Tandem kayak choice

I currently paddle a loon 138 solo kayak and I absolutely love the kayak. Now I’m starting to take my son with me and was thinking of something bigger. I tried a couple of canoes and didn’t really care for it. So now I’m back to leaning towards a loon 138 tandem because I’ve read it can be paddled solo or tandem.

Any suggestions as to this boat or reccomend others like it.



and for what it’s worth, I personally need a large boat as I’m 260+ lbs

tandem kayak…
My only experience is with a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 160 excel. See their website for specs, I belive they changed the name, but little else.

She’s a beast on land, and decent in the water. Can easily paddle solo, the trick is paddling with a partner in the twisty bits. Never mastered that one.

She turns and responds pretty well, but best suited for calm waters. Poking around the mangroves in the Keys, or exploring the rivers of Florida seem fine with it.

I’m sure it’s capable of transporting a good deal more weight than I’ve ever put in it.

The single most wonderful thing about a tandem is introducing the unexperienced to the world as seen from a kayak.

This one works fine, but heavy.


rec tandem
I too have a Wilderness Systems 160. It can hold two adults and a child. It’s been to Baja and did fine. It’s very stable and I let beginners take it out. But it usually does take two people to cartop it.

Calm Conditions or More So?
From your prior boat, I’m assuming calm conditions are your preference. However, if size is not a consideration, I’d suggest buying used, enabling you to get into a fg or kevlar boat at poly prices. Keep in mind that tandems are heavy to begin with-poly boats can weigh in at well over 100 lbs, real world weight, not what they publish in the specs. With that in mind, you can buy more boat on the used boards, that will be far more of a pleasure to paddle than the usual rec tandem ilk.

Picked up a well-loved Seda Tango about three months ago, and absolutely love this boat. It is huge, 21’ and 95 lbs., but once in the water, you forget that. The distance between the cockpits is such that you can paddle out of sync without clashing paddles, a consideration when paddling with children. It’s supremely stable and secure in bigger water and surprisingly fast for its 29’ beam. I paddle it with my eleven year old daughter, and she can put down her paddle (which she often does-smile) to take in the scenery, and it’s so well balanced that paddling it alone from the back with a passenger aboard is no problem. Three hatches allow you to pack everything and the kitchen sink.

It’s a bit of overkill at the local lake, but maneuvers quite well through narrow channels despite its size. We just returned from the Cape, and had a blast threading it through the marsh channels then out into the open bays, where we’d go hunting boat wakes. One of the best purchases I’ve made.

A Big Folder
I just bought an 18’ Pouch RZ96 folding tandem kayak. Came with an excellent sprayskirt/deck combo. Wood frame, PVC hull, canvas deck, lifelines, bungies, two hatches. Very stout boat. Some pictures here: http://foldingkayaks.org/gallery/album35

Bought it from Ralph Hoehn at http://www.pouchboats.com

Chicagoland Canoe and Kayak Base has, I think, some Klepper doubles used for sale if you telephone them and ask the price. Also, a few months ago, they had an older Folbot Super for sale for $300.00. The older gentleman there has some knowledge about folders.

How about a winter project for you and your son…build a sng tandem. I am thinking about building this one for my wife and I.

Then, you will have a 60 lb fiberglass tandem at the price of a 100+ lb. plastic tandem.


Eric Schade designs wonderful boats. And…his kits are great to work with.



138Tandem discontinued?
We bought and returned a 138T years ago as it was just too uncomfortable and too short paddlewise for 2 people - better choices if you like “Old Town” kayaks would be the 15 or 160 Loon instead.

Perception Tandems
My wife and I have enjoyed spending time in the Acadia II and the Sundance II. We paddle mostly on calm ocean days in Long Island Sound. The Acadia is a little wider and has a rear bulkhead and hatch that is nice to have. Judging by reviews on this site, the Wilderness Palmico gets some good credit in the recreational tandem category.

Whatever tandem you choose, I’d recommend the wheel cart that balances in the middle, opposed to the one that fits over one tip of the kayak. These things are heavy.

My wife and I enjoy the WS
Pamlico 135T.

Good luck.

WS Pamlico 135T
Another positive vote for the Wilderness System Pamlico 135T. It’s a bit on the heavy side (but no more than other boats it’s size) but I can still manage to cartop it by myself without too much trouble. Good, comfortable seats (the front one slides back to paddle solo) and a roomy cockpit. I mainly use it to take my 5 year old daughter out on short (2 hours or so) outings on calm waters. Even with just 1 paddler it maneuvers well and, despite having a relatively flat bottom, it tracks well. Check out my review (and several others) for this model in the Product Reviews section of this site.

Necky Manitou II

– Last Updated: Aug-25-06 3:48 PM EST –

Just got into kayaking this summer, and after much research, purchased the Necky Manitou II. This kayak should fit you without a problem. It also comes with a removable "childs seat" (with small dry storage port inside it) that lets you take alang another child. In fact, I sit in the rear cockpit (yes, this tandem has TWO seperate cockpits, which I really like) along with my 8 year old daughter in the child seat, and my wife sits in the front cockpit and she has room to put my 4 year old son between her legs so we all enjoy the sport. I got the rudder with mine and it makes manueverability a breeze even when loaded as we do. You can get it without the rudder if you choose to. It is a hybrid rec boat/ sea touring boat and can be paddled solo by sitting in the rear cockpit and sliding your seat forward. It is new to the market this year, so not alot of info out there yet, but it is built from Necky's well known and respected Manitou series heritage. Give 'em a look as you narrow your search, I think you'll like it.

As noted above, the OT Loon 138 tandem has been discontinued. But there are still some to be seen out on the water. Look for them in the ads. As you note, the large open cockpit can be paddled single or tandem. Since you you already have a loon 138, you know what your getting. I have the OT Loon 160T. Its big and heavy, but holds Me at 250#, my wife and two little boys.

The Wilderness System Pamlico series of tandems look nice. I paddled the 145T once with my boy in front. It worked fine. I believe they really are lighter in weight than the Loons.

The FG sea touring dual cockpit tandems are appealing, but can’t be paddled solo. Of course you could keep the Loon and get a second kayak, a tandem.


WS 145T
We love ours…Handles well and glides forever. When my wife is tired I paddle us all the way back. Works great as a solo and I fly fish from it. Get a rudder no matter what brand you buy

Another 145T
We, too, have a 145T. It serves us well. Pretty stable. Lots of room. And it does seem to glide forever.

I’ll second the Stitch n glue idea
When you’re talking about boats that big, they’re going to be insanely heavy, even in regular old fiberglass. Stich and glue are easy, reasonably priced, fun to build, sturdy, beautiful, and a lot lighter than plastic

Thanks for all the tips, I will check out some of the boats. I mosly do lakes and calm rivers. I didn’t think of going any bigger than 16 feet. Because the rivers I paddle are too twisty for something that big when I paddle solo. I even want to add a solo kayak less than 13 feet at some point.

And yes, while I’d love to build a kayak (i’ve been reading about it for years.) I just don’t have the hours to devote to it. I have too many other projects in line ahead of it. and I’m not sure about a wood kayak in the rivers I paddle, we are quite often scraping alot of rocks.


Try the Loon 160T
I own one, and often paddle it solo with no trouble.

Someone of your size should find it quite comfortable. Both seats are full size, and slide along rails to balance your weight.

It paddles much like the Loon 138T, although it takes more effort to turn.

Topping out over 75 lbs, you’ll need a kayak cart to transport it to the water.

Check local liveries for rentals.