ample storage space. Tandem kayaks are ideal for longer trips, where stability and gear capacity are important, as well as for recreational outings with family and friends.

Advantages of Tandem Kayaking

Tandem kayaking offers several advantages for paddlers who want to enjoy the water with a partner or friend. Whether you are embarking on a recreational outing or a longer expedition, tandem kayaking provides a range of benefits that enhance the overall experience.

One of the main advantages of tandem kayaking is the opportunity to share the paddling experience with a companion. It creates a more social and enjoyable activity, allowing you to bond and communicate while exploring beautiful waterways. Sharing the adventure with someone else can also enhance safety, as you can look out for each other and assist in case of emergencies.

Another advantage of tandem kayaking is the increased power and speed you can achieve. With two paddlers in one boat, you have the ability to generate greater momentum and cover more distance efficiently. This makes tandem kayaking particularly suitable for longer trips or even racing, where speed is a priority.

Advantages of Tandem Kayaking
Enhanced social experience
Increased power and speed
Flexibility and convenience
Perfect for beginners

Tandem kayaking also offers flexibility and convenience. If one paddler needs a break, the other can continue paddling, allowing you to take turns and rest without stopping the journey. This adds convenience and ensures that you can paddle for longer durations without exhausting yourself.

Additionally, tandem kayaking is an excellent way to introduce beginners to the sport. The stability of tandem kayaks provides a sense of security for novices, and they can learn from a more experienced paddler sitting beside them. This allows beginners to build their confidence and skills while enjoying the thrill of kayaking.

Features to Look for in a Tandem Kayak

When choosing a tandem kayak, it is important to consider several key features that will enhance your paddling experience. These features depend on the intended use of the kayak and the types of water you will be exploring. Here are some essential factors to look for:

1. Stability and Design

  • Opt for a tandem kayak with a wider hull design, as it offers greater stability and balance on the water.
  • Consider the shape of the hull – a flat-bottomed hull provides better initial stability, while a V-shaped hull offers better performance and speed.
  • Look for kayak models with a sit-on-top design, which ensures easy entry and exit and allows for a more enjoyable and comfortable paddling experience.

2. Storage Capacity

  • If you plan on embarking on longer expeditions or overnight trips, choose a tandem kayak with ample storage space. Look for features like watertight hatches or bungee cords to secure your gear.
  • Consider the placement and accessibility of the storage areas. Some kayaks offer front and rear hatches, while others provide deck bungee cords or mesh pockets for quick access to essential items.

3. Weight and Portability

4. Seating and Comfort

  • Look for adjustable seats that provide good support and comfort during long hours of paddling.
  • Consider kayaks with padded seats and adjustable footrests to accommodate paddlers of different heights and leg lengths.
  • Ergonomic features like padded backrests and molded footwells can greatly enhance your overall comfort while on the water.

By considering these key features, you can choose a tandem kayak that meets your specific needs and preferences. Remember to always prioritize safety and adhere to local boating regulations for a smooth and enjoyable paddling experience.

Paddling Solo in a Tandem Kayak

While tandem kayaks are designed for two paddlers, it is possible to paddle solo in a tandem kayak. This can be useful if you want to go out on the water alone or if your paddling partner needs to take a break. However, it’s important to note that paddling solo in a tandem kayak can affect the weight distribution and potentially impact the kayak’s performance.

If you decide to paddle solo in a tandem kayak, it is generally recommended to sit in the rear seat. This helps to maintain better balance and control, especially if the kayak has a rudder or steering mechanism located in the rear. By sitting in the back, you can better navigate the kayak and adjust its direction as needed.

It’s important to be aware of the kayak’s handling characteristics when paddling solo. The weight distribution may be different compared to when paddling with a partner, and this can impact the kayak’s stability and maneuverability. Take some time to get used to how the kayak responds to your movements and make any necessary adjustments to your paddling technique.

Pros and Cons of Solo Paddling in a Tandem Kayak

There are both pros and cons to solo paddling in a tandem kayak. On the plus side, you have the freedom and flexibility to go out on the water whenever you want, without having to rely on a paddling partner. It can also be a great opportunity to practice and improve your paddling skills, as you have full control over the kayak’s movements.

However, there are some potential downsides to consider. Paddling solo in a tandem kayak may require more effort, as you’ll be providing all the power and maneuvering the kayak on your own. It may also affect the kayak’s stability, especially if you’re not evenly distributing your weight or if the kayak is not designed to be paddled solo. Additionally, if you’re planning a longer trip, solo paddling in a tandem kayak may limit the amount of gear you can bring along.

Pros of Solo Paddling in a Tandem Kayak Cons of Solo Paddling in a Tandem Kayak
Freedom and flexibility Requires more effort
Opportunity to improve paddling skills May affect kayak’s stability

Where Should the Heavier Person Sit in a Tandem Kayak?

When paddling in a tandem kayak, the positioning of the paddlers can greatly impact the performance and balance of the kayak. One important consideration is the weight distribution, particularly when one paddler is significantly heavier than the other. In general, it is recommended for the heavier person to sit in the back of the kayak to maintain proper balance and prevent the kayak from nose-diving into the water.

By having the heavier paddler in the back, the weight is distributed more evenly and helps to keep the front of the kayak lifted. This ensures better maneuverability and prevents the front paddler from being submerged in the water. However, it is worth noting that the positioning may also depend on the location of the steering mechanism, such as a rudder. If the kayak has a rudder controlled by the rear paddler, it may be more beneficial for the more experienced paddler to be in the back.

Communication and coordination between the paddlers are essential when determining the seating arrangement in a tandem kayak. It is important to discuss and agree on the best positioning based on each paddler’s experience, weight, and preference. Additionally, the distribution of gear and equipment can also help to adjust the weight balance in the kayak. For example, if the more experienced paddler is lighter, heavier items can be placed in the rear hatch to counterbalance the weight.

Seating Arrangements in Tandem Kayak

While there is a general recommendation for the heavier paddler to sit in the back, it is important to consider individual preferences and abilities. Some paddlers may find it more comfortable or effective to switch positions, especially if they have specific tasks or responsibilities during the paddling trip. Experimenting with different seating arrangements and finding what works best for both paddlers can lead to a more enjoyable and efficient kayaking experience.

Paddler 1 Paddler 2
In the front In the back
In the back In the front
Switch positions halfway Switch positions halfway

Remember that communication is key when determining the seating arrangements in a tandem kayak. Openly discuss your preferences, comfort levels, and any specific needs or tasks during the paddling trip. By working together, you can find the best seating arrangement that ensures balance, stability, and an enjoyable experience on the water.

Best Techniques for Paddling a Tandem Kayak

When it comes to paddling a tandem kayak, coordination and synchronization between the two paddlers are essential for a smooth and enjoyable experience on the water. Here are some techniques to help you get the most out of your tandem kayaking adventure:

1. Communication and Coordination

Effective communication is key to successful tandem paddling. Establish clear signals and verbal cues with your paddling partner to coordinate your strokes and maneuvers. It’s important to communicate your intentions, such as changes in direction or stopping, to ensure both paddlers are on the same page.

2. Seat Placement

The rear paddler in a tandem kayak typically provides consistent power, while the front paddler sets the pace. The rear paddler should mirror the rhythm and pace of the front paddler to maintain balance and efficiency. Remember to adjust your seating position to find the optimal balance and ensure proper weight distribution in the kayak.

3. Paddle Stroke Technique

Both paddlers should use the same paddling technique to maximize efficiency. The most common stroke for tandem kayaking is the forward stroke, where the blade enters the water near the feet and exits near the hips. Avoid twisting your torso and focus on using your core muscles for power. Practice proper form and technique to minimize fatigue and maximize your paddling efficiency.

Technique Description
Forward Stroke A powerful stroke used for forward propulsion. Enter the blade near the feet and exit near the hips.
Sweep Stroke Used for turning the kayak, the sweep stroke involves a wide, sweeping motion with the blade starting near the bow and ending near the stern.
Draw Stroke Used for maneuvering the kayak sideways, the draw stroke involves pulling the blade towards the kayak’s side while keeping it parallel to the water’s surface.
J Stroke A combination of the forward stroke and a slight sweep, the J stroke helps maintain a straight line by correcting the kayak’s natural tendency to turn.

Remember to practice these techniques together with your paddling partner to develop a synchronized rhythm and make your tandem paddling experience enjoyable and efficient.

Transporting and Storing a Tandem Kayak

Transporting and storing a tandem kayak requires careful consideration to ensure the safety of the kayak and ease of transportation. Whether you’re heading out on a paddling adventure or storing the kayak during the off-season, following proper practices will help maintain the kayak’s condition and prolong its lifespan.


When transporting a tandem kayak, it’s important to secure it properly to your vehicle to prevent any accidents or damage. Begin by using bow and stern tie downs to secure the kayak to the roof racks. These tie downs will help keep the kayak in place and prevent it from shifting during transportation. It’s also advisable to use kayak saddles or J-hooks to cradle the kayak and provide extra stability.

If your vehicle doesn’t have roof racks, you can consider using a kayak trailer for transportation. A kayak trailer is designed specifically to transport kayaks and can make the process much easier. Make sure to secure the kayak properly to the trailer using straps or bungee cords to prevent any movement or damage during transit.


When it comes to storing a tandem kayak, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, find a location that is dry and protected from the elements. Direct exposure to sunlight and moisture can damage the kayak over time. If possible, store the kayak indoors, such as in a garage or shed. If indoor storage is not available, consider covering the kayak with a tarp or kayak cover to provide protection against UV rays and rain.

Due to its length, storing a tandem kayak can be challenging. One option is to use a free-standing storage rack specifically designed for kayaks. These racks provide support for the kayak and keep it off the ground, reducing the risk of damage. Another option is to store the kayak under a house or in a local paddling or sailing club that offers kayak storage facilities. These options provide a secure and convenient solution for long-term storage.

Table: Comparison of Transportation and Storage Options

Transportation Options Pros Cons
Roof Racks – Secure and stable transport
– No additional storage space required
– Can be challenging to load and unload
– Height restrictions for parking
Kayak Trailers – Easy to load and unload
– Can transport multiple kayaks
– Requires additional equipment and storage space
– Limited maneuverability
Free-standing Storage Racks – Provides support and prevents damage
– Easy access to the kayak
– Requires additional space
– May not be suitable for outdoor storage
Paddling or Sailing Clubs – Secure storage facilities
– Convenient access to water
– Membership fees may apply
– Limited availability

Choose the transportation and storage option that best fits your needs and available resources. Always ensure that the kayak is properly secured and protected to prevent any damage during transportation or storage. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your tandem kayak for years to come.


In conclusion, tandem kayaking is a popular choice for paddlers who want to enjoy the water with a partner or friend. It offers numerous advantages, including social interaction, increased power for faster travel, and the opportunity to introduce beginners to the sport. When choosing a tandem kayak, it is important to consider the intended use, features, and transportation options to ensure a satisfying experience.

Proper seating and communication between paddlers are essential for maintaining balance and coordination in the kayak. The heavier person should generally sit in the back to maintain stability, but adjustments can be made depending on the location of the steering mechanism. Effective paddling techniques, such as mirroring the pace and paddle blade avoidance, contribute to a smooth and efficient tandem kayaking experience.

Transporting and storing a tandem kayak can present some challenges due to its weight and length. However, using tie downs and kayak carts for transportation, and exploring free-standing storage options or local paddling clubs for storage, can make these tasks more manageable. Remember to prioritize safety and comply with boating regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Richard Dodds

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