Newbe here looking for advise on the right Kayak to purchase

I have never kayaked before. My wife and i were in Bayfield Wi. and went to see the sea caves on foot. We want to go back and have a guided kayak tour via the local guides. That said, we want to purchase one also. We are advised to get a sea kayak for this area. We would practice on the small lake we live on in west central Minnesota. Probably go to a few surrounding lakes also. We don’t want to break the bank but want a tandam. Any and all advice is welcome.

Start by asking the guides for recommendations for the places you intend to visit.

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Good idea.


Tandem is not great unless they’re long enough to not clash paddles . Then your looking at 20’ or at least close to that.

My Libra XT tandem is great but it’s 21’ and 100 lb. Empty. Used I paid 900 for it.

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Tandems are called divorce boats. I only know 2 couples who use them but each person also has a solo.

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Well I’ve been married for 45 years so I’ve learned. Ha.

I’m 69, run 3 miles a day and lift weights so I can continue to have fun. I fly several different aircraft and hunt coyotes all winter long. Now I need to get something both my wife and I enjoy.

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That’s a decent price based on the limited knowledge I have so far.

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New is 6 grand but they recently stopped making them. It’s great because paddles don’t hit, easy to talk, I don’t have to worry about her.

Why do you think you want a tandem? Yes you are talking a sea kayak for that area.

If it is because you think that you might be more interested going forward in paddling than your wife, I would advise against it. Unlike shorter tandems intended for water with waves and strong winds, tandems of credible sea kayak length really cannot be paddled as solo boats. If that is the case get two boats and look for one that may be a bit slower with more protective stability than the other.

If you two are greatly different sizes, especially height, reconsider. The shorter person could spend much of their time avoiding knocking their knuckles, Not likely to make for an enthusiatic paddling companion.

If you cannot get equal help in loading the boat, reconsider. Even a fiberglass tandem sea kayak is quite heavy - plastic much more so but likely not available in a good length - will be tough to car top it. Alternative is a trailer but you have just greatly increased your costs. I just tried to get the weight of the Unity tandem by Current Designs but no weight showing. Polaris 180T by Wilderness Systems is not a boat I am sure can be recommended for your intended paddling area.

You are coming into a good time of year to exercise your best option, which is for both of you to go somewhere and get basic lessons including learning self-rescue. That is a far better primary investment than a boat or boats reight now. You will both better understand the characteristics you want, and have a better gauge on what level of paddling represents mutual interest.


I agree with advice to get 2 single person kayaks. If your wife turns out to like kayaking she’ll want her own boat – it’s simply more fun and versatile. If it turns out she doesn’t like kayaking, then you’re stuck with a huge boat you can’t paddle on your own. You can definitely be together paddling two singles, side-by-side.

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When we got our first kayaks, I pondered whether to get a double or two singles. After doing some research, we decided on two singles for the reasons above. Having had them, and only been in one double one time long ago, we are glad we went with two singles. Not only are they easier (lighter) to get up and down from the roof of the car, but I think it is easier and more flexible to kayak together with two singles. We can raft up, one of us can sort an issue like the skeg being stuck, and we can pause and go our own way for a bit from time to time, when paddling together. when we started out, we got two different kayaks, one was a lot more roomy and stable. That allowed each of us to have what we were comfortable with as we were learning. I would suggest that in many cases, two singles will work better than a double, for couples starting out.


Another drawback of tandem is that if the two of you go out yourselves without other competent kayakers and get inti trouble, as in a capsize, it will be very difficult to recover. With two boats you can learn self and assisted rescues and possibly even how to roll. These are skills you will need if you intend to venture out on the Great Lakes.

There is a Facebook group called Inland Kayakers that shares information on kayaking in the upper Midwest as well as posting boats and gear and sponsoring events and training camps and clinics. If you use Facebook it could be a useful resource.

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The Unity tandem weighs around 85 lbs.

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Thanks. At least on the web page I found, there is a typo saying its weight is zero.
That’d be pretty nice to cartop though!I