If you are looking for a tandem inflatable kayak then you are in the right place. Below I have compiled a list of the best inflatable tandem kayaks of 2018 depending on what exactly you are looking for. There is no single answer for the “best” inflatable kayak out there. This is subjective and depends on many different factors such as how much you are willing to pay, what types of adventures you are looking to take your kayak on, etc. This is why I created this list of the top 9 depending on different factors.
There are some downsides to buying an inflatable kayak but overall I think there are plenty of upsides balance this out.
Generally speaking inflatable kayaks don’t perform quite as well when it comes to tracking. But this all depends on what kayaks you are comparing. There are some expensive inflatables kayaks out there that track much better than cheap hard shell kayaks. But yes… generally they do not track as well because they are not as rigid.
However, think of all the upsides to having an inflatable kayak over a hard shell one… they are super easy to transport and take up practically no space. You can carry them around in a bag and there is no need to buy a rack for your car or hull them around in a trailer. I’m sure you already are well aware of this, which is probably why you are reading this article in the first place, but I just wanted to touch on this because have their place in the world of kayaking and some people never go back to hard shells once they buy one.
But anyways… lets move on to the list. I have it broken down into 3 sections: Best Performing, Under $100, and For Fishing. If you want to jump ahead to any of these sections you can do so here…
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak is one of the best performing inflatable kayaks that you will find. Of course this depends a bit on what type of kayak you are looking for, but overall this kayak is great. As you can see from the picture it has a very sleek and rigid design, making it almost not even look like an inflatable Kayak.
It measures in at 15 feet long and 32 inches wide. With slim dimensions like this and aluminum ribs in the bow/stern, it cuts through the water very well and is one of the fastest inflatable tandem kayaks you will find, probably the fastest.
The weight limit on this model is 550 pounds so it should have no problem supporting two people and still performing great.
One of the “claims to fame” of this model is the fact that it is convertible. What does this mean? Well you can convert it in between a solo kayak and a tandem kayak. It comes with different zip top decks that you can easily zip on in zip off making it how you want. The seats are also movable so that when you convert it to a solo kayak you can position the seat more in the center for better control. To better show you what I’m talking about here you can take a look at the pictures below…
Now you may be worried about the stability with a narrow kayak like this one but this is not something I would worry about too much. Stability does not seem to be an issue.
One thing that is always a concern with inflatables is getting a hole while out on the water far away from land. Luckily this model has a whopping six air chambers. What this means is that if you get a whole only 1/6 of the kayak will deflate. So it doesn’t really matter where you get the hole in this you will still be able to stay afloat and make it back safely. You won’t see this with the cheaper inflatable kayaks.
With Advanced Elements kayak models like this one you shouldn’t have much of a problem with punctures anyhow though. This company does a great job making their kayaks durable with triple layering their material.
Overall there is a lot to this kayak that makes it one of the best. It performs well in calm and semi-rough waters in the fact that it is convertible is great. Tracking is very good and this thing goes through the water with ease. If you are lazy and don’t feel like converting it you also can paddle it from the back seat pretty easily too.
The one downside to this is the seating. A lot of buyers do not care for the seats. They are not very comfortable and they do not offer much support. A fix to this would be to play something behind your seat for added support, which I see a lot of people doing based on the reviews I have read through of this kayak.
The Driftsun Voyager Kayak is a good choice if you are looking for something that performs well in both calm and choppy water. This kayak measures in at 10 feet long and 35 inches wide. It has the capacity to carry up to 400 pounds and what is really crazy is that it only weighs 27 pounds, making it very easy to transport. Not only is it easy to transport around but it also is incredibly easy to inflate. Now I’ve actually never inflated one of these but they say that it can be done in five minutes, once you get good at doing it that is.
There are several reasons that the Driftsun Voyager performs well in more than just calm water. For one, it has a removable skeg. This is nice to attach on when you are in calm waters but when waters get rough you’re going to want to take it off for increased maneuverability. Number two, which you can’t see from the picture above, but this kayak has a V-shaped hull that allows it to cut through the water better and provides better tracking. Now you would think that this would decrease the stability of the kayak, and it probably does to some extent, but overall the stability is still very good with this design. And the third, it is designed with a rocker profile, which you also can’t really see in the picture. This allows for easier maneuverability and is a good design for rougher waters, but of course the downside is that it takes away from the tracking.
It seems as if this kayak was designed to be somewhat of the best of both worlds. Of course the more you design a kayak to perform well in calm waters, the worse it is going to perform in rough waters, and vice versa, but overall this kayak seems to be very well designed in perform good in both. The tracking definitely isn’t going to be as good as the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak that I just went over above but its still seems to track surprisingly well.
As I was reading through reviews from other users of this kayak I noticed that there were quite a bit of people saying how comfortable the seats are. There were literally reviews that talked about how nice they are and nothing else. They look nice but of course you never really know until you test them out and based on what I have read through it seems that they should perform as well as they look.
One complaint that I noticed more than once has to do with the detachable skeg fin. Apparently it doesn’t stay in place all that great. This is something that is common among detachable skegs though.
Overall I would say this is a great choice if you are going to be using your yak in calm/rough waters. It offers a good balance of design and performs well. It is somewhat on the higher side when it comes to price but many buyers swear by it and believe it is worth every cent.
The Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 kayak I would say is somewhat of a step down from the Advanced Elements kayak that I listed as number one, but I guess this just depends on how you look at things. It still performs great as long as you use it as intended.
Just by looking at this Lagoon 2 model you can see that it is a good bit different. Some noticeable differences are that it is much shorter, measuring in at 12 feet, and that is not convertible. It does not have the zip tops that you’re able to remove. What you see is what you get.
As you can imagine with it being smaller, it is also much later at only 37 pounds. And as you also can imagine the capacity is much less. It is listed as having a capacity of 350 pounds and based on reviews I have read from users who have tested this, you want to stay clear of this limit. This kayak sits fairly low in the water and if you get close to this upper limit you will likely have problems with too much water splashing in.
When it comes to tracking it performs well, but it’s not going to give you quite as good tracking as the AdvancedFrame Convertible model. What’s nice is that it does come with a skeg and it also has a rigid bow in stern to improve the tracking. If you take this kayak out in calm waters, which is intended for, then it is going to perform well and tracking will be good. However this thing just isn’t made for rapids and rough waters and would not be a good choice for such.
What about stability? The Lagoon 2 has a nice design for keeping things stable. It is 34 inches wide and as I said sits down in the water a fair amount. There aren’t really any reviews from people that I could find complaining about the stability that this kayak offers.
In my opinion this is one of the best tandem choices out there if you are looking to go on nice peaceful adventures in calm waters. The only big downside that I see with the Advanced Elements kayak such as the Lagoon 2 here or that the seats do not offer much support. If you are on the taller side then you’re going to have more problems with this than if you are shorter. It’s something that I hope to see fixed but the good thing is that you can stuff something behind your seat to deal with this. And I guess another downside you could say is that there isn’t much space for storage at all. There is some bungee deck lacing for added storage but it’s really not much.
The Sea Eagle SE 370 may not look like much, and it is a step down from those listed above when it comes to price, but it still is a pretty darn good Kayak or a tandem inflatable. I know I know… This thing kind of looks like a blowup air mattress, but this is something you’re just going to have to ignore because the way it performs is worth its price tag.
Measuring in at 12’6″ long and 34 inches wide, the Sea Eagle SE 370 is a decent size kayak. You can also tell by the look that it holds quite a bit of air, which, as you can guess, correlates to it being able to hold quite a bit of weight. It’s capacity is listed at 650 pounds and up to three people.
There are five different air compartments which means five different valves to fill up with their. They list them as “deluxe” one-way valves and based on reviews I have read they are just that. The company does a good job on making this very easy to inflate. If you have experience using inflatable kayaks then you probably know what I’m talking about because it can be frustrating at times when going through the inflation process.
Tracking is always a concern when it comes to inflatables and luckily with this Sea Eagle there are two skegs on the bottom for improved tracking and speed. This is great if you’re going to be using this on calm waters, but the downside is they are not removable so if you’re looking to take this out and rapids they might work to your disadvantage. On the bottom side of the kayak you can also see that inflatable hull of the kayak on the bottom has grooves that run front and back due to the i-beam structure, which also help with tracking.
What nice accessory that I think is worth mentioning about this particular kayak is that it has bow and stern grab lines. This is something you don’t see too often and it’s a nice little touch in case you get thrown overboard or end up flipping, which hopefully you won’t because the stability that this Sea Eagle brings to the table is very good… No complaints about this that I can find.
And of course one thing that everyone always wants to know is how comfortable the kayak is. If you’re going to be out on long adventures then comfort is a must. Luckily they have done a pretty good job with the design here. The seats are sturdy and very “cushiony” so hopefully you won’t get a sore back if you decide on this one.
One thing that many people don’t really like about this particular kayak is its color. Shortly what color looks nice when it’s clean but the problem is that it gets dirty so darn easily. This is definitely a downside to it but the good thing is that it is simple to wipe it clean.
Something else you might notice is that there is no added storage in this kayak. There is plenty of room inside the seating areas to store items but it would be nice to see some bungee storage or something like this.
Overall the Sea Eagle SE 370 is a pretty nice buy. Tracking and speed aren’t going to be as good as the Advanced Elements’ kayaks listed above, and it might not look quite as nice, but for a more moderate price I would say it’s a nice buy.
The Airhead MONTANA Kayak is designed for calm and moderate white water, but based on what I see most people seem to be using this inflatable kayak for waters on the rougher side. Just based on the looks you can see that it appears to be more of a white water type of kayak with its bright orange color and all.
The capacity is listed at 500 pounds in the overall length of this kayak is 12 feet. As far as tracking goes it does pretty well. The floor of this kayak has an I-beam structure which helps give a better tracking and in addition to this it also has four small skegs on the bottom to help increase the tracking a bit more.
You will be happy to hear that the seats offer good support. They are removable and seem to deliver in the area of back support.
Some features that aren’t essential but give this kayak a nice touch are the neoprene elbow pads, feet braces, and bungee cords for storage. The elbow pads can provide you some comfort if you are bouncing around out there in the rapids and the feet braces are definitely something that you would rather have in a kayak than not have so that you can keep yourself securely in place. Now if you look at the bungee cords you will see that they are not on a deck… Because there is no deck. Now of course there is a downside to that but on the upside you can store a heck of a lot in both the front and back of the kayak with these bungee cords storage areas.
On the bow and stern of the kayak you can see black material that looks like leather anyway. This is the “skid plate” and is a reinforcement covering over much of the bottom of the kayak. The reason I mention this is because there are a lot of users of this particular kayak that are very impressed with the durability. I’ve read all kinds of reviews about people taking this on white water and hitting rocks without damage. So as long as you take care of this kayak and use it as intended you shouldn’t have a problem with it being punctured easily.
Now if it does get punctured the downside is that it only has three chambers, meaning that one third of the kayak will deflate if you get a hole, but hopefully this will not be a problem and based on my research and what I see is shouldn’t be.
This kayak is a good choice for those looking to experience the rougher waters. It’ll still perform well on calm water but something like the Lagoon 2 would be a better choice for just that. The Airhead MONTANA it is durable offers good tracking while still giving you good maneuverability when you need it most in rough waters, and isn’t too expensive. It’s not what I would call “cheap” but it is more moderately priced than some of those listed above.
For Less Than $100…
Believe it or not you can get some decent inflatable tandem kayaks for less than $100. Of course there are going to be some sacrifices you will have to make. They will not perform as well, they won’t be quite as durable and will not last as long… But in my opinion some of these cheaper inflatable kayaks or a bargain for their price.
Below I have listed what I consider to be two of the best inflatable tandem kayaks that you can buy for under $100. If you are a kayaking newbie and looking for an entry-level yak or you are just on a budget and really don’t want to spend much, then these two kayaks are great choices that you should consider.
The Intex Explorer K2 inflatable kayak comes at a price that you can’t really beat.
It is a 10’3″ long kayak with a width of 36 inches. So it’s fairly short and wide but this just means better stability. The capacity is listed at 400 pounds and I probably wouldn’t push this if I were you. It’s also nice that it has a bright yellow color in case of emergency, since most users of this kayak are going to be novices.
While you could use this kayak and rougher waters, which you could with any kayak, it’s more for calm water. Tracking isn’t so great and it doesn’t cut through the water with ease like some of the more expensive kayaks out there but it does a decent job. It actually comes with a removable skeg but you are going to want to be careful with this because I have read some reviews from people saying that they lost theirs when they went into rougher water… So only use it when you are in calm water.
One thing that helps increase the tracking performance of this particular kayak is the floor design which features inflatable I-beams, also helping with the rigidity of the kayak.
If you take a look at the front and back of the kayak you will see that they curve upward. This is a nice feature that makes it better for rougher waters such as going through rapids. It helps the kayak ride on top of the rapids and also will decrease splashing a lot.
Something that you don’t see very often with inflatable kayaks are grab lines. Luckily this kayak does have grab lines in both the front and back so that if you fall out or capsize, you can easily grab on to stay safe.
The seats aren’t the most comfortable, they could offer more hire back support, but something that is nice about them is that they are removable. They attach to the bottom via Velcro strips.
Some of the downsides to this kayak include tracking not being all that great, the removable skeg not staying in place all that well, seat support lacking a bit, and durability being a bit questionable. They list the material as “super tough” vinyl, but this is debatable. As you can imagine with this kayak being less than $100, the material it is made out of is not as durable as those more expensive models listed above. Another downside is that it only has two air chambers. This makes for easy inflation/deflation but really sucks if you get a hole in your kayak.
Yes there are definitely complaints about this kayak but one thing that you may find somewhat surprising is that this gets some of the best reviews out there of any inflatable tandem kayak. Why is this? Well because of the price. It is well worth the price and is a great entry-level product. If you are a serious kayaker that is used to the best then you’re going to be disappointed but for those that are just getting started in looking for something very affordable to buy than it is a good choice.
They list it as being intended for calm waters but it also has features that would allow it to handle rapids and rougher waters to some degree.
Another good inflatable kayak that seats 2 people and is less than $100 is the Intex Challenger K2… yes another Intex model like the one above.
The Intex Challenger K2 obviously looks a lot different from the Explorer K2. It has a longer more pointed bow and is a somewhat bright green color. It may appear to be shorter than the challenger and the seats may look like they are more crammed but this is not the case. The overall length of this kayak is 11’6″, which is over a foot longer than the Explorer K2. Not only is it longer but it is also 6 inches more narrow with a width of just 30″.
With a long and narrow design like this you may expect it to have very poor stability but surprisingly it doesn’t seem to. No one is really complaining about this. I have read reviews from people claiming that this model does sit lower in the water though, although it has the same 400 pound weight limit.
Much of this kayak is pretty much the same as that mentioned above. It has the same i-beam inflated floor for more rigidity and better tracking, it has a removable skeg (which you have to be careful with because it doesn’t stay on that well), it has grab lines on the bow + stern, it is made from “super tough” vinyl which is questionable, and it only has 2 air chambers so if it ends up getting punctured then its a problem. I’ve also seen some reviews complaining that the seats don’t offer enough support just as I saw with the other Intex… but then again, this is something you see for pretty much every inflatable kayak.
One nice thing about model is that it has a large cargo net in the front. This makes for a nice storage area.
As far as tracking and speed goes, this Intex Challenger K2 model will be better because of its length, width, and pointed shape. So if you are looking for something to take out on the calmest of waters and are looking for something entry-level, then this would be a good choice. If you are looking to venture out into rougher waters but still want something entry-level and cheap then the Explorer listed above is going to be the better choice.
Both are good choices for tandem inflatable kayaks under $100 though. It just depends on what you are looking for.
In last on the list are two tandem inflatable kayaks that are great if you are looking to do some fishing with a partner. While you could use any tandem kayak to do this, ones that are specifically designed for fishing will make it much easier. However, the downside to this is that some of the kayak’s performance capabilities are sacrificed for the sake of making it better for fishing. So you might not want to buy a fishing kayak if you are planning on in the doing a small amount of fishing and using it more for kayaking alone.
The Elkton Outdoors 10′ Foot Inflatable Fishing Kayak is one of the best choices that I have been able to find. As you can see right off the bat there are plenty of fishing accessories to make your life a little bit easier while out on the water.
This kayak has two vertical rod holders along with four trolling rod holders… Plenty of rod holders to go around. You can also see that it has paddle holders on the outside of the kayak so that you can have both hands catering to your fishing activity rather than worrying about the paddle getting lost at sea. And something that isn’t a big deal but is something nice is that there are six mesh pockets throughout the inside of the kayak that you can place different fishing gear in for easy access.
One thing that is a must when it comes to fishing kayaks that are inflatable is that they must be durable. The last thing that you want to happen is to be out there fishing and to snag your hook on the kayak you are floating on and puncturing it. Luckily Elkton Outdoors takes this into consideration and it is made with 18-Gauge rip resistant 1000D PVC, a thick tarpaulin and a tough nylon, which you should do the trick at making it hopes resistant and of course also protect it from getting punctured on other sharp objects such as rocks, sticks, etc.
The performance of this kayak is decent. It has good stability but tracking is not one of its strong suits. It does come with an attachable skeg but apparently this doesn’t help all that much and, like most attachable skegs, it doesn’t stay in place well.
As you can see in the picture, there is a nice upward curvature of the bow and stern. Like some of the other kayaks discussed above, this allows for better performance in rougher waters and it helps keep water from splashing into the kayak, which is good because this kayak does not have covers in the front or back. The fact that it is just 10 feet in length with a design like this makes it fairly easy to maneuver around.
One of the big downsides to getting this kayak is also one of the big upsides. What am I talking about? Well it is the rod holders. The problem with the rod holders is that they stick up and limit paddling movement. This is going to be particularly a problem for the person sitting in the front seat. Range of motion when paddling will not be that great and it might be a bit frustrating.
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak is another good choice if you’re looking to go out fishing. As you can see it has many of the same features as that mentioned above and has a similar shape, however it is a little bit bigger, measuring in at 10’9″ long and 39 inches wide, and is a bit different.
Okay, so first let me go over some of what is the same as the Elkton fishing kayak above. They both have fishing rod holders, they both have paddle holders, they both have mesh storage pockets, they both are made of rip/tear resistant 1000D tarpaulin with a nylon cover, they both have an upward curved design at the front and back of the kayak, and more.
But there are several things that make these two kayaks different. First off you may have noticed that the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak features Berkley® quick-set rod holders along with normal ones. These are more expensive and are made to be easier to use. Some people like them and some people don’t care for them much but they are a little added bonus that comes with this one. And something that you cannot see in the picture is that this Sevylor kayak here has trolling motor fittings if you want to throw motor on it to make it a little easier on yourself. However I will tell you that it is a small motor with little power and the battery won’t last long.
Tracking also seems to be slightly better with this Sevylor kayak than the Elkton above, which could just be due to the fact that it is longer. And when it comes to the fishing rod holders being in the way, this kayak also seems to be a little bit better designed. They still get in the way and will impede your paddling ability to some extent, but it does not seem to be quite as bad.
And not that it matters but I kind of like the army green look that this kayak has. Overall however there really isn’t all that much of a difference. Fishing kayaks are fishing kayaks… They usually do not perform quite as well when it comes to the kayaking part of it.
Which Kayak Would I Buy?
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak is just an all-around beast. If you get in this thing you might even forget you are in an inflatable kayak. It offers great tracking and cuts through the water very easily, partly due to its rigid frame with the aluminum ribs in the bow/stern. And of course the fact that it is convertible between a solo and tandem kayak is great among many other things. Overall it performs amazingly.
The Intex Explorer K2 is a heck of a deal for the price in my opinion. Sure it doesn’t perform as well as the more expensive ones but it still is pretty decent and can be a lot of fun. The reason I would go with the Explorer over the Challenger is mainly because it is more versatile. The Explorer is better if you’re looking to go in calm and rougher waters whereas the challenger will not fare too well in rapids.
As I said, there really isn’t all too much of a difference between the two fishing kayaks that I listed, however, there are a few small things that I like more about the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak. It looks better (my opinion), the fishing rod holders aren’t in the way quite as much, and it seems to track better.
Tips For Keeping Your Inflatable Kayak Nice
Wash With Fresh Water After Use
This is going to be more of a big deal if you are kayaking and saltwater. You want to make sure to keep your kayak clean when you are finished with it. Washing off all dirt, salt, and debris will help it last longer and luckily these kayaks tend to wipe off pretty easily.
Keep Out Of Sun When Storing
Of course some of the stuff you probably already now, just make sure to keep it out of the sun when you’re storing. The sun can be damaging and when you don’t need it to be on the sun then don’t leave it out in the sun.
Do NOT Over-Inflate
This is something that a lot of people do wrong and end up destroying the kayaks. You do not want to inflate your kayak so much so that it is as hard as a rock. If you do this you will only end up damaging the inner tubes and deforming the kayak or, at its worst, blowing out a hole.
Whichever kayak you buy will come with instructions on how much air pressure you should be filling it with. Make sure you follow these!