Tandem Kayaks - Too many choices!!

I need your expertise paddlers!

I am buying my first kayak and I need your help choosing a tandem kayak for under $1,000. My main concerns are price, storage within the kayak, speed, and tracking. I want enough storage to be able to go on a weekend camping trip in the Florida Keys or central FL.

Here are my options so far:



I can get the Malibu Two XL used for $400 and was thinking about having hatches put in.




I plan on having two people on the kayak (including myself), plus a cooler, portable grill, and typical camping supplies (tent, sleeping bag, food, water, etc).

Which kayak is the best for all of this?

Do you have another kayak you think is better?

option? None of those.

– Last Updated: Sep-08-14 4:50 PM EST –

The best choice for what you are planning on hauling is a canoe. Coolers and portable grilles are not the kind of thing you haul on a kayak. They will upset the center of gravity and upset the boat. Besides, all those models are day trippers -- none is designed for cargo.

If you are really intending to bring that much bulky camping gear to the Everglades you seriously need to rethink this and start looking for a canoe instead.

In fact, we own both kayaks and canoes and when we were in the Everglades a couple of years ago, this is what we rented:


This boat tracks pretty well -- no tandem is going to be "fast" (especially laden the way you plan to go). We enjoyed the rental so much we bought one to use at home on shallow rivers, even for use on some class 1-2 whitewater.

Note that this canoe costs under $900 and has a much higher cargo rating (950 lbs). Also, it is narrow enough to paddle using double ended kayak paddles, which is what we used with ours, 230 cm in the bow and 240 cm in the stern. Much better for large camping loads than a kayak of any kind. We only paid $400 for ours, finding a used one on Craigslist. It came with a 30hp trolling motor -- an option you might want to consider (the Adventure canoe is designed to add a small motor to the stern.)

You can rent these at Glades Haven in Everglades City -- if you live in FL I suggest you try one out first.

has to be a joke
Somebody out trolling for fun?

probably not
Not everybody who posts on here is looking for high-end performance gear. A lot of people just want an entry level boat for poking around on the water. I doubt this is a troll.


– Last Updated: Sep-09-14 8:37 AM EST –


(the big one)

could you roll that?
a little beamy…

Agree with none, get a canoe . . .
. . . for the reasons stated by Willowleaf.

canoe in keys?
Florida Keys – that’s pretty big open water (unless just staying close to shore) – so is an open canoe even a good idea?

conventional canoe

– Last Updated: Sep-09-14 9:57 AM EST –

If you are intent on sticking with kayaks, you need to rethink your packing. Regular coolers and grilles and other bulky car camping gear are not compatible with overnight kayak touring, particularly in open water. You need to shift to lightweight gear like backpackers use. A compact propane camp stove can be stashed in a hatch. You can even buy small self contained disposable charcoal grilles if you insist on grilling. And you don't need ice on a camping trip if you choose your food and drink wisely (it all melts within a day in Florida even if you are using a cooler anyway). If you want to buy ice at campgrounds once you camp, bring a collapsible soft sided cooler you can stash in the kayak.

I was thinking
the same thing: make the gear selection subservient to the boat. I don’t know much about SOTs and their capacity – if the two humans are not especially heavy, it might help.

very stable

– Last Updated: Sep-09-14 10:21 PM EST –

with a good tandem hull design. Turning may present a problem. Rent one or two first.

Weather in the Keys is variable from windy to not windy. However this varies during the day. Now is good Keys weather, coolish, no tourists.

Lightweight tandem's were discussed a month or 2 ago. Mindblowing ! Not that I'm in the market, ere's one for 7500


Will the hull pass the Bridge Pillar Ram Test ?

Or Stern Drop From Van Roof Test ?

But interesting to ponder...