What is a Tandem Kayak For Beginners Guide Tips and Tricks -2022

What is a tandem kayak

What is a Tandem kayak?

A tandem kayak is a type of kayak that differs in length from 18 to 24 feet depending on the size of your love and preference. Judging by its name, this kayak can’t hold just one-it can hold two!

This means that when using a tandem kayak, you have two men paddling. You also have to keep in mind the movements and ideas of the two people when you go on a tour, so it can be quite difficult to get used to at first.

Many people prefer to own a tandem kayak so they can go out and enjoy the water with someone else. They like to use them with their friends, family, or significant others.

What is a Tandem Kayak? (Definition, History, Types, Features)

Tandem Kayak Definition

A tandem kayak is a type of kayak with two paddlers side by side. It can be paddled by one person, but it is planned for two people to paddle together. They are often used for travel because they are easily transported by water. Tandem kayaks are usually longer and wider and have a lower profile to make paddling more efficient.

A Tandem kayak is also known as a double kayak. These are common in areas where there are lakes, rivers or large slow currents where there is ample space to paddle together.

A double kayak is a great way to paddle with friends and family.

History of  Tandem Kayaks

In the early 1800s, explorers and mountain men made their way across the Colorado River, which was full of rapids. Some of them were suitable to cross using kayaks, but others had to rely on canoes. The best way to get through the rapids was to sit on a tandem kayak with a rope connecting two people.
This type of kayak is considered one of the most iconic boats in America today and has been used throughout history for white water rafting, fishing, commercial transport, military purposes, and so on.

The tandem kayak is the first type of boat to be built. This type of kayak has been around since the Stone Age. The first kayaks were made of bark or wood and were carved and shaped by humans.

Features Needed to Consider a Tandem Kayak

A tandem kayak should be comfortable enough for you to have fun in the water. You should travel long hours without feeling pain or discomfort in your back, buttocks, or legs. It will help if you paddle them with minimal effort without fatigue.

The materials used to make kayaks affect their strength, durability, weight, and performance. Therefore, you should be interested in choosing the pot to make sure that it is useful. The most common materials used in construction are polythene, PVC, vinyl, ABS, composite, and wood. Check to make sure you get the most durable, cheap, and efficient.

Dimensions of kayak

Tandem kayaks are long and slender, which makes them perfect for covering fast and wide distances. They have different designs but are less stable and can be risky to capsize in rough water. Wide and short kayaks are more durable and not easily overturned but are slower and less efficient; So they need more energy to travel through the water. Therefore, the dimensions should be selected according to your needs.

Types of Tandem Kayaks

There are different types of tandem and your choice depends on the purpose for which you want to use them. The following are the main types

  • Recreational Tandem

These kayaks are perfect for short trips in calm and less challenging waters. These are ideal for novice paddlers who do not want to go camping, racing or touring.

  • White Water Kayaks

Boats are perfect for paddlers who want to get into fast-moving rivers or waves. The ships are compact and navigable and also ideal for rough water but not suitable for traveling or camping.

  • Touring Tandem

Turing tandems are suitable for covering huge distances while carrying more equipment. These are more efficient and faster than recreational boats. Boats also track straight, but they are less stable and are more likely to roll easily

  • Folding Kayaks

These kayaks are as efficient as rigid boats, but they are also convenient to carry like inflated boats. These are more expensive than other kayaks and are a perfect choice if you don’t want to compromise on performance. They are also easy to transport and store because you can fold them to the desired shape.

  • Inflatable Kayaks

These kayaks are convenient to transport and store because you can deflate them when you carry them in the water and deflate them after use. You can easily store them in a suitcase or backpack, and they do not require much space. Boats are not as tough or tough boats as tough boats and may not be suitable for challenging water conditions.

Who sits in a tandem kayak in front and who sits in the back?

Not only this, with the advent of inflatable kayaks two-person kayaks have become very successful. Also, single kayaks are great sports equipment. Water sports enthusiasts, who feel most comfortable in the water, can have fun with little canoes.
However, if you want to share the experience with a friend or family, it is better to choose a tandem kayak. Although tandem kayaking is not easy at first, paddling together is a lot of fun.

However, kayaking is a great workout for the whole body and a great opportunity to spend a day in the water. A two-person kayak turns water sports into social knowledge. In the end, it’s best to share your experience with someone else.

It has already been mentioned that tandem kayaking is not easy. But even proper seating positions are often discussed in forums. So who sits in the front tandem kayak?

A tandem kayak should sit on the back of an experienced, heavy, and powerful paddler. The man in the back plays the role of Hellman. For this task, you need to pedal harder. It is desirable that the weight is on the back to handle the features. In addition, experience on the boat is required.

Long and wide double kayaks are more stable in water than single kayaks. It is important for the two paddlers to know who is sitting kayak behind each other and who is sitting in front of the tandem kayak and who is sitting behind.

Why is proper sitting posture important?

Also, kayak newcomers should make sure that a tall or heavy person is sitting behind the kayak. The reason is that the paddler sitting on the back of the kayak on one side is Coxswine (or Coxswain). This means that this person needs to pedal harder.

Also, the boat tilts forward if the weight is not distributed properly. On the one hand, it changes speed because it slows down the kayak. On the other hand, even though the water is a little rough, the tip of the kayak sinks in quick waves.

And over long distances, the worst tracking becomes a problem. If there is too much weight in the front of the kayak, the boat passes by. If you want to go on a kayak tour, you need to pay attention to the right seating position.

The two seat positions

The design of the tandem kayaks means that there are two different seating positions, one resting on the back of the paddler (and this is Coxswain) and the other sitting in the front. The front paddler sets the speed. The person in the back has to adjust to the paddling speed.

The beat generator must find and maintain a rhythm. Especially at the beginning, it is not easy for the paddler sitting in the back to hit at this speed and control the kayak at the same time. Control is by strong and weak pedal strokes. If Coxswain uses a strong paddling stroke on the right, the boat’s nose will also tilt somewhat to the right.
Rear steering is a technical option. Just hold the paddle in the water in the direction you want to turn it or move it in the opposite direction. The nose quickly turns to the desired.

When driving in a straight line, synchronous pedals are very important. Not only do the paddles collide when you lose synchronization, but you also lose a lot of power because the boat always jigsaw a little.

Requirements for the rear paddler

Piloting a kayak is not easy. So the strong person is advised to sit on the back. More power and a better steering angle make paddling and steering more efficient.
Another reason is that the rear paddler should be more experienced. The last end is the power to paddle, but with a better paddling technique, even a supposedly weak peddler can move more efficiently. Experienced paddlers can also respond better to situations they are already familiar with.

Many young parents prefer family kayaks. Kayak for 2+ 1 people is mainly used with children. Adults must sit on the back of the kayak. This way your baby is always visible and you can still navigate efficiently. With large kayaks, children can sit next to each other in the middle of the boat. This ensures good weight distribution. With two adults, however, it is best to keep the baby in the middle.

Young children can also sit on the lap of an adult in calm water. For older children, it is best to buy their own kayak seats. The appropriate kayak life jacket for children should of course not be left out.

Also in white water, a kayaker with experience in the back seat is an advantage. The tandem whitewater kayak can be rolled alone by the coxswain. However, it is recommended that you perform a test run.

First, you need to get used to steering the kayak as the person behind you. On sunny days, even inexperienced kayakers should try to steer the boat. You can only improve through experience.

Other factors for an optimal sitting position

The weight of the paddlers can be a knockout criterion. Kayaks roll best when the weight is distributed evenly. If one paddler weighs heavier than the other, the heavier kayaker should sit in the back. With luggage and provisions, the load can also be distributed a little better.

More weight in the rear is generally better than an additional load in the front of the boat. Only by paddling against strong winds or cross currents is it beneficial to have more weight in the frontcourt.

When Angelkajaks the fisherman should sit at the front of the boat so that he can fully concentrate on the fishing while the other paddler is kayaking. The same is true if a person wishes to take (professional) photos.

Of course, this can also be a matter of special preference.. Maybe a paddler would rather play captain. Another person prefers to be the crew member and wants to sit at the front of the boat.


There are many circumstances that can influence the optimal sitting sequence. In general, however, the rear-seated kayaker should be more experienced, more powerful, and heavier. These three characteristics probably don’t apply to one of you, but the idea should be clear.

If you are kayaking for two people alone, you should mount the seat as centrally as possible on the boat. With fixed kayak seats, the rear bench is more suitable. This gives you the best possible control.

The Pros of Using a Tandem Kayak

There are many causes why you might want to use a tandem kayak and we’ve listed them here. These are certainly not the only reasons, but they are good!

  • Binding Exercises

Since you ride and pedal with another person while using a tandem kayak, going out on one of these kayaks is a great way to get close. In fact, you may find that you really like to go out only if you can be with another person. Learning to work together while hanging out is a great bond experience.

  • Great for Introducing Newcomers

Although the difficulty of paddling with someone else will be specified below, the tandem kayak can be a great way to advance someone new to the world of kayaking! Anyone who still does not feel comfortable in their boat will definitely enjoy being able to walk around with you without being alone.

  • More Packing Space

Many people find that using a tandem kayak when camping is a great choice because they have more space than a single kayak and a clean packing system. This makes it comfortable to use when you are paddling to your campsite.

  • Easy to Store

If you travel frequently for outdoor activities or you have limited storage space, getting a single tandem kayak is better than getting two single kayaks even though it is a bit bigger. Whether it’s a little bigger or not, you only need to save one instead of two, so you’re saving space in the end.

The Cons of Using a Tandem Kayak

While there are many great things about using a tandem kayak, there are also a few negative things you should know before buying one for yourself. Here are some of them

  • Heavyweight

Tandem kayaks are incredibly heavy, and you will need both adults to carry them. Often, they weigh between 75 and 100 pounds unless you buy a low-quality model.

  • The “Divorce Kayak”

There is an old saying that a tandem kayak should be called Divorce Kayak. This is because to use it effectively you really need to learn to work together, and couples who can’t work together can fight more than paddling!

  • Not cheap

Some people believe in getting a tandem kayak because they believe it will be cheaper than buying two separate, single kayaks. This, however, is not always true.
Good quality tandem kayaks usually have radar and that makes it more expensive than buying two single kayaks! So, buy-for-experience is not a price.

  • Less freedom

Another downside to using a tandem kayak is that it is almost impossible to move, move or use it by yourself. This means that if no one else wants to go on the water with you, you can get stuck without going out at all. In some ways, the tandem kayak can limit your freedom.

  • Different Learning Curve

Because you are not alone in controlling the action of a tandem kayak, if you are new to kayaking it is difficult to understand how each of your actions is affecting the boat.
For that reason, it is not the best choice for beginner kayaks. If you are just starting out and want to learn fast, the single kayak can be a good choice.

How to paddle a tandem kayak

Now that we’ve talked about the keys to a tandem kayak and the advantages and disadvantages of using one, you probably have a better idea of ​​whether you want to use this type of equipment. If you’ve decided to try it once, it’s time for you to paddle a tandem kayak!

This type of kayak is a little harder to learn than a single kayak. This is because everything you do has a long reaction time when compared to a single kayak. However, you can still learn a lot while using it.


Author: Thomas A MillerHi, I am Thomas A. Miller... The name of our blog is Kayak Like which means we discuss the correct information and tips about all kinds of people’s favorite kayak, fishing kayak, canoeing, paddling, or boating. Kayaking is one of my favorite hobbies. That’s why I love kayaking. So I’m building a team, and we always add new information to our blog. We have been kayaking for the last 7 years and we own 6 kayaks (one touring, two tandem, and three fishing kayaks) and from different companies, especially Intex. We love kayaking with my kids and dogs and can’t wait to go kayaking if the weather feels perfect. We also have a team that always loves to blog about kayaks.

Thomas A Miller

Hi, I am Thomas A. Miller... The name of our blog is Kayak Like which means we discuss the correct information and tips about all kinds of people’s favorite kayak, fishing kayak, canoeing, paddling, or boating. Kayaking is one of my favorite hobbies. That’s why I love kayaking. So I’m building a team, and we always add new information to our blog. We have been kayaking for the last 7 years and we own 6 kayaks (one touring, two tandem, and three fishing kayaks) and from different companies, especially Intex. We love kayaking with my kids and dogs and can’t wait to go kayaking if the weather feels perfect. We also have a team that always loves to blog about kayaks.

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