Need help with purchase of tandem kayak!

Does anyone have an opinion on the liquid logics zirconia? We are looking for a tandem for beginners that works on smooth water (lakes, rivers) as well as on the bay when we go to the beach. Our other choice so far is the WS pamlico 135T which I’ve read good things about.


The Zirconia looks like a higher volume Saluda stretched by 2 feet, i owned a saluda and my somewhat educated guess will be that the Z is going to be noticably quicker than the notoriously bathtub like pamilco. I think the plastic LL uses is somewhat on the softer side. I know the shortness and cheapness of the 13-15 ft tandems is appealing but i think a used Necky Amaruk or Prijon Excursion would be a much more versatile boat for about the same money as you could take them out in chop and they have watertight hatches with plenty of space.

I would build a Pygmy Osprey Double.

Although I greatly appreciate your suggestions, we like the open cockpit.

if you’re looking at the Pam 135…
go ahead and look at the Pam 145. A much more practical boat in most ways, in that it can be more effectively solo-paddled than the 135 due to the much finer entry and slimmer stern. The price difference is negligible considering the much greater performance potential of the boat.

On paper the specs of the Zirconia and Pam 145 are similar, though the LL isn’t quite as sleek (“sleek” being a relative term when talking about rec tandems…:wink:

BTW, I assume that anyone shopping a tandem rec kayak has actually already spent time in a tandem with their paddling partner. If not, I’d strongly suggest a 3-hour tour together before committing to the concept. It requires more precise teamwork than people sometimes realize, and nothing’s worse than plunking down $700 for a boat that quickly strains a relationship.

different type of kayak, but if i was
in the market for a double I would get the CD Kestrel 170T…for a seventeen footer it only weighs 65 pounds and is distant enough in the cockpits to allow asynchronous paddling. For summer-late spring-early fall camping, the two storage compartments would allow enough stowage of gear.

Try the Loon 160T
Just one more boat to consider.

I’ve owned this boat for five years, and am very happy with it.

It is extremely stable, has a 500 lb capacity, and weighs only 5 lbs more than the Pamlico 135 you are considering. (I have no experience with that boat, so I can’t offer a comparison). My wife and I enjoy paddling it together, and I often paddle it solo. I have taken solo trips, up to 100 miles/4 days in length with it.

Regarding the length, I have paddled a Loon 138, and found the handling to be very similar. On tight turns, it will take more effort, but a well placed paddle to the stern can work wonders.

It is also an extremely stable boat, as I snorkel from it all the time. It has never tipped over despite numerous entries/exits from deep water.

It is also an extremely sharp looking boat, in my opinion. That red hull of mine looks more like fiberglass, shined up with 303.

I just noticed on the Old Town Canoe site, that they now offer a Loon 150T and a Dirigo Tandem Plus. These look like interesting alternatives, although I have no experience with them.

Good luck and happy paddling.

BTW … I hope you and your wife have successfully paddled tandem before! If not, RENT A TANDEM to know what you’re getting into. Successful tandem paddling is more a function of the paddler’s personalities than the boat’s!

Thanks for the input, (BTW I am the wife!!! :slight_smile:

Have you used the 160T on the bay?

Loon 160T on the Bay
I am from Michigan, and have taken the Loon 160 on the open waters of Lake Huron. Our waves are shorter and steeper than ocean waves. But I have never ventured further than 3 miles from shore, in sight of other boats.

I NEVER take this boat out in large waves. I stick to gentle waves, and never venture far from shore without having checked the marine forecast to know what is coming. This is especially crucial with offshore winds!

The Loon 160T, as well as the other boats you are considering, have large open cockpits. They are not sea kayaks. They are not designed for rough water, and I don’t take mine out in rough conditions. With such large cockpits, the danger of a capsize is a major consideration. You would end up with about a ton of water in the boat.

I tried to capsize mine once, on purpose, to see for myself what this would be like. I couldn’t do it. But, I WAS able to swamp it. It was a lot of “fun” bailing this thing out in shallow water. Out THERE would be no fun at all. I always carry a bailing device with me (cut out jug), tethered to the boat. It would also be a good idea to carry a whistle and a set of pocket flares in these conditions. Possibly even a handheld VHS radio. (Line of sight transmission … about 3 mile range when you’re floating in the water)

My Loon 160T is great for what it is intended for. I have had years of enjoyment with mine, realizing its strengths and weaknesses. But, if your primary consideration is taking a boat into rough water, far from shore, you need to consider a tandem sea kayak. Then, you’re getting into more money.

Good Luck, and happy kayaking.

Necky Manitoa II Tandem

– Last Updated: Sep-10-06 11:29 AM EST –

My wife and I purchased a Necky Manitou II tandem this spring and it is solid boat. It is a hybrid type rec. boat/touring kayak. It has a double cockpit design with the rear being larger to occomidate a removable childs seat, or more gear (we even have room for my 4 year old boy to sit in the front cockpit between my wifes legs alowing my 8 year old to sit in child seat and all FOUR of us have been yaking' all summer! LOL). It paddles solo from the rear by sliding the seat forward, and performs this well for me. We went with the optional rudder, for this makes tandem paddling MUCH less problematic, and helps when you paddle rough chop. It has a dry storage hatch with neoprene cover under the hard lid for supurb watertightness. The bow is a "dolphin" type to cut through waves lending to its mild sea touring lineage. It also has lots of deck rigging for top storage. It is long at 15' 1 1/2" with the rudder installed, but handles extremely well and can be edged because of its good primary and secondary stability. It is heavy though at 80 pounds, so it is not a fragile boat. Give them a look at .
Also read this review about it that I found useful during my long research into my tandem boat shopping, it is the last bout listed on the page, with its other solo versions listed before.
Hope this helps , and good luck with your final decision.