I’m seeking to acquire a sit-on-top kayak that I can use most of the time, but additionally/occasionally use with a friend or companion. I understand the physics of the tandem design, and wonder which model tandem is best suited for this.
My experience is that SOT Tandems are a PITA to paddle single, transport and store. They are very heavy, long, and wide and to paddle single you need one with a 3rd middle seat. Suggest you focus on a sot single for your primary use and get a used buddy boat for your occasional companion. Would not rec a tandem unless expected that 2 paddling together 50% or more of time.
Bic Kayaks has a number of doubles that may fit the bill, e.g. Tobago. They are heavy as msparky says. I had a Scapa for a while - it was well made and good for a SOT (but it was heavy and it turned out I don’t like SOT).
The only boat close to what you want is the Wilderness System Pamlico. It is a sit in, but the canopy is very close to wide open.
It has two seats but one can be removed, then the other can be moved to balance the keel for solo use.
The problem with SOTs tandems is that the seats are molded in and you can not, comfortably, balance the keel. Sitting in the back with cause the bow to rise and be prone to excess windage and obtuse steering. The same in reverse for sitting in the bow seat.
Thanks everybody! Thank goodness for forums like this one. Within 24 hours, I have all my questions answered. — I’ve decided to get a solo SOT, and perhaps another solo for anyone who wishes to tag along!
NEXT QUESTION: Am I able to fit two solo kayaks on the roof rack of a standard SUV?
Thx in advance!
Read entire post looks like OP decided for singles not tandems but regardless of what you choose I suggest getting 2nd hand or used.
New boats can run you up to $1,000 or more each. Second hand they drop in price, as much as 30-40% or more. The reason this is important is because if either you decide paddling is not for you and you want to get rid of them, or that you wish to upgrade and trade them in, as long as the boats are close in material condition to when you bought them and not damaged you get back more or less what you paid risking you little to nothing.
This goes 2x with SOT because they are the most beginner boat, the most popular boat, and many people buy them thinking they will like them. Many love their SOT’s and swear by them keeping them forever. Many don’t and think they’re too heavy and give up or want an upgrade. Since the SOT’s are the biggest seller by the numbers, this means the 2nd hand market out there will benefit the used buyer with selection and pricing to match. It also means your boat will be very easy to sell as well if you don’t like it or want to eventually trade in.
The classified ads of this website are pretty good. Craigslist also works. Just plug in your zip code and see what you find. You can try local pro shops as well, many post their 2nd hand offerings online or you can call them and see what they have to sell. Many pro shops also have season end or year end sales but usually this is in the Sept/Oct time frame. They will sell off their rentals and boats they use for lessons and SOT’s are popular for this end. You usually get better deals this way than consignments but not always. It pays to be patient.
I did what you are looking for when I bought my first kayak, it was a Hobie Oddysey, the design has changed a bit in the last 18 years since I bought mine, but apparently you can still sit in the center seat. This worked well for paddling with a small child or as a normal tandem with my son who was about 13 when I bought it. Also worked well for my large dog, but she hated paddling off shore. Hobie kayaks are in hot demand by Kayak fisherman, since they paddle pretty fast for a large SOT and have good stability for fishing. I sold mine after owning it about 6 or 7 years for ~$50 less than I paid for it. The major drawback is this sucker weighs about 85lbs and is slippery as heck when wet so hard to cartop by your self. I eventually learned tricks to load it efficiently, but you will need some wheels to move it to the water. Here is a link to the Hobie webpage… https://www.hobie.com/kayaks/odyssey/
As long as whatever you are using to carry can handle the weight, all that it takes to carry multiple yaks is the right equipment and sometimes longer than usual cross bars. My husband and I regularly would put four sea kayaks on a roof, for the long trip to Maine. But we had a third party Yakima system - long crossbars mounted into the slot above the frame and stackers.
The details help. The xterra 3” diam tube bars are stout enough for sure. The problem is width. Most sot are tough to put on edge with a J cradle or Stacker due to their width. You might be able to lash one down, place the second on top with a few pool noodles between as moldable cushionable forms before strapping the second to the first.
One or two attempts at this stratospheric balancing act will have you piling both sot boats onto a utility trailer as there is no good way to make an xterra shorter
I have carried my WS Tarpon 160 in Yakima J racks many times. It rides nicely with a front tie down. The issue is getting the 85# beast into the J’s . I’ve also used Malone J’s which are much easier to load.
I have a PU so now I carry it in the bed with an extender.