Tandem recommendations?

My wife and I live at a lake house and have grandchildren. Were interested in a canoe or kayak to take the children out with us. What would you suggest? One thought we have is would it be wiser to have an inflatable or non-inflatable kayak? We do not plan on taking it anywhere with us, just at the lake where we live. We have room to store something quite long.

Need more info for proper responses
-How many grandchildren ?

-what ages ?

-Your profile says you paddle a kayak.

-Did you rent it or have your own?

  • Is/was it a sit in or sit on?

    -would you call yourself a beginner/novice or intermediate paddler?

    -Have you ever paddled a canoe?

    Jack L

It sounds like
a big aluminum canoe would make a lot of sense. They’re wide, stable, good for flat water and don’t require any special care or storage. They’re also generally easy to find and cheap. They do get hot in the summer and their weight makes them harder to transport, but in your case it doesn’t sound like that matters much.

Will it be docked in the summertime
or taken out of the water each time.

A large enough kayak is really heavy. I laugh all the time on my lake. People take full sea kayaks with decks simply cause they are comfortable double blading and have the impression single is too hard.

Would you need a deck? SOT’s are a possiblity but are really also heavy.

I live on a lake and some people leave their canoes docked with bumpers to protect them. Some drag them up out of the water. Weight does count if you want to use it most days. I cant imagine an blowing up and inflatable every day… We do that with towed tubes enough… a couple of times a month. PITA

Look at Hobie Odyssey

It’s a good sit on top kayak for families. You can paddle it solo moving the seat to the center position. You can also have small child sit in center position with two adults in normal position. It’s fairly fast paddler for a SOT tandem, and very well made and durable.

Works great for fishing.

This was my first kayak I bought it used and sold it for more than I paid for it.

After owning a canoe and many many kayaks, I think a tandem SOT is much safer and more practical for paddling with small kids. You can put everyone in a canoe but a capsize is not easy to deal with small children. With an SOT you just flip it back over climb on and off you go in about 20 seconds.

Even though I’ve got lots more kayaks than canoes a canoe is a great boat to teach about the water and it’s use. While a big aluminum canoe is hard to hurt it’s also not a boat the grand kids will learn to love. A nice glass canoe would be the ideal, a 17 or 18 footer will take the two of you and a couple kids easily.

Bill H.

Tandem kayak
I would prefer trying a kayak. I have five grandchildren but have no intention to put them all on the kayak at any given time. Thinking of one in the middle at any given time. All are under the age of five. Thank you for the insight.

Tandem kayak
I was thinking of mounting it on the seawall so that there’s not a lot of taking in and out other than for the winter.

Glass canoe?
Where would I find a glass canoe? I found a Hobie dealer for kayaks in Omaha so thanks everyone for the advice.

Novice here
We have moved to the lake in the last six months and still consider ourselves novices. We don’t want to do anything too advanced but don’t want to go to cheap either .

After looking at your responses;
If it will only be used in the summer and the water is not to cold, I suggest that you take a look at a good size tandem sit on top plastic kayak.

Not a Hobie, with the pedals,(not good in the shallows) and not an el cheapo from the big box stores.

Our grand children loved ours playing on it in our front yard river.

They can jump on and off it with ease, and at the same time learn all the basic strokes.

Get plastic, since it can take a beating.

Jack L

I was thinking a plastic tandem would last longer than an inflatable. Good advice on the pedal. We do have shallows.

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL
The Malibu 2XL is a sit on top that is often found in rental fleets because it can be set up with 1, 2, or 3 seats (tight space when 3 seater - 3rd seat would be best for little one). Might be worth considering.

glass canoe
Ok, wanna be silly, FIBERGLASS.

Bill H.

The ideal would be a wood/canvas canoe, and yeah they are expensive and require some upkeep. But nothing feels nor smells the same, kids respond to smell much more than most adults.

I can still remember the old wood rowboats my parents would put me in while at the lakes in Canada because of the smells, and that was 60 years ago.

Bill H.

Go with the
Perception Tribe 13.5.

Thanks everyone!
Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I will use this as I begin my research.

You could paddle a Malibu II XL with little kids fore and aft but once you add another adult and you want kids along it’s either a canoe or a little SOT like an Ocean Kayak Banzai to tow. It’s very easy to tow a little kayak.


If you want a nice paddling tandem for two adults and want to pile kids in consider something like a Wenonah Kingfisher and a Bonzai to tow.

Hobie Oddysey does not have pedals.