Struggling to find a tandem kayak

Hello everyone, I’m looking for a bit of help after not getting it at a few local kayak stores. I’ve only kayaked a few times. I’ve canoed plenty, yet prefer a kayak.

My children (daughter-7 son-4) have expressed interest in wanting to kayak. We have lots of lakes, ponds and even rivers near where we live. Every summer we go on vacation in Cape Cod on the bay side. There is always another family playing around on a tandem kayak…so this just furthers my urge of enjoying some time with my children. Plus I wouldn’t mind getting out solo once and while.

I recently purchased an Old Town Twin Heron at local big box store. I was eyeing a used one on Craigslist, but the price was right and I jumped on it. After getting it home and sitting in it on my lawn, I found it cramped in the rear seat for me. With the foot braces extended as far as they would go, my knees were still up in the air well above the hull. With very little room for my son. I’m an athletic 6’2" 240lbs.

I think I want to return this kayak and now I’m looking at the Perception Conduit 14.0t or the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 140T. A local store sells both and has a Perception in stock. He said the seats aren’t great will only be comfortable for an hour. He wasn’t too thrilled about getting into a conversation. Maybe I caught him on a bad day. He also carries Old Town and I brought up the twin heron and he did not talk about it. I was rather put off.


look for a Loon 160T
By Old Town. It’s a 16 foot tandem kayak that is great to take kids out in. It is boringly stable, it makes a good swim platform, they can stand on the decks, jump in, that climb back on with out having to worry too much about tipping over. the big downside is that it’s pretty heavy, 80 lbs or so.

try renting

– Last Updated: Aug-25-15 3:10 PM EST –

My first suggestion would e to try renting and see what you like. This also gives a chance for the kids to get out and get a feel for how into it they will be, before you spend a lot of money.

I would consider a sit on top kayak, rather than a sit inside. The sit insides keep you a bit drier, but have one potential downside. They may be hard to flip, but when you do find a way to flip it, you are pretty much resigned to swimming back to shore. A sit on top can more easily (though perhaps not easily for everyone - good to practice) be gotten back on to in open water.

One that I like for a varying size family is a Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL. it can be set up with 1, 2, or 3 seats (though is crowded in the 3 seat configuration). Very common boat in rental fleets because of its flexibility. Other brands likely have similar boats.

Eddyline Shasta
Might be more than you were planning to spend, but this one appears to be exactly what you’re looking for:

I haven’t paddled the Shasta, but I have other Eddylines and they’re very high quality.

Thank you
I appreciate the suggestions. I really like the thought of trying to rent some before buying.

One weekend last summer my wife and I had loaned our kayaks to some friends but we still wanted to paddle so we went to a local marina and rented a Pamlico 135.

It’s a big, heavy and very stable kayak with WS’s excellent AirPro seats. I’m almost your size and I had no problems sitting in the rear seat - we even tried switching seats and I was comfortable in the front although the boat was rather bow heavy! There is also a Pamlico 145. WS makes a very nice boat.

Necky Manitou II
The Necky Manitou is a great little tandem. A little under 15 ft ,75 pounds and 28" beam. Versatile in that we used it with the grandkids, entered a 7 mile adventure race with wife and I used it solo to paddle through Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend NP. An under rated tandem that I wished we still had. If you can find a used one a d don’t want it let me know.

I agree
I have a Manitou II and we all love it. The rear seat/cockpit is large enough for just about anyone. Allegedly made with extra space for a small child or pet. I actually take it out solo all the time. It is made to be able to be used solo, and it has no problems with that task. It is the most stable kayak I have. I can just about fall asleep and never have a worry about tipping. Mine has the rudder, but I really don’t need it. It maneuvers very well for it’s class. I bought mine used and I don’t plan on parting with it. It serves so many purposes so well.

#3 for the manatou
I have paddled a lot of tandems, this is not our families primary boat; but we keep it around as it is very adjustable for different sized people (or growing kids). Very stable, reasonably fast and manuverable.

It is not considered a “performance” tandem, but it does paddle admirably under a lot of different water conditions. My only complaint about the Manatou is that good spray skirts are not readily available for the rear oversized cockpit when used as a single kayak.