Recreational Tandem Kayak

Looking to get a Tandem Recreational Kayak. Will use it on the local reservoir and then on the sound when we move to NC that most anyone can use who might be visiting. Maybe also take the dog for a spin, paddle around some marsh areas, etc.

I was looking at the Old Town Dirigo 155. I have someone who can get me a 30% discount at REI too. I like my Wilderness Systems Alto that I’m learning in and might consider something like the WS Pamlico too.

Comments or suggestions?

What sound in NC?
There are transition zones into bigger water where anything other than a full sea tandem kayak - two separate cockpits with much flotation inbetween - can be a bad idea. If you define the location in NC a little better, it may improve the quality of advice you get.

double kayaks are heavy
You might need a boat trailer. A 50# canoe might he handier than an 80# double kayak

Topsail Island
Topsail Island/Sound. Our house is at most 100 yards from the sound so getting it to and from the water should be fairly easy with a kayak cart.

I believe the Dirigo 155T has front and rear bulkheads, if I recall correctly from looking at it awhile back. It also has separate cockpits, though I don’t see it being used on the ocean.

As for the current location, if my wife and I are paddling we should be able to get it on the current roof mount, though I’ve discovered a Trailblazer is a bit tall. Really considering getting Hully Rollers…

i have one
The tandem dirigo is a decent boat. While much better suited for flat water. It would be ok if you shore paddled in a sound. It doesn’t have a front bulkhead unless they changed the design. Even if it did it wouldnt really matter. Once that thing fills up with water it would be very hard to remount. There isn’t much room for other floatation.

It is actually a decently fast boat with strong paddlers. It is very rudder dependant because all the ones I’ve seen have negative rocker up front. Once it gets off track at all it is tough to get back without a rudder.

If it came down to it I would rather have a better tandem sea kayak, but that’s just me.

Ryan L.

From the wild field

And then you can do this


also suggest a canoe
For versatility for use by guests and to accommodate the dog in the waters you are describing (except the Sound – I also agree that is no place for rec boats) a tandem canoe would be less hassle and easier to paddle. We use both kayaks and canoes and for tandem paddling i will always prefer the latter. I personally don’t care for tandem kayaks all that much. Just too darned heavy, slow and restrictive. I just fail to see any advantage to them. I suggest you rent a tandem kayak a couple of times to make sure that is what you want first before dropping money on one. You may find you feel the same way.

For less than a tandem kayak you could buy a canoe plus a second kayak.

Also, a tandem kayak (especially a rec boat) in coastal waters is asking for trouble, particularly if you are going out alone, without other boaters to help if you run into trouble. If you swamp in heavy waves and wind you will have a very difficult time re-entering and pumping out the boat. We came to the aid of a couple in Lake Michigan a few years ago who had capsized their tandem when the wind came up and caused 3’ chop. They didn’t have spray skirts and the boat was filled to the gunwales (they also had no pump with them). They hung onto our single sea kayaks as we tried to pump out with our own hand pumps so they could re-enter but it was taking so long and they were so tired and freaked out we just towed them across our decks with their half-sunk boat behind us back to shore (thank heavens they were not that far out.)

As usual…
you folks have great suggestions and insights. We’ll be down at Topsail Beach in a couple of weeks and I’ll take a closer look at the sound.

Please don’t listen to those advocating

– Last Updated: Sep-28-11 6:41 PM EST –

a canoe !
I have paddled in and around Topsail, Bear Island and that whole area, and it is much too windy for a canoe on most days.
I am a canoe lover as well as a kayaker, but I would only be using a canoe there on a calm day which are few and far between.
Get a tandem kayak as you are planning to do, but make sure you get skirts for it.
It might be out of your price range, but take a look at the Current Designs Double Vision.
It is not that heavy, and is much better than the el cheapo tandems.
There is a nice place to launch at a park on the right hand side just after going over the bridge

Jack L


Thanks. I can pretty much launch from the back of our house! I hope to make an arrangement with the person behind us to use their dock, which is on the sound. Or we have a community boat ramp within wheel carting distance. Kayaks are a lot easier on my knees and hips so that is why I’ve become a fan of them.

I’ll take a look at your suggestion but am leaning toward the cheaper rec kayaks since I see it being used by guests, etc. I’ll upgrade to a better solo kayak when I get down there permanently!

SOT Hobie Odyssey
For what you want to do take a look at the Hobie Odyssey. Another good tandem is the Heritage, no longer made, but was a great boat if you can find one used as was the Ocean kayak Cabo.

bulkheads irrelevant for rec. kayaks
It’ll keep it from becoming a buoy but it’s still near impossible to self-rescue if dumped.

Check out the Necky Manitou II. It’s a very good paddling rec. kayak with smaller cockpits than the Dirigo. With the rudder a solo paddler can manage pretty well.