Tandem Kayak??

Hi, I used to do a lot of kayaking as a teenager but have only done it a couple of times in the last few years, I am wanting to buy a kayak (probably tandem) so my 10 year old can come along - it will be mainly used in quiet bays and lakes

I’m 5foot1" and about 200lb so size of the cockpit is an importance and the movable foot rests would come in handy

I’m after something easy to manoeuvre and possibly that can be changed into a solo unit as my son won’t always be with me, lots of storage not to important but something light enough that we can get it on the top of the car is more so

I’ve selfishly had my eye on a used perception arcadia that is for sale locally (we will probably be getting a used one as opposed to new)

So just wanting some suggestions really

Get two
your son is old enough to paddle his own boat, and both of you will enjoy it more in your own boats. A tandem can’t be paddled solo very efficiently, and the ones that do okay as solos are small and cramped for two. Might work for you and your ten year old son, but by the time he’s twelve it won’t work so well. Get him a boat that fits him, and you a boat that fits you.

Ten year old is a good age
for own boat. Probably a little old. He should have had his own boat by now, but that sounds harsh.

Paddling tandem with him could be incredibly difficult. You will have to paddle in perfect synchrony with the same forward stroke. Otherwise you will bash paddles and perhaps heads. Tandem rec canoes are designed for an adult and a dog or an adult and a toddler. An adult and something that does not paddle. Dont you want your son to paddle?

You need your own boat. He needs his own boat.

And when he is 12 and taller than you?

1 boat for now?
I’m not to keen on getting 2 boats just yet - it might be a fleeting thing with my son having never been in a canoe or kayak himself, If he enjoys it then I will consider getting him his own boat,

tandem kayak
My wife and I bought a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T. Great boat for going out together in CALM to moderate water only. It has a huge cockpit and can fill up like a bathtub if you get into trouble. WARNING…get a rudder. It helps to control the boat when you are not in Synch…I paid $975 brand new with a rudder 10 years ago. Well worth the money. I also use it as single for fishing…move the front seat to the middle…works great…lots of room for gear.

Suggest a Necky Manutou II
It is a tandem that has a sliding rear seat so that it can be efficiently paddled solo. The Necky Manitou is one of the best performing, moderate-priced recreational kayaks.

you can never have enough boats. get 2 boats because :

your son might like it

your friend might like to join you

your partner might like it

your first boat gets banged up

one boat for speed and one for stability and one for…

i could go on and on

My experience

– Last Updated: Dec-17-09 9:49 AM EST –

My first kayak was a Keowee II, purchased with the thought that my daughter and I would use it. It was ok when the two of us were in it, but a lot of the time it was just me. I am 5'3" tall and found that with the seat in the center for solo paddling, the boat was way too wide and I sat way too low for it to be enjoyable. You're shorter than I am, so you'll have a tougher time. And plastic tandems are HEAVY. I might as well have been paddling a cinder block. Tandems are just not very conducive for enjoyable paddling by a short person. (But if you are determined to go that route, look for one of the narrower tandems, like the Pamlico 145T mentioned above.)

The very next year I purchased a solo.

I'd go for the Acadia and look for another boat for your son.

tandem vs 2
I’d strongly recommend buying 2 singles vs a tandem. I’ve got 5 kids, and have introduced them each to kayaks at about age 5. I’d suggest that the 2 best kid’s kayaks are the Perception Umiak (also sold as Carolina 12 XS) and the Piccolo. You can find these used for $200-$300. Another alternative is the Acadia Scout.

The key advantages of 2 kayaks are that 1) the kid stays much more interested–they have to be active, not passive 2) the kid actually learns to control the boat–my daughter, by age 8, could do a 2-3 mile paddle on open water with me, and was proficient at wet exits and deep water rescues (too small to rescue me, but great for herself). The disadvantage is that you must be extra vigilant and not allow any significant distance to open between you and the child–you are, of course, completely responsible, in all senses of that word, for his/her safety. In a double, the potential for separation is not an issue (unless you capsize).

I’ll also add that I’ve have been horrified, on multiple occasions, to see parents with kids in doubles, in open water, where the kid was not dressed properly for the water temps and was not wearing a PFD. If you’re in 2 singles and the kid capsizes, you can get them back in the boat quickly; in a double, if you go over, the child will be in the water longer, and they lose body heat much faster than you will.

another vote for 2 boats
My wife and I have paddled a tandem but prefer having our own boats. My youngest daughter started at 10yo and loves it. My oldest daughter was 15 and also enjoys it but not as much as the younger one. Everyone has there own boats and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Acadia II
Buy the boat and enjoy it while it fits the profile for the two of you. When that grows old, get your son a rec boat of his own.

The Acadia is a big ol’ mule. Its highly configurable, so you might keep it around for carrying a passenger, or your dog, or a little kid, or to carry the goods for a little kayak camping. The downsides are weight and handling.

So, it should make a good starting place for the coming fleet. Oh yeah, you will both want your own boats soon enough, but that doesn’t make your big ol’ mule less useful!

Favourite paddling partner
My favourite paddling partner is my son.

We use sea kayaks and a ww boat the very scatered time.

2 boats are better than one for a lot of good reasons.

Good luck you are going to love this sport.

You may want to join a kayak club in your area.

These clubs can track good deals on boats, instruction, trips etc.

Ours can be seen at www.kayakers.nf.ca


I would look for 2 used boats.

tow belt
I’d recommend that any parent always wear a tow belt when paddling with a kid in a separate boat. Essential safety equipment, and also a great convenience item if the kid is getting tired or frustrated.

2 boats
Save money and get em used. Paddling a tandem solo is like work, only less fun and no pay. If the kid doesn’t like it, you’ll have a “buddy boat” for friends. At your size paddling a tandem solo would suck bit time.

Or buy one for you and rent one for him to see if he likes it. That way, if he hates it, you’re not stuck paddling a barge.


Finally got my kayak, ended up getting a perception Carolina 14, used not a tandem

not been out on the water yet (still waiting for a few things to arrive spray deck etc)

Cant wait to get out on the water