The Best Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak (2018)

Great moments can be shared on tandem kayaks. We will review the best sit-on-top tandem kayaks on the market.

Sit-on-top tandems come in different designs and features. Many have a spacious deck design for paddlers to sit comfortably on. We look at both recreational, inflatable, and angler fishing kayaks. Here are two of the best recommendation kayaks for tandem paddlers.

Reviews of the Best Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak

Our Top Pick: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T

Sale
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T | 12 Foot Tandem Kayak | 2 Person, Sit On Top Kayak w/ 2 Paddles and 2 Deluxe Seats
  • KEY FEATURES | 2-person sit on top fishing kayak - 12ft 72lbs 2-person kayak - perfect for fishing, travel, or family recreation - 500 pound weight capacity
  • MOUNT FOR ACCESORIES | 2 flush mount rod holders with caps and 4 Mounting points for Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza mount rod holders
  • MULTIPLE STORAGE OPTIONS | Two sealed hatches with built in cup holders for safe housing of smaller items and rear cargo area with bungee tie-down straps for larger gear

The Skipjack 120T is a spacious fishing kayak. Its hull design offers an easy tracking experience on many bodies of water. You can use it for many bodies of water, including lakes, channels, bays, rivers, and the sea. It floats high, is stable, and can maneuver easily. The Skipjack would work great as a recreational and touring kayak, too. In calm waters, kayakers closer to the center can stand with some ease.

Here is what the Skipjack 120T has to offer:

  • It can fit 3 people with 3 seats
  • The kayak weighs 72 pounds
  • It can support a maximum weight of 500 pounds
  • There are 2 flush mount rod holders
  • 4 mounting points are available for Scotty, RAM, or other brand mount rod holders
  • There are multiple storage options available
    • Two sealed dry hatches
    • A small built-in cup holder for housing smaller items
    • A rear cargo area with bungee straps for larger equipment
    • Two paddle parks along the side to hold paddles
  • 4 carrying handles for easy transporting on and off the water

Inflatable Choice: Intex Explorer K2

Sale
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • COMFORTABLE FOR ANYONE: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest;Cockpit designed for comfort and space
  • DIMENSIONS: Kayak measures 20 x 36 x 123 inches.Maximum weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • DIRECTIONAL STABILITY: Removable skeg for directional stability

The Explorer K2 is an inflatable banana-looking kayak that can seat two people. It comes with two paddles and two inflatable adjustable seats with backrest support. The seats are raised from the deck and the water in the bottom of the boat, making this kayak one of the better choices to stay as dry as possible while still enjoying the water.

Here is what the Explorer K2 has to offer:

  • Heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl material for durability
  • Self-bailing design
  • Two adjustable inflatable seats with backrest, removable and attached to the deck by velcro strips
  • Maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds (180 kilograms)
  • Two 86-inch aluminum oars
  • Removable skeg
  • Grab line on both ends of the kayak
  • One repair kit
  • One manual air pump

How We Picked

  • Stability for two. We want to look for a kayak that can withstand the wobbliness of two individuals on the deck. Standing is not a necessity but is a nice plus. The kayak should be able to remain upright despite mild waves.
  • Tracking and maneuverability. Tracking is the ability of a kayak to stay on course. Depending on the hull (bottom) design, a kayak may be more or less sensitive to being pushed off course by water movement. Most tandems have a well-designed hull for longer tracking experiences. We find multi-chine hulls are popular and great for stability. This hull design does sacrifice a bit of maneuverability. Maneuverability is how well a kayak can efficiently and quickly turn. It is expected that longer kayaks, such as tandems that are usually 12-feet and greater, will have a greater degree of difficulty to turn.
  • Storage space. Any kayaking adventure for two will need storage space for carry-ons. We look for tandem kayaks that offer bungee compartments, tank wells, dry hatches, and so on for a variety of different-sized carry-ons.
  • (Optional) Fishing features. For those interested in a tandem kayak that may one day serve as a fishing boat, we look for features such as flush mount rod holders, deep tank wells for coolers to store fish, and compartments to hold tackle boxes. Paddle holders will be important for holding paddles and freeing up your hands.

The Competition

Lifetime Sport Angler: The Sport Angler is a popular two-person tandem kayak with three flush mount rod holders in the far back, along with a small dry hatch storage compartment. The front also has a bungee storage on deck for the front paddler but is only great for small items such as a small tackle box. This kayak is great for going over waves and can be great for the open sea. It also has a lot of open space, making full use of the length and width of the kayak. It also comes two paddles, two backrests, and a multi-chime hull for great tracking and stability. We do feel it lacks sufficient storage space, but would be a runner-up recommended choice for us! The seat should be upgraded with a seat bottom for extra comfort.

Ocean Kayak Malibu: The Malibu is another spacious kayak with three seating positions available for a tandem with a child or pet. The positions have molded-in seat wells, gear straps, and skid plates for use. This boat does not have any storage compartments, so can be great for short trips out in the open water.  The seats are comfy, but the Malibu only comes with two with its order.

Intex Challenger K2: We have done a review on the K1 one-seater kayak, and the K2 is no different in its design. There is a nice cargo net in the front for dry bags and carry-ons, and the seats offer sufficient back support and comfort. It is also raised from the deck slightly to keep you out of the water. The kayak might be deemed more of a sit-in kayak as the front paddler will have their legs underneath the bow of the boat, but we decided to include it as a competing tandem kayak. The Challenger K2 comes with two paddles, a manual hand pump, and priced a tiny bit more than the Explorer K2.

Brooklyn Kayak Company UHThe UH Kayak would be an upgrade of the Skipjack 120T. This 12.5-feet sit-on-top angler has the same storage compartments as the Skipjack, except instead of removable compartments in front of each paddler, it uses dry hatches. It also comes with a whopping 7 fishing rod holder, with 3 that are swivel rod holders and 4 as flush-mount. For the serious fishing duo that carries multiple fishing rods, the UH can be a great choice. It also comes with two aluminum paddles and two adjustable seats with backrest.