Sit on top kayak ideas for family needed

Hello all!

We are a family of two adults, tall/big 8 year old and 2 year old. We have been sharing a sit on top kayak but our 8 year old is wanting to paddle now and our 2 year old is slowly getting the patience to paddle with us though the life jacket seems to be an ongoing battle.

We are now probably going to get rid of our smaller kayak and find a different configuration for our family. We are trying to think about the long term and we were considering doing two tandem boats where my husband would ride solo and take our 2 year old in one and the other I could paddle with out 8 year old. By getting two tandem boats we will hope that in the future our 2 year old will want to paddle with us.

We spoke with a local kayak shop expert to get advice and we are considering the options for tandem sit on top kayaks and have looked over the Wilderness Tarpon 130 T and the Pro2 Tandem Malibu. We like the Wilderness because it feels like it would work better with having a small child in the boat while doing a solo paddle. On the other hand we would like to do paddle in camping and the Pro 2 has more dry space for storage.

Any families out there with some advice and how they paddle with their family? Also any advice on either of these boats for families with young children would be so greatly appreciated.

Thanks and cheers!


can the 8 year old
handle the smaller kayak? My 8 year old has an ocean kayak kea that he loves and it will be good for him for at least another couple of years. My wife and I have a couple of Ocean kayak Scupper pros.

Hopefully someone will chime in but I have seen something caled a gator seat which replaces a forward hatch on a sit on top and becomes a hatch/seat for a youngster. I wish they made one for the scupper pro. that way it is a solo that converts to a double whenever needed. great for when you just want to get out on your own without pushing a big double around.

Good luck. the child will get used to the pfd. just never give in.


SOT website
You can also check out You might find it helpful in addition to this one.

I see the Malibu kayaks a lot
They seem to work OK but are kind of barges. Would probably be fine.

I saw their weight was listed as 58 lbs, not sure I believe that, Most tandem SOTs weigh at least 80 lbs.

For solo paddling in a tandem a Hobbie Oddysey works well and would allow you to easily paddle from the center seat with a two year old aboard. Tandems are not going to paddle well with the usual configuration of an adult in the stern seat and child in bow seat. The bow will ride way too high. I bought the Oddysey as the first kayak for paddling with a family and was very happy with it. Paddles fast for a 14’ tandem. Very high quality boat too. Mine had a very large custom Viking rear hatch that worked for camping.

Best advice is to try out the boats with your kids and see what works.

Also go to Tom and Athena Holtey’s web site … lots of good information from people who know SOTs.


– Last Updated: Jul-27-08 1:46 PM EST –

That's a good idea, I will talk to him about having his own kayak to paddle and yes, the baby keeps on his life jacket much to his dismay, lol.

Good website
I’ve been checking it out all morning long, it gives me a good idea what will best work for all that we are interested in. Thanks!

trying out the boats
Thanks for your input, that’s a model we’ll have to look into. We’ve been traveling around and each dealer has their favorite model they’re trying to push so it’s good to get other input. I think we’re going to try more out today.