Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Kayak fishing is fun and all, but wouldn’t you love it more if you could share your experience with others? Since a lot of people are going to say “yes” to this question, manufacturers have designed tandem fishing kayaks. 

Kayaks that accommodate more than one person are called tandem kayaks. Some tandem kayaks are designed for two people, while some come with an additional middle-centered one to accommodate up to three people.

Since choosing a kayak could be a bit confusing because there are various factors to consider, I have decided to compile a list of the most impressive models on the market, hoping that you find what you are looking for. 

You will also find a short, yet comprehensive buying guide along with some frequently asked questions that are probably roaming the minds of those searching for the best tandem fishing kayak. 

List of the Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks:

  • Elkton Outdoors 12 – Highest Weight Capacity
  • Lifetime 10 – Best Pet-Friendly Fishing Kayak
  • Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Kayak With a Motor
  • Ocean Kayak Malibu – Most Size-Diverse
  • Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – Best for Professionals
  • Intex Explorer K2 – Budget Choice
  • BKC TK219 – Best Storage Options

Comparison Table:

Kayak

Weight Dimensions Type 

Maximum Weight Capacity 

Elkton Outdoors 12 

72 lbs.12 x 36 x 6-in.Sit-on-Top650 lbs.

Lifetime 10

60 lbs.120 x 36 x 19-in.Sit-on-Top500 lbs.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

41 lbs. 30.1 x 11.6 x 19.2-in.Sit-on-Top470 lbs. 

Ocean Kayak Malibu

57 lbs.144 x 34 x 20-in.Sit-on-Top425 lbs. 

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

43.6 lbs.151 x 37 x 18-in.Sit-in 400 lbs.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

35 lbs.123 x 36 x 20-in.Sit-in 400 lbs.

BKC TK219

68 lbs.148 x 32 x 12-in.Sit on top440 lbs.

The 7 Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks in 2020

1. Elkton Outdoors 12 – Highest Weight Capacity 

Elkton Outdoors 12

Elkton Outdoors 12 is one of the best versatile sit-on-top kayaks on the market, given that you can use it in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Plus, its rotomolded injected body prevents it from getting punctured even if it hits rocks.

This 12-foot kayak is optimized for fishing as it features two adjustable rod holders and two large storage areas on each end of the kayak. Besides, you won’t need to leave anything on the shore because it has a designated platform for ice chests. This feature also helps you stay on water longer because you can keep your bait alive in the cooler instead of having to go back and forth to the shore to get a larger supply of bait.

The impressive Elkton Outdoors 12 is designed to accommodate two people. You and your partner will enjoy the comfort of this kayak thanks to its two adjustable EVA padded high-back seats. Besides, it features a dry storage compartment, where you can keep your phone, keys, and things you want to keep dry. 

Moreover, it can also accommodate three people as it has an impressive 650-pound weight capacity. In other words, it could be said that Elkton Outdoors 12 is a family kayak. Even though it is a bit heavier than its fellows, it comes with two carry handles that help you transport it with ease. 

Pros:

  • 650-pound weight capacity 
  • Has a place for a cooler
  • Comes with two carry handles 

Cons:

  • A bit unstable 
  • Seats could be improved 

Bottom Line 

If you are looking for a two-person kayak with the highest possible maximum weight capacity, Elkton Outdoors 12 is the one. Besides, its cooler place, large storage, and two adjustable rod holders render it one of the best tandem fishing kayaks. 

2. Lifetime 10 – Best Pet-Friendly Fishing Kayak 

Lifetime 10

This 10-foot kayak is durable since it’s made from UV-protected linear low-density polyethylene. 

It’s originally designed to fit two people. However, it can accommodate three people since its maximum weight capacity is 500 pounds, provided that you don’t exceed the weight limit. 

The six-inch storage hatch that’s located in the rear of the kayak can hold up a lot of your gear. Besides, you’ll sit comfortably in there, thanks to the two padded backrests and the multiple adjustable footrest positions. This sit-on-top kayak keeps your body away from the water to keep you dry during the trip. 

Are you a fan of fishing free-handed? Lifetime 10 includes three flush-mounted fishing rod holders for this reason. 

I also love that Lifetime 10 is pet-friendly. So, if you want your dog to be your partner, what are you waiting for? 

However, it’s worth mentioning that there are some complaints that the kayak leaks and comes with holes and scratches. 

Pros:

  • 500-pound weight capacity 
  • Durable and stable 
  • Comes with paddles 

Cons:

  • Holes and scratches 
  • Sometimes leaks 

Bottom line 

Lifetime 10 is one of the best tandem fishing kayaks, given its 500-pound maximum weight capacity and durability. Besides, it’s one of the best pet-friendly kayaks. 

3. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Kayak With a Motor

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

This 10-foot kayak is made from 18-gauge PVC, 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover, making it puncture-resistant as well as preventing it from getting damaged by saltwater or harmful UV rays. Moreover, its inflatable nature makes it travel-friendly, easy to store, and carry.  

What’s more, it’s compatible with trolling motors as it’s far from flimsy! You can expand your fishing capabilities with its trolling motor fittings. Besides, you’ll enjoy its silent operation that does not scare fish away. Great for professionals, isn’t it? 

With its 470-pound weight capacity, it easily fits two people and their gear. You’ll sit comfortably in it, thanks to its fully adjustable and thickly padded seats. 

This kayak is also very safe due to its leakproof Airtight System and multiple air chambers that guarantee to get you back to land in case of any leakage.

Besides, the mesh storage pockets keep your gear close by so that you don’t scare the fish with any sudden movement. You can also attach your equipment with ease, thanks to its D-rings. 

Like Lifetime 10 Foot, you can fish hands-free because it has rod holders, so you can place your rods, baits, and lures securely. It also comes with two rods and paddle holders to secure your paddles out of the way. Moreover, its double-threaded Boston valve allows for easy inflation and deflation. 

Pros:

  • Durable 
  • Suitable for professionals 
  • Inflatable 
  • Lightweight
  • Accepts a trolling motor 
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Leakproof 

Cons:

  • Does not come with a pump 

Bottom Line

Sevylor Coleman Colorado is one of the best, if not the best, two-person fishing kayak with a motor for professionals. You’ll enjoy fishing while you’re in it as it has comfortable padded seats and adjustable footrest. It also allows for hands-free fishing, which is such a liberating feeling if you ask me. 

4. Ocean Kayak Malibu – Most Size-Diverse 

Ocean Kayak Malibu

Ocean Kayak Malibu is a two-person kayak that accommodates two adults and a pet or a child, thanks to its large, open cockpit. The center-seated paddler can easily settle in because of the patented overlapping footwells. Given the above, Ocean Kayak Malibu is an excellent family kayak with a 425-pound maximum weight capacity. 

Moreover, it only weighs around 57 pounds, which is light enough to be moved by two people with no hassle.

Besides, its design allows users to get in and out of the kayak easily. As for the seats, it features Comfort Plus seats with four-way adjustability. Plus, they are molded to prevent slipping. 

This one-size-fits-all frame kayak is the most size-diverse. What’s more, it comes with paddle holders and deck bungee to keep your gear within arm’s reach, so that you don’t scare the fish away with any sudden movement. 

Pros:

  • Comfort Plus seats with four-way adjustability
  • One-size-fits-all frame
  • Excellent seating for the center-seated paddler
  • An impressive family kayak 

Cons:

  • Sometimes water gets in

Bottom Line 

If you want to go on a fishing trip with your family, or if you love to take your pet on fishing trips, Ocean Kayak Malibu is one of the best tandem fishing kayaks for this matter. Its comfortable seats and ability to accommodate people of different sizes adds to its excellence. 

5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – Best for Professionals

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

The super tough laminate PVC with polyester core construction of this sit-in inflatable kayak makes it abrasion-resistant as well as prevents it from getting damaged by the sunlight. It’s also rigid and stable because of its I-beam floor and high-pressure inflation. 

Since Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is inflatable, it’s very travel-friendly, easy to transport and store as well as lightweight, especially when compared to the hardshell kayaks.  

Moreover, you’ll be sure that you’re safe, thanks to its integrated drain plug and three air chambers, where the former helps get water out of the kayak if it ever gets in and the latter ensures you reach land safely if one of the chambers got punctured. 

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is one of the best tandem kayaks for professionals, given that its removable and adjustable mounting bracket lets you mount your additional accessories like the GPS, swivel fishing rod, and fish finders. 

The kayak’s two removable skews enable you to use it in deep and shallow water alike. 

This simple kayak is easily inflated and deflated thanks to its high-pressure spring-loaded valves. It’s also very comfortable because it has two adjustable and removable seats, two adjustable footrests, and two adjustable bucket seats. 

You’ll enjoy the kayak’s large storage area in the bow and stern with stainless steel D rings. It also features two integrated recessed fishing rod holders, allowing for a precise placement of rods, baits, and lures. Kayaks featuring rod holders let their users enjoy the free-hands approach while fishing. Besides, the kayak is equipped with a directional skeg to boost its directional stability.

Although this is a budget-friendly kayak, it comes with a carry bag, two paddles, a high-output pump, a repair patch, and a pressure gauge. Furthermore, it accommodates up to 400 pounds, which is impressive. 

Pros:

  • Removable and adjustable seats 
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Large storage space 
  • Excellent for professionals 
  • Accepts additional accessories
  • Durable 

Cons:

  • A tight possibility of air leakage 
  • A bit heavier than you’d like 

Bottom Line 

This affordable tandem kayak is excellent for professionals due to its durability, rigidity, and ability to accept additional accessories like GPS and fishfinder, thanks to its mounting bracket. Besides, the directional skeg that ensures stability and the two-rod holders that allow for the free-hands approach are very appealing. 

6. Intex Explorer K2 – Budget Option

Intex Explorer K2

Made from heavy-duty vinyl, this two-person kayak is puncture-resistant. It’s also very stable and allows for easy inflation and deflation thanks to its inflatable I-beam floor and Boston valves, respectively. 

It’s needless to say that being an inflatable kayak makes traveling with it a piece of cake. Plus, you’ll easily find a place to store it when it’s deflated. 

If you think that being inflatable doesn’t make it as efficient as hardshell kayaks, I’m glad to tell you that this two-person kayak accommodates up to 400 pounds, which is excellent. 

Besides, it’s comfortable to sit in for a long time due to its adjustable seats with a backrest. Moreover, it’s stable due to its removable skeg that allows for directional stability.

Not only that, but it’s also safe because of its three separate air chambers that ensure you stay afloat if one air chamber gets punctured.

Also, if being visible on the water makes you feel safer, I’m happy to tell you that Intex Explorer K2 is yellow-colored for this reason.

However, there have been some complaints claiming that the kayak starts deflating in less than ten minutes and takes about fifteen minutes to inflate, so I advise you to read a lot of reviews before you buy it.  

Pros:

  • Comfortable 
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Easy inflation and deflation 
  • Three separate air chambers 
  • Aluminum oars
  • Air pump included 

Cons:

  • Gets quickly deflated 
  • Inflation takes a lot of time  

Bottom Line  

The stability of Intex Explorer K2 makes it one of the best two-person fishing kayaks. Its comfortable seats and safe nature make it very appealing to a lot of fishing enthusiasts. However, since I have found some complaints regarding air leakage, I advise you to read a handful of them before purchasing the kayak.  

7. BKC TK219 – Best Storage Options

BKC TK219

Made from high-density polyethylene, you needn’t worry about the kayak getting punctured or scratched. Plus, it’s one of the best 12-foot kayaks that accommodates two or three people, provided that the weight brought on-board does not exceed 440 pounds. 

BKC TK219 features a large storage space, including dual watertight storage hatches where you can safely store your mobile, wallet, and anything you want to keep dry. Besides, you will always have your gear within arm’s reach since there’s a storage place in the back and the front. 

This kayak is an excellent tandem fishing kayak as it includes four flush-mounted rod holders and an additional two adjustable rod holders. What’s more, since each person can use two rods at once, you’ll be able to catch more fish with a hands-free approach!  

Besides, you will love its two comfortable padded seats with adjustable straps as they provide you with multiple seating positions. 

Pros:

  • Accommodates three people 
  • Durable 
  • Features waterproof storage 
  • Comfortable adjustable seats 

Cons:

  • Heavy 
  • Not suitable for solo fishing 

Bottom Line 

With four flush-mounted rod holders and additional two adjustable rod holders that allow you to keep your baits in the water while you enjoy paddling, BKC TK219 is one of the best fish-optimized kayaks. Moreover, its ability to accommodate up to three people maximizes the fun. 

What to Look for When Buying a Tandem Fishing Kayak

If you want to bring along company when you’re kayak fishing to liven up the atmosphere, there are a couple of things that you have to consider about your tandem kayak before you make the purchase. Here are the most important aspects:

1. Rigged for Fishing

Fishing kayaks usually come with fishing pole hardware, including fishing pole holders. They can either be flush-mounted or top-mounted. 

The flush-mounted type allows you to rest your rods on the sides of the kayak. While the top-mounted type enables you to have quick access to the lines in the water. 

2. Weight 

Tandem kayaks are heavier than their one-person fellows since they carry two or three people. It’s essential to check if you and your partner(s) will be able to carry the kayak to the place you need or not. This factor gets more critical if you’ll walk to the shore. However, if you’ll drive, it needn’t be such a big issue. 

3. Weight Capacity 

Considering how much you and your partner(s) weigh as well as considering the weight of the gear you’ll have on you before buying a kayak is extremely important. 

It’s essential to mention that you should never get on a kayak without having your kayak fishing personal flotation device (PFD) with you, so you must factor in its weight as well. The PFD is an essential piece of gear that gives the kayakers more buoyancy. 

I know this might sound like a bit of a stretch but you also need to consider the weight of the fish you’ll catch—better safe than sorry, after all.

4. Storage Space  

The storage space in any fishing kayak is definitely essential. You need to buy a tandem kayak that offers a large storage space that does not only provide enough room for your fishing gear but also for the fish you’ll hopefully catch.

Some tandem kayaks have removable seats, which you can remove in case you want to solo paddle. Such a feature offers more storage space as well.  

5. Comfort 

It’s advisable to get a tandem kayak with comfortable seats that are usually adjustable and have backrest support. You may also love having a multi-position footrest, so you can choose the position that’s most comfortable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Weight Can a Two-Person Kayak Hold?

It mostly holds around 500 to 600 pounds. 

Are Tandem Kayaks Safe?

Yes, they are. The broader base of tandem kayaks makes them very stable. Even the entry-level kayakers can use them in rough waters with no worries. 

Can You Use a Two-Person Kayak with One Person?

Yes. You can solo-paddle your two-person kayak and enjoy the added storage space. You can even take your pet on fishing trips with you. 

However, you must note that some tandem kayaks are more suited for solo paddling than others because some models lose their balance when there is only one person on board. 

If you solely paddle the kayak more often than not, I recommend you get one that is adapted for solo use.

Final Thoughts 

Since you have read the article, I believe that you have already found the best tandem fishing kayak. In case you’re still confused, allow me to offer you a quick recap on the above models.

If you need an inflatable kayak since inflatables are usually more travel-friendly and a bit less heavy than their hardshell fellows, you could either go for Intex Explorer K2, Sevylor Coleman Colorado or Intex Excursion Pro Kayak.

Intex Explorer K2 is an excellent two-person kayak for those on a tight budget. Besides, it’s very durable, features a directional skeg, and has three air chambers, so it’s stable and safe. Plus, the kayak accommodates up to 400 pounds, which is pretty impressive. You’ll also find it very easy to inflate and deflate with the included air pump.  

In case you need a fishing kayak with a motor, Sevylor Coleman Colorado is the one. It’s exceptionally durable, leakproof, and comfortable to stay in. Besides, you’ll enjoy hands-free fishing with its rod holders.

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, like Sevylor Coleman Colorado is an excellent inflatable kayak for professionals, given its adjustable mounting bracket that lets you mount your additional accessories like the GPS, swivel fishing rod, and fish finders.

If you need a kayak in which you can take your pet, Lifetime 10 and Ocean Kayak Malibu will serve you well. Besides, Ocean Kayak Malibu is the most size-diverse family kayak with its 425-pound maximum weight capacity.

In case having a kayak with the highest maximum weight capacity possible is your priority, Elkton Outdoors 12 accommodates up to 600 pounds. What’s more, it has a place for a cooler and offers two adjustable EVA padded high-back seats. Besides, the dry storage compartment ensures that your phone and valuables won’t get wet. What’s not to like about it, eh?