At Airkayaks, we get asked all the time – what two (2) person (tandem) inflatable kayak should we buy?
In this guide, we are going to segment the 2 person (tandem) inflatables to those that are 13 – 16 feet in length. The kayaks under this range will be discussed in another guide. The reason why is that most kayaks in the smaller size range are entry level oriented. There are less differences between models.
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In the 13 to 16 foot size range, the first thing to discuss is price. Most of these kayaks will be $899 to $1699 in price. We know that is a big range, and we will be detailing the differences for what you can expect at each end of the price spectrum.
In this range, there is a certain table-stakes level of features that you can expect, yet there are still a couple value options available. One thing you can expect: All of these kayaks will work great for a day at the lake, or a slow moving river.
Most models will offer these features
Dropstitch floor on top of a standard I-Beam Low Pressure Floor
Dropstitch (high pressure) floorupgraded seatsMultiple sets of carry handlesEnhanced tracking such as a removable fin / skeg, or like the AE models, a hydrodynamic hull design. (AdvancedFrame & StraitEdge models)
Look at these features to differentiate models in this range:
Carrying Capacity (AE1007E, Chelan, Blackfoot, and Deschutes SeriesQuick Dry Time (AirVolution, StraitEdge2, Chelan, Blackfoot, and Deschutes Series)Extra mounts (Chelan, Blackfoot)High Tech Construction (AirVolution)Ability to handle coastal and ocean paddling (AE1007E)Capability for 2+ paddlers, and on the other end excellent 1 person seating options. (Blackfoot 160 & Chelan 155 – 2+), (AirVolution, Chelan 140 & AE3027 StraitEdge2 – 1 person Conversions)
13-14 foot models will typically offer 40-50″ of room for the rear paddler. In most cases these are comfortable for two paddlers up to 6′ each, and if one paddler is shorter to 6′, then the other can be larger than 6′. These kayaks are excellent one paddler choices when the seat is set to the center position. See the Chelan 140 or AE3027 Straitedge2 Pro.
15-16 foot models are usually great 2 & 2 + paddler kayaks, with seating for 2 adults and a furry friend, or 2 adults and a youngster. We’ve even seen the Blackfoot 160 set up for 2 adults and 2 children.
Kelsey and Kyle Walter paddling near the north end of Lake Chelan, WA.
Take a shortcut to the end of the guide for a Comparison Chart with all models.
Lightest Weight Tandem Kayak
Deschutes 145. This kayak features a