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Tandem Kayak Vs. Single Kayak

What’s The Difference: Tandem Kayak Vs. Single Kayak

Kayaking is fun. But you know what makes it even better? A partner. When you go kayaking with a friend, it gets much more exciting.

But do you each get a single kayak or a double or tandem kayak? To answer that question, you need to know the difference: tandem kayak vs. single kayak.

First and foremost, the tandem kayak can sit two persons, whereas the single kayak, as its name suggests, sits for one. However, this extra seat means that the tandem kayak is heavier than its single counterpart.

And in the single kayak, you can paddle any way you want, whereas the tandem kayak requires you to synchronize with your partner.

Tandem kayaks have some other uses as well. Apart from kayaking with a partner, it allows beginners to take help from a guide to master the basics of kayaking.

A Quick Breakdown

While we’d like you to go through the entire article to help you make the best decision, we understand that you may not have enough time on your hands to read the entire article.

So, for those of you who are a bit short on time, here are the main differences between the two types of kayaks.

Tandem Kayak

Single Kayak

A bit heavy and more prominent in size, so challenging to carry

Lightweight and comparatively smaller, hence, more accessible to carry

A double-seated kayak

Can accommodate only one person

Requires synchronized teamwork from both partners

Relies entirely on one person’s kayaking ability

Relatively more challenging to control

Easier to steer and control

More stable than the typical single kayak

Features a relatively less broad build, hence less primary stability

While a bit heavier, it adds the paddling power of another person, so relatively faster

Lightweight but relies solely on one person’s paddling power, making it relatively slower

What’s The Difference: Tandem Kayak Vs. Single Kayak

We will discuss the following 3 points to understand the difference of tandem Kayak Vs. Single Kayak

  • Definition
  • Advantages
  • Drawbacks

Let's drive inside the article.

What Are Single Kayaks?

As you may have guessed from its name, the single kayak is the type of kayak that can accommodate only one person. Of course, there are different options, such as the sit-in, pedal, paddle, and kayak types.

On a single kayak, you can operate independently. You don’t have to wait for your partner to show up before you can start your journey.

And when we mean independence, you can choose where you want to go, or whenever you want to go. And, you don’t have to synchronize your paddling with anyone else and paddle at your own pace.

Advantages of Single Kayaks

Before deciding to invest in a single kayak, Let’s look at what they offer.

  • Easy to Transport
  • Accessible to Control
  • Less Expensive

Easy to Transport

Single kayaks tend to be lighter, thanks to their compact design. Because of their compact design and lightweight build, they are easy to carry.

You can easily fit it in the back of your truck or SUV. And even when carrying the kayak to the water by hand, you can carry it with ease.

Accessible to Control

You’ll have an easier time maneuvering a single kayak. They tend to have a more petite build so that they can make turns with more ease.

Furthermore, single kayaks don’t require as precise movements as their tandem counterparts. So you won’t have to put too much effort into making corrections.

Less Expensive

Getting a single kayak is better if you’re a bit tight on budget. Of course, some high-end single kayaks can cost you over a couple of thousand dollars.

However, the tandem kayak still sits over its single counterpart on the price spectrum.

Drawbacks of Single Kayaks

The single kayak isn’t an unmixed blessing as with all things on earth. It also has some drawbacks.

More Intimidating

The single kayak isn’t the best piece of equipment for training. While some can master the art of kayaking by just watching, not all of us are blessed. So, it can be challenging for novices to start in a single kayak.

Moreover, getting into the water alone can be scary if you’re not used to it.

You’re On Your Own

While it is freeing to paddle by yourself, you can’t rely on anyone but yourself. You name it: pedaling, steering- you have to do all that yourself.

What Are Tandem Kayaks?

A tandem kayak usually holds up to 2 people (sometimes 3) in one boat. So, they tend to be larger and heavier since they have to seat more than one person.

Like their single counterparts, the tandem kayak offers a few options, such as the sit-in, pedal, sit-on-top, and many more.

Advantages of Tandem Kayaks

Let’s look at what the tandem kayak offers.

More Fun

The tandem kayak turns the solo adventure into a collective experience. You can also share the responsibility evenly.

And if either of you gets tired, you can just recover while the other takes over.

Higher Storage Capacity

Depending on the design, the weight capacity of a tandem kayak can vary. But thanks to its larger build, it offers greater storage capacity.

Your standard tandem bike can usually carry the weight of two adults and their gears.

Better Learning Experience

Beginners prefer the tandem kayak over the single one because it allows them to paddle with a helpful partner who can help them learn more effectively.

Moreover, you don’t just have to assume the role of a watcher. Instead, you can learn while doing it.

Two In One

While the tandem kayak usually sits two people, some models come equipped with removable/adjustable seats. If you feel like going on a solo adventure, you can just take out the adjustable seat and start pedaling.

But if you get one that doesn’t offer this feature, don’t fret. You can add some weights to the front seat to balance the weight distribution and have the best of both worlds.

However, we highly recommend that you make sure you have the necessary skills to pull off this feat and always ensure safety.

Drawbacks of Tandem Kayaks

Unfortunately, the tandem kayak isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It also comes with some drawbacks.

Lack of Freedom

The first and foremost disadvantage is that it lacks the freedom that the single kayak can offer.

Moreover, if you can’t match your pedaling with your partner, chances are you’ll keep rotating in a single spot no matter how much you struggle. So, you always need to be aware of your partner’s movements, which can be a chore.

Comparatively Heavier

The tandem kayak is a two-person boat. So, naturally, it needs to be bigger and hence heavier.

So, it can be a hassle to carry it, both by hand and by truck. However, it’s well worth the trouble once you take it to the water.

   | You may reach to know: Want the Best Tandem Kayak?

Final Words

It would be best to choose whether you want a single or tandem kayak based on what you want to do. Experienced rowers usually develop a style of their own, whereas recreational kayakers enjoy the companionship of the tandem kayak.

Now that you thoroughly understand the difference: tandem kayak vs. a single kayak, you shouldn’t have much trouble choosing between the two. Happy kayaking!

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