10 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Tandem Kayak

Tandem Kayaksby SherriKayaks, LLC ~ June 10th, 2010

Are you thinking about getting a tandem kayak?  I would caution you to consider this option very carefully if this is going to be your first kayak.  While tandems do have their place, in most cases I don’t think that they are the best option when you are first getting into the sport.  Here are some important points to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Tandems are heavy, usually anywhere from 75-100 pounds.  Even with two adults, lifting and carrying this much weight, especially if you have to lift it on top of a vehicle, can be a significant obstacle to using the kayak.  It is much easier for two people to make two trips carrying two 45-60 pound solo kayaks than to make one trip carrying a heavy tandem.   If you are buying a recreational tandem with the idea that you can use it as a solo kayak as well as a tandem, keep in mind that you will have to lift and carry all that weight by yourself.  Even if you spend the money to get a fiberglass or kevlar kayak, you most likely will not see much, if any, weight savings.  Manufacturers can only make plastic tandems up to about 18 feet long.  Many of the composite tandems are 19-23 feet long.  Whatever weight savings you may reap from the lighter material is lost because of the added length of the composite boats.

2. Avoid buying a shorter tandem to reduce the weight.  Shorter tandems are less stable than longer tandems.  The shorter a kayak is, the less water it will displace, and in most cases the less stable it will be with two adults in it, especially if they are heavier than average adults.  Shorter tandems also create more problems because the two paddlers are sitting closer together and may end up hitting each other’s paddles if they do not keep their strokes in sync.  Shorter tandems are also less useful if you want to go camping with your kayak.  The short tandems have much less storage space when compared with two solo kayaks. Although it may be easier to store some bulkier items in a tandem because it is usually wider than a solo, the total cubic capacity is much less than two sea kayaks.

3. Would you be willing to consider getting a trailer to transport your  kayak instead of cartopping?  If you have a taller vehicle, it may not  be feasible for you and your partner to lift the kayak up onto the roof  of your car or SUV.  Even compact cars can be used to pull a small kayak  trailer, but it is more expensive to get a tow hitch mounted on your  vehicle and buy the trailer than it is to simply put a rack on the roof  of your vehicle.  (Don’t get me wrong, though, despite the expense a trailer is a great way to carry kayaks whether you end up with a tandem or singles).

For items 4 thru 10, view the original article and comments at SherriKayaks.com

Posted By: Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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