woman kayaking in inflatable tandem kayak on lake

TOP 10 Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks 2020 (Complete Guide & Reviews)

Kayaking for two can be the most fun you’ll ever have on the water, but as well as having a good relationship with your potential paddling partner, you’ll also need a quality craft.

And while there are some excellent hard shell tandem yaks out there, for ultimate freedom and portability, you should look into an inflatable version.

Check out this review of the best 2-person inflatable kayaks in 2020, and find the best vessel for your next adventure.

A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.

They say that two’s company – and it will need to be when it comes to tandem kayaking.

TOP 10 Best Inflatable Two-Person Kayaks 2020

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak Series

Review: Intex are known for making a range of popular inflatables and blow-up products to make life more fun and comfortable, and they add some excellent, budget-friendly kayaks to that portfolio.

This is the Challenger series, that is available in one and two-person sizes, and is ideal as an entry-level yak for light recreational use.

With a 400 lbs maximum weight limit, it’s made from a super tough, rugged vinyl that is puncture-resistant, and has been UV treated to protect it from sun damage.

The streamline design makes for easy paddling, while two separate air chambers ensure you can get back to shore if you do experience a problem.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Paddles and pump included.
  • Removable skeg for tracking.
  • Grab lines and cargo net.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • Not great for taller paddlers.
  • Repair kit and pump aren’t the best.

Takeaway

You might not be able to ride the rapids with this budget tandem kayak from Intex, but it’s a great option for calm lakes and rivers.

You get what you pay for, and this is ideal for anyone looking to try kayaking without breaking the bank.

Take a look at more of the best kayaks for lakes if that’s what you’re in the market for.

Intex Explorer 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Review: Next up is another Intex tandem kayak, this one designed to be a bit more heavy-duty than the Challenger series.

The Explorer K2 can take a maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs, and is a roomy, comfortable, sit-on-top yak with inflatable seats and backrests.

NMMA certified (as all good watercraft should be), it has grab lines at both ends, three separate air chambers in the unlikely event of a puncture, an inflatable I-beam floor that improves rigidity, and a Boston valve for easy inflation/deflation.

Ideal for mild rivers and lakes, the bright livery adds to the safety features, and a patch repair kit is included should it be required.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Paddles, pump, and carry bag included.
  • Removable skeg.
  • Easy to inflate.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • The seating might be too low for some.
  • Not the best tracking.

Takeaway

A step up in quality and price from the Challenger, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this more durable tandem yak that’s still budget-friendly.

I think the Intex yaks are better suited for children and young adults, and you can check out this article for more of the best kayaks for kids.

Blue Wave Sports Nomad 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Review: The Nomad is a 2-person kayak from Blue Wave Sports designed for use on water with a little more pep than a calm river or lake.

With a weight capacity of 374 lbs, it’s been made with 24-gauge PVC with a reinforced construction and anti-leak, high-frequency welding.

Opting to use fabric seats as opposed to inflatable versions, they are fully adjustable and removable, as are the foot rests for paddlers of all sizes.

With three air chambers, you’re protected if one does give out, and the I-beam floor provides additional stability and support. An oversized pressure valve ensures fast inflating and deflating, while dual-directional bottom fins provide additional control when on the water.

Pros

  • Bow and stern storage section.
  • Paddles, pump and carry bag included.
  • Two skegs.
  • Comfort seats.

Cons

  • The pump isn’t very good.
  • Maximum weight capacity is low for a tandem yak.

Takeaway

A durable, well-designed, inflatable sports kayak that is highly portable, easy-to-use, and comfortable to sit on. Top tip – it’s highly recommended you purchase a better pump – especially if you’re keen on frequent inflatable kayaking.

Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe Inflatable Sport Kayak

Review: As a by-word for excellence in inflatable craft, Sea Eagle manufactures some of the best in the world. The 370 Deluxe is actually designed for use with up to three people, with a 650 lbs maximum weight capacity, and capable of handling class III whitewater.

The open and close drain-valve is very useful should you take on water (which you will), and two skegs on the hull provide improved tracking. Made from super-tough PVC with high-frequency welded seams, the kayak itself weighs just 32 lbs, so you’ll have no problem getting it to and from the water.

Five, one-way valves make inflating a breeze, and you will be up and running in just six minutes.

Pros

  • Name to trust in inflatables.
  • Rugged, durable design.
  • Five-tube I-beam floor.
  • Everything included.

Cons

  • Reports that the seats are not the most comfortable.

Takeaway

Easily one of the best 2-person inflatable kayaks for whitewater, take this out on a class III river for the ultimate adrenaline rush. And with the high weight capacity and rugged construction, it’s also one of the best kayaks for dogs, too.

Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak

Review: Let’s stay on the subject of quality sports kayaks with this offering by Solstice. Made from a super-tough 22 gauge K-80 PVC, with a PU coated 840 Denier nylon oxford fabric top cover, the Durango is designed for a variety of recreational situations, and is durable enough for whitewater.

Fully adjustable, removable, nylon seating allows it to be converted to a single-person yak, and the 440 lbs weight capacity means you can add plenty of gear or a four-legged friend to the expedition.

High-pressure bottom valves ensure fast inflation and deflation, while heavy-duty D-rings are included for securing your gear.

Additional storage webbing is to be found bow and stern, and the two, soft handles make it easy to carry the craft to and from the shore.

Pros

  • Durable construction.
  • I-beam flooring.
  • Two, detachable skegs.
  • Carry bag and repair kit included.
  • Versatile use.

Cons

  • No grab lines.
  • Only one drain hole.
  • Paddles sold separately.

Takeaway

A couple of extra additions would have made this a great whitewater kayak, but as it stands it’s a quality inflatable that is able to handle a variety of water conditions and is versatile enough for you to adapt to suit your needs.

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

Review: Here we have the first of our tandem kayaks that are also designed for fishing, with another entry from Intex.

The Excursion Pro is made from a tough and durable PVC with polyester core, constructed to be lightweight and yet highly resistant to wear and tear and UV rays.

As well as having all the usual refinements for a 2-person yak, it also features two integrated recessed fishing rod holders, and a removable, adjustable mounting bracket for adding extra gear like on-board GPS and perhaps one of these excellent kayak fish finders.

The weight capacity is 400 lbs, and there’s plenty of space to carry your tackle and other equipment, with storage space in the bow and stern.

Pros

  • Packed with great features.
  • Super tough construction.
  • Two removable skegs.
  • Stainless steel D-rings.
  • Integrated drain plug.
  • Paddles, pump, and carry bag included.

Cons

  • Not built for speed or maneuverability.

Takeaway

Never too far away from a review on the best tandem fishing kayaks, this is a quality, durable yak from Intex that is a huge step up from their budget options, while still being very affordable considering what you get in the kit.

BIC Sport Kalyma Inflatable Kayak

Review: Designed for use at the beach, on lakes, open sea, and rivers, the BIC Sport Kalyma is a bright, colorful, versatile craft that simply looks loads of fun.

Made from durable materials, the kayak can inflate inside 10 minutes, so you can get out on the water in no time. With removable, fully adjustable seats that can be arranged to suit one or two paddlers, you can be sure of maximum comfort with minimum fuss.

The triple section independent inflation system is there to protect users just in case you do run into difficulty, and a stern, watertight compartment with dry bag is perfect for storing extra gear and equipment.

Check this article for more awesome lightweight kayaks for the ultimate in portable craft.

Pros

  • Attractive, eye-catching design.
  • Versatile use.
  • Bow storage bungee.
  • Removable fin and guiding skeg.
  • Auto-empty system for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Pump and repair kit included.

Cons

  • On the small side – not really suitable for larger users.
  • Paddles sold separately.

Takeaway

BIC has packed this little yak with plenty of features for two people to have a riot on the water. It’s fun, it’s funky, and it’s suitable for all the family. Just so long as you’re not too tall, that is.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Review: Like the Intex Excursion Pro, you’ll regularly see this Sevylor Coleman kayak gracing the web pages of fishing kayak reviews.

That’s probably because it’s absolutely rammed with useful, practical fishy features to ensure you have a successful day hunting aquatic life.

Made with rugged 18-gauge PVC and NMMA certified, it offers complete peace of mind when it comes to protection from punctures. The airtight system is guaranteed not to leak, and multiple air chambers will keep the craft afloat even if you are skewered by a rogue branch.

Berkley quick-set rod holders keep fisher people happy, and you can even add a trolling motor if you’re feeling particularly lazy.

Pros

  • Quality, durable construction.
  • Paddle holders.
  • Mesh pockets and plenty of D-rings.
  • Adjustable seating.
  • Plenty of scope for modifications.

Cons

  • Hardware might get in the way.
  • If you’re not fishing – look elsewhere.

Takeaway

Designed purely with fishing in mind, this is a quality tandem kayak for keen anglers everywhere, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to pimping this ride with mods.

Just don’t forget to wear one of these practical and potentially life-saving fishing PFDs while you’re out there.

Saturn Ocean Kayak

Review: This is the 2020 model of the Saturn, 14ft ocean kayak that is a cut above in quality and premium materials when it comes to inflatables.

So much so that it regularly sells out, so you need to get in fast if you want to procure one of these top-quality crafts. With a very high weight capacity of 900 lbs, this beast is meant to tackle open water with ease, with three air chambers and a drop-stitch floor for added rigidity and puncture protection.

The self-bailing floor allows the vessel to be used comfortably in multiple conditions, while directional fins provide greater stability and tracking through the water.

From bow to stern, this smacks of quality, and is easily one of the finest 2 person inflatable kayaks available.

Pros

  • Premium materials and construction.
  • Improved design on previous models.
  • Super-thick floor and high Psi pressure.
  • Heavy-duty D-rings.
  • Comfortable, adjustable seating.
  • Ideal for ocean use.

Cons

  • It’s probably already sold out by the time you’re reading this.
  • Not recommended for heavy whitewater.

Takeaway

It’s almost impossible to find fault with this offering from Saturn. It’s built like a tank using the very best materials and craftsmanship, and is packed full of practical features for safety and comfort. Good luck getting your hands on one, though.

Advanced Elements StraightEdge 2 Person Kayak

Review: It might be hard to follow the Saturn, but if anyone can do it, it’s going to be Advanced Elements. Probably the premium manufacturer or inflatable kayaks in the world, as they say, this is the “evolution of inflatables.”

Incorporating a bow and stern aluminum frame for stability, these yaks have all the advantages of inflatable portability, with the performance and tracking of a hard shell.

In the absence of the sit-in versions (at the time of writing it has sold out) I’m including the sit-on-top option, which is every bit as good, and designed for use in multiple conditions.

Check this article for more kayaks suitable for rivers if you’re planning on exploring far-reaching waterways.

Pros

  • World leaders with inflatable kayaks.
  • Premium-quality materials.
  • Self bailing and closed ports.
  • Comfortable, folding seats.
  • Large weight capacity (500 lbs).

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

If you’re really looking for the best possible hybrid between a hard shell and an inflatable, then it’s got to be an Advanced Elements product. This is yet another top-drawer kayak from their impression range.

How to Choose the Best Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Below, you’ll find a helpful buyer’s guide that covers a selection of important points to consider before purchasing your inflatable tandem kayak.

Keep an eye out for the FAQ section for additional tips.

woman kayaking in inflatable tandem kayak on lake

Inflatable vs Hard Shell

The debate rages on, and the battle between inflatable kayaks and hard shells looks set to continue. So much so, that an entire article could be written about the merits of each.

And in fact, that’s already been done, so, if you’re still scratching your head and mulling over which type to choose, I would suggest reading the inflatable kayak vs hard shell for a more in-depth look at this conundrum.

Briefly, inflatable kayaks can’t be beaten for storage and portability, whereas comparable hard shells can’t be beaten on performance.

Kayak Use

Before selecting a kayak, inflatable or otherwise, it’s important you ascertain what you’re going to be using it for.

This will be very helpful in narrowing down your selection and helping you settle on the right one for your needs.

Where are you going to be kayaking? Are you looking at lazy rivers, still lakes, or other sleepy waterways?

Perhaps you’re more of a thrill-seeker, and you’re looking at whitewater rapids to get your adrenaline fix?

What about for use at the beach? Or on open water in a sea or ocean?

And don’t forget about fishing or hunting kayak excursions – as choosing the right mode of transport for your tackle and gear will make all the difference.

Be careful you select a kayak that is going to stand up to and be suitable for the reason you’re purchasing it in the first place.

In my experience, many bad reviews are a result of people using a kayak in a way that it was never designed for.

Materials

To allay any fears you might have that an inflatable kayak is simply going to “pop” if it comes into contact with anything sharp, here’s a closer look at what they’re actually made from.

  • Polyvinyl chloride is the most common material found in the design and manufacture of inflatable kayaks, given that it’s relatively cheap, durable, and can be bonded with other materials for extra strength and puncture-resistance. More widely known as PVC or vinyl, the quality of this material will vary from kayak to kayak. Of course, the stronger and more durable is it, the more likely the price will increase. It is also susceptible to UV damage, and needs to be treated accordingly.
  • Nitrylon is a step up from PVC, and is the marriage of synthetic rubber bonded with natural rubber and polyester fabric. As well as being superior to PVC in its abrasion and puncture resistance, it’s also far more eco-friendly, which has led to many companies making the switch.
  • Hypalon is the most expensive of the three, and is usually reserved for higher-end craft. Favored by the US military and coast guard, it’s much heavier, but far more durable than any other inflatable boat material.

To keep prices down but quality high, you might find that many companies use a combination of the above materials, perhaps as an exterior coating to improve durability.

Look out for the denier number when researching each material. This is the unit of measurement used to determine the thickness of the fabric threads or weave. The higher this number, the thicker and more durable the material will be.

Either way, rest assured that these craft are not like the rubber dinghy you sank in a pool with when you were a kid.

They’re also designed with multiple air chambers, so even if you are unlucky enough to get a puncture, you can easily make it back to shore in an emergency.

For more information, check out this article on the best inflatable kayaks.

person with a green inflatable kayak in the lake

Size and Weight Capacity

Kayaks, like people, come in all shapes and sizes.

They also have a variety of maximum weight capacities, depending on how many people the craft is designed to safely contain.

Tandem kayaks have higher weight limits because they obviously need to take more people. Usually, you’ll find a minimum of between 375-400 lbs, but some can be as much as 900 lbs.

However, if you’re keen to go out solo, on a fishing adventure, or even with a large pet, then a tandem kayak might be worth your consideration as it will be able to hold more gear, equipment, and furry friends.

Never attempt to get close to the maximum weight capacity. You should always aim to be comfortably within the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Also, take into considering the size of the kayak – and the size of its potential users.

There are models out there suitable for everyone, but it’s often tricky to find an inflatable kayak for larger humans. At least, so they can be comfortable using it.

Make sure you take that into consideration, read the reviews from folks of different heights and weights, and make an informed choice based on the needs of the person who will be paddling.

Seating

Size and weight leads us nicely onto seating – which can be another challenging consideration when it comes to inflatable kayaks.

The seating in an inflatable kayak will either be inflatable itself, or it will be made from another material such as nylon, and be a plush, padded cushion.

Either way, the seat should be as adjustable as possible – and most of them are. For extra versatility, look out for kayaks that have removable seats – and you can switch them out for something more comfortable if you’re not happy with what the yak comes with.

Top tip – you know the comfort seating you sit on to watch the big game on those cold, hard bleachers? They can be an ideal replacement to poor quality yak seats if you choose the right fit.

Tracking and Speed

You’ll notice that many of these kayaks come with removable skegs or fins on the underside of the boat.

A skeg is designed to improve tracking in the water – that is to keep the craft heading in a straight direction, providing you’re using a competent paddle technique.

However, they can be a bit of a headache, as removable skegs can be lost easily, and you can’t adjust them once you’re out on the water anyway.

It’s recommended that you only use skegs in deeper water for distance paddling – such as touring excursions on still lakes and rivers.

Remove the skeg for whitewater adventures, or if you think you’ll be paddling in the shallows, or anywhere you might need sharper turns.

And when it comes to speed, you’ll find that tandem kayaks aren’t exactly the Usain Bolts of the yak world.

But if you’re looking for something with a bit more pep in the step, keep an eye out for longer, more streamlined kayaks – especially those with a V-shaped hull.

person standing on inflatable tandem kayak in middle of lake

Accessories and Extra Features

As well as the ability to take you safely out onto the water – which is their primary role – inflatable kayaks can come with all kinds of additional features and accessories.

Some of these will be very useful while others might be superfluous. It really all depends on what you’re using the craft for.

Look out for bungee cord webbing and storage areas if you need somewhere to keep extra gear, clothing, or equipment on longer trips.

D-rings are very useful for securing your belongings to, like one of these practical dry bags to ensure your stuff doesn’t get wet.

Fishing rod holders, mounting bars, trolling capabilities, and other angler-friendly features might tempt the keen fisherperson.

Grab lines are important if you’re concerned about safety – as they make it much easier to get back on board should you fall out. Look out for brightly colored yaks as they’re easier to see if you or your party gets into difficulty.

And check to see if the kit comes with everything included. Some inflatable kayaks will include paddles, a pump, and a carry bag. The quality of all three can vary significantly, so don’t expect a professional standard across the board.

Cost

Inflatable kayaks have the advantage of being cheaper than hard shells – all things being equal, of course.

But the higher-end models can still set you back a fair bit of coin.

Providing you stick to your budget, and don’t purchase anything that’s surplus to your requirements, you shouldn’t ever need to overspend, while obtaining the yak that’s right for you.

The best inflatable tandem kayak in 2020 isn’t going to come cheap, though, especially if you want it to last for many adventures to come.

inflatable whitewater kayak on a shore of a mountain river

FAQs

What are tandem kayaks?

The word tandem comes from Latin, which means “at length.”

In this context, tandem kayaks are longer craft designed to sit two, or sometimes more people.

They can also be used solo, if you prefer having more room to spread out, for extra storage space, or to carry children or pets.

Do inflatable kayaks pop easily?

No, they do not. Providing, of course, that you purchase a good quality inflatable kayak – such as the examples I’ve included in the review above.

They are designed to be puncture-resistant and can often withstand more damage than a hard shell, as they will bounce off rocks without a scratch, rather than smashing into them.

Check out this entertaining video below if you don’t believe me. While it features one of the Sea Eagle products, this could easily be done with any of the comparable, higher-end yaks in this review.

What is the best two person inflatable kayak?

A subjective question if ever there was one. It depends on your personal needs, what you’re looking to use it for and where.

The best two-person fishing kayak can’t really be compared to the best two-person whitewater kayak, for example.

Read the above reviews, do your research online well, and make your own informed decision. And then let me know in the comments which product you think it is.

Can one person use a 2 person inflatable kayak?

Yes, they can. In fact, just because a kayak is marketed as a two-person craft, doesn’t mean to say that’s what it’s been specifically designed for.

Tandem kayaks can be incredibly useful and practical for larger users, kayaking with children and/or pets, if you need more space for equipment and gear, or if you simply prefer more room to spread out.

However, you need to get the balance and technique right, as you will struggle if you simply sit at the very stern of the craft without a second paddler. Your bow will most probably raise out of the water.

Look out for kayaks with removable seats that can adjust to any configuration, and you’ll be able to make it comfortable for a solo kayaker with ease.

How long is a 2 person kayak?

It depends on the kayak.

Two-person kayaks come in a variety of lengths, but on average, you’ll find that they’re somewhere between 10-14 feet long.

Longer versions are available, particularly if you’re looking for a three or more person craft. The size you choose depends on your needs and preferences.

Are inflatable kayaks safe?

Yes, they are.

As previously mentioned, inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years, and just because they’re filled with air, they shouldn’t be confused with a cheap pool lilo or a beach ball.

The materials used in inflatable kayak construction are cutting edge, and if they’re good enough for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the US coast guard and military, then they’re good enough for the rest of us.

Are tandem kayaks safe?

Yes. See above question, with the added caveat that your main concern in using a tandem kayak is that you don’t get close to its maximum weight capacity – and certainly don’t exceed it.

The same can be said for any watercraft, but just make sure you’re not overloading the yak as you might run into some problems.

Having said that, tandem kayaks are designed to hold a lot of weight, so unless you’re going overboard, you should never come close to the weight limit.

Otherwise, you are likely to literally go overboard.

How do you transport and use an inflatable kayak?

Perhaps the inflatable kayak’s greatest advantage is in its superior portability.

No need for roof racks or trailers, just bag it up, throw it in the trunk, and away you go.

Some inflatable kayaks come with a backpack-style bag for extra freedom to roam far from the usual landing jetties, boat slips, and put-ins.

But while the principle might be the same, each kayak will likely have a slightly different inflation technique, especially more advanced yaks with an additional aluminum framework.

Luckily, manufacturers provide clear inflation instructions, but if you’re still struggling, you’ll find a guide video on how to inflate a kayak somewhere on the internet.

Simply search for your make and model for more information.

How do you dry and store an inflatable kayak?

It’s important that you keep your inflatable kayak well maintained and in good condition, to ensure it gives you many years of good performance and lasts as long as it should.

This includes ensuring you clean, dry, and store your kayak in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Failing to do so will result in poor longevity, early damage, possibly UV fading, punctures, scuffs, scratches, and potentially some funky smells.

And you certainly don’t want anything living in it.

Watch the video below as a guide to drying, cleaning, and storing your inflatable kayak. Although with reference to an Advanced Elements craft, the same techniques can be applied to your model.

Summary

Kayaking is one of the most fun activities you can do outdoors.

We humans will always have a pull towards the water, and exploring seas, rivers, lakes, inlets and coves from the cockpit of a yak is an ideal way to enjoy it.

And it’s even better with two.

I hope this review and guide has helped you source the best 2-person inflatable kayak for your needs, or at least gone some way in encouraging you to take up the pastime in the future.

Let me know which craft you would choose and why.

Happy tandem kayaking!