A recent comment said:

For kayak I’d say “usually 1-2 person” as tandem kayaks are very common. 3 person kayaks are rare but not unheard of, example Pamlico 160T has a third mini-seat for a child.

When I am traveling on the local bike trails and rivers I about see the same number of tandem bikes as I do tandem kayaks. Maybe a few more tandem kayaks, but not enough that I would say they are usual.

On the other hand in the same area, maybe half or 1/3 of the canoes I see are one person white water canoes, with the rest being 2 to 3 person canoes. I have never really counted any of these so maybe it is all personal perception.

How common are tandem kayaks?

  • 2
    I will point out that MOST cycle shops will keep A "tandem" bike in stock if not easy to order (At least in the UK) however ALL Kayak selling shops will have 2 person Kayaks that are easy to order and most if not all will stock at least 1 model (assuming its not a small store that only stocks 4 kayaks at a time) while this may not translate to what you see it would suggest market demands Sep 3, 2018 at 14:59
  • I could have sworn there was a question just like this already about how common two person kayaks are, and I was going to flag this as a possible duplicate, but I can't find it.
    – Monster
    Oct 1, 2018 at 5:30
  • @Monster - maybe you're thinking of what JJ asked a month ago? :-)
    – Martin F
    Oct 1, 2018 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Tandem kayaks are extremely common. That said, some degree of qualification is needed.

Unlike "solo" and "tandem" canoeing, the terms "single" and "double" are used. (They can be abbreviated to S and D -- allowing the D-kayak to also mean "divorce-kayak".)

Double sea or touring kayaks are very popular, especially at kayak rental shops or kayak guiding outfitters. There are several reasons: It is easier to manage two people in one boat than in two boats. Double kayaks are slightly wider than single kayaks and are thus more stable – good for beginners. Double kayaks often have a center hatch where larger items, or a small child, can be kept. I'm a sea kayak guide and when I'm leading tours of inlets, most of our clients are in doubles.

K2 and K4 – the abbreviations for two-person and four-person kayak – are events in flatwater racing.

Double whitewater kayaks exist but, like your tandem bicycles, are not at all common.

  • As someone involved in commercial kayaking, you'd have access to K2s. As a polo player and occasional river paddler, K2s are almost unknown. As with many other things, it's situational.
    – Separatrix
    Sep 6, 2018 at 10:32

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