Tandems vs Solo: What’s realistically best for you?

One of the most common discussions we have with couples, families and friends is whether or not a tandem kayak will work best for them or two solo boats. Considerations include storage, how well you get on with the person you’ll be paddling with, how often (if ever) you plan on going paddling alone, your budget, ability and whether or not you have a sense of humor. So lets go through the pro’s and cons of each.



There are many positives about buying a tandem kayak, with the one that many people focus on being the price. While a tandem kayak is more expensive than a single of the same style, it is most definitely cheaper than buying two single kayaks. For instance a Wave Sport Horizon comes in at £899.00 while Perception Expression 11’s retail at £650 each.

One of the more pleasant benefits of paddling in a tandem is that a lot of people do really enjoy the company of who they are paddling with. It is really very pleasant being able to go for a paddle with your pals or other half, especially if you both have a good sense of humor and are up for a laugh. The other benefit of paddling with another person is that if one of you starts to get tired, the other can still drive the boat forward while you rest. Tandems are particularly good for taking out kids as it’s easy to control where both of you go and you’ll be able to go further than if you were in singles, just be prepared to get a bit splashed in the back seat.


There are a handful of considerations that you should think about before opting for a tandem kayak. For starters, what are you going to do on the occasion you want to go for a paddle but your buddy just isn’t quite as keen? While boats such as the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T have a front seat that can be adjusted to the middle of the boat for a more optimal solo paddling position, most tandem boats only really work well as tandems. Even when sat in the middle of the boats, tandems don’t paddle fantastically solo.

Another consideration is weight. Tandems are heavier than solo boats by quite a bit and as such makes loading on and off your roof quite a bit more challenging if you are on your own.

One last thing to think about is are you and your planned paddling buddy known to bicker? If so, two solo boats might be a better option? Disagreeing on where to go, if there’s any little streams you want to nose up, trying to turn the boat and the inevitable splashing can all add up.



Freedom. When your in your own boat you can just about go wherever you want, whenever you want. Fancy a quick paddle in the evening? If you have a solo boat you don’t need to call around to see if there’s anyone else who wants to join you. Its much easier to pop the boat on the roof and go.

Another point to consider is storage. While two single recreational kayaks will take up more overall space than a tandem, the tandem will almost certainly be longer and could restrict you as such. Systems such as the Eckla Kayak Hanger make storing two kayaks on a wall very easy.


Taking out the kids is definitely a consideration. Depending on your child’s age and ability you may be far happier having them in the boat with you and for many this is a bit too much of a squeeze in a single kayak. Also if the person you plan on paddling with is likely to get tired before you do then a tandem will mean you’ll be able to get further in the day.

In summary there are many benefits to opting for either a solo or tandem kayak, with it really depending on your circumstances and how much time you plan to spend on the water and with whom. As always, if you would like anymore information just give us a call or pop in for a chat.


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