Revisiting the Issue of Tandem Kayaks

by Sherri ~ July 11th, 2017. Filed under: Kayaking Equipment, Kayaks, Uncategorized.

Without a doubt, the most controversial blog post I’ve ever written is the post about “10 Things to Consider When Purchasing A Tandem.” That was over 7 years ago, but the number of comments has been staggering and people still continue to read and comment.  At times, I’ve been misinterpreted and accused of being “anti-tandem”, so I think I need to once again summarize the pros and cons of purchasing a tandem kayak.  For more explanation of these points, you will do well to go and read the original post and all the numerous comments that follow.

Pros

  • Allows two paddlers to combine their paddling strengths.
  • Keeps two paddlers of disparate strength together.
  • Allows one paddler to take a rest (or take photos) while the other paddles.
  • Typically, more stable than solo sea kayaks (but there are exceptions to this).
  • Works well on the water for situations like parent/child, paddlers with physical challenges, or partners who really don’t want to paddle anyway.
  • Can be a good way to introduce a beginner to the sport when paired with an experienced paddler in the boat.
  • Keeps the paddlers closer together for conversation, although the front paddler often has to turn around in order to be heard by the rear paddler.

 

Cons

  • Tandems are heavy to lift and carry.  You can’t break it into two trips like you can with two solo boats. 
  • Harder to sell than solo kayaks.
  • Harder to rescue after a capsize as the boat can be quite heavy in the water.
  • Limits the opportunities to paddle if your partner doesn’t want to go out paddling with you.
  • Makes it harder to develop certain kayaking skills like edging, bracing, and rolling, among others.
  • Not necessarily cheaper than buying two kayaks, although it can be in certain cases.
  • A rudder is highly recommended for a tandem which will add cost over solo kayaks without rudders.
  • For camping – two solo touring kayaks will generally have more storage space than one tandem, although the tandem may have larger hatch openings to accommodate larger individual items of gear.

 

Happy Paddling!

Sherri

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: