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How to Choose a Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Confused about which tandem inflatable kayak to get?

Even just within the Advanced Elements range, there are quite a few tandem kayaks on offer, and some people feel overwhelmed by choice.

I’ll try to keep things REALLY SIMPLE so you are clear about which kayak is going to be best for you!

Our Tandem Kayaks

tandem kayaks

We have three different tandem kayaks that we sell. The StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak, AirVolution2 Kayak and AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak.

They are all excellent tandem kayaks, no matter which one you get, you will have a blast!

AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak

Our best-selling tandem kayak is the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak.

Why is it so good? Why is it our best-seller?

Basically, it ticks a LOT of boxes!

Tandem Kayaks for Tall People

tandem kayaks

So, why, then would you look at the other two?

If you were to call me to ask for help with choosing a kayak, the first thing I’ll ask is your weight and your height. That really matters for the solo kayaks, but it matters quite a bit less with the tandems.

For our tandem kayaks, pretty well any weight and any height works well.

Even though the kayaks are quite different in length, it’s the cockpit length that matters.

The cockpit length of the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak and the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak is the longest, but the AirVolution2 kayak is not far behind.

If you had two very tall people  (both are over 6’2” for example), the AirVolution2 Kayak cockpit might start to get a little short for you (that’s a “might” not a “will”).

Generally speaking, height doesn’t matter that much when choosing a tandem inflatable kayak.

Tandem Kayaks by Capacity


All 3 tandem kayaks have a very high capacity and they all have drop-stitch in them to enhance their rigidity.

The Convertible Elite has a drop-stitch floor, the StraitEdge2 Pro has a drop-stitch floor.

However, the AirVolution2 kayak is a bit different, it is full drop-stitch. This means the rigidity in the AirVolution2 is exceptional.

It’s like nothing else on the market in terms of it’s design, it’s an incredibly rigid kayak.

tandem kayaks weight

If one or more paddlers is over 110kg, I recommend the AirVolution2 Kayak, however, the 110 kilograms with the AirVolution2 Kayak is not a strict rule.

I have people that are 130 kilograms that are in the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak, for example, but if you want the best rigidity in the higher weight ranges, the AirVolution2 is worth serious consideration.

Check this out – you can stand up and it doesn’t make a dent, that’s how rigid the drop-stitch is.

Drop-stitch was developed for stand up paddle boards, because you have all your weight concentrated in one point, but you need the board to stay rigid.

To summarise – you get amazing rigidity out of the AirVolution2 Kayak, no matter what you weigh.

Tandem Kayaks for Fishing

All of our tandem inflatable kayaks are suitable for fishing – they are all stable and durable.

If you want rod holders, we sell the Accessory Frame System, which is basically a rail that allows you to attach items with a 1 inch rail mount.

It is compatible with the AirVolution2 Kayak as you can see, but the frame sits quite a way up the deck.

It’s also compatible with the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak but you have to cut holes in the deck and the inner tube cover to then glue it onto the inner tube because it needs black grommets need to be glued on.

Most people are a bit uncomfortable with this approach, so if they really want rod holders, they don’t get the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite.

They either put an accessory frame on the AirVolution2 or even better, they buy the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak.

The StraitEdge2 Pro comes with two rod holders behind the seat and you can also put on an accessory frame if you want to.

So, it’s my pick of the bunch for fishing.

Tandem Kayaks for Dogs

All of the tandem kayaks we sell are great for dogs.

They are all stable, durable and have plenty of open space.

Tandem Kayaks for Kids

All of our tandem kayaks are great for kids.

We’ve done paddling in all three of these kayaks multiple times and they’re all great.

The only thing to consider is the cockpit size.

As I mentioned, the AirVolution2 has a slightly smaller cockpit. We still fit the four of us in, but we’re jammed on top of each other a bit.

We have a bit more room to move with the others.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak doesn’t look bigger, but you can actually unzip the front deck if you want to.

They all paddle so well and fit kids and dogs easily, you could even do both. 

Lightweight Tandem Kayaks

tandem kayaks

If you want a lightweight tandem kayak, this is where the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak shines.

Although the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is a fantastic kayak, it is big and somewhat heavier than the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak.

A lot of people that have caravans, for example,  need to keep their weight down, so they will opt for the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak because it’s excellent to paddle, but only 18.6kg.

They’re all excellent to paddle.  Although the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is the fastest, the AirVolution2 Kayak and StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak are very pleasurable to paddle.

The weight drop for the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak feels like you are getting the best of both worlds.

If you like everything else about the bigger kayaks, but you don’t like the sound of carrying them, you can buy the kayak cart,

You just strap that on the back of the kayak and wheel it down to the water.

The other huge benefit of a lightweight tandem kayak is paddling solo.

If you want to carry the kayak down to the water by yourself, it’s much easier in the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak than it is in the other two kayaks.

Ease of Transport

All of our kayaks come with a robust storage bag.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak and the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak both have a bag with detachable backpack straps – very useful if you want to take it for a walk.


However, the AirVolution2 Kayak takes us to the next level.

Not only do you have backpack straps with waist support, you’ve got wheels!

Tandem Kayaks based on Versatility

tandem kayaks

Do you want to do open ocean?

Do you want to stay warm and dry in cold conditions?

Do you want to do whitewater?

Answers to these questions will all feed into whether you want a sit-in kayak or a sit-on-top kayak.


In terms of versatility, the sit-in AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is great because it comes open decked, so you can  take it out for a muck around with kids, dogs etc., but you can also buy the zip-on double deck conversion.

There’s also a single deck conversion for going solo.

Both decks give you inflatable coaming that you can put a spray skirt on, so you can keep warm and dry in cold conditions or where there’s lots of spray and wind

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is classed for open ocean and up to class 2 whitewater.

On the other end of the scale, you’ve got the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak which is a sit-on-top.

Some people just like the feel of a sit-on-top, so they’ll go for the StraitEdge2 Pro because that’s where they feel most comfortable. 

The StraitEdge2 kayak is self-bailing, which basically means any water that comes over the side goes out through the drain holes in the bottom.

These plug holes can be closed for calm water.

The fin on the StraitEdge2 kayak is removable, so if you need to pivot in whitewater (it’s good for up to class 3) you can leave the fin off.

The StraitEdge2 Pro is also suitable for open ocean.

The AirVolution2 Kayak is somewhere in between.

It’s a sit-on-top in the sense that you are not inside a cockpit but there’s no self-bailing, and you can’t put a spray skirt on.

If its quite choppy, windy conditions with a bit of spray, you will get a bit of spray in the kayak and it’s not going anywhere.

To prevent you sitting in a pool of water, they’ve designed a fairly deep, wide well for the water to drain into as you’re paddling.

The AirVolution2 kayak is therefore not recommended for open ocean, unless you’r happy to be swamped!

The AirVolution2 kayak can handle up to class 2 whitewater.

Tandem Kayaks for Expeditions and Comfort

All of our tandem kayaks are capable of multi-day kayak expeditions.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is the best for this, it is really just awesome. It’s got heaps of deck space and a huge capacity.

It’s very stable and very comfortable, which is important for long trips.

A lot of our customers comment on how comfortable the seats are.

For the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite kayak, the seats have a raised foam pad under your bum, which takes the pressure off your back and off your hamstrings.

It also has a blow-up lumbar cushion in both seats, so you can add some support whilst paddling.

The StraitEdge2 Pro kayak seat is very similar to the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite seat.

You got this beautiful high back support with an inflatable lumbar cushion.

You’ve also got the raised foam pad under your bum.

The AirVolution2 Kayak doesn’t have the blow up lumbar and it doesn’t have as much of a lift in the bum but it does still have good back support. 

Tandem Kayaks based on Foot Support

In terms of foot support, the StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak comes with two sets of adjustable foot pegs.

Whether you’re going solo or tandem, you’ve got foot support.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak has a cushion for the rear paddler, it’s designed to push up against the front paddler.

You can buy a foot brace for the front paddler. 

And if you want to go solo in the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak, you can buy the adjustable foot pegs.

For the AirVolution2 Kayak, there’s no foot support for the back paddler.  They basically need to brace against the front paddler and try not to annoy them.

The kayak comes with a foot brace for the front paddler.  It’s more like a cushion and it doesn’t give you a perfectly flat surface to brace against, but you can adjust where it sits in the kayak to get the right angle. 

Tandem Kayaks based on Durability

So the golden rule with inflatables is if you’re coming out the water and you’re not packing up straight away, you need to let some pressure out of the chamber or else you know the heat from the sun or even just a hot day will cause the air pressure to increase.

When you’re in the water, the water’s generally keeping it cool. 

The excellent thing about the AirVolution2 Kayak is that it has pressure valves on both the chambers.

The AirVolution2 Kayak is great because if it does go above the pressure it will just release it and that protects your kayak. 

All our tandem inflatable kayaks are super tough, as mentioned by Paul.

They’re well built, which means we don’t see a lot of issues with these kayaks – they’re excellent quality.

Tandem Kayaks based on Setup

tandem kayaks

Setup is basically the same across all of them.

One thing I will say with the AirVolution2 Kayak is that it has a massive PSI capability.

It goes up to something like 14 PSI, and that can be hard work with a manual pump.

I only ever put 3 PSI in because I get excellent rigidity at 3, but if you are heavier, you may wish to go to a higher PSI, and bear in mind that that will add a bit of time.

The StraitEdge2 Pro Kayak is really easy. Note that you need to add a couple of minutes to put on the adjustable foot pegs.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite Kayak is also very easy. If you’re zipping on the double deck or the single deck conversion, you need to add a few minutes to the setu-up time.

But they’re all quite quick and easy to set up.

There’s no assembly, you just unfold, inflate, clip in the seats. 

Tandem Kayaks that are Quick and Easy to Dry and Pack Away

I want to address drying and packing away because I know there was a kayak review on Youtube that refers to the fabric kayaks (the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite in our case) being a real challenge to dry.

The truth is, it depends on how wet you get it.

The key is not to get too much water inside.

The gray inner tube covers, they’re the bits that take a while to dry.

I go out with just my husband, for example, we put a couple of towels inside, so our feet don’t bring a lot of water in. This keeps the inner tube covers dry.

The red deck doesn’t take long, I give it a wipe down with a towel when I’m finished and then ten minutes in the sun and it’s good to pack up.

If we’re taking the kids,  well then there’s water everywhere because they’re jumping in, jumping out, having swims, etc. and that’s when we have to bring it home to dry.

We don’t pack it up properly, we just let the air out and shove it in the car. At home, we lay it out, take the floor out, wipe it out with a towel, don’t use a hose) and prop it open to dry. 

If you know that you’re going to be getting a lot of water in the kayak and you don’t like the sound of waiting for it to dry, you want to consider the AirVolution2 Kayak.

It is amazing for this because it’s basically all PVC. You just get a towel and wipe it down, fold it up, and you’re done.

The seats are fabric but you can always just dry them separately. Everything else is PVC and can be wiped dry.

The Straitdge2 Pro Kayak is similar.

The seats are fabric and there’s little bits of fabric on it but the side tubes and the floor are PVC.

It’s tricker to dry than the Airvolution2, though because you have to get the towel in the crack where the floor meets the side tubes.

In summary, I would say that the Convertible Elite’s pretty easy to deal with, but if you want it to be super simple, check out the AirVolution2 kayak.

Still not sure which tandem inflatable kayak is right for you?

That’s totally fine, it happens all the time!

Simply request a personalised kayak recommendation 

Our Range of Tandem Inflatable Kayaks